Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Top 100 Drummers of All Time


Top 100

This list was originally posted on the DMDB Facebook page on August 23, 2010, and then revised on January 22, 2011. 30 best-of lists (see resources at the bottom of the page) were aggregated to create this one. As tends to be the case with music lists, it heavily slants toward rock drummers, so while far from flawless, the aggregate approach to creating this list should assure that this is a more representative list than any other out there. Groups or performers most associated with the drummers are listed in parentheses.

See other lists of Acts/Music Makers by Categories.

Neil Peart, Rush’s “YYZ”

1. Neil Peart (Rush)
2. John “Bonzo” Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
3. Keith Moon (The Who)
4. Ginger Baker (Cream)
5. Stewart Copeland (The Police)
6. Ringo Starr (The Beatles)
7. Mitch Mitchell (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
8. Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters)
9. Bill Bruford (Yes/King Crimson)
10. Ian Paice (Deep Purple)

John Bonham, Led Zeppelin’s Moby Dick”

11. Lars Ulrich (Metallica)
12. Danny Carey (Tool)
13. Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater)
14. Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa/Jeff Beck)
15. Charlie Watts (The Rolling Stones)
16. Buddy Rich
17. Roger Taylor (Queen)
18. Phil Collins (Genesis)
19. Bill Ward (Black Sabbath)
20. Nick Mason (Pink Floyd)

Keith Moon, The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (isolated drum track)

21. Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer/Asia)
22. Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
23. Maureen “Moe” Tucker (Velvet Underground)
24. Dave Lombardo (Slayer)
25. Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden)
26. Travis Barker (Blink-182)
27. Steve Smith (Journey)
28. Vinnie Colaiuta (Frank Zappa/Sting/Jeff Beck /Herbie Hancock/Chick Corea)
29. Joey Jordison (Slipknot)
30. Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band)

Ginger Baker, Cream’s “Toad”

31. Aynsley Dunbar (John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers/Jeff Beck Group/Journey)
32. Topper Headon (The Clash)
33. Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins)
34. Alan White (Yes)
35. Tommy Lee (Motley Crue)
36. John Densmore (The Doors)
37. Gene Krupa
38. Cozy Powell (Black Sabbath/Rainbow)
39. Bernard Purdie
40. Tommy Aldridge (Ozzy Osbourne/Whitesnake)

Buddy Rich vs. the Muppets’ Animal

41. Alex Van Halen (Van Halen)
42. Larry Mullen, Jr. (U2)
43. Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge)
44. Tim Alexander (Primus)
45. Jaki Liebezeit (Can)
46. Billy Cobham (Horace Silver/Miles Davis/Mahavishnu Orchestra)
47. Mike Shrieve (Santana)
48. Frank “Tre Cool” Edwin Wright III (Green Day)
49. Art Blakey
50. Steve Gadd (Paul Simon/Steely Dan/Eric Clapton)

Gene Krupa vs. Buddy Rich

51. Al Jackson, Jr. (Booker T & the MGs)
52. Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac)
53. William “Benny” Benjamin (Funk Brothers)
54. Hal Blaine
55. Klaus Dinger (Neu/LA Dusserldorf)
56. Tony Williams
57. Vinnie Paul (Pantera)
58. Max Roach
59. Zigaboo “Ziggy” Modeliste (The Meters)
60. Steven Adler (Guns N’ Roses)

Max Roach

61. Elvin Jones (John Coltrane)
62. Matt Cameron (Soundgarden)
63. Max Weinberg (Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band)
64. Simon Phillips (Toto)
65. Brann Dailor (Mastodon)
66. Deen Castronovo (Bad English/Journey)
67. Jim “The Reverend” Sullivan (Avenged Sevenfold)
68. Phil Rudd (AC/DC)
69. Dave Weckl (Chick Corea)
70. Dominic Howard (Muse)

World’s Greatest Drummers Salute Ringo Starr

71. Dave Garabaldi (Tower of Power)
72. Chris Adler (Lamb of God)
73. Anton Fier (Feelies/Pere Ubu/Golden Palominos)
74. Jeff Porcaro (Toto)
75. Rick Allen (Def Leppard)
76. Alan “Reni” Wren (Stone Roses)
77. Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull)
78. Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle/Desert Sessions)
79. John French (Captain Beefheart)
80. Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth)

Lars Ulrich of Metallica, drum solo

81. Chad Wackerman (Frank Zappa)
82. Louie Bellson
83. Jon Theodore (Mars Volta)
84. Don Brewer (Grand Funk Railroad)
85. Mike Giles (King Crimson)
86. Zak Starkey (The Who/Oasis)
87. Stanton Moore (Galactic)
88. Earl Palmer
89. Don Henley (Eagles)
90. Damon Che Fitzgerald (Don Caballero)

Phil Collins takes drum quiz

91. Scott Travis (Judas Priest)
92. Levon Helm (The Band)
93. Tico Torres (Bon Jovi)
94. Thomas Lang
95. Clyde Stubblefield (James Brown)
96. Roger Hawkins (Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section)
97. B.J. Wilson (Procol Harum)
98. Stephen Morris (Joy Division/New Order)
99. Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp)
100. Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs/Winger)

Resources/Related Links:

First posted 8/23/2010; last updated 1/25/2022.


  1. Lars Ulrich over Buddy Rich.....biggest facepalm ever
    This list is a complete joke....max roach at 58???

    ringo starr even on the list at all-.-

  2. Amazing list! I knew Led Zep’s John Bonham would be in the top 10. “Bonzo” is considered by many fans and experts as an undying talent. In every performance, whether solo or with the entire group, he simply shakes the stage with his skill. Also, thanks for posting Moby Dick. It is one of the best performances ever!

    1. Thanks! Lists can be very polarizing and tend to bring out negative comments from people, but it is always interesting to me to see who ranks where.

  3. Buddy Rich at 16?? I think i've lost hope in humanity... nobody beats Bonzo and Rich!

    1. When you realize how rock-centric most of these lists are, it is pretty amazing Buddy Rich comes in as high as he does.