The Top 50 Drummers of All-Time
Last week, Stylus ran their 50 Greatest Drummers of All-Time list. I handled John Densmore of The Doors and Keith Moon of The Who, two of my personal favorites. My complete ballot looked like this:
1. Keith Moon-The Who
2. John Bonham-Led Zeppelin
3. Charlie Watts-Rolling Stones
4. John Densmore-The Doors
5. Ginger Baker-Cream
6. Topper Headon-The Clash
7. Levon Helm-The Band
8. Mitch Mitchell-Jimi Hendrix Experience
9. Bill Ward-Black Sabbath
10. Chris Frantz-Talking Heads
11. Hugo Burnham-Gang of 4
12. Butch Trucks-Allman Bros.
13. Dave Grohl-Nirvana
14. Glen Kotchke-Wilco
15. Ringo Starr-The Beatles
John Densmore: The Real Johnny DramaNo great drummer was more patient than John Densmore. Steeped in improvisatory jazz, Densmore was always too wise to overpower the Doors’ slow drugged dirges, keeping clockwork time until pouncing at the right moment with a perfect pounding rain of hard drums. If the leading cliché states that the drummer is the backbone of every good band, instead, Densmore was the Doors’ heart: the only thing stopping them from appearing on every toothpaste commercial, the only one willing to stand up to Morrison’s drunken nonsensical tirades, the only one that could really Play. Listen to “The End,” not for its 10th grade Oedipal poetry, but for Densmore’s dynamic mastery. Drum-sticks like scalpels, carving the song out of an eerie yawning silence. Oh yeah, and he did it all without a bassist.
MP3: The Doors-"The End"
MP3: The Doors-"When the Music's Over"
MP3: The Doors: "The Wasp (Texas Radio & the Big Beat)"
Keith Moon: BEAT DRUMS! BEAT DRUMS!
If Keith Moon didn’t exist, he would’ve had to have been invented. Hell-bent on self-destruction, Moon embodied rock star cliché down to the last wrecked drum kit, shattered bottle of whisky & Rolls-Royce in the swimming pool. Known to pack his Premier double bass kit with explosives and the occasional goldfish, Moon’s whirling dervish attack could only have been the by-product of a savant-like gift for music coupled with a salient streak of sociopathy. With impossibly fast hands and a preternatural ear for blending surf rock riffs, rhythm and blues jags and a little Gene Krupa, if Moon wasn’t the best drummer in rock history, he’s certainly its most original. The next Keith Moon will never exist. If he did, they’d have medicated him by age 3 and sent him to a separate school away from the rest of the children.Download:
MP3: The Who-"Young Man's Blues"
MP3: The Who-"I Can See for Miles"
MP3: The Who-"The Ox"