20 Best Rock Drummers

10th September 2018

20 Best Rock Drummers


There was a lot of discussion over this here at the Amplified office, with a few arguments but no storm outs, we’ve put together a list of who we believe to be the top 20 rock drummers of all time.


20. Chad Smith

The Minnesota born drummer grew up listening to the likes of Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Starting the drums at the age of seven he has carved his own legendary career, joining the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in 1988 and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 after hits such as Under The Bridge and Dani California. (If you’re not now humming either of these songs right now!)


19. Vinny Appice

Never to be confused with his equally talented brother (yeh, we know some great genes in that family). Appice began drumming at nine and in 1908 he joined the Black Sabbath tour and in no time was brought in to replace their original drummer. He learnt the songs on stage as they went along, impressive. Along with this, he also created the band  Ronnie James Dio, along with the lead vocalist Ronnie James.


18. Brad Wilk

He isn’t just a drummer, the actor and activist is best known for being the drummer in the band Rage Against The Machine. In 2016 he reunited with some of his bandmates to form 'Prophets of Rage' their tour was called 'Make America Rage Again' and was a protest against Donald Trump and his President campaign. 



17. D.H Peligro

Darren Henley AKA D H Peligro the American punk rock drummer is most famous for being the drummer for the Dead Kennedys and a brief stint in the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.



16. Samantha Moloney

One of our two females in the top 20, we salute you Samantha! With the tough decision of basketball or drumming we all lucked out when she chose drumming. Since then we hope she has never looked back drumming for bands such as Mötley Crüe and Eagles of Death Metal.


15. Danny Carey

It all began with snare drum lesson, Carey soon progressed to the drum set. He spent years learning about jazz which went on to play a large influence in his drumming while drumming for the rock band Tool. One more thing, he is just over 6ft 4 inches, those long arms and legs must come in handy for playing the drums?


14. Travis Barker

One of the younger drummers on our list, Blink 182’s drummer Travis Barker. He started his career as a trash man in Laguna beach (we can think of worse places to pick up trash). He started his Blink 182 careers as a fill in and learnt the 20-song set list in just 45 minutes eventually going on to join the band full-time.


13. Roger Taylor

Did you know they’ve made a film about Queen? It’s out in November. The English born drummer has a degree in Biology but his real love is music. Taylor worked with Freddie at Kensington Market when they decided to form Queen recruiting the other members from Taylor’s band Smile.


12. Tom Aldridge

He taught himself to play the drums! The Mississippi born drummer has worked with many notable bands during his career, such as Black Oak Arkansas, Ozzy Osbourne and Thin Lizzy.


11. Taylor Hawkins

This all-round musician is best known for being the drummer for the Foo Fighters. He put himself forward for the band after Will Goldsmith left. He was the drummer for the highly popular Alanis Morissette, but chose to leave as he longed to be in an actual rock band.


10. Max Weinburg

His first gig aged 7 was at a bar mitzvah. He wanted to be a lawyer but got his big break in 1974 when he auditioned to be the drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s band E Street Band. It must run in the family because his son filled in for him in 2009 during their tour and is now a drummer for Silpknot. The simple flam rudiment in the opening of Born in The USA is what gives this hit its unmistakeable sound, while you are it, listen to his fill after the 4-minute mark.


9. Buddy Miles

He started his career at a young age, touring as a teenager playing a variety of rhythm and blues and soul. When he was 16 he met Jimi Hendrix and their friendship blossomed collaborating numerous times during their careers. When asked how he would like to be remembered he said The baddest of the bad. "People say I'm the baddest drummer. If that's true, thank you world".


8. Moe Tucker

Maureen, best known for being in the rock band The Velvet Underground. Inspired by The Rolling Stones she started drumming at the age of 19 on a second-hand drum kit, learning by ear with no lessons. Tucker unlike most drummers used to play standing up.



7. Keith Moon

The Wembley born drummer joined the band The Who in 1964 and stayed with them during their rise to fame. He soon became well known for his cymbal crashes and drum fills and how could we forget the drum kit destructions at the end of a set, also trashing a couple of Holiday Inns and crashing a Rolls Royce into a swimming pool.


6. Ginger Baker

Peter Edward ‘Ginger’ Baker founded the rock band Cream. He didn’t start to play the drums until he was 15 and joined Blues Incorporated where he met Jack Bruce. His drum solos are one some of the earliest recorded examples in rock music.


5. Dave Grohl

Where do his talents end? He is a singer, songwriter, record producer and even a film director. He is most famous for drumming for the legendry band Nirvana. He is now the lead-vocalist for the Foo Fighters but we know you already know this. At High School he was elected as vice president of his freshman class and would play punk rock over the school intercom.


4. Mitch Mitchell

Mitchell was a child star, as a teenager he starred in ‘Jennings at School’. He began drumming while at school by working at Jim Marshall’s drum shop on Saturdays progressing to be a session musician working with the likes of The Who. He got his place in the Jimi Hendrix Experience by winning a coin toss with existing drummer Aynsley Dunbar, LUCKY!


3. Neil Peart

The youngest person ever to be inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1983, the Canadian-American drummer was best known for his drumming and lyric writing for the rock band rush. He plays on a 40 piece drum kit 40 PIECES, you read that right!


2. John Bonham

If you didn’t know he was the drummer in the band Led Zeppelin then you must have been living under a rock. His speed of drumming and the power is like no others. He didn’t get his first drum kit until the age of 15 until then he played with containers and coffee tins. Bonham was a master at triplet patterns, particularly the triplet fill on 'Dazed and Confused' which many drummers to this day try to replicate.





Our number 1 is….


1.     Ian Paice

The Nottingham born hero began his career playing the drums for his Dad’s dance band. He went on to be one of the original members of Deep Purple having gone to an audition with his friend Rod Evans. We all wish we had the talent he did, oh and could pull off the glasses.


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