100 greatest drum beats of all time

10th Nov 2010 | 12:00

100 greatest drum beats of all time
Da Doo Ron Ron - The Crystals
Who played it? Hal Blaine

In 2007 Rhythm Magazine took on the gruelling task of finding the perfect drum beat. And thanks to an expert judging panel made up of contributors, readers and all-star drummers (Chad Smith, Joey Jordison and Mike Portnoy, to name but three), they came up with a top 100.

A list of - not just great recordings - but one that we feel goes some way to demonstrating the importance of the humble drum beat in popular music.

But three years on, has anything (man, woman or machine) done enough to warrant a place since? Scroll through, rock out, reminisce and let us know in comments below. First up: Hal Blaine on The Crystals’ Da Doo Ron Ron…

Why it's great:

Hal Blaine has a whale of a time with this joyous, stomping pop boogie. The huge four-bar triplet fills that he plays between the verses and the choruses are crucial hooks in the arrangement....

Where to find it: Phil Spector Definitive Collection

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Fireball - Deep Purple
Who played it? Ian Paice

Why it's great:

Ian stomps out double bass drum beats and batters complex patterns with unmatched exuberance, giving his fellow Deep Purple warriors a terrific boost. Without a doubt, it's a defining moment in rock drum folklore.

Where to find it: Fireball, 1971

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Memphis Soul Stew - King Curtis
Who played it? Bernard 'Pretty' Purdie

Why it's great:

Purdie makes his entrance on this famous live track by rifling in with the funkiest paradiddles and stinging-est hi-hats ever heard. He's like an unstoppable whirlwind.

Where to find it: King Curtis Live At Filmore West, 1971

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Wonderwall - Oasis
Who played it? Alan White

Why it's great:

Ousting bubble-permed original drummer Tony McCarroll had never seemed like a better idea than when new boy Alan White entered 'Wonderwall' at 0:46 with this supple-wristed display of virtuosity.

Where to find it: (What's The Story) Morning Glory?, 1995

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
God Save The Queen - The Sex Pistols
Who played it? Paul Cook

Why it's great:

This scathing Silver Jubilee tribute to the monarch is driven with compelling power and dead-eyed precision by drummer Paul Cook, the backbone of the Pistols.

Where to find it: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols, 1977

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Beat It - Michael Jackson
Who played it? Jeff Porcaro

Why it's great:

Toto sticksman Porcaro is better known for his big rock beats, but keeps it super tight and super clean on 'Beat It' - a masterpiece of economy.

Where to find it: Thriller, 1982

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Addicted To Love - Robert Palmer
Who played it? Tony Thompson

Why it's great:

Thompson lays down his pure pop-powered kick drum on beat one, followed by an emphatic open hi-hat on beat three, majestically underpinning the keyboard riff.

Where to find it: Riptide, 1985

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Dr Feelgood - Motley Crue
Who played it? Tommy Lee

Why it's great:

Tommy Lee's earth shattering bass drum beat immediately locks horns with the riffing guitars, while his lush open hi-hat stabs provide rhythmic rock spice.

Where to find it: Dr Feelgood, 1989

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Fell In Love With A Girl - The White Stripes
Who played it? Meg White

Why it's great:

From 'Fell In Love With A Girl's flammed start to its crashed finish, Meg White stamps her trademark swagger all over this, as always not just playing for the song, but becoming an integral part of it.

Where to find it: White Blood Cells, 2001

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
You Really Got Me - The Kinks
Who played it? Bobby Graham/Clem Cattini

Why it's great:

The original heavy rock riff and tune inspired a stellar performance. The brutal snare flam entrance is worth a thousand beats.

Where to find it: Kinks, 1965

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Candy's Room - Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band
Who played it? Max Weinberg

Why it's great:

The song is instantly recognisable from its 16ths hi-hat intro, bursts into life when the 16ths transfer to the snare drum, and explodes into the chorus with an amazing driving rhythm.

