I recently spent some time Googling “Top Drummers”.
That’s all that I typed in the search line. I didn’t want to narrow it down to any particular genre or niche, just top drummers.
As I started to review the various lists I was stunned at the list of drummers that were absent from some of these lists.
I surmised most of these lists had to be compiled by and/or voted on by teenage to twenty something hormonal raging males. They must have been looking at flash, speed, hype and in some cases the number of tattoos.
Of course these kinds of list are totally subjective and basically serve only one purpose, to entertain. So I thought I would make a list of my top ten drummers that should be on these lists of top drummers.
These are in no particular order.
He didn’t show up on one list that I reviewed and yet next to Steve Gadd I don’t know of anyone as versatile, relaxed and tasteful as him. I was introduced to him on James Taylor’s Hourglass. Now I’ll buy an album just because he’s on it. Sadly he is no longer with us. Give him a listen, how does he not make everyone’s top ten?
I can’t pronounce his last name and I sure can’t play like he does. I think of him as a cymbal master, especially the small ones. I first realized who he was on Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales and then started noticing him on all kinds of albums and TV performances like Jeff Beck at Ron Scott’s. Frank Zappa, Sting and just about anyone else in between, check out his work and his credits and tell me why he’s not on everyone’s top list.
This man introduced me to powerful yet tasteful rock and roll drumming. He also gave me the idea for golf gloves to save my bleeding hands. I’m sure he’s on Elton John’s top drummers list.
The album that brought me back to music was Eric Clapton’s live album 24 Nights. Steve Ferrone was the drummer and he made it sound fun again. I caught him on Palladia with Tom Petty and then started seeing his name on various albums in my vinyl collection, like Chaka Kan and Freddie King. Sorry Ginger Baker but I’ll take his live version of Sunshine of Your Love over anyone else’s.
He has been with Bonnie Raitt since 1982. If you know me you know I love Bonnie Raitt so this guy has got to be in my top ten but why not anyone else’s. Come on listen to any Bonnie Riatt album and you’ll quickly see what he brings to the table.
Sure he is kind of a niche player but who can deny the influence he has had on millions. He’s a drummer and singer with his own distinct style. I remember when I went to the movie theatre to see “The Last Waltz”. I had never seen him play but listen to him countless hours. I was so inspired by his performance and still am to this day. Every time I watch “The Last Waltz” I can’t wait to get down to my kit. No flash or technical wizardry just pure music from this man.
Mister Tower of Power playing rhythms I can’t play to this day and probably never will be able to even when I have a chart to help me figure it out. Syncopated funk like no other and yet on most lists he doesn’t even get a look as someone’s top ten, twenty or thirty.
“The Thunder from Down Under”, I can’t think of a better or more flattering moniker. I would love to be called something like that as a drummer. Everyone knows him from his years on David Letterman’s show but give him a listen on See Saw with Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa.
When I started this list I really didn’t think I would be including this great drummer because I thought he would be on every top ten list and yet his appearance on any list of top drummers much less top ten drummers was minimal at best. I can’t think of a drummer I have listened to more or listened to longer. To me he is a studio legend.
Yes he made a few lists but I added him to this one because as far as I’m concerned he should be number one on any list every created about top drummers. When I first started playing John Bonham was my largest influence. As I matured and John Bonham passed away too soon Steve Gadd became and still is my drum god. He did show up on some top 100 lists but way, way, way too low on those lists. These list are all subjective but how is he not your number one. Someone please explain that to me.
Well that’s it but if you have any under appreciated drummers on your list please let me know I’d love to check them out.
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