Drummers get all the love. History is witness to how drummers are notorious for stealing the limelight with their drumming talents and personalities over their contemporary mates. But, standing out in a crowd of million others like you can be difficult; but hey, someone has to do it right?
Drumming is a work of passion, perseverance and thrill and not many people harbor the fire in them to nurture it. Throughout history and generations bygone and to the present hour, only a handful of amazing drummers has had it in them to change the course of music. And, to inspire and motivate the inner rockstar drummer in you, we have put together a list of 10 of the Best Drummers in the world :
01. Travis Barker
Let’s start our countdown with a drummer who is the textbook definition of a modern-day drummer: tattooed, a rebel, a heartthrob and bold; it none other than the Travis Landon Barker. He is everything a drummer is stereotypes about, and we don’t mind because he pulls it off perfectly!
Travis Barker is an American musician and producer, but is most known and most loved as a brilliant drummer for the rock band Blink-182. He was born in 1975, on the 14th of November in Fontana, California, USA. His hand in the music world started right after high school when he played with several bands in Fontana while working as a trash man at the Laguna Beach. In 1994, he founded the bands ska punk and Aquabeats. It is through Chad Larson, a friend he made through his days in the bands, that he found his big break. Through his contacts, Barker had finally joined the band. Barker joined in on Blink-182 soon after was received with immense success, fame, and popularity.
Travis Barker’s success is all thanks to his consistency and hard work despite living in hard times. He is versatile and can pull off any routine, but his most applauded genres include pop punk, alternative rock, hip hop and rap rock. His time on the drums is nothing short of electric and powerful; what makes him one of the Greatest Drummers of All Time.
02. Ringo Starr
We wanted our final pick to be someone who is the hearts of every 60s’ wild child and beyond. It is none other than Ringo Starr, the drummer for the worldwide phenomenon Beatles.
Ringo Starr, or Richard Starkey, was born in 1940 on the 7th of July in Dingle, Liverpool, England. His first exposure to percussion instruments was actually a makeshift mallet made from cotton bobbin that he used to strike on the cabinets next to his bed in the hospital he was admitted to for tuberculosis back in 1953. From there on, Starr has grown an insatiable interest in drumming. He formed his first band with his friends which they named Eddie Miles Band, later changed to Eddie Clayton and yet again to Clayton Squares.
His talent on the drums opened many doors for him and he went on to play in many bands throughout the years which became tremendously famous. He had joined Beatles but left it again. But it was in 1964, on the 14th of August when John Lennon asked him to rejoin, and he accepted. Ringo Starr and Beatles were reaching for the sky with their amazing music and content; fame, popularity, wealth and name were all just the beginning for Beatles, and for Starr.
Ringo Starr drums like it were a canvas and him, a painter. He mainly focused on rock and pop and his talent was never unappreciated by anyone. His love for and passion for drumming still has him drumming even today, at 76 years of age’ one of the Greatest drummers that ever lived, indeed.
03. Chris "Daddy" Dave
Chris is the perfect example showing how your big break, your career, and life itself can be born out of the oddest of background and you will still shine with the stars.
"Daddy" Dave, a ridiculously popular drummer today, began his journey into the drumming from the unlikeliest of places: the church! Yes, this personality here began his music career back in the late 1980s when he started playing in churches; awkward. He is originally from Houston, Texas and on the 8th in November in 1973. Before being introduced to jazz by Kenny Garrett, he played professionally as a gospel drummer with the Winans. Needless to say, Dave has had a very prominent influence of jazz music growing up. But, his talent on the drums was soon noticed, acknowledged and it spread like wildfire. He is an influential drummer on jazz, gospel, hip-hop and has been credited highly for his eccentric and skillful sticking techniques and ability to play with off-beats so well.
Chris Dave has performed and won over hearts at some of the largest platforms. Some of his highlights include performing on Adele’s award winning album, 21, at the Grammy’s, and D’Angelos Black Messiah. From church to the Grammy’s, Chris Davis rising to the top with the speed of lightning
04. Janet Weiss
Janet Weiss is evident that drumming is not limited to males only. If anything at all, she gives some of the top drummers a good run for their money and is not afraid to show it.
