Wednesday Question: Best Drummer Of All Time?

Who is the best drummer of all time? Post your beat-savvy nominations and votes here, and we'll list the results on Friday.

Ultimate Guitar

Our favorite top 10s are where we try and stack up the best musicians of all time. It's always hotly contested, and always proves to be a killer list full of great musicianship.

This time we'll look to the back of the stage, and ask:

Who is the best drummer of all time?

You can vote for any drummer you like, but you don't have to stick to the rock world - it's up to you.

There's so many people and genres to choose from, from progressive metal and hard rock all the way back to reggae and free jazz. Try to recommend drummers from as far and wide as possible if you know them.

YouTube videos are welcome (and probably the best way to encourage votes), and you can make as many separate nominations as you want).

Just remember the usual rules: one nomination per comment, and upvote other posts you agree with.

679 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Steve Moore
    Even if this doesnt come first, it needs some sort of mention. This guy has some sick skills!
    Danny Carey [Tool]
    Danny Carey for sure. His speed, intensity, versatility and the time signatures he pulls off are all crazy good.
    The time signatures he goes into in relation to those of the string section, and making it so very listenable ...Godlike.
    I'm just gonna list my favorites (I realize they won't "count"): Neil Peart (Rush) Danny Carey (Tool) Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson) Terry Bozzio (Zappa) Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) Keith Moon (The Who) Tim Alexander (Primus) Jimmy Chamberlain (Smashing Pumpkins) John Dolmayan (System of a Down) Josh Freese (NIN, A Perfect Circle) Dave Grohl (Nirvana, QOTSA, Them Crooked Vultures) Phil Selway (Radiohead)
    Neil Peart
    neil peart is massively overrated
    Find a drummer who puts more effort into making drum tracks for songs than Peart. Hard to do. And no I'm not talking who can play the fastest blast beats, I'm talking who can show an insane amount of skill while still making the song audibly pleasing.
    You must be thinking of someone else, Neil Peart is awesome.
    yeah, i must be thinking of someone else, thanks for setting me straight. i wasn't thinking of the most overrated drummer ever to grace the world of rock after all. neil peart blows goats.
    But really John Bonham
    Serious talk, CHAD SMITH!!
    absolutely chad smith. the amount of session work he's done on top of rhcp, chickenfoot and bombastic meatbats speaks for itself. the guys amazing. him and dave grohl are the greatest rock drummers of the last 10 years, no doubt. but my vote is for chad smith, all the wah
    Chad Smith? Great drummer. Dave Grohl? Great drummer. The greatest of the last 10 years? That's crazy talk.
    absolutely. i bet i'm proven right on at least one account when the results come in as well.
    You can't be "proven right", its an opinions forum; a popularity contest. That's why Bonham's gonna get #1; doesn't mean he's the best though.
    Absolutely. My holy trinity of drummers has John Bonham at the top, along with Chad Smith and Dave Grohl. Love those guys.
    I honestly think he's wildly overrated. He seems to play pretty standard beats in most songs, and was sloppy live. Yeah when the levee breaks has a cool drum beat, but it's not terribly technically impressive or anything... and Moby Dick is just uninspired wankery if you ask me. I think people assume since he was in LZ, played long solos, and hit the drums really hard he's some kind of god. I'm not trying to be contrarian, just my opinion.
    Terry Bozzio is pretty underrated
    I think he's only underrated by people who don't know him, lol. Every professional drummer knows his name and how crazy good he is.
    yeah He's one of the best drummers of all time, it's not easy to play zappa's black page
    If you think Bonzo was sloppy, I wonder what you think of Kieth Moon. Also, his fills are incredible so don't mess.
    I'm gonna hop on the downvote train and agree with you. Not to say he wasn't a great drummer, but he wasn't better than Neil Peart, Danny Carey, Gavin Harrison, Terry Bozzio, Keith Moon, Tim Alexander, Bill Bruford... etc etc
    what about his drumming on trampled under foot, in my time of dying, whole lotta love, kashmir, when the levee breaks...etc Only keith moon and ginger baker come close to anything as good as bonzo
