- 1. Led Zeppelin, ‘When The Levee Breaks
- 2. The Beatles, ‘Come Together’
- 3. The Meters, ‘Cissy Strut’
- 4. Metallica, ‘One’
- 5. The Who, ‘My Generation’
- 6. AC/DC, ‘Back in Black’
- 7. Slayer, ‘Raining Blood’
- 8. U2, ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’
- 9. Cream, ‘Toad’
- 10. Led Zeppelin, “Moby Dick”
- 11. Jimi Hendrix Experience, ‘Fire’
- 12. Steely Dan, ‘Aja’
- 13. Tool, ‘Ticks & Leeches’
- 14. King Crimson, ’21st Century Schizoid Man’
- 15.Emerson Lake & Palmer, ’”Karn Evil 9″
- 16. Rush, ‘YYZ’
- 17. Van Halen, ‘Hot for Teacher’
- 18. The White Stripes, ‘Seven Nation Army’
Drumming is an essential element of music that dates back to ancient times. It is the backbone of many music genres, adding rhythm, texture, and intensity to songs. It is not surprising, therefore, that there are many songs dedicated to drumming, showcasing the drummers’ skills and creativity. From rock to jazz, hip hop to world music, drumming has been a fundamental part of music composition. The beat and rhythm of a drum can create a powerful and unforgettable experience, evoking emotions and adding energy to a song.
In this article, we will explore the top 18 songs about drumming. We will take a look at some of the most popular songs that celebrate the drum, and the drummers who have left their mark on the music world. From classic rock anthems to contemporary pop hits, these songs showcase the power of the drum, and how it can take center stage in a song. So, whether you’re a drummer or a music lover, this list is sure to inspire you to feel the beat and appreciate the artistry of drumming.
1. Led Zeppelin, ‘When The Levee Breaks
Led Zeppelin’s ‘When The Levee Breaks’ is a classic drum song that has stood the test of time. The track’s thunderous drum intro sets the tone for the entire song, and the iconic drum beat is instantly recognizable. John Bonham’s drumming on this track is often regarded as one of the greatest drum performances of all time. The use of a unique microphone placement technique in the recording process, known as the “backward echo,” gives the drums a larger-than-life sound that is both powerful and unforgettable. The song’s subject matter is also significant, as it is a tribute to the victims of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, making the song even more poignant and meaningful.
2. The Beatles, ‘Come Together’
The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’ is a classic rock song with an unforgettable drum beat. Ringo Starr’s rhythmic and punchy drumming sets the tone for the entire song, driving the groove and laying the foundation for the rest of the band to build upon. The song’s iconic opening riff is a result of Starr’s drumming combined with John Lennon’s bluesy guitar riff. Throughout the song, Starr’s fills and accents add excitement and energy, keeping the listener engaged and entranced. The drum sound itself is unique, thanks to the use of a distinctive microphone placement technique, which results in a raw, powerful sound that perfectly suits the song’s gritty vibe. The overall effect is a drum track that perfectly complements the song’s lyrics about coming together and unity.
3. The Meters, ‘Cissy Strut’
The Meters’ “Cissy Strut” is a funky instrumental piece that features a captivating drumbeat. The song is notable for its syncopated rhythms, with the drummer Ziggy Modeliste laying down a steady, infectious groove. The opening drum break is instantly recognizable and has been sampled by numerous artists across different genres. The song’s upbeat tempo and driving rhythm make it a classic example of New Orleans funk, with each band member adding their unique flavor to the mix. The drumming on “Cissy Strut” is a standout feature, showcasing Modeliste’s skill and precision. The song’s popularity has endured since its release in 1969 and remains a staple in funk music today.
4. Metallica, ‘One’
Metallica’s “One” is a powerful and haunting drum song that tells the story of a soldier who has lost his limbs, sight, hearing and speech in the war. The song’s intro builds up slowly with a series of cymbal crashes and snare rolls before the iconic drum fill that introduces the main riff. The drums throughout the song are heavy and intense, driving the rhythm forward with double bass drum patterns and thunderous fills. The song features a variety of dynamic shifts, going from soft and melodic verses to explosive and aggressive choruses. The drumming is particularly impressive during the instrumental section, with intricate fills and rolls that showcase the drummer’s technical skills. The song’s climax is a relentless barrage of drums and guitars that creates a chaotic and disorienting effect, perfectly capturing the horror of war. Overall, “One” is a masterful example of how drums can be used to create intense emotions and convey a powerful message.
5. The Who, ‘My Generation’
The Who’s ‘My Generation’ is a classic rock song that features one of the most iconic drum intros in music history. The opening bars of Keith Moon’s drumming immediately set the tone for the rebellious and youthful spirit of the song. Moon’s frenzied style of drumming, characterized by his use of tom-toms and cymbals, perfectly complements the lyrics, which express the frustrations of a generation that feels misunderstood and undervalued by the older generation. The drumming is relentless throughout the song, building in intensity as the band explodes into the chorus. Moon’s solo towards the end of the song is a standout moment, with his rapid-fire drum fills showcasing his incredible technical skill. Overall, ‘My Generation’ is a testament to the power of the drums in rock music and the influence that a great drum performance can have on a song.
