Favorite Rock Drummers

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  1. I like drummers with a distinctive sound first and foremost.
  2. While versatility is important, emotional impact is essential.


  3. Jaki Liebezeit - Can


  4. Keith Moon - The Who


  5. Robert Wyatt - Soft Machine, Matching Mole, solo artist


  6. John "Drumbo" French - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band


  7. Klaus Dinger - Neu!


  8. Grant Hart - Husker Du


  9. Nick Mason - Pink Floyd


  10. Ringo Starr - The Beatles


  11. Honorable Mentions:


  12. Jon Hiseman - Colosseum
  13. Tim Alexander - Primus
  14. Mitch Mitchell - Jimi Hendrix Experience
  15. Maureen Tucker - Velvet Underground
  16. George Hurley - Minutemen
  17. Neil Peart - Rush
  18. Anton Fier - The Feelies


  19. disclaimer: no, i did not forget Charlie Watts. Never been a huge fan of the Stones, sorry.

wow, Starr, reallY?
do you have recommended tracks that capture each drummers ability?

Certainly. Even Scaruffi admits he was probably the only one with actual technical ability in the band. But the main reason is because he composed such distinctive parts for each song -- hear the drum alone and you can identify the song.

Recommended tracks is a great idea. Will work on that.

Considering Paul McCartney is considered by many one of the greatest rock bass players Scaruffi comments are pretty laughable.

Ringo drumming is underrated. Think For Yourself" he plays the verses in quarter-time (one drum beat to every four from the rest of the band) and really opens up for the chorus. "You Won't See Me" has big kicks - sounds like an extra large crash cymbal - with a very cool feature: an overdubbed hi-hat playing triplets against the eighth-notes of the regular pattern ".

Wait" has Ringo playing into the beat, landing each stroke just slightly ahead of the band. This has a wonderful driving feel, and the most interesting feature is the fill into the verse. Almost every drummer everywhere plays a drum fill into a cymbal crash. Ringo turns it around, with a big crash, a hi-hat sizzle and a swift tom fill into the back beat.

Here, There, and Everywhere" calls for an extremely light touch, which he approaches innovatively. Instead of brushes, he plays the full kits with sticks (throwing in some nicely timed fills on low-tuned toms to ease into each verse) but played very quietly. "She Said She Said" is a drummer's nightmare - all sorts of tempo and time signature changes, but he plows ahead with a fill-crazy verse pattern that sounds improvised (no two fills are the same) and then finesses the triple-time with a snare-kick combo on every beat, which eases back into the verse smoothly

Good Morning Good Morning" is another drummer's headache - it varies between 4/4 and 6/4 (or it's in 5/5), but he smoothes out the rhythm by sticking to a strident soul-style 4-to-the-bar pattern. When he switches to the hi-hat during the bridge it's a nice way to lighten the atmosphere.

Of course, on what is probably Ringo's most famous drumming of all, he creates an entirely new drum style. On "A Day in the Life" he breaks every convention of drumming, in that his lines serve no rhythmic purpose whatever - they're merely obbligatos designed to play against the melody. It's either insane or brilliant, but this time it works in spades. The fills themselves are quirky in their timing, leaving lots of spaces between the notes, then a flurry of tom hits. The beauty of his new calfskin heads is expressed particularly well here. Phil Collins says that Ringo's work on the song is "impossible to duplicate".

Jesus man, can you ever just shut the fuck up about The Beatles and talk about another band?

I understand you really adore that band, but there are other great bands around man, don't get stuck on one plane of thought.

He has even put Ringo Starr on the list. Talk about drummers which you think should be on the list.

lol, you never know what might set a fanboy off

Geez, I think some people hate the Beatles so much that when you point out the good things about them it sets them off. I actually like Keith Moon a lot and I consider better than Ringo but Keith Moon was a sloppy drummer.

OK, you're not about to have your cake and eat it too.

