12 famous drummers - help!


Junior Member
This is more like it - good job everyone! Loving the suggestions, and you've all been really helpful.

I think we are going to try and span the ages, so have 3/4 for each generation. Maybe we'll add an extra element to the competition and see if people can name all 12 - you guys would be on 100%!

I think we are tempted to do some cheeky ones like the Gorilla from the Cadbury advert, I suppose it is Phil Collins inspired!


Platinum Member
Let's see, twelve drummers the general populace would/might recognize:

Buddy Rich
Gene Krupa
Ringo Starr
Maybe Sandy Nelson
Sure, Animal
Cubby from the Mickey Mouse Club (depending on the age of your guests)
Karen Carpenter
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:
John Bonham
Stewart Copeland
Max Roach
Louis Bellson.


Junior Member
Hey Lucy.

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!

Good luck.

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Well if it's played by real drummers, then Phil Collins... everybody should know the legendary drum fill of "In the air tonight".


Platinum Member
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:

Barriemore Barlow
Bill Bruford
Richie Hayward
Rob Hirst
Jimmy Cob
Max Roach
Danny Carey
Jaki Lebezeit.

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
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.


Junior Member
I have included Peter Criss - great shout.

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!

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Mmmmh... Reading these names... I'm not sure if they all have something special about them that you would know or guess who they are....

Peter Criss makes sense with the make up thing, and perhaps Charlie Watts with the hi-hat not being played on 2 and 4...

It depends on how the competion's happening, is it going to be played by real drummers? The ones who have to guess who's who are drummers themselves?

I don't know, just a thought

Too Many Songs

Senior Member

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.


Junior Member
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!


Platinum Member
Don't forget Mick Fleetwood. Basically he was the face of their two greatest recording achievements, the album covers for self-titled Lindsey/Stevie intro LP and of course Rumors.

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
This is your no fail list right here:

Peter Criss, Animal, Ringo, Neil Peart, John Bonham, Dave Grohl, Phil Collins, Buddy Rich, Keith Moon, Travis Barker, Tommy Lee & Meg White


Silver Member
Meg White (from the White Stripes) has a style of her own, easily recognisable and easy to play.


Too Many Songs

Senior Member
Darren My Friend

I don't want to get heavy on you but have you read the OP? Your posts are great but they don't belong in this thread. Poor Lucy isn't a drummer dude. Give her a break.
Not sure anymore but at one time Gene Krupa was the first name in drumming! No one was more popular until Buddy Rich became of age. Doc
Got him on Vinyl.Had it since I was about 6 years old lol back in the early 70s.

Verve Jazz Gene Krupa.

Someone gave me his old book too but it's misplaced now.

Drummin' Man,He's A Drummin' Man

What About Billy Cobham?

LIstening to The Lost Trident Sessions.

That record is awesome.
That band blow me away.
So much passion.So much energy.
Some of the music is bordering on heavy metal.

Love McLaughlins other Mahavishnu album Apocalypse also.

A classical melodic side with the orchestra.Beautiful stuff and Narada Michael Walden really gets into it on a few numbers.

Mahavishnu and Brand X.

Return To forever had some really passionate stuff going too with The Romantic Warrior.

Shits all over todays perfectly played sterile cheese fusion.

I forgot Tony Williams-Believe It,Miles Smiles.

Doctor Dirt

Not sure anymore but at one time Gene Krupa was the first name in drumming! No one was more popular until Buddy Rich became of age. Doc