6. AC/DC, ‘Back in Black’
“Back in Black” by AC/DC is a classic hard rock song that features one of the most iconic drum intros in rock music history. The song starts with a simple but powerful beat that builds up the anticipation for the heavy guitar riffs and Brian Johnson’s electrifying vocals. The drums continue to drive the song forward with a steady, driving rhythm, adding to the song’s energy and intensity. The snare drum hits and cymbal crashes perfectly punctuate the chorus and add an explosive element to the song. The song’s drumming is a perfect example of AC/DC’s signature sound, which has influenced countless rock bands over the years. Overall, “Back in Black” is a true rock anthem, and the drumming is a key element that contributes to the song’s timeless appeal.
7. Slayer, ‘Raining Blood’
“Raining Blood” is a thrash metal classic by American band Slayer, known for its intense drumming and heavy guitar riffs. The song begins with a frenzied drum solo that sets the tone for the rest of the track. The speed and precision of the drums throughout the song are a standout feature, as drummer Dave Lombardo delivers lightning-fast beats and fills that perfectly complement the aggressive vocals and guitar work. The song’s lyrics deal with themes of violence, death, and destruction, and the drums help to create an atmosphere of chaos and mayhem. “Raining Blood” has become one of Slayer’s most famous songs, and its influence can be heard in the work of many other metal bands that have followed in their footsteps.
8. U2, ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’
U2’s ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ is a powerful anti-war song that opens with a thumping drum beat that immediately grabs your attention. The song was inspired by the events of Bloody Sunday, a tragic incident that occurred in Northern Ireland in 1972 when British soldiers killed 13 unarmed protesters. The drumming throughout the song is intense and driving, perfectly complementing the urgent and angry lyrics. The snare drum, in particular, is a prominent feature of the track, creating a militaristic feel that reinforces the song’s anti-war message. The song has become one of U2’s most famous and is often used as a protest anthem against war and violence.
9. Cream, ‘Toad’
Cream’s ‘Toad’ is a classic drum solo showcase, featuring Ginger Baker’s virtuosic skills on the drums. The song begins with a simple riff, but quickly transitions into a dynamic display of Baker’s talent. The drums take center stage in the middle section of the song, with Baker’s fast-paced, intricate playing driving the energy forward. He employs various techniques such as snare rolls, cymbal crashes, and fills to create a mesmerizing performance that builds in intensity. ‘Toad’ is a testament to Baker’s influence on the rock genre and his reputation as one of the greatest drummers of all time.
10. Led Zeppelin, “Moby Dick”
“Moby Dick” is an instrumental track by Led Zeppelin that features one of the most iconic drum solos in rock history. The song is a showcase for drummer John Bonham’s incredible skills, as he takes center stage and unleashes a powerful, improvisational performance. The song starts with a funky, bluesy riff that gradually builds in intensity, with Bonham adding fills and flourishes along the way. As the song progresses, Bonham’s solo becomes more and more intense, with thunderous rolls and lightning-fast patterns that show off his incredible speed and precision. The song culminates in a massive crescendo, with Bonham pounding out a barrage of beats that leave listeners breathless. “Moby Dick” is not just a showcase for Bonham’s drumming, however, as it also features tight, bluesy guitar work from Jimmy Page and a grooving bassline from John Paul Jones. The track is a testament to Led Zeppelin’s ability to create intense, dynamic music that showcases the individual talents of each member of the band.
11. Jimi Hendrix Experience, ‘Fire’
“Fire” is a classic rock song by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, released in 1967. The song features Hendrix’s signature guitar style with distorted riffs and solo, backed by Mitch Mitchell’s frantic drumming and Noel Redding’s bass. The drum beat is fast-paced and groovy, with Mitchell incorporating fills and rolls throughout the song. The song’s lyrics are about the passionate desire for a lover, with Hendrix singing, “You make me feel like a natural man / Woman, you make me feel wild and free.” “Fire” became a hit for the Jimi Hendrix Experience, showcasing the band’s raw energy and Hendrix’s guitar virtuosity. The song has since become a rock standard, with many other artists covering it over the years. The combination of Hendrix’s guitar work and Mitchell’s dynamic drumming make “Fire” an iconic example of the rock genre.
12. Steely Dan, ‘Aja’
Steely Dan’s “Aja” is a jazz-rock fusion masterpiece that showcases the impressive drumming of Steve Gadd. The song’s complex rhythms and intricate fills perfectly complement the smooth, mellow tones of the saxophone and keyboard solos. Gadd’s technique is particularly notable in the song’s extended instrumental section, where his drumming takes center stage and builds to an exhilarating climax. Despite its lengthy runtime, “Aja” never feels dull or repetitive, as each musician brings their unique style to the table and contributes to the song’s seamless flow. The result is a timeless track that remains a classic example of Steely Dan’s musical prowess and their ability to seamlessly blend genres.