Janet Lee Weiss was born in 1965 on the 24th of September in Hollywood, California. And quite unlike her herself, her drumming is fierce and unapologetic. Her foot in the world of music started as early as when she was just 16! She initially began off by playing guitar and still plays it today. She joined an all-female trio band called The Furies when she was just 22 years old and then sometime later joined Motorgoat. However, she made her mark quite remarkably as a drummer, especially considering that she is self-taught. And not just any drummer, she broke the gender stereotype and stands prominently as a top-class rock drummer.
Today, Janet Weiss has remained active in some very successful bands including Quasi, Sleater-Kinney and Wild Flag. She is regarded to be one of the best drummers around for her amazing presence on stage and with the drumsticks. She has been deemed as one of the top fifty greatest drummers by Stylus Magazine and one of top twenty by LA Weekly.
05. Meg White
And as an ode to female drummers, we have one outstanding female drummer yet again in Megan White. White’s versatile and powerful drumming was sure to move some heads when she entered the scene.
Megan Martha “Meg” White was born on the 10th of December in 1974 in Michigan, US. She is an American drummer and she was anything but average. Despite owning a very low-profile and introvert personality and living, her drumming was anything but it. Ironically, her turn on the drums was a result of the impulsive action; you can say, it was just the turn of luck. Either way, her talent on the drums was appreciated by husband Jack White, whose drums she had played on, and they soon formed their first band, White Stripes, with his then husband Jack White. The name of the band being drawn from their names and her favorite kind of peppermint candies; cute. The band became an underground sensation and then, worldwide fame. However, in 2011, White Stripes disbanded.
White’s drumming style is considered very pure, raw and primal. She specializes in garage rock, alternative rock, and punk blues. Her dedication and passion on the drums have earned her not 1, but a whopping 4 Grammy Awards for White Stripes among many other awards.
06. Chad Smith
Chad Smith, full name Chadwick Gaylord “Chad Smith, is a drummer with enough buzz to wake up the dead. And not to mention, he is also the lead drummer for the band Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Chad Smith was born in 1961 on the 25th of October in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Smith started to play the drums when he was just 7 years old and grew up listening to bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Who, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience and so on. He has been awed by drummers Ian Paice, Mitch Mitchell and Neil Peart. No surprise here that he has some great influences in this playing and style. His lemony and funky personality shows right through his style of drumming which specializes in funk rock, alternative rock, and jazz-funk and so on.
He played in various bands in his early years but is now devoted to the Red Hot Chili Peppers which has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. Apart from this he also played for Chickenfoot and his own, Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats.
07. Steven Adlers
Let’s move on to some of the old-school drummers now, shall we? And when we say old-school there is no band quite as vivid in our minds and memory like Guns N’ Roses. Well, Steven Adler is all to be thanked for that; one of the Greatest drummers all times!
Steven Adler’s birth name is actually Michael Coletti, his father’s name who was clearly an Italian descent as you can guess from the name; He later changed his name to Steven Adler soon after his mother’s remarriage to Melvin Adler. Steven Adler was born in 1965 on the 22nd of January in Cleveland, Ohio; but he was born and raised mostly in Los Angeles, California. He learned to play drums in his very early teens and even auditioned from Sunset Strip, which proved unsuccessful. He later formed a band with his childhood friend Saul Hudson, whom we know and love as Slash; they name the band Road Crew.
In 1985, Adler joined Gun N’ Roses which was just founded by Rose Axl and Izzy Stradlin and several of L.A. Guns members; and soon after his former band mates Slash and DuffMcKagan followed into the band as well. From here, both Steven Adler and Guns N’ Roses never looked back. They received immense success and fame. However, he went to disband and play in various other bands as well; all of where he received his deserving acknowledgment for his drumming talent.