Where to find it: Darkness On The Edge Of Town, 1978

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Englishman in New York - Sting
Who played it? Manu Katche

Why it's great:

Cool, light and stylish, the drums here are beautifully orchestrated (like most of His Stingness's stuff)… and then comes the neo-Zeppelin/hip-hop-esque break in the middle.

Where to find it: Nothing Like The Sun, 1987

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Word Up! - Cameo
Who played it? Larry Blackmon

Why it's great:

Blackmon commands this '80s funk anthem with a watertight, computer-driven backbeat, sugar-coated by two 8th-note hi-hats at the centre of the groove.

Where to find it: Word Up!, 1986

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Like Eating Glass - Bloc Party
Who played it? Matt Tong

Where to find it:

Rising from the chattering wall of guitars at 0:25, Tong kicks into a petulant beat whose attention deficit disorder meant it never played the same fill twice. Like hearing class...

Where to find it: Silent Alarm, 2005

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Bland Street Bloom - Sikth
Who played it? Dan Foord

Why it's great:

The crazy arrogance that oozes from Foord's super-erratic drum pattern, taking in a twisty time signature, is what makes this song so amazing.

Where to find it: Death Of A Dead Day, 2006

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Chuck E's In Love - Rickie Lee Jones
Who played it? Steve Gadd

Why it's great:

Steve Gadd lends his patented syncopation to 'Chuck E's In Love', married to a jazz sensibility evident in his use of press rolls for embellishment.

Where to find it: Rickie Lee Jones, 1979

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Shh… Peaceful - Miles Davis
Who played it? Tony Williams

Why it's great:

Jazz genius Williams swapped his trademark molten improvisations for nothing more than hi-hat 16th notes for the duration of this 18-minute masterpiece. Incredible restraint, sublime results.

Where to find it: In A Silent Way, 1969

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Highway To Hell - AC/DC
Who played it? Phil Rudd

Why it's great:

Rudd's economical, no-nonsense approach to drumming achieved spectacular results on the tune that turned out to be then-AC/DC frontman Bon Scott's swansong. Now that's what we call playing for the song…

Where to find it: Highway To Hell, 1979

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Don't Stand So Close To Me - The Police
Who played it? Stewart Copeland

Why it's great:

The Police's already wafer-thin punk credentials evaporated entirely the moment we heard Copeland's slippery hi-hat masterclass on this paedophilia-themed smash hit from 1980. Follow that, Rat Scabies…

Where to find it: Zenyatta Mondatta, 1980

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Killing In The Name - Rage Against The Machine
Who played it? Brad Wilk

Why it's great:

Brad Wilk's constant shifts in meter and dynamics are capped by the venomous freak-out that he plays in the 'Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me' section that kicks in at 4:12. This drum beat could be the official soundtrack to anarchy.

Where to find it: Rage Against The Machine, 1992

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
A Love Supreme - John Coltrane Quartet
Who played it? Elvin Jones

Why it's great:

One of the most remarkable pieces of music ever committed to tape. Elvin Jones's breathtaking display of musicality and dynamic mastery raised the bar for just about every drummer.

Where to find it: A Love Supreme, 1965

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Ain't Nobody - Rufus And Chaka Khan
Who played it? John 'JR' Robinson

Why it's great:

The funkiest thing ever written? Got to be in with a chance. Exquisitely edgy and subtle but unsettling, JR's groove here is utterly compelling.

Where to find it: Live… Stompin' At The Savoy, 1983

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Sour Times - Portishead
Who played it? Geoff Barrow (samples/programming), Clive Deamer (live)

Why it's great:

The gorgeous, ever-so-slightly woozy, comedown breakbeat fi ts the dark cinematic vibe of the track like a glove. Playing it 'for real' takes the utmost restraint.

Where to find it: Dummy, 1994

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Highway Star - Deep Purple
Who played it? Ian Paice

Why it's great:

The way the drums are so tight with not just the bass but the organ, guitar and vocal make this a real example of Paicey powering the band...