I don't hate The Beatles though, I really like a few of their songs and I find Magical Mystery Tour, White Album & Abbey Road really enjoyable. I just dislike any sort of blinkered opinion on one band. I don't think I've seen one post of yours where it isn't about The Beatles. It just gets tiring, and I wish you would talk about other bands for a change. Just to stop this endless, stupid Beatles-Scaruffi argument. It's getting to the chicken/egg stage now.

Look was it Scaruffi's opinion that Ringo was the only Beatles that had technical ability and I responded to that. I was stating fact that many consider Paul to be one of the greatest rock bassists.

Other than that since I started Dismissing Piero Scaruffi views on the Beatles a month ago I have not gone on the Pro-Scaruffi lists and commented. Now everyone is welcome to Dismissing Piero Scaruffi views on the Beatles and comment there. Peace

where would you rank Ringo in a list of your top drummers?

Hey, I love the Beatles and what does it matter to you anyway? I was just pointing out some of Ringo strong points as a drummer. I know there better drummers than Ringo but hey I am giving him his due.

You can make your lists and not include the Beatles that's fine with me maybe you should open your horizons and realize not everyone thinks like Piero Scaruffi.

Dang, I hadn't realized that. Shoot, that's why alot of my favorite albums aren't even in Scaruffi's top 100. Dang.

Are you talking to me or Menindrag? As you can see, I include Beatles on my Most Enjoyable Albums lists and certainly they're still one of my favorite bands of all time. Have listened to them (willingly) at least once a month the past fifteen years of my life. And, of course, I agree with you about Ringo; he's on this list, right?

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Mine is that the Beatles are not the end-all of music.

Keep on keepin' on Jazz99, that was a well written post about Ringo.

Completely agree as to "You Don't See Me" (a listen the other day confirmed his greatness for me) and especially "She Said She Said" (which, not incidentally, is one of my very favorite Beatles songs). He is a very unique drummer, and I've heard about how hard it is to duplicate him, another reason he made the grade. (at the same time, try duplicating Moon!)

But don't worry about the Beatles, man. Ultimately, the great survive, no?

I'm so fucking sick of these fan boys. I get it! You like pop!

I could have never guessed that my little comment above would set such an inferno!

Haha. Beatles lovers just wait for any excuse to say that Piero is wrong. I think they secretly like him: I mean, what's not to like?

He even sounds like Mario. And how can you dislike a game boy character?

I don't know James, I just don't know. Is he the most lovable historian of all times?

He's up there with Adam Hart-Davis.

I love Adam so much I could almost murder him with a blunt shovel.

Side note: this Magic Dragon interview is hilarious

Interviewer: Are you part of the cultural elite?
Piero: Yes

Ahh, he confirms our suspicions; he loves himself.

Ah, Scarf-it-down, the greatest narcissism of all times.

He! he! That's a great interview. Scaruffi is such a pimp. Very smart man. Love listening to him. It'd be cool to get an audiobook of one of his works narrated by himself. "I belong to a new generation of barbarians that came out with the internet: we try to do too many things not as well as they used to be done." Haha. Amen. That pretty much sums up our generation. Just from this relatively short interview you can glean he's a fascinating fellow. He claims to be one of the most immodest people you'll ever meet, yet he has strong sense of humour about himself and life. What a dreamboat.

I'd love to chew the fat with him in one of these discussions. http://www.scaruffi.com/politics/mass.html

Well tbh he says the only 'rock' album worth listening to from the 21st Century is 'Trout Mask Replica'. There are times when I can understand this; I mean parts of 'The Rite Of Spring" & 'Hotel Overture' dominate the best of rock: 'Sister Ray'. However, I reckon 'Sister Ray' probably ranks as the second best musical work of the 21st Century after 'The Rite Of Spring' overall. Hey...were 'Sister Ray' to be part of 'VU & Nico' in some masterful way, it might be a better musical work than 'The Rite Of Spring' overall.

EDIT: but really i don't know what I'm talking about; 'Doobi Dam Dam' is the best song evaaaaaaa. Except that Rick Astley exists and so 'Never Gonna Give You Up' will always be No.1

Actually, I think he's since removed the comment that it's only rock album worth listening to. There is, after all, about 40 other choices. :-)

Good call about the Mario comment!