Led Zeppelin: John Bonham Named Greatest Drummer

Led Zeppelin's legendary sticksman tops Rolling Stone reader's poll.

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Led Zeppelin's legendary sticksman tops Rolling Stone reader's poll.

The reader poll, conducted last week, saw Bonzo top the chart ahead of The Who's Keith Moon and Rush's Neil Peart.

Other drummers to appear in the top ten include Cream's Ginger Baker and Santana's Michael Shrieve.

Here's the top ten:

01. John Bonham 02. Keith Moon 03. Neil Peart 04. Dave Grohl 05. Ringo Starr 06. Buddy Rich 07. Stewart Copeland 08. ?uestlove 09. Ginger Baker 10. Michael Shrieve

Led Zeppelin band mate John Paul Jones said that Bonham's talent on the drums was easy to spot, and that from the first time he watched him play he was convinced about his skills.

"Thirty seconds," he claimed. "The first thing we ever played together, the first time we met was in a rehearsal studio in Lyle street in London and we played a thing called A Train Kept a Rolling, which was a Yardbirds song, and as soon as we started, by about the fourth bar I realised this is going to be great, this is a great drummer."

Jones also praised Bonham's style. "He plays behind the beat or in front of the beat depending on what it needs, what the beat needs, most drummers can only play on the beat if they're lucky, but he could move it around which takes a good bit of skill and musical awareness to know that it needs to be moved around," he added.

Bonham has continued to be a major influence for a number of successful artists, with rock drummers such as Tony Thompson, Tommy Lee, Peter Criss, Stewart Copeland and Chad Smith all citing him as an inspiration.

Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters once described him as being the "greatest drummer of all time" and it is likely that he will continue to encourage new generations of drummers for years to come.

Thanks for the report to PlanetRock.com.

