Greatest Rock Drummers

Given the subject line many names come to mind such as  Ginger Baker, Keith Moon, Phil Collins and Carl Palmer but, is Neil Peart the greatest rock drummer of all time?
audiolabyrinth, I agree, most of the posters have not heard Mike Portnoy. He can do more with his feet than most of the posted drummers can do with their hands. Neal is good but pretty basic. Listen to some older Dream Theater with Mike and then listen to some Rush songs: Rush songs are basic in nature. Dream Theater changes tempo all the time and the drum rifts are complex in nature. Ian with Deep Purple is also very good and Bohnam was excellent. For posters that indicate Ringo and Charlie are good drummers don’t know what a good drummer is. I could teach somebody to play a Beatles song or a Rolling Stones song in very little time. It is very hard to duplicate Mike Portnoy even with many years experience 
There is a myth that states that when asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world, John Lennon laughed and said he's not even the best drummer in the Beatles.

Portnoy is amazing - so much so that he's had a hard time landing a gig with other players of his caliber and has been doing some pretty mundane stuff.
Ginger Baker will always be the King of Rock drummers, historically, heres why. The first drummer in history to use two bass drums was jazz drummer Louie Bellson which inspired Baker to use two bass drums around 1964. Prior to becoming a drummer, Pete "Ginger" Baker was a professional bicycle track racer, resulting in very powerful legs, which gave him the fastest speed out of any drummer in history when he would do high speed perfect bass drum rolls with his feet. His greatest drum solo ever was in February 1968 at the Winterland Auditorium in San Francisco. The solo, "Toad", wound up on Creams "Wheels of Fire" album which broke all records. The album was released in late June 1968, and six weeks later, in August, it rose to the number one selling album in the USA and was the first double album in history  to go platinum. Listen to "Toad", and towards the end of the solo his two feet go into such high speed bass rolls that is like two high speed race cars competing to the finish line. The album was a smash, knocking the hell out of Jimi Hendrix,
The Beatles, The Who and the Rolling Stones. Cream was untouchable. I saw Ginger Baker twice, with Blind Faith and in 1974 with his revised Air Force. As a former drummer for ten years, I was blown away as well as the crowd by what he did on his drum kit on stage while he was warming up with Blind Faith. Phew! While sitting on his drum stool, he took a drum stick in each hand and smacked them down hard on the tom tom's as he opened his hands, and the sticks soared above Ginger about ten feet in  twin perfect turns in a perfect pattern, when they landed back in his hands both tips were at the front of his hands. He did this very fast three times in a row and the audience couldn't stop clapping. Ginger treated each upper and lower tom set as musical notes where he would create a musical dialog with the toms creating the most unique drum patterns in history. With Buddy Rich, Neil Peart and all the others, they all played conventional style with fast, choppy rudiments, and great snare rolls. Zzzzzzz. All the same with those guys. Ginger is one of a kind, creating original musical percussion patterns that no one has achieved since. Creams' early '68 tour was such a smash that the Beatles begged Clapton to play on their White Album. Clapton did all the lead guitar work on two tracks, "While my Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Yer Blues".

"When Cream came to America they were like Viking's taking heads" 
   Mickey Hart, The Grateful Dead.

"What we accomplished as the Cream can never be bettered by anyone."
 Jack Bruce, 1991 


Ginger Baker for double bass drums.


Tommy Aldridge

Ansley Dunbar