Music

The Best Singing Drummers 

Adam Tyler
Originally by
Updated February 24, 2020 21.6k votes 4.7k voters 123.6k views 55 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.
list ordered by
1
Ranker Video
Adam Tyler added Pop music, Rock music, Country rock

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

Labels: Warner Bros. Entertainment, Geffen Records, Asylum Records, Warner Bros. Records

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

More Don Henley 

#27 of 714 The Best Rock Vocalists #111 of 1,057 The Best Singers of All Time The Best Don Henley Albums of All Time

2
Ranker Video
Adam Tyler added Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

Albums: Face Value, Both Sides, No Jacket Required, Hello, I Must Be Going!, + more

Labels: Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group, Virgin Records

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

More Phil Collins 

#42 of 299 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters The Best Phil Collins Songs of All Timelisted on Famous Left Handed People

3
Ranker Video
Adam Tyler added Doom metal, Rock music, Grunge

Albums: Foo Fighters, Probot, Pocketwatch, Touch, Sign of Love

Labels: Geffen Records, DGC Records, Dischord Records, RCA, RCA Records, + more

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

More Dave Grohl 

#47 of 299 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #191 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years 20 Interesting Facts You May Not Know About Dave Grohl

4
Ranker Video
Adam Tyler added Pop music, Soft rock

Albums: Karen Carpenter

Labels: A&M Records

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

More Karen Carpenter 

#9 of 969 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #171 of 926 People We Wish Were Still Alive

5
Ranker Video
Adam Tyler added Pop music, Rock music, World music

Albums: I Wanna Be Santa Claus, Concert for George, Sentimental Journey, VH1 Storytellers, Vertical Man, + more

Labels: Atlantic Records, Apple Records, E1 Music, Capitol Records, RCA Records, + more

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

More Ringo Starr 

#259 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years The Best Ringo Starr Albums of All-Timelisted on Musical Guests of the Jay Leno Show

6
Ranker Video
Adam Tyler added Americana, Rock music, Folk music

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

Labels: MCA Records, Vanguard Records, Capitol Records

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

More Levon Helm 

#62 of 646 The Best Drummers Of All Time #202 of 406 The Best Frontmen in Rock

7
Ranker Video
Adam Tyler added Rock music, Heavy metal, Pop rock

Albums: I Wanna Testify, Surrender, Electric Fire, Fun in Space, Happiness?, + more

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
8
Ranker Video
Adam Tyler added

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

More Micky Dolenz 

#181 of 714 The Best Rock Vocalists #448 of 505 The Best TV Actors of All Time

9
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

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

Labels: Atlantic Records, Charisma Records, Geffen Records, Real World Records, EMI Records, + 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

More Peter Gabriel 

#112 of 1,057 The Best Singers of All Time #72 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Peter Gabriel Albums of All Time

10
Ranker Video
Adam Tyler added Pop music, Rock music, Contemporary R&B

Albums: Ricky Lawson & Friends: First Things 1st, Romance 1600, The Glamorous Life, Sex Cymbal, Sheila E., + more

Labels: Paisley Park Records, Concord Records, Warner Bros. Records

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

More Sheila E. 

#136 of 381 The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s #242 of 505 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s #159 of 198 The Greatest Women in Music, 1980s to Today

11
Ranker Video
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

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

Labels: A&M Records, E1 Music

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
12
Ginger Baker is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
Numnuts added Blues-rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz

Albums: Horses & Trees, Stratavarious, The Early Cream of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, Middle Passage, + more

Labels: Atlantic Records, Universal Records, Island Records, Polydor Records, Warner Bros. Records

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

More Ginger Baker 

#6 of 646 The Best Drummers Of All Time #128 of 519 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song? Insane Stories About The Unhinged Life Of Cream Drummer Ginger Baker

13
Ranker Video
Adam Tyler added Glam metal, Pop music, Heavy metal

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

Labels: Mercury, Casablanca Records

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
14
Taylor Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
gamedemon24 added Rock music, Post-grunge, Alternative rock
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
15
Buddy Miles is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
Buddy Miles Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Funk

Albums: Carlos Santana and Buddy Miles - Live! / Love Devotion Surrender, All the Faces of Buddy Miles, A Message to the People, Blues Berries, Sneak Attack, + more

Labels: Ruf Records, Atlantic Records, CBS Records, Hip-O Records, Epic Records, + more

George Allen "Buddy" Miles Jr. (September 5, 1947 – February 26, 2008), was an American rock drummer, vocalist, composer, and producer. He was a founding member of the Electric Flag ...more

More Buddy Miles 

#73 of 100 The Best Musical Artists From Nebraskalisted on Famous Left Handed Guitarists

16
Eric Carr is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

Albums: Rockology, Unfinished Business

Labels: Mercury, Casablanca Records

Paul Charles Caravello (July 12, 1950 – November 24, 1991) better known by his stage name Eric Carr, was an American musician and multi-instrumentalist who was the drummer for the rock band Kiss ...more
17
The Rev is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
Footballfan360 added Progressive metal, Third-wave of ska, Ska

Labels: Warner Bros. Entertainment, Hopeless Records, Good Life Recordings, Warner Bros. Records

James Owen Sullivan (February 9, 1981 – December 28, 2009), professionally known by his stage name The Rev (shortened version of The Reverend Tholomew Plague), was an American musician, best ...more

More The Rev 

#912 of 926 People We Wish Were Still Alive #131 of 199 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely #102 of 140 Bygone Musicians You Most Want to See Perform as Holograms

18
Don Brewer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
RickDC777 added Rock music, Hard rock

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

Labels: Lucky Eleven Records, Capitol Records

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.
19
Kelly Keagy is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
Chris Cornell is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
JulienFernandez added Rock music, Grunge, Psychedelic pop

Albums: Carry On, You Know My Name, Euphoria Morning, Scream, Part of Me, + more

Labels: SST Records, Epic Records, A&M Records, Universal Music Group, Mosley Music Group, + more

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

More Chris Cornell 

#8 of 714 The Best Rock Vocalists #114 of 1,057 The Best Singers of All Time Chris Cornell’s 12 Most Amazing Vocal Performances

21
Jen Ledger is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
MeyerHirschhorn added Rock music, Christian rock, Alternative metal
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

More Jen Ledger 

#6 of 59 History's Greatest Female Drummers, Ranked #211 of 646 The Best Drummers Of All Time

22
Mike Portnoy is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
tjodalv added Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Metalcore

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

Labels: Roadrunner Records


  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

More Mike Portnoy 

#201 of 206 The Druggiest Rock Stars of All Time #5 of 78 The Best Metal Drummers of All Time

23
Chicago is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
Ballad, Ska, Rock music

Albums: Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago II, Chicago Christmas: What's It Gonna Be, Santa?, Chicago IX: Chicago's Greatest Hits, + more

Labels: Warner Bros. Entertainment, Rhino Entertainment, Full Moon Records, Columbia

Chicago is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois, calling themselves the Chicago Transit Authority in 1968 before shortening the name in 1969. The self-described “rock and ...more

More Chicago 

#69 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #69 of 350 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands #69 of 381 The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s

24
Dave Clark is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
C_Moorehead added Indie rock
Dave Clark is a Canadian musician from Etobicoke, Ontario.
25
Caroline Corr is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Singing Drummers
Ana Grifus added Pop music, Rock music, Celtic music

Labels: Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group, Lava Records, 143 Records

Caroline Georgina Corr MBE (born 17 March 1973), known to fans as the "Chick with Stick", is an Irish singer and drummer for the Celtic folk rock band The Corrs. In addition to the ...more