Where to find it: Machine Head, 1972

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Fucking Hostile - Pantera
Who played it? Vinnie Paul

Why it's great:

Big, brutal, balls-to-the-wall-and-out-the-other-side. Everyone knows Vinnie kicks serious Southern ass, but it's 'Fucking Hostile's devastating accuracy that makes jaws drop. Punk-metal perfected.

Where to find it: Vulgar Display Of Power, 1992

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
What'd I Say - Ray Charles
Who played it? Milt Turner

Why it's great:

'What'd I Say', Ray Charles's first, apparently improvised, soul-gospel hit inspired drummer Milt Turner's overtly Latin snare, tom and ride bell groove - and it's been a mainstay of drummers ever since.

Where to find it: What'd I Say, 195

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Seven Days - Sting
Who played it? Vinnie Colaiuta

Why it's great:

This track is intelligent pop drumming defi ned. Vinnie Colaiuta makes odd time signatures groove more than we would have ever thought was possible with this fantastic virtuoso yet understated performance.

Where to find it: Ten Summoner's Tales, 1993

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Sad But True - Metallica
Who played it? Lars Ulrich

Why it's great:

Lars Ulrich plays with his usual formidable aggression on this prowling song from Metallica's renowned Black album, which sees him hammering out the backbeat while cleverly adding spice through his use of hi-hat phrasing and accented fills.

Where to find it: Metallica, 1991

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Like I Love You - Justin Timberlake
Who played it? Pharrell Williams

Who played it?

Pharrell Williams's funk-era tribute snare snaps and pops it way through this track, his hi-hat accents drive it on, while his infectious looped bass drum pattern creates a propulsive syncopated undercurrent, resulting in a near-perfect pop tune.

Where to find it: Justified, 2002

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Been Caught Stealng - Jane's Addiction
Who played it? Stephen Perkins

Why it's great:

A staple of indie rock gatherings to this day, 'Been Caught Stealing's spiky, stuttering dark funk is hard to beat. Perkins' off-kilter groove shapes the whole thing.

Where to find it: Ritual De Lo Habitual, 1990

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Love Rears Its Ugly Head - Living Colour
Who played it? Will Calhoun

Why it's great:

Grounded by an eighth-driven hi-hat, Calhoun's rock-solid backbeat and soulful hip-hop flavoured bass drum are melodic siblings to the bass and guitar riff.

Where to find it: Time's Up, 1990

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Overkill - Motorhead
Who played it? Phil 'Philthy Animal' Taylor

Why it's great:

It was Year Zero for thrash metal as Phil Taylor's blistering double bass drum performance, captured here, became the launch pad for the countless metal drummers who were to follow in his footsteps.

Where to find out: Overkill, 1979

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Hot Fun In The Summertime - Sly And The Family Stone
Who played it? Gregg Errico

Why it's great:

This is a sublime example of keeping the groove in the pocket, Gregg Errico's 6/8 pattern is the bedrock on which the Family Stone build their funky soul.

Where to find it: Greatest Hits, 1969

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Suck My Kiss - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Who played it? Chad Smith

Why it's great:

Chad Smith, so often labelled as 'just' a rock drummer, brings the funk to some super tight riff-stabs, decreasing from three to one after each chorus.

Where to find it: Blood Sugar Sex Magik, 1991

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets
Who played it? Billy Gussak

Why it's great:

Gussak's feathered bass drum and distinctive two-bar shuffle on the hoop is highlighted by a sharp snare drum accent on beat four of the second bar.

Where to find it: '20th Century Masters: The Best Of Bill Haley & His Comets (Millennium Collection)', 1999

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
In The Air Tonight - Phil Collins
Who played it? Phil Collins

Why it's great:

A Roland drum machine does its work, building tension before Collins launches a thousand imitative air drummers with a cleverly conceived dynamic snare drum entrance.

Where to find it: Face Value, 1981

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Jambi - Tool
Who played it? Danny Carey

Why it's great:

Sinister, unpredictable and rock solid – all the things we like about Tool can be applied to Carey's slippery drum beat on this experimental song.

