Top Ten Drummers Of All Time

artist: misc date: 07/15/2011 category: entertainment
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Music news website Gigwise recently came up with their list of the top 50 drummers of all time - but did they get it right? Here, we'll be rounding up their top ten. Let's see if UG readers think they pulled it off. First, a little on the history of modern rock drumming. Traditionally, the bass drum, snare drum, cymbals and various percussion instruments were played by hand by individual people, just like you see in a military setting. It wasn't till around 1890 that experimentation with foot pedals began. In 1909, the Ludwig family started a drum company and patented the drum pedal system. By the 1930s, the beginning of the modern rock drum kit were visible with four piece kits being put into production, comprised of a bass, snare, and two tom-toms. You might think a double-bass setup was a relatively recent development, but this was first attempted in the 1940s by Louie Bellson - though it's unlikely the pedals allowed for Joey Jordison style machine gun speeds. The real turning point for drums in the eyes of music fans was when Ringo Starr played his Ludwig kit in front of millions on television, inspiring a generation to pick up the sticks themselves. By the 1980s, extravagant kits with a huge number of drums and cymbals arrived, some including electronic pads which triggered sample sounds, before a return in the 1990s to simpler drum set ups when independent bands came to prominence. That's the history - but who are the best of all time, in the opinion of Gigwise?

Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa, UK, Missing Persons, HoBoLeMa, Jeff Beck, Korn, Fantmas, Debbie Harry)

Best known for performing with Frank Zappa, Terry is an example of one of those who were inspired by Ringo Starr to learn how to play when he was 13. Since then he's worked with a dizzying number of bands, even stepping in for Korn's 8th studio album. Today he plays in HoBoLeMa.

Phil Collins (Genesis, Brand X, Flaming Youth, Philip Bailey, Eric Clapton, The Phil Collins Big Band)

Phil played one of the most iconic drum beats of all time for "In The Air Tonight", but the classic room sound was a complete accident. At the time, the talkback mic on the mixing desk (which lets engineers speak through the glass to musicians) picked up the drum sound and by chance, sounded great. The engineers wired it up to record, and "gated drums" became a popular production technique throughout the 80s.

Gene Krupa (Eddie Condon, Benny Goodman, Louie Bellson, Anita O'Day)

Born in 1909, Gene was one of the first drummers to influence a further generation thanks to his fast performance abilities, with both John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) and Keith Moon (The Who) citing him as an influence.

Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Asia)

One of the most respected drummers to emerge from the 1960s, Palmer was among the first truely progressive drummers and became one of the first to be inducted into the Modern Drummer Magazine hall of fame.

Rick Allen (Def Leppard)

Rick famously continued drumming after having his arm amputated following a car accident, but he stuck to his craft and made a comeback in 1986 with an impressive performance at the Donington "Monsters Of Rock" show.

Buddy Rich (Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra)

Buddy was the second-best paid entertainer of his time, and kept time for some of the biggest jazz stars of the day. He's also known for being one of the first drummers to perfect the one-handed drum roll on both hands.

Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins, Zwan, Skysaw)

He might have started as a jazz drummer, but when he joined the 90s metal outfit Smashing Pumpkins he certainly learned to hit hard. He was part of the reformed Smashing Pumpkins lineup when they regrouped in 2005, but left again in 2009. He now plays with the band Skysaw.

Neil Peart (Rush, Buddy Rich Big Band)

Neil joined Rush in 1974, having been inspired by British rock drummers such as Keith Moon and John Bonham, before learning about older big band and jazz drummers like Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. He famously built a respectable "360" drum kit, and enjoys a travel writing hobby.

Danny Carey (Tool)

Yet another pro who began as a jazz drummer in his youth. By the time he was at university, Danny took an interest in the occult and began to apply the rules of geometry to his drum beats - a technique which still features with Tool today. The album "Lateralus", for example, centres around use of the Fibonacci sequence.

Keith Moon (The Who)

Keith was one of the drummer to give rock music a hedonistic name. A wild party guy and drummer, Keith and his band were one of the first to smash up their instruments on stage - a "technique" emulated by generations of musicians since. He had a hobby of flushing explosives down toilets, leaving him banned by a score of hotel chains around the world.

John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)

It'll be hard to argue with this one. John often tops "best drummer of all time" lists, and it's well earned. One paragraph wouldn't do justice to his ability or history, but it was certainly a tragic day when he drank more than fourty shots of vodka and choked to death on his own vomit. John inspired an entire era of rock drumming, and his son Jason followed his footsteps when he performed for Led Zeppelin during their reunion show in 2007.
Not a bad list by any means - but can UG readers do better? Share your reaction in the comments.
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