The 10 Best Rock Drummers of All Time

When it comes to music, drums are the backbone. Without a strong drummer, a band can quickly fall apart. This is why it’s so important to have a great drummer in a rock band. 

There are many great rock drummers, but who is the best? That’s up for debate. But, we wanted to share with you our list of the 25 best rock drummers of all time. So, let us know what you think! (there’s no particular order!)

1) John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)

John Bonham was a drummer who was best known for being a member of the rock band Led Zeppelin. He was born in 1948 in England and started playing drums when he was five years old. 

When he was sixteen, he joined his first band and began touring with them. Then, in 1968, he joined Led Zeppelin, and they quickly became one of the most famous rock bands in the world. 

Bonham was known for his powerful drumming style, and he often performed extended drum solos during Led Zeppelin’s live shows. Unfortunately, he died in 1980 at thirty-two after consuming too much alcohol. His death led to the dissolution of Led Zeppelin.

2) Stewart Copeland (The Police)

Stewart Copeland is a world-renowned drummer best known for his work with the band The Police. 

Throughout his career, Stewart has shown a mastery of technical proficiency and creative expression, making him one of the most talented rock drummers in the world. His distinctive style can be heard on countless Police tracks and on several of his solo albums. 

Stewart is also well-known for his impressive drum solos, which often feature complex rhythms and daring showmanship. In recent years, Stewart has continued to perform and record with various artists, cementing his reputation as one of the most versatile and influential rock drummers of all time.

3) Neil Peart (Rush)

Neil Peart was the drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush. He was best known for his drum solos and writing the lyrics for many of the band’s songs. Neil Peart was also known for his large drum sets, including more than a dozen drums and cymbals. 

Peart died in 2020 after a battle with brain cancer. He was 67 years old. Neil was an incredible drummer and a true pioneer in rock music. He will be greatly missed by fans all over the world.

4) Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana)

Dave Grohl is one of the most accomplished and respected drummers globally. A native of Virginia, Dave started playing drums at an early age. He went on to play in several local bands before joining Nirvana in 1990. 

Dave’s powerful drumming style was a crucial part of Nirvana’s sound, and he helped propel them to global stardom. After Nirvana disbanded in 1994, Dave went on to form the Foo Fighters, who have become one of the biggest rock bands in the world. 

In addition to his work with the Foo Fighters, Dave has also played with Queens of the Stone Age, Probot, and Them Crooked Vultures. He is widely respected for his versatility and skill as a drummer. He has won numerous awards for his work. Dave Grohl is a true rock legend.

5) Ginger Baker (Cream)

Ginger Baker is a legendary drummer who was best known for his work with the band Cream. He was born in England in 1939, and he first gained fame in the 1960s for his innovative style and powerful technique. 

Baker was a master of jazz, rock, and African rhythms, and he was one of the first drummers to use double bass drums. He appeared on Cream’s most famous recordings, including “Crossroads” and “Sunshine of Your Love.” 

In 1968, Baker moved to Nigeria and founded the band Ginger Spice. He later returned to England, where he continued to play with various bands until he died in 2019. Ginger Baker was one of the most influential drummers of his generation. His contributions to music are still highly respected today.

6) Phil Collins (Genesis, Phil Collins)

Phil Collins is a musical legend. He first rose to fame as the drummer for the rock band Genesis, but he soon became known as a solo artist in his own right. 

One of Collins’ most iconic moments is during the middle of the song “In the Air Tonight.” Collins plays an iconic drum fill that even non-drummers collectively know how to play almost by instinct.

The drum fill was so impressive that it has been used in countless commercials and TV shows. Even today, Phil Collins is still considered one of the best rock drummers in the world. His influence on popular music is undeniable, and his contributions to the world of drums are immeasurable. Phil Collins is truly a legend.

7) Keith Moon (The Who)

Keith Moon was one of the most influential drummers of his generation. As a member of The Who, he helped pioneer a new drumming style characterized by its power and energy. 

Moon was known for his aggressive playing style and willingness to take risks. For example, he often incorporated long drum fills into his playing. In addition, he was not afraid to experiment with new techniques. 

Unfortunately, Moon’s career was cut short by his untimely death in 1978. However, his innovative style and creativity continue to inspire drummers today. Keith Moon was a true original who left a lasting legacy.

