10 Greatest Drummers That Have Passed Away

10 Greatest Drummers That Have Passed Away | Society Of Rock Videos

YouTube / CBC Music

They were known for their eccentricities, their unique styles, and their undeniable impact on music history.

Below, we honor the legacies of ten of the greatest drummers who have left us:

1. John Bonham
Considered one of the greatest rock drummers ever, Bonham’s powerful drumming on tracks like “Moby Dick” completely redefined the instrument’s role in rock music. Led Zeppelin disbanded after his death, a testament to his irreplaceable contribution to their sound.

2. Neil Peart
Rush’s drummer, Peart wasn’t just about power. His technical skills were legendary, and he incorporated unique percussion instruments like chimes and timpani to create complex and dynamic rhythms that perfectly complement Rush’s progressive rock anthems.

3. Ginger Baker
A major influence on rock and heavy metal drummers, Baker wasn’t afraid to push boundaries. He wasn’t just a rock powerhouse with Cream, but also a skilled jazz drummer who brought unexpected elements to his playing.

4. Keith Moon
The Who’s drummer, Moon, was a wild card behind the kit. His energetic and unpredictable style, often incorporating explosive fills and unorthodox techniques, added a chaotic energy that became a signature part of The Who’s sound.

5. Buddy Rich
Often considered the greatest jazz drummer ever, Rich wasn’t just a session musician. His virtuosity and showmanship were legendary, and his work with artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong helped elevate the role of drums in jazz music.

6. Gene Krupa
Krupa’s innovative drumming style, featuring a strong bass drum and the use of a cowbell, laid the groundwork for future generations of drummers. His work with Benny Goodman’s big band in the 1930s influenced countless rock stars who would come later.

7. Mitch Mitchell
Chosen through a lucky coin toss to join the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Mitchell’s improvisational skills were a perfect match for Hendrix’s groundbreaking guitar work. His energetic and creative drumming became an essential part of the band’s sound.

8. Tony Williams
A drumming prodigy, Williams began playing with jazz greats at a young age and later joined Miles Davis’s band at just 17. His innovative and complex style helped redefine drumming in the world of jazz fusion.

9. Hal Blaine
Nicknamed “The most recorded drummer in history,” Blaine wasn’t just a studio workhorse. He played with countless legendary artists including Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, and Frank Sinatra. His versatility and ability to adapt to different styles made him a highly sought-after session musician.

10. Dominic Joseph “D.J.” Fontana
An early rock and roll pioneer, Fontana played with Elvis Presley and helped create a drumming style that many would copy. His steady backbeat and innovative use of swing drumming laid the foundation for the rock and roll sound.

Don’t Miss Out! Sign up for the Latest Updates

Premium Partners

Society of Rock partner World War Wings
Society of Rock partner Daily Rock Box
Society of Rock partner Country Music Nation
Society of Rock partner Country Rebel
Society of Rock partner I Love Classic Rock
Society of Rock partner Rock Pasta

Interested in becoming a partner?

Contact us for more info.