Music

The Best Singing Drummers 

Adam Tyler
Originally by
Updated February 24, 2020 22k votes 4.9k voters 125.3k views 54 items

List Rules Rank the list based on their singing prowess, not their drumming skills.

Prepare to be impressed by this list of drummers who also sing. These musicians are both notable as capable drummers and as vocalists. Many of them performed in both roles in a single band, including Ringo Starr (who did vocals and drums on The Beatles' "Octopus Garden" and "Yellow Submarine," among others) and Karen Carpenter. Other singing drummers became notable for their vocal skills only after parting ways with their former band, as is the case with Dave Grohl. Initially known primarily as the drummers for iconic grunge band Nirvana, he stepped out from behind the drum kit to serve as the frontman and lead singer for his follow-up project, Foo Fighters.

Drummers are often the least visible, famous members of a large, popular rock band, making the number of great percussionists who have proven themselves to be great singers rather low. (The number dwindled even further on April 19, 2012, when the world lost the legendary Band drummer Levon Helm.) Vote for your favorite drummer/vocalists, and if you can think of any that haven't made the cut, add them at the bottom of the page.
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Adam Tyler added Genre: Doom metal, Rock music & Grunge; Nationality: United States of America

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David Eric Grohl (born January 14, 1969) is an American singer, songwriter, musician and director. He is the founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and primary songwriter of the rock band Foo ...more

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Philip David Charles Collins (born 30 January 1951) is an English drummer, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. He was the drummer and later became singer of ...more

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Albums: The End of the Innocence, Building the Perfect Beast, I Can't Stand Still, End of the Innocence, Dirty Laundry, + more

Donald Hugh Henley (born July 22, 1947) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer and founding member of the Eagles. He was the drummer and co-lead vocalist for the Eagles ...more

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The Best Don Henley Albums of All Time #31 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #289 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

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Adam Tyler added Genre: Pop music and Soft rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Karen Carpenter

Karen Anne Carpenter (March 2, 1950 – February 4, 1983) was an American singer and drummer who was part of the duo the Carpenters alongside her brother Richard. She was praised for her contralto ...more

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#78 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #5 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #27 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists

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Adam Tyler added Genre: Americana, Rock music & Folk music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Dirt Farmer, The Ties That Bind: The Best of... 1975-1996, American Son, Electric Dirt, Levon Helm, + more

Mark Lavon "Levon" Helm (May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012) was an American musician and actor who achieved fame as the drummer and one of the vocalists for the Band. Helm was known for ...more

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Sir Richard Starkey (born 7 July 1940), known professionally as Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles. He ...more

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The Best Ringo Starr Albums of All-Time #65 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #310 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

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Albums: Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart

George Michael Dolenz Jr. (born March 8, 1945) is an American actor, musician, television director, radio personality and theater director, best known as a vocalist and drummer of the 1960s ...more

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Roger Meddows Taylor (born 26 July 1949) is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, best known as the drummer for the rock band Queen. As a drummer, Taylor was ...more

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Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
Genre: New Wave, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United Kingdom

Albums: Peter Gabriel, Us, Security, Up, Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats, + more

Peter Brian Gabriel (born 13 February 1950) is an English singer, songwriter, record producer and activist who rose to fame as the original lead singer and frontman of the progressive rock band ...more

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Ginger Baker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
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Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker (born 19 August 1939) is an English drummer and a founder of the rock band Cream. His work in the 1960s earned him the reputation of "rock's first ...more

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Sheila Cecelia Escovedo (born December 12, 1957), better known under the stage name Sheila E., is an American percussionist, singer, author, and actress. She began her career in the mid-1970s as ...more

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Albums: One for All, Peter Criss, Let Me Rock You, Cat #1, Out of Control

George Peter John Criscuola (born December 20, 1945), better known by his stage name Peter Criss, is a retired American musician and actor, best known as a co-founder, original drummer, and ...more

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Taylor Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
gamedemon24 added Genre: Rock music, Post-grunge & Alternative rock; Nationality: United States of America
Oliver Taylor Hawkins (born February 17, 1972) is an American musician, best known as the drummer for the rock band Foo Fighters. Prior to joining the band in 1997, he was the touring drummer ...more

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Genre: New Wave, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Kollected Works, Klark Kent: Music Madness From the Kinetic Kid, The Rhythmatist, Orchestralli, The Stewart Copeland Anthology, + more

Stewart Armstrong Copeland (born July 16, 1952) is an American musician and composer. He was the drummer for the British rock band the Police, has produced film and video game soundtracks and ...more

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The Rev is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
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Eric Carr is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
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Buddy Miles is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
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Chris Cornell is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
JulienFernandez added Genre: Rock music, Grunge & Psychedelic pop; Nationality: United States of America

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Christopher John Cornell (né Boyle; July 20, 1964 – May 18, 2017) was an American musician, singer and songwriter. He was best known as the lead vocalist for the rock bands Soundgarden ...more

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Don Brewer is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
RickDC777 added Genre: Rock music and Hard rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: We're An American Band, Shinin On, Born To Die, Good Singin Good Plahyin, Grand Funk, + more

Donald George Brewer (born September 3, 1948) is an American drummer who is best known as the drummer, co-lead vocalist and only constant member of American rock band Grand Funk Railroad.
20
Kelly Keagy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
JeremyCohen added

Albums: Time Passes, I'm Alive

Kelly Dean Keagy (born September 15, 1952) is an American drummer and vocalist, best known for his work with Night Ranger. Keagy sang lead vocals on several of their hits, such as "Sister ...more
21
Mike Portnoy is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
tjodalv added Genre: Thrash metal, Progressive metal & Metalcore; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Cover to Cover, Live in Tokyo, Cover 2 Cover, Prime Cuts


  Michael Stephen Portnoy (born April 20, 1967) is an American drummer and songwriter primarily known as the former drummer, backing vocalist, and a co-founder of the progressive metal/rock band ...more

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Jen Ledger is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
MeyerHirschhorn added
Jennifer Carole Ledger (born 8 December 1989) is an English drummer and co-vocalist for the American Christian rock and hard rock band Skillet, and a solo alternative rock project: Ledger. At ...more

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Chicago is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Singing Drummers

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Layne Staley is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
StevenYoung added Genre: Doom metal, Glam metal & Blues-rock; Nationality: United States of America
Layne Thomas Staley (born Layne Rutherford Staley, August 22, 1967 – April 5, 2002) was an American musician best known as the original lead singer and co-songwriter of the rock band Alice in ...more

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Gil Moore is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
Genre: Heavy metal, Progressive rock & Blues; Nationality: Canada
Gil Moore (born October 4, 1953) is a Canadian musician. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Moore was the drummer and vocalist (sharing vocal duties with guitarist/vocalist Rik Emmett) of the ...more