Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Drummers That Are Performing Live In 2016
It was released the day before April Fools’ but it still had some jokes in it. Meg White ranked ahead of Larry Mullen, Jr. and Charlie Watts placed outside the top ten.
I’m talking about Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time. It was published on their web site on March 31, 2016.
As they mentioned in the final paragraph of their introduction, it’s actually the 100 greatest pop and rock drummers of all-time.
Now, I’ve written a lot of articles about music and I’ll admit I’m not afraid to bite off more than I can chew or argue positions that are a bit out of my comfort zone. When it concerns popular music, I’m not afraid to give an opinion.
Yet, the 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time makes me ceremoniously brush off my hands and excuse myself from opining. There’s no way I can effectively parse this list.
I have no idea if #80 Steve Jordan is properly placed behind #79 Mick Avory or if #47 Dave Lombardo and #46 Dave Garibaldi are slotted too high or too low.
Ranking drummers is nearly impossible. They are taken for granted. They’re not asked to be “lead” and are usually not up “front.” They keep time and maybe, every once in a filler track, they get to do a solo.
Unless they are one of the few legendary session musicians, members of a hall of fame band, or can regularly “wow” fans in the percussion-stifling genres of rock and pop then drummers are fairly anonymous.
Still, your average rock fan (myself included) knows enough about drumming to know if Rolling Stone’s list is well thought out or a bunch of rubbish.
Overall, it’s a fairly solid list. There are enough noodle scratchers to get you the right amount of angry and enough “good picks” to satiate your rock snobbery.
John Bonham is #1. Keith Moon is #2. Ginger Baker is #3. Neil Pert is #4. And George Hurley actually made the list.
As for the noodle scratchers: Tommy Lee is not only included but he’s #85 and David Grohl is probably a bit too high at #27.
Not making the list are Don Henley, Nick Mason, Lars Ulrich, Mike Joyce, Peter Criss, Chris Frantz, and Paul Cook.
Also, the list isn’t the top 100, it’s the top 103. Three of the entries are actually two drummers.
>>Allman Brothers Band’s drummers Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson come in at #71.
>>Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann comprise pick #34.
>>And at #6 are James Brown’s drummers, John "Jabo" Starks and Clyde Stubblefield.
The first question fans will have when learning about the existence of Rolling Stone’s list is who is number one? We’ve already answered that. The second question they’ll have is “Where is Ringo Starr?”
Ringo Starr is #14.
While Starr and his musicianship have been the butt of a lot of jokes, he is, without a doubt, one of the greatest drummers of all time. I’d put him in the top ten but I’ll take #14.
Where the list really shines is placing John Bonham at number one. His work with Led Zeppelin is phenomenal. There are several Led Zeppelin songs you wish you could mute the other musicians and just listen to him. That’s saying something since Bonham’s Zeppelin bandmates were Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones.
Bonham is the best rock drummer we’ve ever heard.
Of course, the best way to experience a virtuoso drummer is live and in person. Fortunately several of the top 100 are on this road this year.
Below, are 15 of Rolling Stone’s top 100 drummers who will be playing live sometime in the 2016…
#10 Stewart Copeland – Former Police drummer has a few dates planned including several with Jon Kimura Parker & Co.
#14 Ringo Starr – Ringo is touring the United States this June with his All-Starr Band.
#18 Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste – Zigaboo is a busy drummer in 2016. Check out his web site for more details.
#20 Bernard Purdie – Look for Purdie at the Newport Vermont Jazz Festival on July 8, 9, and 10.
#21 Ian Paice – Paice is touring with his band Deep Purple. In May and June, they have dates scattered all over the world.
#27 Dave Grohl – Doubt you’ll see him behind the drums but a rumor has Grohl replacing Brian Johnson’s as AC/DC’s front man for a string of upcoming U.S. dates.
#28 Carmen Appice – Appice will play with King Kobra on June 4 in Las Vegas.
#34 Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann – This June and July you can catch Hart and Kreutzmann performing live in Dead & Company.
#36 Steve Smith – All summer Smith will be out and about with his band Journey.
#40 Jack DeJohnette – Look for DeJohnette in Santa Fe on May 22, Northridge on May 26, and Baton Rouge on June 3.
#41 Carter Beauford – This year, as member of Dave Matthews Band, Beauford will be performing live from May 7 to Sept 4.
#46 David Garibaldi – Garibaldi and Tower of Power have 27 shows planned for the rest of the year.
#49 Vinnie Colaiuta – Colaiuta will be playing with Sting during his June and July tour of the United States.
#53 Jimmy Chamberlin – Chamberlin rejoined The Smashing Pumpkins in 2015. In April of 2016, the band will launch a tour of North America.
#61 Clem Burke – Burke joined Blondie in 1975 and has been with them ever since. Blondie has a handful of dates scheduled in 2016.