The 25 Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time - part 2

27th Feb 2013 | 16:34

The 25 Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time - part 2
The Greatest Rhythm Section of All Time
The top ten, as voted by you!

Here's our rundown of the Top Ten Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time has voted by you!

To see who you voted in from 25th to 11th position, click here!

For more on our four-stringed rhythm partners, check out MusicRadar's Bass Expothat runs 27-28 Feb. It's an online bass extravaganza featuring exclusive interviews with the world's best bassists, product demos, giveaways, tutorials and more.

The 25 Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time - part 2
Bill Ward & Geezer Butler
Black Sabbath

Simplicity was and is the key to Sabbath's heavy, heavy grooves. Think of 'Iron Man' for starters, with its simple low riff and kick-drum beat. That was what, through no small amount of skilled musicianship, Sabbath's rhythm section of Bill Ward and Geezer Butler brought to '70s hard rock. And things would never be the same again. Throughout Sabbath's career, while Ozzy was busy eating bats and stuff, Geezer provided the low-end for Tony Iommi's riffs and Bill Ward the irrepressible grooves which, effectively, invented heavy metal.

The 25 Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time - part 2
Ringo Starr & Paul McCartney
The Beatles

As every right thinking drummer knows, Ringo was great. His droll humour and friendly nature was a hit from the start, but his playing - always on the money and always for the song just got better as the band evolved. And he was considered the best drummer in Liverpool before he even became one of the Fab Four. Macca, with his distinctive left-handed Rickenbacker bass and melodic style copped from his hero James Jamerson, brought the role of the bass player to the fore, literally. Not many bass players before Paul had been a band's frontman too. Together, they kept The Beatles' rhythms both musical and solid.

The 25 Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time - part 2
Benny Benjamin & James Jamerson

Chances are, if it's a Motown classic from the ’60s, Motown house drummer Benny Benjamin and house bassist James Jamerson provided the sublime and massively influential grooves. Everything from 'My Girl' to 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' benefits from Benjamin's sublime touch in bringing the infectious, dynamic beats that became synonymous with the Motown sound, while Jamerson's playing is largely credited with expanding the role of the bass in modern music.

The 25 Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time - part 2
Nicko McBrain & Steve Harris
Iron Maiden

One of the most important and influential metal bands ever were always a bass-led affair thanks to the virtuosity of Steve Harris. With the arrival of Nicko McBrain – following the departure of original drummer Clive Burr – Maiden went from strength to strength. Nicko's galloping beats and fast right foot follow Harris's speedy bass riffs as the pair drive the thunderously rocking New Wave of British Heavy Metal onslaught.

The 25 Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time - part 2
Mike Portnoy & John Myung
Dream Theater

John Myung was always going to have his work cut out playing inevitable second-fiddle to the unstoppable drum juggernaut that was Portnoy in Dream Theater. Still, somewhere behind Portnoy's gargantuan kit, Myung was always doing his bass thing with impressive musicality and the chops necessary to compete with Mike's playing - at once mathematically complex and heavy metal as hell - drove the band with ingenuity, force and skill. Together with Myung they formed one of heavy music's most impressive rhythm sections.

The 25 Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time - part 2
Keith Moon & John Entwistle
The Who

Arguably in The Who, it was Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend who kept things in check - while the virtuosic John Entwistle and unpredictable Keith Moon played bass and drums like lead instruments. Still, there are few basslines more memorable and brilliant than Entwistle's run on 'My Generation', and indeed he stamped his personality over most of The Who's output, inspiring generations to see the bass guitar as something much more than a four-stringed pace-maker. Moon's fill-heavy, characterful drumming - whilst often seeming to teetering on the edge of a trainwreck, always, always came back in when it was meant to and made The Who an incredibly exciting band. Both were true, one-of-a-kind musicians.

The 25 Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time - part 2
Chad Smith & Flea
The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Few rock bands are as funky as the Chilis; even back when they were wearing socks on their privates, the LA funboys were refugees from George Clinton's Mothership. Flea's tight and inventive slap bass and melodic grooves have been perfectly complemented - from Mother's Milk onwards - by the great touch of funky monk Chad Smith on the kit, and they've been making rock fans move ever since.

The 25 Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time - part 2
Stewart Copeland & Sting
The Police
Stewart Copeland pretty much revolutionised drumming when he and his band The Police exploded onto the scene in the late '70s. Punk and reggae were fused with pop grooves and full-on rockers, all with Stewart's distinctive snare crack. Gordon Sumner, meanwhile, was more than just the bloke that was in Dune. Again covering all the Police's bases from punk to reggae to pop, Sting's lively technique followed Copeland's beats perfectly, the duo's playing never short of breathtakingly energetic.
The 25 Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time - part 2
John Bonham & John Paul Jones
Led Zeppelin

With their combination of power and groove, Led Zeppelin were always a rhythmically incredible band, due in no small part to the rhythmic partnership of John Bonham and John Paul Jones. Always tight, always grooving, the duo negotiated some of rock's most enduring songs.

John Paul Jones brought a love of Stax and Motown to bear on the blues-influenced hard rock, giving an unbelievable amount of groove to the likes of the very funky 'Ramble On', as well as being responsible for the shifting time signatures Led Zep tracks such as'Black Dog'. As such he was the perfect partner for John Bonham, whose inventive beats and innate sense of groove propelled the band way beyond blues-rock and into something incredible and lasting.With 10% of your votes, Bonzo and JPJ comfortably took second place.

The 25 Greatest Rhythm Sections of All Time - part 2
Neil Peart & Geddy Lee

Rock's foremost power trio have been locking in perfectly for 40 years, so it's no surprise you voted Messrs Peart and Lee the Number One rhythm section in huge numbers - almost 50% of the overall vote.With every new Rush album, Lee and Peart again push the envelope of what a power trio - in which the rhythm section often shines brightest - can accomplish in rock. Check out Rush's 'YYZ' live if you needed more proof!

Share this Article

Most Popular

Edition: UK
TopView classic version