CoS Exclusive Features

Who’s the Greatest Drummer of All Time? Round Three

on May 15, 2014, 5:28pm
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And then came the next round… Last week, we continued our monthly tournament in search of the Greatest Drummer of All Time. Once again, thousands upon thousands of drumheads logged on to argue, offer their two cents, and, yes, complain that we had chosen the wrong men (and our lack of women) with the sticks. Some fellow readers were quick to remind them that these choices were all reader-submitted. Still, confusion was abound.

We’re no prophets, but we anticipate the same tomfoolery for this second-to-last round, and we also know this should end. Judging from the charts below, and the numbers from the past few weeks, we’re willing to bet our shirts that Neil Peart and John Bonham will go knuckle to knuckle next week. But hey, you never know, maybe there’s a legion of Danny Carey fans. As for Portnoy, um, good luck, pal.

drummers round 3

So, take the next minute, hour, day, or week to think it over. (Or, two seconds really.) Remember, we have one more round next week and that’ll be the real tough decision. You won’t be alone in your decision process as we’ll have a whole new essay weighing in the two last heroes. Then, we’ll finally know which guy with the sticks reigns supreme… at least to you folks.

If you need some more food for thought, here’s an article about how drummers’ brains are different than everyone else’s. Pretty cool stuff.

FYI: The voting booth is on the last page and be sure to comment below.

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61 comments

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Chris Georgenes
May 21, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Wow – this is completely unofficial because Chris Dave, Jojo Mayer, Max Roach and Benny Greb aren’t even included and how the hell does Keith Moon beat Gavin Harrison?

VoodooChild
June 25, 2014 at 1:57 pm

i’m befundled how Keith Moon could have beat Gavin Harrison, unless these aren’t drummers that are voting. Which I really feel, because who would’ve put Ringo Starr on the list? And where is the Big Daddy of them all… Terry Bozzio?

Anonymous
August 12, 2014 at 8:07 am

Terry bozzio sucks

gramby1138
August 14, 2014 at 2:36 am

Ringo practically CREATED the persona of the rock star drummer. I’d pick him to be in my band before I’d choose any of those other guys (Grohl would be my second choice).

Also, it’s “befuddled.” You’re welcome.

Blaze Infernus
August 10, 2014 at 6:51 pm

I wouldn’t say unofficial so much as popularity contest. I would also question the diversity of the demographic even voting to begin with. For me personally, Gavin destroys Keith Moon in every way save showmanship. And for those music fans who aren’t so drummer savvy, dazzle and showmanship will win every time.

Anonymous
May 21, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Vinnie Colaiuta, Dennis Chambers, Chad Smith…

Pa
May 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm

As a bass player, the first thing I require of a drummer is the ability to keep time accurately. This eliminates Carl Palmer (on Heat of the Moment at any rate, which also includes Steve Howe’s worst guitar solo – ask him).
My OPINION, based upon various considerations, is 1) Peart 2) Bruford 3) Alan White.

For the record, my 10 favourite bass players, partly determined by virtuosity, but ultimately those who give me the most pleasure, are
Geddy Lee, Chris Squire, John Camp, John Gustafson, Dave Wintour, Martin Turner, Mark King, Dek Messecar, Pino Paladino & Billy Sheehan.

Lou
May 21, 2014 at 11:23 am

Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, Bonham, Tony Williams,

Rovi
May 21, 2014 at 10:37 am

Buddy Rich . The worlds greatest drummer

Jimmy
May 21, 2014 at 10:04 am

For those who may not have been on this planet for more than 30 years, check out BUDDY RICH on you tube. Pure genius… 2nd to no one.

Anonymous
August 11, 2014 at 12:20 pm

THE best drummer to have ever lived!

Geompat
May 20, 2014 at 10:24 pm

Peart! Not only the greatest drummer, but arguably the greatest musician of all time, when you factor in his songwriting and lyrics.

Ryan
May 20, 2014 at 4:01 pm

It actually irritates me so much as a drummer to see Dave Grohl everywhere. The man is a good drummer but he is nowhere near the best. Having actually witnessed him live his technical ability leaves many questions. His solos that I have seen elsewhere consist purely of flams, accents and triplets. Also his technique leaves much to be desired and he has even admitted he doesn’t know how to even tune his drums. One thing I will praise him on though is his power.

George
May 20, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Plus, comparing Bill Bruford to John Bonham, good luck! yeah, who’s better?

George
May 20, 2014 at 3:49 pm

where is JAKI LIEBEZEIT??? are you guys crazy? what kind of dumb poll is this??? Dave Grohl over Ginger Baker, lol

Ryan
May 20, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Are you drummer? Dave Grohl plays nothing but 4/4 and triplets. I am a drummer!

Anonymous
May 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Where in the f**k is Ginger Baker on this list???

Johnny T
May 26, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Ginger Baker was a great jazz drummer that literally invented the rock drum solo… steeped in primal African rhythms…pure creative artist…

Nelson
May 19, 2014 at 12:44 am

GREATEST goes beyond being great at the instrument. It also includes fame, what you’ve done for the practice of the instrument, for the promotion of drumming, how you’ve improved the way people drum, what you’ve contributed to the drumming community, how many years you’ve been at it and so much more. That’s why some fantastic drummers are not on this list, because they lacked the fame, push, time on top, or even community involvement.

DL Richart
May 18, 2014 at 9:05 pm

I think it’s really odd to not see Thomas Lang in this line up. One of the best unsung talents in drums. A must see live. Germany’s finest.