    No one is saying he's a bad drummer, we're just saying his body of work doesn't justify the title of "best drummer ever". It's maybe a bit like calling Hendrix the best guitarist ever, safe choice, excellent body of work, but the best? Come on.
    Moon and Baker? Really? That's it? I can name like 10 off the top of my head. And again, that's not because I don't think he's a great drummer, but #1? Bitch please.
    You are entitled to your opinion, but unfortunately in this case it is wrong.
    those beats sound standard because every drummer since then is influenced by him whether they realise it or not!
    Honestly, the zeplin drummer could get the 'most influential' drummer award, but the first is not automatically the best. Hendrix is not the best guitarist ... Sabbath is not the best rock band. And john wasn't the greatest drummer.
    Black Paranoia
    Nico McBrain one of the few metal drummer's who doesn't use either two bass drums or a double bass pedal
    Badass UltraMan
    Despite my love for Maiden, McBrain is a drummer that I never really paid any attention to originally. It wasn't until I read an interview with Bruce Dickinson saying his favourite thing about 'A Matter of Life and Death' was the drumming that I started really listening to the drums in Maiden and I'm glad I did. Fantastic drummer!
    My introduction to Phil Collins as a kid was when he was already into his solo career. Listening to his work with Genesis gave me a really positive appreciation for him. Downvote if you want; I don't care. Phil's the man.
    Louie Belson was an AMAZING jazz drummer. He was also one of the first pioneers of the double bass pedal.
    PE J-Bass
    For all you heavy metal lovers out there, this guy made that drumming style possible (even though he played jazz). He is one of the greats and deserves to be on this list.
    Chad Smith of the Peppers. Hands down one of the best out there.
    What's so special about Chad? I'm not denying that he's good (RHCP is one my favs actually), I'm just curious as to which songs stand out to you.
    Bombastic Meatbats. He has brilliant rhythm skills, I honestly feel he is criminally underrated.
    I would just say his style in general is awesome. He knows how to jam and he's got some serious power.
    Gavin Harrison!!!
    Harrison is an incredible drummer. I know Steven Wilson is kind of the "genius" behind Porcupine Tree, but everything with Harrison's work to me is just on a whole new level. There's something about his drumming style, both complex yet not too aggressive, that really compliments the music.
    What is this supposed to be based on? Technical ability? Innovation? Too many variables, rating lists are stupid.
    Whoever has the biggest, most complex drumset.
    I know youre being sarcastic but there are actually people who judge drummers based on how big their drumkits are. which is why danny carey is always on these lists. a good drummer wouldn't need all of those drums.
    A combination of all those things. Everybody weighs those categories differently, and that's what makes this interesting.
    Jimmy Sullivan Yeah; This will get insanely downvoted just because it's Avenged Sevenfold. Either way he was still an insane drummer, mentally and physically.
    People also forget that he was the original drummer for the ska band Suburban Legends. It's funny, but you can definitely see a lot of overlap between good ska drumming and good metal drumming.
    Also an amazing composer and pianist! (Pinkly Smooth)
    Love his vocals with Pinkly Smooth!
    Love his vocals with A7X! Seriously, A Little Piece of Heaven is already just batshit-crazy, then his vocals just carry it to a level I can't describe. My one and only problem with the band is how they are sensationalizing Jimmy's death. He's gone, yet they are using his memory as a gimmick. We get it, your sad, but don't use your dead-best-friend as leverage. That's just ****ed up.
    Honestly I think it's more of the fans that sensationalize over it. I haven't heard the band talk about him unless asked in recent interviews, every member has their tribute tattoo but I mean that was their best friend.
    No love for Clive Burr from Iron Maiden? His drumming made a powerhouse out of every song on their self-titled album to The Number of the Beast.