Where to find it: 10,000 Days, 2006

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Baba O'Riley - The Who
Who played it? Keith Moon

Why it's great:

From the lurching tom fill with which he enters to the exuberant snare-led playout, Moon's flamboyance lifts this album opener to another level.

Where to find it: Who's Next, 1971

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Lapdance - NERD
Who played it? Eric Fawcett

Why it's great:

Shuffling hi-hats, super economical parts and machine-gun snare fills into wig-out chorus sections add up to a spot-on hip-hop/rock crossover. Pharrell has never sounded cooler than this....

Where to find it: In Search Of…, 2002

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Tom Sawyer - Rush
Who played it? Neil Peart

Why it's great:

Proof that music can be both demanding and commercially successful - rock's finest technician navigates changing time signatures with intricate patterns flowing one after the other.

Where to find it: Moving Pictures, 1981

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
The Rotten Kid - Buddy Rich Big Band
Who played it? Buddy Rich

Why it's great:

The genius of swing serves up one of the most infectious shuffles ever. It builds from a quiet but tasty opening to blaring fever pitch.

Where to find it: The New One, The Buddy Rich Big Band, 1967

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Stratus - Billy Cobham
Who played it? Billy Cobham

Why it's great:

The coolest bass line ever, written by Billy, with super slinky drums punctuated by 1,000,000mph toms around a huge acrylic kit.

Where to find it: Spectrum, 1973

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Pick Up The Pieces - The Average White Band
Who played it? Robbie McIntosh

Why it's great:

Played with a nimble jazz-funk swing this is a virtuoso performance from the tragically short-lived Scot.

Where to find it: AWB, 1974

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
Who played it? Phil Rudd

Why it's great:

Rudd always does a thumpingly solid job, but he's god-like on possibly the greatest AC/DC song ever.

Where to find it: Back In Black, 1980

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
All Right Now - Free
Who played it? Simon Kirke

Why it's great:

Simon lays down the ultimate four-on-the-floor heavy rock beat, emphasising the power of simplicity.

Where to find it: Fire And Water, 1970

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Rock And Roll - Led Zeppelin
Who played it? John Bonham

Why it's great:

The single most exciting drum intro ever still trips you up if you try to predict where the guitar riff comes in - simultaneously clever and monstrous.

Where to find it: Led Zeppelin IV, 1971

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Watching The Detectives - Elvis Costello
Who played it? Pete Thomas

Why it's great:

It is Pete Thomas's unique approach to a reggae groove that gives the track an edge that perfectly complements Elvis's jagged vocals – oh, and it has one of the greatest across-the-rhythm fills ever!

Where to find it: My Aim Is True, 1977

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Manic Depression - Jimi Hendrix Experience
Who played it? Mitch Mitchell

Why it's great:

Mitch brings his jazzy roots to the fore on this early Jimi Hendrix Experience 3/4 classic, sweeping the track along with an insistent ride pattern combined with snare/tom syncopations.

Where to find it: Are You Experienced, 1967

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
No One knows - Queens Of The Stone Age
Who played it? Dave Grohl

Why it's great:

Big Dave, back on the drums for the first time in years, attacks the Queens' song with enormous power - and the fills he drops in are astoundingly fast.

Where to find it: Songs For The Deaf, 2002

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Green Onions - Booker T And The MGs
Who played it? Al Jackson Jr

Why it's great

It's just so simple and yet so contagious. Quarter notes on the ride, solid as a rock and a deep, deep swing. It's much harder than it sounds.

Where to find it: The Very Best of Booker T and the MGs, 1994

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Soul Man (1967) - Sam And Dave
Who played it? Al Jackson Jr

Why it's great:

Swung 16th notes in the bass drum, then continuous eighths in the bridge. Not what you expect at all. Jackson puts the funk into soul.