Peter
May 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm

He’s Austrian, you stupid fuck.

Steve
May 18, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Jimmy Chamberlin, Dave Grohl and Phil Collins? among the 16 GREATEST drummers of all time? NERD-BAIT ALERT! Nobody over the age of 15 who knows a goddam thing about music would put them on the list.

Ryan
May 20, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Have to agree with Peart, Rich and Bonzo though, sweet as :)

Anonymous
May 18, 2014 at 10:01 am

I hate posting on things like this because I don’t think they accomplish much, but I just have to say (and I’m not trying to argue), these polls accomplish nothing because there is no greatest drummer of all time. I think almost every drummer up there deserves recognition as well as the MANY drummers that didn’t get recognized, such as some of my favorites (Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Max Roach, Steve Gadd, Carlos Vega, etc). To compare Neil Peart and Mike Portnoy? You’re simply comparing opinion (and votes).

Anonymous
May 21, 2014 at 11:37 am

Agreed. I think it’s a more than a little silly to rate art since it’s subjective. Perhaps it like asking, “What is the best oil on canvas ever painted?”.

And when one considers that more money has been made off of a standard 2/4 beat with 8th notes on a hi-hat or ride cymbal, it then becomes a bit strange as we (in some cases) make arguments for drummers playing complex poly rhythms with odd time accents (which I often like btw).

Best drummer? Easy, every one of them who played for the song or musical piece and got the job done. Be it the straight, 4-on-the-floor style of Phil Rudd (AC/DC) or the jazz inspired rock rhythms and fills by Mitch Mitchell.

We’ll always have out favorites but they are likely inextricably linked to musical pieces that connect with the listener. Drums on their own? Not so interesting for most people as the melody is missing. I play drums but couldn’t imagine listening to a whole CD of the amazing Jeff Pocaro playing drums.

Deek
May 21, 2014 at 11:38 am

Agreed. I think it’s a more than a little silly to rate art since it’s subjective. Perhaps it like asking, “What is the best oil on canvas ever painted?”.

And when one considers that more money has been made off of a standard 2/4 beat with 8th notes on a hi-hat or ride cymbal, it then becomes a bit strange as we (in some cases) make arguments for drummers playing complex poly rhythms with odd time accents (which I often like btw).

Best drummer? Easy, every one of them who played for the song or musical piece and got the job done. Be it the straight, 4-on-the-floor style of Phil Rudd (AC/DC) or the jazz inspired rock rhythms and fills by Mitch Mitchell.

We’ll always have out favorites but they are likely inextricably linked to musical pieces that connect with the listener. Drums on their own? Not so interesting for most people as the melody is missing. I play drums but couldn’t imagine listening to a whole CD of the amazing Jeff Pocaro playing drums.

Anonymous
May 18, 2014 at 2:57 am

Where’s Steve Gadd?

Anonymous
May 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm

All the drummers are white! Where the hell is Elvin Jones or Philly Joe Jones?

Dave Addison
May 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Keith Moon,was the Greatest,Drummer That ever lived, Period…..

No name
May 17, 2014 at 6:32 am

GINGER BAKER!

Nelson
May 17, 2014 at 1:42 am

Ok, with all due respect to Bonham, he should have never been voted over Buddy Rich. The final should have been Peart vs Rich, and that one could have gone either way, because even though Peart has explored more styles than Buddy Rich, Buddy was an absolute grandmaster at his skill, the first superstar drummer. In interviews, Buddy Rich mentioned that Neil Peart was his pick for top drummer, and Peart has mentioned that Rich is his pick for top drummer… so … without Buddy Rich in the finals, it has to go to Neil Peart, and that’s the end of that.

Johnny T
May 26, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Hey dipshit, Neil Peart said Ginger Baker is the greatest …

Anonymous
May 16, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Wow I cant take anything like this siriusly if Dennis Chambers and Billy Cobham are not even on the list! lmao

thomas burt
May 16, 2014 at 6:57 pm

neil pearts the greatest

Anonymous
May 16, 2014 at 6:53 pm

I’m surprised mickey hart isn’t on here.

kilrymont
May 16, 2014 at 5:36 pm

I’d have been nice if y’all weren’t so clueless as to make white-male the prerequisite for Greatest Drummer of All Time #JanetWeiss? better yet Meg white lollll

Mike Letendre
May 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Niel rules

Anonymous
May 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm

What’s the story with putting Moon and Peart in the same region?

Anonymous
May 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Keith Moon was the Greatest, Period,,,,,,

charlie hendricks
May 16, 2014 at 11:07 am

Zach Hill.

Anonymous
May 16, 2014 at 11:01 am

1) Neil Peart
2) Billy Cobham
3) John Bonham

4) Carl Palmer


Buddy Rich
Keith Moore
Mike Portnoy,etc.

Anonymous
May 16, 2014 at 9:53 am

Love Bonham, but there’s no way he’s better than Buddy Rich.

Johnny T
May 26, 2014 at 7:15 pm

I love Bohham and there is no way he is better than Ginger Baker….

theroguehorseman
May 16, 2014 at 9:28 am

No Yoshiki = this contest is invalid.

Mike Askew
May 16, 2014 at 4:38 am

….. and where is Gavin Harisson? Cannot believe he’s been completely overlooked!

Mark Combs
May 16, 2014 at 7:18 am

Amen to that!

Anonymous
May 17, 2014 at 8:27 am

I’m with you on that!

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