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    The 20 Best Rock Drummers Who Defined The Rock Sound


    What comes to your mind when you hear about rock music? Is it the electric guitars used, the bass tones, the fierce drums, or the romantic lyrics expressed in these songs? You have not explored music enough if you have never listened to rock music.

    Commonly known as rock and roll, the music began in the early 1940s, inspired by other genres such as country music and the popular blues that dominated in that particular time. With the growing love for rock music today, different instruments have been incorporated to bring out different themes when singing rock music; a good example is percussion instruments such as drums.

    What makes this music more interesting is the kind of live performance rock artists give on stage. These artists bring out a whole mood when performing to the extent of feeling the music to the core. This piece will explore the legendary drummers of rock music and their prowess in this field.

    The list of drummers that have contributed to its history is wide. If you love rock music, you must know some of these drummers because the chances are high that they played some of the amazing tunes you have listened to in the past. The list includes the drummers that have contributed to rock music either by making history or through their current technical skills in the genre.

    The drummers introduced various rhythms and songs that are still being played in today’s world. The next time you plan on listening to rock music, you can look up some of the drummers below to identify songs that will satisfy your curiosity.

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    1. John Bonham


    John was raised in a tradition-filled with drum-playing and jazz. This environment led to growth in his career as a drummer. John mixed these skills with a heavy backbeat to create a rock blueprint.

    John is well-known for his amazing work with his bouncing right foot and amazing foot combo to deliver great work. John will remain an iconic drummer who inspired many people to fall in love with the instrument.

    2. Neil Peart

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    Neil Peart is one of the drummers that is well-known for offering originality in his work. Neil was famous for having inspired many people and creating a change in playing rock music.

    The musician might have died soon, but he has left behind a legacy that will last for many years. His talent will continue to inspire the young generation that wishes to pursue careers as drummers.

    Neil is remembered as a great innovator who was able to bring his ideas precisely into reality. He also had the imagination to push his ideas forwards and always ensured to create something original while playing the drums.

    3. Danny Carey

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    Danny’s way of playing the drums is incomparable to any other drummer. If you have listened to his work before, you can attest that his drumming brings out the best in rock music.

    Playing drums for rock music requires years of experience. The more you play, the better you become in the act.

    Over the years, Danny has mastered being the best drummer and has inspired many people to play drums. If you listen to his work, you will change your mind about how you view rock music. You will fall in love with it and will yearn to listen to more of his works.

    4. Roger Taylor

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    Roger is also another famous drummer that could not be left out of this list. He is well-known for keeping things simple while playing drums. Occasionally, he would flex, especially when playing solo.

    It gave a lively mood performance that people needed to enjoy. If you have ever listened to Roger play the drums, you are certain of his ability to do amazing work.

    Roger knows what to play when working with a band that requires harmonic seasoning. If you want to know more about Roger’s talent as a drummer, you have to listen to songs where he played the drums. You will realize that he is the type of drummer that can easily come up with a beat, even using a pair of sticks.

    5. Ringo Starr

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    This list would not be complete without including one of the world’s well-known rock drummers. The mention of Ringo Starr is enough to raise the curiosity of rock lovers. Many rock lovers familiar with Ringo’s work understand how amazing it is and worth listening to.

    Ringo star got international fame for being one of the best drummers for the Beatles. Ringo was the last individual to join the group because he was replacing the former drummer.

    He is also a singer and a songwriter. He would sing as lead vocalist from time to time, which helped increase his fame as a rock drummer.

    6. Keith Moon

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    Keith is one of the most famous drummers in the history of rock music. He was the first drummer to compete with the Marshall stack, which showed how great his skills as a drummer were. Keith had all the energy required to play the drums perfectly during the entire performance.

    Keith enjoyed experimenting with cherry bombs, which acted as an inspiration in playing the drums. His amazing technique can be described in three words. Colorful, explosive, and exciting.

    If you are beginning to listen to rock music, Keith is one of the drummers you need to be searching for. His work will make you fall in love with rock music sooner than you could have imagined.

    7. Ginger Baker

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    It only took Ginger two years to become one of the world’s best rock drummers. His fame was marked by his work with Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton.

    In his early years, while pursuing a career in music, he hated being called a rock drummer. He always had a passion for Jazz and occasionally played Blues.

    Ginger’s playing in Disraeli, Fresh Cream, Goodbye, and Wheels of Fire was ground-breaking for his career as a drummer. He became an outspoken, bold, and true pioneer of rock drummers. He redefined how to play the drum kit in music.

    8. Ian Paice

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    Ian Paice is one of the British drummers who is well-known by rock lovers in today’s world. The drummer is famous for using double-bass drums and has played a major role in developing grooved-tinged heavy rock. In 2020, Ian Paice and Deep Purple released their first album and planned to continue working together.

    He is the only remaining member of the rock band known as Deep Purple. His work continues to inspire people wishing to pursue careers in the rock genre. He used to play the violin before he started playing drums.

    9. Travis Barker

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    Travis is a musician and also served as a drummer in the rock band named Blink-182. Currently, he is a member of Transplants, a rap-rock band. Travis established himself as one of the best drummers in rock history and made guest appearances in different bands.

    It is because of such appearances that he turned out to be an iconic drummer. He has also played hip-hop, country music, and rap-rock, thus making him an iconic drummer.

    10. Dave Grohl

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    Dave Grohl will be remembered for entering the world of rock as one of the best drummers. Ever since he entered into rock music, Dave has remained an iconic inspiration to lovers of rock music and those willing to pursue a career in the field.

    Dave has created a history of drumming; the younger generation is currently playing that. He has worked with Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, and The Crooked Vultures. His iconic drumming style has made these bands stand out as having the best rock music in history.