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    a drummer
    Bonzo was the greatest of all time hands down. but this list could be much better. Seriously, no Danny Carey...
    mathman51
    what about Robb Reiner or Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor. Before metal was mainstream Robbo won the best Drummer award in 1983 (I believe). Also. if you watched the Anvil story or caught them on VH1, you will hear Lars, Tom Araya,Slash and Lemmy praise these guys and reference these guys as innovators . My opinion, but watch a few videos and pay attention to Robbo's drumming and with regards to Phil... Overkill, need I say anymore
    n9inchnails9
    Wow there's a shock... This is getting ridiculous. Every week I see another article about who did the greatest whatever, and it's always the same people. Are these magazines actually taking polls or are they just handing out award after award to Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and John Bonham each time? I mean seriously, I have every Led Zeppelin album and I have to say I can name 5 drummers off the top of my head that are better (sorry but really think about what the title of "greatest drummer ever" really entails). These are just popularity contests conducted and awarded to whoever is popular among kids 15-20 these days (every high school has at least 2 kids a day wearing AC/DC shirts). If you want undisputable proof, why did it take so long for Tom Waits and Alice Cooper (Tom Waits being one of the most brilliant minds in music) to get inducted to the RnR Hall of Fame, yet Ozzy was on his way to the induction ceremony practically as soon he announced he wouldn't be headlining Ozzfest anymore in 2006? We understand how much people respect these classic rock bands but enough's enough already. People are too biased toward bands like that to accept anyone that started making music after 1976. To top that all, more credit is given to the musicians that are dead. I never heard one word about Johnny Cash during the first 3 "American" albums til he recorded that godawful cover of Hurt then bought the farm. Now all of a sudden he's the "greatest songwriter to have ever lived". Here's a thought... conduct a poll for the "supergroup of the century". See if it doesn't come back with Kurt Cobain, John Bonham, Bon Scott and Cliff Burton....
    HankMcCoy22
    bazo666 wrote: Lol, Ringo star in a greatest drummers list xD
    Haha agreed! Ringo was a shit drummer. Didn't Paul say once that he was the greatest drummer in the Beatles? This list represents everything I hate about Rolling Stone magazine. JUST because Ringo was a Beatle, he's a good musician. He's on this list and Mike Portnoy isn't? Explain that...
    biff022
    No Carey or Copeland is a joke. Tim Alexander is completely redonkulous as well. Ringo deserves to be on there just not at number 5. Rolling Stone has been the print version of the lame trash on MTV for a solid decade now, so why would anyone expect their readers to dig deeper into music past the most popular mainstream act? Can't hate on Bonham. Technical proficiency aside (though he had plenty), he was incredible. If someone wants to claim him as best ever, fine with me.
    Liquid Snake
    I'm honestly surprised Danny Carey isn't in here. I should've known tho, since ?stlove is so..so much more proficient with sticks than he is.
    Morgothik
    Now now Ringo was a bad ass in Liverpool in 1962. They picked him because he was awesome and his timng was impeccable. He completed that band. Ask George Martin.
    trojanguitar
    bonham should totally be on the top. he is one of the most well known drummers for a reason!!
    xstatic44
    Maybe the people on here don't realize that there is a reason certain people are continually considered to be the top or greatest in their field, whether it's John Bonham, Michael Jordan, Jack Bauer, or Ron Jeremy. There is a reason people who are really good at what they do are given credit where it is deserved. Popularity contest? Shut up. You're just too busy pitching a tent over your own favorite drummer, golfer, or professional adult film star (literally). There's nothing wrong with it, I'd like to see Art Blakey and Futureman on here myself, but I choose to delegate my time to worrying about other things, like paying for my child's next meal - her mother's breastmilk.
    Eifler121
    Mitch Mitchell and Bill Ward would be on there for me. I'm more a fan of Stewart Copeland's composing (Spyro the Dragon) than his stuff with the police, and I'm not nuts about Ringo Starr.
    maowcat
    Gotta Love the butt hurt UG'ers
    n9inchnails9 wrote: Wow there's a shock... This is getting ridiculous. Every week I see another article about who did the greatest whatever, and it's always the same people. Are these magazines actually taking polls or are they just handing out award after award to Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and John Bonham each time? I mean seriously, I have every Led Zeppelin album and I have to say I can name 5 drummers off the top of my head that are better (sorry but really think about what the title of "greatest drummer ever" really entails). These are just popularity contests conducted and awarded to whoever is popular among kids 15-20 these days (every high school has at least 2 kids a day wearing AC/DC shirts). If you want undisputable proof, why did it take so long for Tom Waits and Alice Cooper (Tom Waits being one of the most brilliant minds in music) to get inducted to the RnR Hall of Fame, yet Ozzy was on his way to the induction ceremony practically as soon he announced he wouldn't be headlining Ozzfest anymore in 2006? We understand how much people respect these classic rock bands but enough's enough already. People are too biased toward bands like that to accept anyone that started making music after 1976. To top that all, more credit is given to the musicians that are dead. I never heard one word about Johnny Cash during the first 3 "American" albums til he recorded that godawful cover of Hurt then bought the farm. Now all of a sudden he's the "greatest songwriter to have ever lived". Here's a thought... conduct a poll for the "supergroup of the century". See if it doesn't come back with Kurt Cobain, John Bonham, Bon Scott and Cliff Burton....