    He was actually an extremely talented drummer, composer and singer. If people learn to overlook Avenged Sevenfold's emo-esque look and all, they'd see they're actually a decent hard rock band (especially in City of Evil. Not sure about best drummer in the world, though
    I'm honestly shocked at how mature the community is right now. The members of Avenged Sevenfold all have some incredible musicianship.
    Brann Dailor of Mastadon isn't the best of all time, but he should definitely be on the list, as should the late great Jimmy Sullivan of Avenged Sevenfold. My top pick would be Bonham or Peart, but I'm sure they'll both get the love they deserve.
    I was almost at the bottom before I seen Brann. Couldn't believe no one at least mentioned him until here. anyway, can't compare to the legacy of Peart or Bonham but definitely needs to be on the list because he has some skills behind a kit.
    John Bonham Also: Keith Moon Danny Carey Dave Grohl Matt Cameron Dave Lombardo
    Erm... Tim Alexander (Primus)?
    God, I love that guy. One of my absolute favorites alongside Stewart Copeland (obviously from the Police, but he is an absolute MONSTER in Oysterhead) and Gavin Harrison (best known for Porcupine Tree). I wouldn't necessarily say that any of these is hands-down the BEST, but they are certainly musicians who have a unique style which brings out the best in their respective bands.
    Stewart Copeland. Absolutely perfect, tasteful work with the Police, and he's a BEAST in Oysterhead.
    Bill Ward!! this must be his best performance
    George Kollias from Nile
    Chris Pennie of The Dillinger Escape Plan. I'd like to see DragonForce or whoever try and pull off those time signatures.
    So, is the "The most famous drummer", or "The best drummer"?. Chech out Morgan Agren, he really is something else:
    thats a pretty sick drummer, the guitarist is boring and at first kinda brings the drummer down, but around 2:30 his drumming gets nasty (in a good way)
    Yeah, Dave Lombardo is really versatile and experienced drummer - Slayer, Fantomas and more...
    im hopping for someone to say lars
    Turr-Hurr... Anyway, I'm a fan of Dave Grohl's drumming. Maybe not the "best" when you throw him up against Keith Moon or John Bonham, but he's still a hell of a drummer and has this style that I can only describe as "powerful"
    A lot of great drummers already mentioned, but one that usually doesn't get the credit he deserves is Carter Beauford
    I like John Bonham, but c'mon that drum solo in Moby Dick is pretty mediocre. It almost ruins a great song. Admit it, you often fast-forward the drum solo to get back to the killer Page riff.
    A drummer's skill goes far beyond drum solos (which were fairly common back then, a lot of classic rock bands had long drum solos) Bonham played for the song and defined a drumming style
    Buddy Rich. A true innovator and one of the most technical players I have ever seen.
    PE J-Bass
    He is the best. No training what so ever and began playing when he was 18 months old.
    I know alot of people wont agree....Travis Barker is one bad mofo! He def deserves to be on this list.
    fin ramage
    the only list he should be on is a list of the most overrated drummers. he's just ok.
    He's not overrated at all....He's the John Bonham of this generation. Neil Peart is the overrated one. Let's see him do half the shit Travis can do.
    No offense, but Jaki puts almost every drummer who will be mentioned by the guys on UG to shame with his drumming. Can-Paperhouse Also, here's a little clip of one of my songs featuring my own drumming. I'm definitely not the best (or even in the top 1000) but I can judge a drummer's technique because of my experience with drums. Whereas, most guitarists on the site will probably judge the drummer based solely on how fast they play, and how good they are with a double-kick.
    Bill Cobham should be included in this list.... Check out Mahavishnu Orchestra people... (y)
    Mike Van Dyne (Arsis) Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson) Jamie Saint Merat (Ulcerate) Brann Dailor (Mastodon) drum programming (Necrophagist)
    Mr. Stripe
    Jimmy Chamberlin of the Smashing Pumpkins. His fusion of jazz and rock is amazing!
    Brann Dailor of Mastodon is one drummer who never ceased to amaze me.His use of the toms is just mindblowing, as he brings a new dimension to drumming as an experience without just using the bass and snare in most parts of a song, if you get what I'm saying. here's what I'm talking about-