Let's see, twelve drummers the general populace would/might recognize:
Maybe Sandy Nelson
Cubby from the Mickey Mouse Club (depending on the age of your guests)
Blue Man Group is mostly drumming-oriented, right?
Oh, right, Phil Collins!
You can always pad it out people like these, who don't have quite the same level of pure idiot fame as the others:
There certainly are some great suggestions here. I'd include Joey Jordison from Slipknot though. I'm definitely not a fan of his, but I'm pretty sure almost all my (drummer and non-drummer) friends know him, if not for anything else then just for being in Slipknot and wearing that horrid mask. Oh yeah, and the solo where he's upside down and all that
And I almost forgot, every single one of my friends knows Lars Ulrich of Metallica (that might be because we're Danes though). Another not-fantastic drummer, but well-known and recognisable nontheless!
Do they have to be specific drummers, or could you just show someone in a revolutionary war uniform playing in a fife and drum corp? Or the toy monkey that smacks the cymbals together.
Some of the drummers suggested are indeed great drummers and well know to other drummers, but if they are supposed to be recognized by the general public, then most of them aren't applicable. This is especially true if it is a younger audience. While I could spot Buddy Rich a mile away, and teenager won't have a clue who he is. He might know someone like Tommy Lee from reality TV, and Peter Criss because of the makeup, but certainly not:
You'll need to think about the ages of the viewers. If most are in their 20s and 30s who they'll recognise may be very different than if they are in their 40s or 50s or older. Not an easy call - very few musicians span generations. You've got some good suggestions I think.
Sorry, perhaps I should give more details about the competition!
I live in a courtyard of 12 houses and everyone has a day of the songs of xmas, I live at 12 so have drummers drumming. We are going to display 12 drummers drumming on or around our front door! Really, this is all about the iconography rather than the music & talent of drummers - which is why Pete Criss is brilliant!
Peter Criss is a great suggestion. You may not recognise his name but you'd definitely recognise him in stage makeup. He was (is) the drummer with KISS.
So far as the female component is concerned. Meg White is a great suggestion as well. But I'll stick with Karen Carpenter only because she was a really good drummer as well as singer and I think more recognisable than Meg.
Wow you guys are really knocking this challenge out of the park!!
I appreciate that you are getting very excited about naming the best drummers, but you need to put yourselves in the shoes of non-drummers like me. Think distinctive/iconic/easily recognisable by other non-drummers.
Thanks for all the contributions so far, for your help I might throw in one of the more legendary drummers but less well known by joe-public just in recognition of your help and enthusiasm!!
PS - Meg White is a defo, need a female representative!