    awwww that's cute, your so butthurt about your favourite drummer not getting on the list that you have to write a four paragraph rant on why bonham is overated. Grow up kid. He's an amazing drummer and if anything he doesn't get the respect he deserves, People always rant about how great plant and page are when bonham was the backbone of that band, they would have been know where near as great as they were without him. And what a ****ing joke, dave grohl is so ****ing overated how can he be number four, the man did nothing special on the drums, anyone could have done his job.
    audio475
    ok this is the top 3 in my opinion, #1 should be Neil Peart #2 should be Mike Portnoy and #3 should be Nicko McBrain.
    LolCatGuitar
    pointblankpb10 wrote: DZCunuck wrote: Good list. Well we all know that, due to the Anti-Music Act of 1987ish (right about where the police went on haietus), the creation of any new music was banned and therefor no new music has been created since then. ////SARCASM (at least that is what any classic rock geek will happily tell you) Man i hate classic rock. We still have to hear about all these guys when there is living breathing, and most importantly, PLAYING talent going unrecognized out there. Thats cause most modern music sucks. Man i hate modern music.
    Well depends on what modern music, I like some artists that have continued there career from the 80's to now, but just brand new music doesn't do it for me. On topic: It's funny how nobody gives ?uestlove any shit.
    betterman5
    Despite whose technical or not, Bonham is the most interesting to listen to, I think people like Mike Porney just focus on technical sides of things, not how it makes the song sound. Just saying i think he just goes for speed drumming. Bonham makes a song sound epic with his drumming. Think he deserves 1. As for ringo... dont know how the hell he got on this list
    Dennis187
    in other words..hey middle aged readers who miss their youth . what band was your favorite? and what drummer was in that band ? -_-.....
    Enix165
    Life Wasted wrote: Wheres Alex Van Halen?
    +100. Bonham's my favorite rock drumnmer, so good to see he made #1, but...RINGO STARR? That's pretty bad. XD AVH is an IMMENSELY underrated(though it's hard not to be when your brother was the most known figure in shred guitar and one of its founders), he should've been there. I'd have put Scott Travis there too but that's just me. Surprised Portnoy never made all top 10, though, I don't like him but everyone I know who doesn't drum idolizes him. XD
    Arthemesic
    007dude wrote: If it is the greatest Rock drummer, then Bonham deserves it 100%. No one comes close to him. Best drummer of all time? Probably the Jazz guys like Buddy Rich or Max Roach.
    Agreed. The greatest drummer of all time is definitely Nobody "Just stop making everything a damn competition" Important. His grooves are my fav.
    betterman5 wrote: Despite whose technical or not, Bonham is the most interesting to listen to, I think people like Mike Porney just focus on technical sides of things, not how it makes the song sound. Just saying i think he just goes for speed drumming.
    Mike Portnoy actually said in an interview, that his main problems were about technique. Besides, how can you even claim that he's going for speed drumming when there's Joey Jordison and a dozen WFD champs!
    21wickwing
    theogonia777 wrote: Rolling Stone reader's poll i've said it before, and i'll say it again, these kinds of lists are always the people that are most well known, Rolling Stone is a magazine that feeds the masses. and we all know that people that read Rolling Stone aren't "musically enlightened" or whatever, that's why you see people like the Jonas Brothers on the cover, cause that's what sells. so even if they had made the list themselves, it would still be the same super well known people, because that way the average regular douchebag would read it and buy the magazine. if they had put guys like Bobby Jarzombek, Billy Cobham, Carl Palmer, Art Blakey, and George Kollias on their list, people would say "who the **** are these guys!?" and not even bother reading. so if you don't like the damn list, don't read it, maybe make your own or something.
    Not necessarily, they made the top guitarists list themselves...and many people were wondering why the oh so popular guitarist Slash wasn't on it...or Eric Johnson...theres a couple others... and they had Robert Johnson in the top 5 which many people have never heard.
    rockerwannabe
    What about Phil Rudd? Now there's a guy that can play one beat for an entire career. NOW THAT'S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT!!!
    rockerwannabe
    ZombieVONA : Where's my favorite drummer?! Everyone must be stupid except for me...