8) Ringo Starr (The Beatles)

Ringo Starr is best known as the drummer for the Beatles, one of the most popular bands in history. But Ringo’s life didn’t start out on such a glamorous note. 

He was born in Liverpool, England, in 1940, and his early years were marked by poverty and hardship. Ringo’s father left when he was three, and his mother soon died of cancer. 

Ringo was sent to live with his aunt, who was so poor that she often couldn’t afford to feed him. Yet, despite these difficult beginnings, Ringo persevered and went on to have a remarkable career. 

In addition to his work with the Beatles, he has also pursued a successful solo career, releasing dozens of albums. Ringo’s story is an inspiring example of what can be accomplished through hard work and determination.

9) Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters)

Taylor Hawkins was a drummer best known for his work with the Foo Fighters. He joined the band in 1997 and was a significant part of their sound ever since. 

Hawkins was known for his high energy level and explosive drumming style. In addition to his work with the Foo Fighters, he played with other bands such as Queens of the Stone Age and Coattail Riders. 

Taylor Hawkins was an essential part of the Foo Fighters sound and has helped to make them one of the most successful rock bands of all time. Sadly, Taylor Hawkins passed away on March 25, 2022. He was a great rock drummer and will be missed by many.

10) Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Chad Smith is a drummer best known for his work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He is widely considered one of the greatest rock drummers of all time, and his distinctive style has helped define the sound of the Chili Peppers. 

Chad’s career began in the early 1980s when he joined the band. He has been a member ever since, and his drumming has been a crucial part of their sound. Chad’s playing is characterized by its power and precision. 

He is also known for his funky grooves and unique drumming style. In addition to his work with the Chili Peppers, Chad has also played with such artists as John Frusciante, Flea, and Jake Shears. Chad Smith is a rock drummer who has truly made a mark on the world of music.

Wrapping Up

It was tough to choose just 10 rock drummers for this list, and we’re sure that there are plenty of other greats who could have made the cut. 

So tell us – who’s your favorite rock drummer of all time? Did we miss someone prominent you think should have been included on our list? 

Let us know in the comments below. And be sure to check out our other music-related articles for more fun facts and information about your favorite artists! If you liked this list, check out our full roundup of the 50 Greatest Drummers of All Time.

Nick Cesarz

Nick is a drummer, percussionist, and blogger from Milwaukee, WI. He toured extensively with Vinyl Theatre, opening up for acts like twenty one pilots, Panic! at the Disco, and more. Now no longer touring, his passion lies in gear and playing the kit as much as time allows.

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  1. My grandson imagined himself to be a great rock drummer since he was able to hold two spoons with his hands. I didn’t have other options than enrolling him in Some Drummer School. He’s 11y.o. already and is drumming like a night train! And he’s sure Neil Peart is the best of all. Who am I to dispute such a great authority?

  2. Keith Moon hands down! No other rock drummer has come close to sparking the animal instinct in humans that he did with the technical proficiency he possessed. Although the drummer that played for Santana at Woodstock was freaking amazing also and he’s not even on list. Please get Phil Collins of of there! B-O-R-I-N-G!

    1. So right! RT is beautiful to watch, has a strong sound and adds a creative touch to the drums. Very nice to watch and interesting to listen to.

  3. Bernard “Buddy” Rich?? He’s the “Robert Johnson” of the drums! Mitch Mitchelson of The Jimi Hendrix Experience & of course, Danny Carey of TOOL is WAY UNDERRATED!!

  4. Snubbed AF:

    Danny Carey (Tool)
    Joey Jordison (Slipknot)
    Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, et al.)

    Honorable mention (in no particular order):

    Jeff Burrows (The Tea Party)
    Sean Kinney (Alice in Chains)
    Tim Alexander (Primus, et al.)
    Bob Siebenberg (Supertramp)
    Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater)
    Eric Kretz (Stone Temple Pilots)
    Simon Kirke (Free, Bad Company)
    Matthew McDonough (Mudvayne)
    Reed Mullin (Corrosion of Conformity)
    Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience)
    Brad Wilk (Audioslave, Rage Against the Machine, et al.)

  5. This list is horrible. Get this off of the internet. Neil Peart #3? That’s absolutely laughable. He’d drum circles around all of these guys. I’m pissed this is the first article that comes up when you Google top drummers. Horrible lol. Is this even a seasoned drummer providing the review? Ringo Starr? Cmon. No Mike portnoy?

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