Steven Adler had a way with drums; very addictive and catchy. He mostly played hard rock, heavy metal and glam rock but could pull off any routine and any genre that was thrown at him.
08. Mitch Mitchell
And here we have another one of our very popular band drummers, Mitch Mitchell. He played alongside one of the most influential musicians of the bygone era, Jimi Hendrix, in his band the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
John Graham “Mitch” Mitchell or as we know him, Mitch Mitchell was born in 1946 on the 9th of July in Ealing, Middlesex, England. This English drummer had worked in mainstream media in his teenage years but has mastered the art of drumming at a drum shop in his early school days. He performed as a session drummer for many upcoming and well-known bands like Pretty Things, the Riot Squad and The Who. Needless to say, people knew he had in him what many drummers didn’t.
So much so that he managed to replace drummer Aynsley Dunbar in the blink of an eye who was the drummer of Jimi Hendrix’s band. Mitchel was a refined and jazz background and his style of playing complemented Hendrix’s moving guitar routines. Mitchell and the band gained heaps and heaps for exposure and fame for their work and talented work; some of which include Stepping stone, Fire, and Voodoo child among many others. He went on to play for many other bands as well.
Mitch Mitchell’s drumming was nothing short of iconic. He was fast and effortless on the drums. Mitch Mitchell left the scene doing what he loved, drumming and celebrating music. He died on the 12th of November 2008 5 days after their Hendrix’s Experience Tour. He was presented with the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2009.
09. Cindy Blackman
Cindy Blackman Santana is proof that female drummers were just as popular back in the days as they are now. She was a known rebel and is an inspiration to many female drummers today thanks to her loud gender equality voice that shines through her work.
Cindy Blackman was born on the 18th on November in 1959. Being a successful musician was forged in Blackman’s luck. She comes from a family that loves and practices music; her mother was a violinist, her grandmother was a pianist and her uncle was a vibist. They all were trained in classical music and this bug went on to Blackman as well. She was first introduced to drums when she just 7 years old! She immediately knew that drums were her calling over the classical and more “feminine” instruments. Cindy Blackman seemed to have an avid interest in jazz, an influence of her father and went to study at a music school in Connecticut. She got her first drum kit at the age of 14 and from then on drumming has been her thing.
Cindy Blackman’s drumming style clearly had a huge jazz influence and she specialized in jazz fusion and rock ‘n’ roll. One of her highlight includes working with Lenny Kravitz which was the push she needed in her career. But she is not just known for her career only; she has always been a spokesman to the female musician as because she herself experienced discrimination herself early on in life. Blackman is an amazing drummer with an amazing heart; a true legend in the world of drummers.
10. Ian Paice
Ian Paice needs no formal introduction in our opinion; everybody knows him and everybody loves him. He is a musician and is known mostly for being the drummer for the ridiculously famous English band Deep Purple.
Ian Anderson Paice was born in 1948 on the 29th of June in Nottingham, England. He is the only honorable member of the band to have appeared on every album Deep Purple has ever released. Paice got his first drum kit when he was just 15 years old. He began drumming professionally In his father’s dance band in the late 50s. The first ever music band he joined was called Georgie and the Rave-on which was renamed to The Shindigs. The band released their first album featuring Paice and George Adams when he was just 17 years old. Over the many bands he played with, Whitesnake, Gary Moore, etc, he was obviously most recognized working in Deep Purple as a drummer.
Ian Paice does hard rock, heavy metal, blue rock, and a few more genres, and mind you, he is 68 years old and still drumming like a legend.
This wraps up our list of 10 of the Greatest Drummers of All Time. We have some new and old-school drummers that have changed the course of music, the direction of a generation over the years. Our list goes on to show that you can come from the oddest places and still find your heart with a pair of drumsticks. You can be as young or old, rich or poor, rebellious or shy and still earn a prestigious label with great quality work, perseverance, and originality.
We hope our compilation of 10 of the Greatest Drummers helped boost your confidence and motivation. Keep drumming!