Often what happens when a publication puts out a list of the greatest musicians, such as drummers as is the case here, they pick out the individuals who are especially amazing and who put in lots of flashy fills and histrionics. At DotCom Magazine, we’ve decided to highlight some of the best drummers, who don’t always show off, but who make up for all the amateur dramatics on their instrument with musicality, precision and nuance.
Ringo Starr, The Beatles
Although may people deride Ringo’s drumming style. The fact of the matter is that he produced some fine rhythms to accompany the other three members’ amazing songmanship and playing. His drumming style may not have been the most profound or the most intensely exuberant or exactly technical, it served the structure of those classic songs and provided a good backbone to the melodies. Without his drumming, The Beatles would sound quite the same. If he were as gifted as Neal Pert it would have sounded out of place, for instance. So that’s why we have singled out Ringo Starr as one of the best drummers of all time.
Meg White, The White Stripes
Her name may not have actually been White and she may not actually be on good speaking terms with Mr Jack White anymore, and even if he was responsible for the guitar work, the piano, songwriting and singing, bar the occasional back up from Meg, the thing to remember is that the White Stripes were a duo. Meg White’s role in the band was to provide a solid backbeat for Jack White’s often thundering guitar work and screeching singing style. And guess what, Meg White did just that. So, before you dismiss Meg White as not being as good as some of the other greats, and in a similar way to our defence of Ringo, think about how those songs would have sounded without her.
Dave Lombardo, Slayer, Fantomas, others
Okay, so now we’re going to talk about a drummer who was actually incredibly gifted technically and wasn’t short of a few tricks. However, when you listen to his drumming for Slayer, especially on their classic Reign in Blood, you’ll notice that although there’s plenty of break speed fills, a lot of what makes his drumming so good is that he does whatever any good drummer should do – provides a solid rhythm for the song to drive along to. He does it at speed and is undoubtedly one of the originators or at least inspiration for blast beats, but it has that constant movement that gives the songs their force.
John Bonham, Led Zeppelin
John Bonham is one of the best drummers and one of four great musicians from Led Zeppelin. Yes, he is probably the most over-the-top of all the drummers mentioned on this list. He still deserves to be there though. Forget for a moment those eight-minute drum solos and his wild man of rock lifestyle. Think more about the groove and his control in songs like Whole Lotta Love or Kashmir. Lots of rock drummers, even in these modern times, still look back at John Bonham for inspiration because he knew what he was doing and never seemed to hit any piece of his kit in the wrong way or at the wrong time.
Clem Burke, The Blondies
It’s likely that unless you’re a massive fan of the band, you may not even know that Clem Burke was called Clem Burke. However, Blondie’s drummer, from the very start to present is a drummer worth highlighting here. Again, like many others in our list, it is what he brought to the table, rather than what he lacked. He had the ability to provide the drive for those songs, whether it was the disco-hip-hop fusion of Rapture or the poppy punk of One Way or Another. His beats are unmistakeably Blondie.