    that's the funniest post I have ever read on UG.
    camaross427
    Rick allen - def leppard i mean come on, the guy has one arm scott rockenfield-queensryche, the drums are godly niko mcbrain, iron maiden anyone? although i do agree, john bonham is one of my favorite drummers of all time
    Swannie
    Xomar wrote: the fact that portnoy is not in the list shows how illegitimate the list actually is. Rolling stone lists have come to mean less and less over the years
    they actually meant something at one time?!?!
    Swannie
    21wickwing wrote: theogonia777 wrote: Rolling Stone reader's poll i've said it before, and i'll say it again, these kinds of lists are always the people that are most well known, Rolling Stone is a magazine that feeds the masses. and we all know that people that read Rolling Stone aren't "musically enlightened" or whatever, that's why you see people like the Jonas Brothers on the cover, cause that's what sells. so even if they had made the list themselves, it would still be the same super well known people, because that way the average regular douchebag would read it and buy the magazine. if they had put guys like Bobby Jarzombek, Billy Cobham, Carl Palmer, Art Blakey, and George Kollias on their list, people would say "who the **** are these guys!?" and not even bother reading. so if you don't like the damn list, don't read it, maybe make your own or something. Not necessarily, they made the top guitarists list themselves...and many people were wondering why the oh so popular guitarist Slash wasn't on it...or Eric Johnson...theres a couple others... and they had Robert Johnson in the top 5 which many people have never heard.
    as far as influence goes... Johnson has influenced us all... sorry for the double post
    shwilly
    Well, at least Rolling Stone readers recognize the awesomeness of Stewart Copeland... The sad thing is, in 40 years if they hold another poll there will be no double bass drum animals drummers like Mike Portnoy or Danny Carey, no hi-hat abusers like Matt Helders or Matt Tong, no hard hitters like Jon Theodore or Joey Castillo and certainly no legendary jam or session drummers like Terry Bozzio or Vinnie Colaiuta (or any musician associated with Zappa for that matter): only the biggest names from the biggest bands in the industry will prevail. As a matter of fact, this list will probably change little or nothing at all I'm a huge Zeppelin fan but what's the point of emphasizing someone's greatness over and over again until it's almost lame to state that you like John Bonham??
    JSmith38
    While I think Bonzo is awesome and I freakin' love Led Zeppelin, I still think Neil Peart is better from a technical standpoint. But tbh these lists are lame.
    -xCaMRocKx-
    OMG WTF WHERES MY FAVOURITE I'M SO ANGRY AND THIS LIST IS SHIT! I love Bonzo, and I'm glad he got number one. He was a brilliant drummer and I love listening to him.
    schirripar
    MidniteHaze wrote: Wheres Lars Ulrich? lol
    lawls anyway, I am glad to see Ringo and Bohnam so high up on this list. Drumming is not just about how hard your fills are and how crazy your solo is. It is about knowing when to stand out, and when to hold everything together. Listen to Black Dog and Strawberry Fields Forever. Perfect examples.
    John37fold
    Zeletros wrote: List must be named "most POPULAR and known drummers"
    yes, yes, and yes some more
    metallica-#1
    me_llamo_juan wrote: Rocka4life wrote: what happened to portnoy? More importantly, Gavin Harrison
    but even more important, wheres Portnoy? id rank him in the top 3, which reminds me: id put The Rev higher than Ringo Starr anyday, atleast The Rev can do more than play drums (which Ringo does very mediocre) Gene Hoglan anyone?
    i_am_metalhead
    While I don't really agree with the list, I'm just happy to finally see someone other than Neil Peart be named the greatest drummer. Amazing drummer? Yes. Overrated? Extremely.
    mpk3432
    ok, no alex van halen even on the list is an insult, i agree mostly but neil peart really should be no. 1 on here
    kingkongjaffa
    Carter beuford of Dave matthews band Steve Jordan of John Mayer Trio Any Jazz Drummer. all of the above are better than these popular and noticed drummers, just because they played the same drum beat over a popular song does not mean they are good.
    fenderstrattele
    this is the same thing as naming Jimi Hendrix the best guitar player ever, its old news and everybody already knows that Bonham is considered the best drummer ever. I agree with the person somewhere above me by saying that Steve Jordan is the best drummer, it might not always be complicated but that guy has alot of groove in everything he does. but then again, what does a guitar player know about the drums?
    kaosguitar
    kingkongjaffa : Carter beuford of Dave matthews band Steve Jordan of John Mayer Trio
    Thank you. I was just about to list these 2.
    Reighnart
    goddamncanadian wrote: Ringo Starr..... are you f'kn kidding me?? If you're going to list drummers riding on the coattails of their fellow bandmember's talents, might as well include Lars and Meg White then. On a serious note though, no Danny Carey? C'monnnnn.
    Ringo was oppressed by his band mates. He's a sick drummer, they just never let him shine. Check out the Anthology CD. At the end of one of the tracks he goes fricken crazy!
    sludgegarden69
    I can't stand when people complain about the lists and articles posted on here...but why Ringo Starr? I wonder how many people have really listened to the Beatles sometimes.