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Top 10 Best Rock Drummers of All Time

Updated on October 18, 2011

There have been tons and tons of great drummers since the very beginning of rock music. I am also a drummer so a lot of these guys I look up to and they have influenced me in some way. I tried to stayed non-biased when composing this list. I am judging on overall talent, overall popularity in a band, the role he played in his band, influence on other musicians, amount of time playing, as well as any solo playing the drummer had. But enough of the blabbering lets get to the greatest drummer in Rock!

Lars Ulrich of Metallica
Lars Ulrich of Metallica | Source

10. Lars Ulrich

Born in 1963, Danish drummer Lars Ulrich is best known for his work with Hard Rock and Thrash Band Metallica. Metallica has proven over the past 20+ years that they are one of the biggest rock bands in history and have influenced many. Lars started out as a fast aggressive drummer in the 80s when Metallica was more of a Thrash band. He has always used a lot of double bass techniques. For some of Metallica's albums Lars utilized a more simplified style for the over all more simplified style of Metallica. But he is still one of the most influential drummers of all time.

Bill Ward of Black Sabbath
Bill Ward of Black Sabbath | Source

9. Bill Ward

Born in 1948, English-native Bill Ward is considered one of the greatest heavy metal drummers of all time. Ward is known for his work with Metal pioneers Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath is known to being the band who "Started it all" in Metal by creating the dark and scary sound that Sabbath was so famous for. Even at age 63 today Ward is still playing which is rare for drummers with the toll it takes after years and years of playing. Bill Ward has influenced many and will continue to as new new fans discover Black Sabbath.

Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden
Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden | Source

8. Nicko McBrain

Born in 1952, English drummer Nicko McBrain is best known for his work with Iron Maiden. Nicko is known to have an extravagant drum set when on tour and is a very prominent part of the sound of Iron Maiden. It has been documented that McBrain is one of the few great drummers that does not play with a double bass pedal and prefers to not use one. McBrain continues to tour with Iron Maiden today as they continue to influence new fans everyday.

Mike Portnoy
Mike Portnoy | Source

7. Mike Portnoy

Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1967, Mike Portnoy has become one of the most inflential drummers of all time. Portnoy is best known for his extensive work with Progressive band Dream Theater and more recently his filling in with new band Avenged Sevenfold after the untimely death of their drummer "The Rev". Portnoy is regarded by many as one of the greatest technically skilled drummers. Though still younger, Portnoy continues to start new projects in most recent band Adrenaline Mob. With new bands starting up for Portnoy, he will still continue to wow us all as he thinks of new ways to shine.

Danny Carey of Tool
Danny Carey of Tool | Source

6. Danny Carey

Born in 1961, Kansas born Danny Carey is best known for his work with the band Tool. Danny is a very distinctive piece of the puzzle that is tool. He is known to have drum sets that include acoustic drums as well as electronic drums. He is also known to have every extensive drum solos in Tool songs. Carey is involved in side projects all the time, and always delivers his percussion expertise.

Tommy Aldridge
Tommy Aldridge | Source

5. Tommy Aldridge

Born in Mississippi in 1950, Tommy Aldridge is known for his great drum solos and as the pioneer for the bass drumming technique. Aldridge is also known for playing the drum set with his hands during drum solos. Aldridge has worked with many artists including Ted Nugent, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, andThin Lizzy. Getting his break with the drumming gig for Ozzy in 1981, Aldridge made a mark on hard rock and has continued to amaze up until today.

Keith Moon of The Who
Keith Moon of The Who | Source

4. Keith Moon

Born in 1947, died in 1978, Keith Moon was best known for the wizard behind the drum for The Who before his untimely death in 1978. Moon was often seen as the wild, crazy, lunatic side of The Who with his excessive drinking and partying. But people often forget how amazing of a drummer he was and how many people he influenced, even now 30 years after his death.

Ringo Starr of The Beatles
Ringo Starr of The Beatles | Source

3. Ringo Starr

Born in 1940, from Liverpool, England. Ringo Starr is best known for being the drummer for the widely considered most influential band of all time, The Beatles. Ringo was a prominent part of The Beatles success including helping with songwriting as well as contributing vocals. He introduced a new style of rock drumming with The Beatles, which influence everyone still today.

John Bonham of Led Zeppelin
John Bonham of Led Zeppelin | Source
Neil Peart of Rush
Neil Peart of Rush | Source

2. John Bonham

Born in 1948, Died in 1980. John Bonham is best known as the drummer of legendary band Led Zeppelin. Bonham played with a lot of power and speed, which is heard in every Led Zeppelin song. Bonham had been a drummer that would usually play a 10+ minute drum solo every single show. Many bands today and a lot of bands that influence today, all started with Led Zeppelin. Bonham has influenced and it will continue as he left his mark on rock music forever.

1. Neil Peart

Born in 1952, Canadian musician Neil Peart is revered by almost everyone as the greatest drummer to ever live. Peart is best known for the amazing complex drumming behind Rush. He is known to showcase his talent every night on tour. He usually performs a 10+ minute drum solo, and his touring drum set is quite possibly the biggest drum set ever assembled. Peart plays a huge part of the success of Rush. Without the virtuoso abilities of Peart, Rush would have a completely different sound than the sound many know and love today.

Neil Peart Drum Solo


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    • Marty Wombacher profile image

      Marty Wombacher 5 years ago from New York City

      Keith Moon is by far my favorite drummer, glad you included him!

    • profile image

      randy 5 years ago


    • arizonataylor profile image

      arizonataylor 5 years ago from Arizona

      Keith Moon is number four? Keith Moon was the original.