13. Tool, ‘Ticks & Leeches’
“Ticks & Leeches” is a powerful song by American progressive metal band Tool. The complex and intricate drumming by Danny Carey is the driving force behind the track, as he seamlessly shifts between various time signatures and rhythms. The song builds up slowly, starting with a simple beat before exploding into a barrage of heavy drums and intense guitar riffs. Maynard James Keenan’s vocals add to the intensity, as he screams and growls through the lyrics, expressing his anger and frustration. The song’s lyrics criticize those who drain others for their own benefit, comparing them to leeches and parasites. The drumming in “Ticks & Leeches” is so impressive that it has become a favorite among drummers, with many attempting to replicate Carey’s challenging patterns. Overall, “Ticks & Leeches” is a standout track on Tool’s album “Lateralus,” showcasing the band’s technical musicianship and intense emotional energy.
14. King Crimson, ’21st Century Schizoid Man’
King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” is a progressive rock classic, featuring a driving drum beat that immediately captures the listener’s attention. The song is known for its chaotic, dissonant sound, with wild guitar riffs and eerie vocals that create an unsettling atmosphere. The drumming is particularly noteworthy, with intricate patterns and intense fills that keep the energy of the song constantly moving forward. The famous opening drum break is instantly recognizable, and sets the tone for the rest of the track. Despite being over 50 years old, “21st Century Schizoid Man” still sounds fresh and innovative, with a timeless quality that has influenced countless musicians in the decades since its release.
15.Emerson Lake & Palmer, ’”Karn Evil 9″
“Karn Evil 9” is a progressive rock epic by Emerson Lake & Palmer that spans over 29 minutes in total, but it is often played in two parts. The song features the band’s signature complex instrumentation and intricate time signatures, showcasing the talents of all three members. The lyrics, written by band member Greg Lake, explore themes of war, politics, and technology, reflecting the cultural and social climate of the 1970s. The song’s main riff and melody are instantly recognizable and have become a staple of classic rock radio. The track includes various movements, instrumental sections, and vocal parts, creating a dynamic and unpredictable musical journey. “Karn Evil 9” is widely regarded as one of the most ambitious and influential pieces of progressive rock music, and it has inspired countless musicians in the genre. The song’s live performances were always a highlight of ELP’s concerts, featuring elaborate light shows and stage theatrics. Overall, “Karn Evil 9” is a masterpiece of progressive rock that showcases ELP’s virtuosity and creativity.
16. Rush, ‘YYZ’
“YYZ” by Rush is an instrumental progressive rock song known for its complex rhythms and technical musicianship. The song was named after the airport code for Toronto Pearson International Airport, near the band’s hometown. The opening of the song features the Morse code for “YYZ” played on various instruments. The song’s main riff is played on bass and features a repeating pattern of 5/4, 5/8, and 6/8 time signatures. The song then moves into a section with alternating time signatures of 10/8 and 11/8. The song also features a drum solo section, showcasing drummer Neil Peart’s precise and technical drumming abilities. “YYZ” has been praised for its unique time signatures and use of progressive rock techniques, becoming a fan favorite and a staple in Rush’s live shows.
17. Van Halen, ‘Hot for Teacher’
“Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen is a classic rock song known for its energetic drum solo introduction by Alex Van Halen. The song was released in 1984 as part of their album “1984” and became a hit with its catchy riffs and infectious chorus. The song’s lyrics are a playful ode to a schoolboy crush on a teacher, and David Lee Roth’s vocals bring out the mischievous tone of the song. The highlight of the song, however, is undoubtedly Alex Van Halen’s drum solo, which showcases his impeccable timing, precision, and speed. The solo is a perfect example of Alex Van Halen’s drumming style, which blends technical proficiency with a sense of fun and adventure. The song has become a favorite among fans of rock and roll, and its iconic drum intro continues to inspire young drummers to this day.
18. The White Stripes, ‘Seven Nation Army’
The instantly recognizable opening riff of ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes has made it one of the most iconic drum songs of the 21st century. The pounding rhythm provided by Meg White’s drums drives the song forward, creating a hypnotic groove that keeps the listener hooked from start to finish. The simplicity of the drum beat, consisting of just bass drum and snare, allows for the guitar riff and Jack White’s vocals to take center stage, while still maintaining an undeniable energy throughout the track. The song’s popularity has led to it becoming a staple at sporting events and rallies around the world, with fans chanting the riff in unison. ‘Seven Nation Army’ is a testament to the power of a simple, yet effective drum beat and its ability to drive a song to new heights of success and popularity.