Where to find it: The Best Of Sam and Dave, 1969

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Longview - Green Day
Who played it? Tre Cool

Why it's great:

Displaying rare self-restraint through the tribal pounding of the verses, Cool hit the 'Longview' chorus like a bull ram-raiding a china shop. Masturbation might have lost its fun, but this hasn't.

Where to find it: Dookie, 1994

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Go - Pearl Jam
Who played it? Dave Abbruzzese

Why it's great:

Mr Abbruzzese didn't survive long with Pearl Jam, but his playing on Vs is terrific. The pile-driving power of 'Go' sets the tone for the whole of the album.

Where to find it: Vs, 1993

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Davidian - Machine Head
Who played it? Chris Kontos

Why it's great:

Because the drums deliver one of the greatest opening salvos of any metal album, ever, that's why! And the fill at 1:01 never fails to raise a smile…

Where to find it: Burn My Eyes, 1994

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine - James Brown
Who played it? John 'Jabo' Starks

Why it's great:

The ultimate JB track? New boy Bootsy Collins's stuttering funk bass is the star, but Jabo's relentless, hypnotic drum pattern nails it perfectly.

Where to find it: Funk Power 1970: A Brand New Thang, 1970

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Scentless Apprentice - Nirvana
Who played it? Dave Grohl

Why it's great:

Another masterful performance from Mr Grohl in a song built around his drumming. His massive authority is achieved without overplaying - the mark of a true great.

Where to find it: In Utero, 1993

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Babylon Sisters - Steely Dan
Who played it: Bernard Purdie

Why it's great:

The Purdie shuffle. A delicate, spacious groove which, combined with the Bonham's 'Fool In The Rain', formed the basis for Jeff Porcaro's equally legendary 'Rosanna'.

Where to find it: Gaucho, 1980

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover - Paul Simon
Who played it? Steve Gadd

Why it's great:

A firm favourite among drummers, Gadd's inimitable pattern carries the song, a snare roll with accents on the bass drum and hi-hat off-beats, showcasing his intensely musical approach to drumming.

Where to find it: Still Crazy After All These Years, 1975

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
The Wolf Is Loose - Mastodon
Who played it? Brann Dailor

Why it's great:

A technical thrash metal beat with an intricate intro and big fat fills everywhere, Brann Dailor's work is exemplary here - as it always is. A frightening new talent...

Where to find it: Blood Mountain, 2006

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Hot For Teacher - Van Halen
Who played it? Alex Van Halen

Why it's great:

We'd heard the double bass drum shuffl e before with Cobham's 'Quadrant 4' and Simon Phillips' 'Space Boogie' but Alex's powerhouse approach to rock shuffles brought it to the mainstream.

Where to find it: 1984, 1984

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Dance With the Devil - Cozy Powell
Who played it? Cozy Powell

Why it's great:

Cozy enjoyed the first of three hit singles in the '70s, thanks to an exuberant, clearly defined dance rhythm incorporating the entire kit.

Where to find it: Dance With the Devil

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Chameleon - Herbie
Who played it? Harvey Mason

Why it's great:

Driving fours on the hi-hat and that shoulder shrugging snare on the 'and' of two. It's no wonder that Headhunters is the biggest-selling jazzfunk album of all time.

Where to find it: Headhunters, 1973

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Fools Gold - The Stone Roses
Who played it? Alan 'Reni' Wren

Why it's great:

A genius in a fly fishing hat who The Stone Roses acknowledged as their only natural musician, Reni could have walked the audition into any funk line-up. Instead, he threw his hand in with Manchester's finest, supplementing their 1989 high-water mark with loose-limbed off-beats, funky rim shots and seamless dynamic shifts. Still the only indie tune you can really dance to…

Where to find it: Turns Into Stone, 1992

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Walking On The Moon - The Police
Who played it? Stewart Copeland

Why it's great:

In a radical break from rock drumming orthodoxy, Copeland demonstrates his creative powers to the max during a bravura percussion performance, almost as captivating as Sting's vocals on this atmospheric 1980 hit. Cross-sticking snare rhythms, a pulsating bass drum and ticking hi-hats create a sophisticated reggae revolution.

