The 50 Most Important Drummers of All Time -- Drum Magazine

Nacci

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The most influential guy on me coming up,besides the obvious ones, was Steve Ferrone. When I saw him playing on the Clapton 24 Nights DVD with East and Phillinganes I thought he was the coolest, baddest drummer I had ever seen and would have given just about anything to be able to play like him.

That’s influential so here is a shout out to Steve Ferrone who I never see on these lists.



 

dcrigger

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Just because someone isnt famous doesnt mean they cant be influential. There is no way you can no how influential any one particular drummer has been unless you set up some kind of actual scientific query (cue zenstat here). Who people mention in drum magazines is a very small percentage of the overall population of drummers. There could be some drummer unbeknownst to you who has had a vast and significant influence.
Huh? How does that work???

A drummer that's had "vast and significant influence" that isn't well known? (I didn't say famous) Again, how does that work? For influence to be vast and significant - then it would touch many people.... and at least, some of those people would talk about it. And if you're actually talking about "significant" - then it will have touched numbers of known, established players... who again would talk about it. (It's like the #1 interview question - "Who are your influences?" and almost always makes up one paragraph of most drummers bios).

Sorry - but I get the concept that the greatest drummer in the world may be playing unknown to anyone in his mother's basement. But for someone to have "vast and significant influence" and be relatively unknown makes no sense. At least, not to me.
 

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Huh? How does that work???

A drummer that's had "vast and significant influence" that isn't well known? (I didn't say famous) Again, how does that work? For influence to be vast and significant - then it would touch many people.... and at least, some of those people would talk about it. And if you're actually talking about "significant" - then it will have touched numbers of known, established players... who again would talk about it. (It's like the #1 interview question - "Who are your influences?" and almost always makes up one paragraph of most drummers bios).

Sorry - but I get the concept that the greatest drummer in the world may be playing unknown to anyone in his mother's basement. But for someone to have "vast and significant influence" and be relatively unknown makes no sense. At least, not to me.
Thanks, David.

Saved me some typing....

Apparently we are so "woke" nowadays that unknown drummers with no catalog of work should have made it to the "most important drummers of all time" list....

Would be funny if not so pathetic.

*sigh*
 
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multijd

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Huh? How does that work???

A drummer that's had "vast and significant influence" that isn't well known? (I didn't say famous) Again, how does that work? For influence to be vast and significant - then it would touch many people.... and at least, some of those people would talk about it. And if you're actually talking about "significant" - then it will have touched numbers of known, established players... who again would talk about it. (It's like the #1 interview question - "Who are your influences?" and almost always makes up one paragraph of most drummers bios).

Sorry - but I get the concept that the greatest drummer in the world may be playing unknown to anyone in his mother's basement. But for someone to have "vast and significant influence" and be relatively unknown makes no sense. At least, not to me.
How about a great teacher? As in someone who has great influence but is unknown. How do you measure influence? Popularity? Some significant contribution?
 
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BennyK

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Check the catalogue of preferred loops and samples in today's studios and you'll find it fairly easy to connect their creators. .

Originators are chronologically simple to position . Countless Swiss bank accounts owe their existence to Starks and Stubblefield .

It used to be that you heard something on the radio and then shortly afterwards on the FM dial . Next thing you know those licks were appearing onstage at your local hotspot when bands covered the tunes .

Key Led Zeppelin numbers would indicate the level of a band's proficiency , for example . Around here it was also hitting the figures in Chicago songs , especially the bass drum against quarters on 25 or 6 to Four . Mitchell's work with Hendrix kept the bar fairly high etc etc . It separated the sheep from the goats .

It is also a generational thing - big band drummers would be shedding and trying to cop licks off of whoever came up with newer challenges .

Who knows what the " Philly Lick " is ? ..... stuff like that . Klook is every jazz drummers grand dad , as Papa Jo and Chick was his . Curiously, 24/7 IT geeks have yet to convincingly digitize jazz drumming .

Articulation and performance of the academic side of things put some drummers in in the spotlight and pronounced them as leaders and innovators . Steve Gadd, Tony Williams owe a lot to Alan Dawson . Freddy Gruber , Stanley Spector are like Moses to big names we're more familiar with . They in turn crossed new thresholds on the backs of Jim Chapin, Ted Reed, George Stone .
 
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dcrigger

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How about a great teacher? As in someone who has great influence but is unknown. How do you measure influence? Popularity? Some significant contribution?
Influence = popularity? Of course not. Being well known is no indicator of influence. Someone isn't influential simply from being known or popular. Which doesn't change the fact that someone that is significantly influential will be significantly known. You can't be influential to hordes of people and stay anonymously under the radar.

There seems to be a concept that because the people on the list are well known, they must be on the list because they are well known. I think there is an argument recognizing the influence on drumming on most every entry on that list - and as a student of drumming for 50+ years, I'm not at all surprised that I recognize every last name. Most every drummer should - again not because they are popular, but because of their varied contributions to our art.

Is this list definitive? Of course, not. No list is. And there are certainly arguments to be made on the edges of the list - but there's been a lot of significant drummers and fifty is a relatively small number.

But do I believe there is some drummer that should be counted in that fifty that few of us has ever heard of? "The Unknown Major Influence?" Of course not.
 

multijd

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As far as women drummers go - name one woman drummer that figured significantly in the history of the drum set. I'm not talking about a known player - or one that many like - but rather an inspirational game changer. Which granted some of the 50 on this list aren't really either - yet most are. I can't think of any... again can you?
Karen Carpenter. Laugh all you want but I bet a lot of people who listened to pop music in the 70’s were inspired by her. Oh and yes Sheila E. Maybe even Terry Lynne Carrington. .
 