    11. Mike Portnoy

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    In the last three decades, Mike Portnoy was one of the musicians that had a huge influence as a rock drummer. If other drummers claim to have made a huge impact on rock music, they must have inspired Mike Portnoy. Many rock lovers have claimed to have fallen in love with love due to the amazing works of Mike Portnoy.

    If you have watched Mike DVDs, you can attest that learning what he does is nearly impossible. He is well-known for playing unique styles in every song that he plays. His fame continues to expand a renowned drummer’s attempt to play amazing works as Mike does.

    12. Stewart Copeland

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    Steward is well-known as one of the rock drummers who has the capability of amazing rock and reggae. A large number of drummers only specialize in playing a certain type of music.

    It is rare to find a drummer with as amazing talent as Steward. Therefore, he changed how many drummers perceived the activity.

    Stewart made drummers rethink how they use the hi-hat, how they incorporate cross-sticks, and how they play the quarter-notes. If these activities are well mastered, then a drummer can play anything, and it would turn out as amazing as Stewart’s work.

    Stewart also changed how people tune the snare drums. If you have been a keen follower of his works, you can note the key difference between how he plays the drums and how other drummers do it.

    13. Bill Bruford

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    Bill Bruford will always remain the famous drummer who digitized rock’s rulebook. Apart from being the best rock musician of his time, he also played the drums in a manner that has inspired many people. Bill developed a technique of using electronics, which made it easier for him to play amazing works.

    After the time he spent at King Krimson, and Yes, Bill had an opportunity to pursue his compositions. He mixed electronics with jazz to bring jazz harmonious sounds. If Bill were to play the same these days, we would probably expect him to swap sticks with books.

    He will always remain iconic for being innovative and a thinker among many rock drummers. If you haven’t listed any of his works, you should consider doing so, and you will fall in love with rock music. You will even wish you learned how to play the drum-like he did.

    14. Phil Collins

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    If you are looking for a singer and a drummer whose work will leave you yearning for more of his songs, then Phil Collins is that person. He is well-known for being the best drummer who has played various solo hits. He has a huge fan base, including a YouTube channel with more than 1.7 million subscribers.

    Phil Collins has played many drums in the past, and he has become the world’s well-known drummer and an inspiration to many people. He was among the drummers who invented the sounds of the 1980s and has proved that he can play drums to create amazing works. Phill Collins stopped playing in 2019, but he left a legacy that will inspire rock musicians and drummers for years.

    15. Gavin Harrison

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    He is another famous rock drummer who had a huge impact on the world of rock music. He is one of the most talented drummers that can blur the lines between metal, rock, and prog music. A few drummers can do this, and therefore, this gained him a lot of fame.

    Gavin is well-known for the amazing work he did in the Porcupine Tree. He continues to create history while working with the Pineapple Thief and King Crimson. Gavin is considered one of the busiest drummers because he is still releasing albums besides his busy schedule.

    Listening to his works can be described in two words. His works are jaw-dropping and colorful. If you are looking for extremely articulate work, then Gavin should be the drummer you should be looking for.

    16. Vinny Appice

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    Vinny is well-known to be from a highly talented musical family. However, you should not confuse him with his famous brother.

    Vinny started drumming at the age of 9 years, and over the years, he has enhanced his experience of playing the instrument. In 1980, Vinny joined the Black Sabbath rock band, and within a short period, he replaced the band’s drummer.

    His most impressive thing is that he learned the songs while the band was performing on stage. This indicated how talented he was at playing drums.

    He also collaborated with Ronnie James to create a rock band named Ronnie James Dio. His amazing work has made him an iconic drummer in the world of rock music.

    17. Cozy Powell

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    Cozy remains o be one of the most prolific drummers of his time. His work leaves you wondering what else he could have done had his life not been cut short by the car accident. Today, Cozy remains one of the iconic drummers who inspired a huge number of people to pursue careers in the world of rock music.

    Cozy racked up more than 60 albums throughout his career and developed a huge fan base across the world. He played alongside other famous musicians, which also contributed to his career as a drummer. He was well-known for his energetic style while playing the drums.

    If you listened to his world, you would understand why people love rock music. His gigs with musicians such as Brian May, Michael Schenker, Peter Green, and Yngwie Malmsteen are some of the best hits in the rock music industry.

    18. Chad Smith

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    Born in Minnesota, Chad Smith grew up to become one of the most respected rock drummers. While growing up, Chad would listen to works like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones.

    At the age of 7 years, he started playing the drum and his many years of experience led to him becoming one of the best rock drummers in history. He did not intend to play drums as a career but as a passion.

    In 1988, Chad joined the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, which contributed to a growth in his career as he earned a huge fan base. His hit, Under the Bridge, also contributed to an increase in his fan base.

    If you are a fan of this drummer, you must be humming this song now. If you are not, then it is time you listened to it, and you will understand why he is one of the best rock drummers in history.

    19. Brad Wilk

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    Yet another famous drummer is Brad and is best known as the drummer for the rock band known as Range Against The Machine. The band was formed as a protest against Donald Trump. In 2016, Brad reunited with a few of his bandmates to form another Make America Range Again band.

    The drummer gained fame and lost support from the fans, who did not support his gesture. However, he remains one of the most famous rock drummers due to his amazing drum playing.

    20. Samantha Maloney

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    This list would not be complete if we did not include one of the iconic female drummers who has created a huge impact on the world of rock music. Samantha had an opportunity to choose between basketball and drumming, and she chose to be a drummer. For this reason, she created history in rock, thus being remembered for years.

    At the age of 5, the drummer received her first drum kit, which inspired her to grow a career as a rock drummer. She has drummed for different bands, such as the Eagles of Death Metal and the Motley Crue. She is also a singer and has performed live with different bands such as the Eagles of Death Metal.

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