Where to find it: Regatta De Blanc, 1979

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Who played it? Chad Smith

Why it's great:

It's what all funk-rock drumming should sound like – swaggering, groovy and dripping with attitude. This is one of Chad'n'Flea's finest moments; the interplay between them is spot-on.

Where to find it: Blood Sugar Sex Magik, 1991

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
Who played it? John Bonham

Why it's great:

Vintage Bonham with the usual elements of intuitive feel, irresistible groove, musicality, power and poise all present and favourably high in the mix.

Where to find it: Led Zeppelin II, 1969

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Fire - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Who played it? Mitch Mitchell

Why it's great:

Fusing elements of jazz and rock, Mitchell plays manic and spirited improvised four-bar phrases, creating a dialogue between his kick/snare and Hendrix's guitar and vocals.

Where to find it: Are You Experienced, 1967

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Paradise City - Guns N' Roses
Who played it? Steven Adler

Why it's great:

The beats are epic and overblown in the intro, swaggering and greasy in the main and then go doubletime-gonzo at the end. What's not to like?

Where to find it: Appetite For Destruction, 1987

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley
Who played it? DJ Fontana

Why it's great:

Fontana took the rhythm and blues shuffle, accented the second and fourth beats of the bar and created a sound that shook the whole world.

Where to find it: Jailhouse Rock, 1957

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Honky Tonk Women - The Rolling Stones
Who played it? Charlie Watts

Why it's great:

Put a stethoscope to Watts' chest and you'll hear the Honky Tonk Women beat. As deft and unflappable as the man himself, this cowbell-assisted groove epitomised his personality and drumming style.

Where to find it: Forty Licks, 2002

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden
Who played it? Matt Cameron

Why it's great:

Who else but Matt Cameron can play rock this slow and make it feel so good? It's the space between the notes that make Matt's beats gut-wrenchingly dramatic.

Where to find it: Superunknown, 1994

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
War Pigs - Black Sabbath
Who played it? Bill Ward

Why it's great:

You try playing that simple hi-hat sequence in front of 100,000 people without missing a beat. Remember, if the hi-hats stick, you're dead.

Where to find it: Paranoid, 1970

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Chop Suey! - System Of A Down
Who played it? John Dolmayan

Why it's great:

Stopping and starting a beat with millisecond precision is hard. Playing with maximum force is hard too. Doing both at the same time is really bloody hard.

Where to find it: Toxicity, 2001

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Rock Steady - Aretha Franklin
Who played it? Bernard Purdie

Why it's great:

Purdie's funk percolates with the bass line, giving emphasis to the straight eighth notes on the hi-hat, which opens, Stubblefield-style, on the upbeat before each backbeat.

Where to find it: Young, Gifted And Black, 1972

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Oakland Stroke - Tower Of Power
Who played it? David Garibaldi

Why it's great:

The professor of funk's craziest beat. Ridiculous on paper, but somehow he makes all those impossible ghost notes groove. And who knows where the 'one' is?!

Where to find it: Back To Oakland, 1974

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Sexy MF - Prince
Who played it? Michael Bland

Why it's great:

Bland is super bad, James Brown-style, with his punctuating snare drum accents, subtle ghosting and his smoking syncopated 16th-note bass drum pattern.

Where to find it: Symbol, 1992

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Midlife Crisis - Faith No More
Who played it? Mike 'Puffy' Bordin

Why it's great:

Showcasing the perfect ringing snare in the intro and nailing a beat of utmost solidity throughout, Puffy proves his genius - again - in the best band ever.

Where to find it: Angel Dust, 1992

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Come Together - The Beatles
Who played it? Ringo Starr

Why it's great:

Rising above John Lennon's jibe that he "wasn't even the best drummer in The Beatles", Ringo Starr chose this Abbey Road highlight to break out with a barrage of swampy rolls. A generation of aspirant drummers duly came together…

Where to find it? Abbey Road, 1969

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Sunshine Of Your Love - Cream
Who played it? Ginger Baker

Why it's great:

Mr Baker threw his rhythmic impulses into reverse on Cream's biggest hit, when he emphasised the onbeat and unleashed those Red Indian-style war drums. From a stomping introduction Ginger set a terrific pace, locking together with guitar and bass, emphasising the vital role of drums in any truly creative group setting.