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dcrigger

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Karen Carpenter. Laugh all you want but I bet a lot of people who listened to pop music in the 70’s were inspired by her. Oh and yes Sheila E. Maybe even Terry Lynne Carrington. .
Not laughing at all - I'm sure Karen was the inspiration for many to take up drumming... so I'm sure was Peter Criss.... Mickey Dolenz served that function for some as well. As probably Cubby Obrien did for those of us that grew up with The Mouseketeers.

But now aren't you simply equating "significant influence" as exposure... a really close cousin to popularity IMO.

I believe the distinction between "the first drummer I saw on TV that inspired me to take up the drums" and "a drummer that made a difference to drumming... a difference recognized by huge numbers of drummers".

Put another way - does Terry Lynn or Sheila E list Karen as one of "their" influences, an influence that shaped their drumming. Beyond simply being "Oh there's a example that a girl can play the drums.... And I'm not wanting to diminish how affirming that example might have been - but does it really have much to do with drumming? Or anything to do with drumming?

So are you really saying that Karen Carpenter should take one of those 50 slots because she may have inspired some people to play... but no one that I've ever heard or read ever mentions her as one of their drumming influences????
 

multijd

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Not laughing at all - I'm sure Karen was the inspiration for many to take up drumming... so I'm sure was Peter Criss.... Mickey Dolenz served that function for some as well. As probably Cubby Obrien did for those of us that grew up with The Mouseketeers.

But now aren't you simply equating "significant influence" as exposure... a really close cousin to popularity IMO.

I believe the distinction between "the first drummer I saw on TV that inspired me to take up the drums" and "a drummer that made a difference to drumming... a difference recognized by huge numbers of drummers".

Put another way - does Terry Lynn or Sheila E list Karen as one of "their" influences, an influence that shaped their drumming. Beyond simply being "Oh there's a example that a girl can play the drums.... And I'm not wanting to diminish how affirming that example might have been - but does it really have much to do with drumming? Or anything to do with drumming?

So are you really saying that Karen Carpenter should take one of those 50 slots because she may have inspired some people to play... but no one that I've ever heard or read ever mentions her as one of their drumming influences????
Im not sure I even know what this discussion is about anymore. The OP was 50 most important drummers. I take issue with ”most important” because I dont see how anyone can determine this without some kind of study. Of course it is just a dumb magazine article and this discussion hasnt much value. The list is fine and if you arent popular enough to make lists like this or have famous people mention you then you probably aren’t very important or having much of an influence. I understand now.
 

Johnny K

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I have tended to ignore such lists after Melody Maker in UK many years ago had Elvis polled as best jazz guitarist .....
Good for them. F! Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Django Rinehart. What do the French know about jazz anyway?
 

dcrigger

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Im not sure I even know what this discussion is about anymore. The OP was 50 most important drummers. I take issue with ”most important” because I dont see how anyone can determine this without some kind of study. Of course it is just a dumb magazine article and this discussion hasnt much value. The list is fine and if you arent popular enough to make lists like this or have famous people mention you then you probably aren’t very important or having much of an influence. I understand now.

Cool - because yep, that's about it. That's pretty much the way historical musicology works... and kinda always has. Any study which still just boil down to large amounts of subjectivity - who do you ask? What do ask? How you measure responses? Because there's nothing concrete or absolute to measure...

So the best we can do is to make educated guesses - and then argue and discuss how list A comes up with different answers then list B - and what we personally would do instead. So does it all being that subjective invalidate the practice? No I don't think so - because with enough opinions, there is the ability to come closer to consensus. Which I believe is close enough for the endeavor to serve it's maximum usefulness. Which is really just an attempt to answer the question - "I want to know a lot about drummer - which drummers and their works should I be aware of?"

There's no prize for getting on such a list. IMO it's not a contest or an awards show. Thus no real unfairness when someone is omitted. As long as, IMO the list does a reasonable job of helping drummers with that "who should I be aware of?" question.

For me - I thought as this type of list goes, it was more informed than most. Which made me approach it less from "how screwed up is this?" outlook to more of a "Hmm, did they list anyone that I've inadvertently skipped over". Meaning I was able to take it seriously.. take it as a chance to maybe learn something... which isn't at all to say I took it as definitive. Personally I don't hold any such lists as definitive - no matter who creates them.

Anyway - on to other things...
 

Vistalite Black

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Cool - because yep, that's about it. That's pretty much the way historical musicology works... and kinda always has. Any study which still just boil down to large amounts of subjectivity - who do you ask? What do ask? How you measure responses? Because there's nothing concrete or absolute to measure...

So the best we can do is to make educated guesses - and then argue and discuss how list A comes up with different answers then list B - and what we personally would do instead. So does it all being that subjective invalidate the practice? No I don't think so - because with enough opinions, there is the ability to come closer to consensus. Which I believe is close enough for the endeavor to serve it's maximum usefulness. Which is really just an attempt to answer the question - "I want to know a lot about drummer - which drummers and their works should I be aware of?"

There's no prize for getting on such a list. IMO it's not a contest or an awards show. Thus no real unfairness when someone is omitted. As long as, IMO the list does a reasonable job of helping drummers with that "who should I be aware of?" question.

For me - I thought as this type of list goes, it was more informed than most. Which made me approach it less from "how screwed up is this?" outlook to more of a "Hmm, did they list anyone that I've inadvertently skipped over". Meaning I was able to take it seriously.. take it as a chance to maybe learn something... which isn't at all to say I took it as definitive. Personally I don't hold any such lists as definitive - no matter who creates them.

Anyway - on to other things...
Surely, there's a very influential drummer under age 50 somewhere on the planet today, though. Isn't it also weird to omit true metal drummers. Who inspired today's Gospel chops players?
 

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