The Best Drum Songs in Music History

Explore our curated list of the best drum songs in music history

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Drumming is the heartbeat of music, transcending genres and eras to create rhythms that resonate with listeners around the globe. From rock and pop to jazz and beyond, certain songs stand out for their extraordinary drum parts, showcasing the skill, creativity, and influence of their drummers. Here, we explore the 10 songs with the best drums, delving into why these tracks are exceptional and the masterminds behind the beats.

Our Top 10 Songs with the Best Drums in Music History

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1. “When the Levee Breaks” – Led Zeppelin (John Bonham)

John Bonham’s thunderous beats in “When the Levee Breaks” are a testament to his unparalleled power and technique. Recorded in a stairwell for its natural reverb, Bonham’s performance on this track is a masterclass in drum sound production, making it a staple reference for drummers and audio engineers alike.

Listen to this groove on Drumap app

2. “Tom Sawyer” – Rush (Neil Peart)

Neil Peart’s intricate drumming on “Tom Sawyer” showcases his technical prowess and innovative approach to drum composition. His ability to blend complex time signatures with a rock groove has inspired countless drummers, cementing the song’s place in drumming lore.

Listen to this groove on Drumap app

3. “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” – Paul Simon (Steve Gadd)

Steve Gadd’s drum intro in “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” is iconic, characterized by its distinctive snare drum pattern. Gadd’s groove and touch bring a level of sophistication and nuance to the track, highlighting the drummer’s role in shaping a song’s feel.

Listen to this groove on Drumap app

4. “Good Times Bad Times” – Led Zeppelin (John Bonham)

Once again, John Bonham proves his legendary status with the opening track of Led Zeppelin’s debut album. His use of the bass drum in “Good Times Bad Times” was revolutionary, demonstrating techniques that many drummers had not considered possible before.

Listen to this groove on Drumap app

5. “Rosanna” – Toto (Jeff Porcaro)

Jeff Porcaro’s “Rosanna shuffle” is a perfect blend of groove and technicality, making “Rosanna” one of the most celebrated drum tracks in music. Porcaro’s performance is a masterful display of feel and timing, serving as a study piece for drummers worldwide.

Listen to this groove on Drumap app

6. “Take Five” – Dave Brubeck Quartet (Joe Morello)

“Take Five” stands out in the jazz world for its unusual 5/4 time signature, with Joe Morello’s drum solo being a highlight of the track. Morello’s ability to maintain a smooth, flowing groove in an odd time signature is a testament to his skill and creativity.

Listen to this groove on Drumap app

7. “In the Air Tonight” – Phil Collins

Phil Collins’ drum break in “In the Air Tonight” is arguably one of the most memorable moments in pop music. The tension and release created by the build-up to the drum entrance have made it a defining moment in drum history.

Listen to this groove on Drumap app

8. “YYZ” – Rush (Neil Peart)

Another Rush track makes the list, thanks to Neil Peart’s exceptional work on “YYZ.” Inspired by the Morse code for Toronto’s Pearson Airport, the song is a showcase of Peart’s technical skills and musical genius, offering a complex rhythm that captivates listeners.

Listen to this groove on Drumap app

9. “The Black Page” – Frank Zappa (Terry Bozzio)

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Written by Frank Zappa for Terry Bozzio, “The Black Page” is known for its complexity and difficulty. Bozzio’s performance is a high mark in drumming, demonstrating incredible precision and stamina, and making it a rite of passage for advanced drummers.

10. “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)” – Benny Goodman (Gene Krupa)

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Gene Krupa’s energetic performance on “Sing, Sing, Sing” brought the drums to the forefront, showcasing the instrument’s potential as a lead voice in music. Krupa’s charisma and showmanship on this track have influenced generations of drummers.

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The Masters Behind the Drums

These 10 best songs for drums are not only remarkable for their memorable drum parts but also for the drummers who brought them to life. John Bonham’s power, Neil Peart’s precision, Steve Gadd’s feel, and Joe Morello’s inventiveness represent just a few facets of the vast world of drumming. Each drummer’s unique approach and style have contributed to the evolution of music and inspired countless individuals to take up the sticks.

The Impact on Music and Culture

These drum songs have transcended their original releases to become staples in music history, influencing not just drummers but musicians across all instruments. They have been covered, sampled, and revered in various musical contexts, underscoring the universal language of rhythm.

The best drum songs span genres and decades, but they all share one thing: a testament to the drummer’s artistry and the timeless appeal of a great groove. As we celebrate these iconic tracks and the drummers behind them, we’re reminded of the power of percussion to move, excite, and inspire. Drumming is not just about keeping time; it’s about expressing the very heartbeat of music.

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Hungry for more beats and the stories behind them? Don’t miss our feature on “The Best Drummers of All Time.” Learn about their groundbreaking songs, unique styles, and the beginnings of their drumming careers. Visit now to connect with the beats of history’s most celebrated drummers.

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