Where to find it? Disraeli Gears, 1967

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
Who played it? Stevie Wonder

Why it's great:

Superstition is instantly recognisable just from the opening drum break, performed by Stevie himself. His drumming is loose and fluid with a fat, soulful sound.

Where to find it: Talking Book, 1972

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Sunday Bloody Sunday - U2
Who played it? Larry Mullen Jr

Why it's great:

Played to a click track and recorded at the foot of a stairwell, Mullen's military tattoo sounded like the marching jackboots of the Irish Republican Army. Just try to imagine the song without it…

Where to find it: War, 1983

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Quadrant 4 - Billy Cobham
Who played it? Billy Cobham

Why it's great:

Cobham's starburst of crashing cymbals, booming tom toms and furiously fast double bass drum beat still astounds the drumming fraternity with its groundbreaking kit dominance...

Where to find it: Spectrum, 1973

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Lust For Life - Iggy Pop
Who played it? Hunt Sales

Why it's great:

Thanks to Ewan McGregor racing to avoid the fuzz in Trainspotting, everyone knows how gripping this song's drum intro is. A barrage of toms and big, reverb-laden snare, 'Lust For Life' sounds like '50s rock'n'roll injected with speed and run through the '70s punk blender.

Where to find it: Lust For Life, 1977

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
We Will Rock You - Queen
Who played it? Roger Taylor

Why it's great:

By multitracking huge kick-drums and hand claps, Queen created a football-terrace anthem that has penetrated all musical genres. Chad Smith played it live; Ice Cube sampled it; and Queen themselves used to perform a bizarre, 'punk' version – which lacked the balls of the original by a long shot.

Where to find it: News Of The World, 1977

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Blue Monday - New Order
Who played it? An Oberheim DMX drum machine

Why it's great:

Unless you're Dave Lombardo or Gene Hoglan, you won't be able to play the warp-speed kick-drum riff that opens 'Blue Monday', so don't try. And even if you could, you'd never achieve the super-gated sound and separation achieved by Mr Oberheim on this classic track, which brought synthpop to the masses.

Where to find it: Singles, 1983

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Good Times, Bad Times - Led Zeppelin
Who played it? John Bonham

Why it's great:

The gaps between Jimmy Page's opening guitar stabs were a playground for Bonzo, and he used them to tickle the bass drum, pet the hi-hat and take the toms outside for a good kicking.

Where to find it: Led Zeppelin, 1969

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
One - Metallica
Who played it? Lars Ulrich

Why it's great:

The use of unison sextuplets between a wall of guitars and Lars' aggressively EQ'd kick drums redefined the use of double bass drums in metal.

Where to find it: …And Justice For All, 1988

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Roxanne - The Police
Who played it? Stewart Copeland

Why it's great:

Copeland blended punk and reggae influences to create a sound that was uniquely his own. In 'Roxanne' his hi-hat flourishes add texture to the groove.

Where to find it: Outlandos D'Amour, 1978

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Rosanna - Toto
Who played it? Jeff Porcaro

Why it's great:

It sounds so simple but it's so not! Few can match Porcaro for feel and this enduring pop-rock classic showcases his stunning touch wonderfully.

Where to find it: Toto IV, 1982

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Raining Blood - Slayer
Who played it? Dave Lombardo

Why it's great:

Tracks like this earned Lombardo his reputation as king of thrash metal double bass drums. But there's more to Dave than athletic footwork. 'Raining Blood' sees him punctuate the sinister, intertwining harmony guitar intro with canon-like accents and, when the track kicks, he strikes a balance between heaviness and groovaciousness.

Where to find it: Reign In Blood, 1986

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Cold Sweat - James Brown
Who played it? Clyde Stubblefield

Why it's great:

The song that started funk, 'Cold Sweat' would be nothing without Stubblefield's drums holding the tune together. The entire band follows his rhythm, effectively playing the melody line as percussion. "Give the drummer some!" shouts Brown, prompting Stubblefield to break it down, which he does without ever dropping the groove.

Where to find it: Cold Sweat, 1967

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Ballroom Blitz – The Sweet
Who played it? Mick Tucker

Why it's great:

This memorable slice of glam rock is powered from start to finish by the superb drumming of Mick Tucker. Crisp, smooth, tight and very moreish…

Where to find it: Greatest Hits, 2005

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Smells like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
Who played it? Dave Grohl

Why it's great:

A childhood spent pounding pillows with marching batons in his bedroom finally paid off for Grohl in 1991, when the drummer announced his arrival into our lives with a vicious bass and snare intro that dragged 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' along by its hair. Respect to the Foos, but they've never thrilled us like Grohl's debut behind the kit…

Where to find it: Nevermind, 1991

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Sing, Sing, Sing - The Benny Goodman Orchestra
Who played it? Gene Krupa

Why it's great:

The definitive sound of the swing era, 'Sing, Sing, Sing' features the fi rst extended drum break in recorded music. Gene Krupa pounds out the unmistakeable beat on his floor tom in a frenzy of pure joy. 'Sing, Sing, Sing' was a smash hit and made Krupa the first superstar drummer.

Where to find it: Sing, Sing, Sing, 1936

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who
Who played it? Keith Moon

Why it's great:

There's just something so right about the unison of guitar power chords and Moonie's crashing stabs of noise in 'Won't Get Fooled Again'. It still sounds fresh and tingles the spine today. From the driving verse backbeats to clattering fi lls when the vocals leave space, this is Moon at his most energetic.

Where to find it: Who's Next, 1971

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Back In Black - AC/DC
Who played it? Phil Rudd

Why it's great:

The undisputed master of the backbeat, Phil Rudd never played a note that wasn't absolutely essential. His style is based around locking the drums in with the guitars to create a sound that is incredibly heavy but always musical. 'Back In Black' showcases Rudd's power and economy of expression.

Where to find it: Back In Black, 1980

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Take Five - Dave Brubeck
Who played it? Joe Morello

Why it's great:

The simple insistence of 'Take Five' helped bring jazz to the masses in the late '50s – it was all over US radio at a time when rock'n'roll was taking hold. Joe Morello is criminally overlooked as a drummer, but his economy and swing here put him firmly on the map.

Where to find it: Time Out, 1959

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
Cissy Strut - The Meters
Who played it? Zigaboo Modeliste

Why it's great:

Cissy Strut captures the essence of New Orleans funk with Ziggy's irresistible syncopation and patented second-line rhythms, emphasising the last half-beat of the bar. Inspired by the marching jazz bands of the city that played in funeral processions, Ziggy's drumming is guaranteed to make people move their feet.

Where to find it: The Meters, 1969

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
When The Levee Breaks - Led Zeppelin
Who played it? John Bonham

Why it's great:

It's a combination of astonishing, visceral performance and incredible sound. The foot-of-the stairwell placement of Bonzo's kit gives the drums that unmatched depth – and you can feel the compressors straining under the force of his devastating right foot in particular. The blues never sounded more badass – and samplers across the world are forever grateful.

Where to find it: Led Zeppelin IV, 1971

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100 greatest drum beats of all time
The Funky Drummer Parts 1 & 2 - James Brown
Who played it? Clyde Stubblefield

Why it's great:

"I want everyone to lay out and let the drummer go!" Thus James Brown sings to his faithful drummer who unleashes one of the most sampled beats of all time. Deceptively laidback, Clyde's innovative hi-hat, bass and snare drum patterns from 1969 set a pattern for funk for decades to come.

Where to find it: In The Jungle Groove compilation, 1986

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