Most "iconic" drum parts from each decade?


Senior Member
As far as the 70's are concerned the drum intro from Steve Millers "Take the Money and Run" immediately comes to my mind as a part drummers and non drummers alike would immediately recognize...... or also from the 70's Steve Gadds groove from Paul Simons "Fifty Ways"

Again, I must be old but also from the 70's Don Brewers (?) drum intro to Grand Funks "We're an American Band"
Last edited:


Senior Member
If anything is iconic drumming in the 60s it's this:

"Starr is vastly underrated. The drum fills on the song "A Day in the Life" are very complex things. You could take a great drummer today and say, 'I want it like that.' He wouldn't know what to do." - Drummer Phil Collins (The Making of Sgt. Pepper, 1992)


Silver Member
For the 80s I'd go for Phil Collins's In the Air Tonight but it depends ... iconic for whom? Drummers or the general public?
Tough call. I'm sticking with Hot for Teacher though. Don't get me wrong, In the Air Tonight landed in The Hangover for being so awesome, but still.



Silver Member
Some great calls, you can tell I grew up in the 90's,

90's drum tracks,

Rammstein - Du Hast
Korn - Blind
Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet With Butterfly Wings


Silver Member
1930s: Definitely agree with Sing Sing Sing drumming by Gene Krupa (finally realised what that boom-boom-boombaboom-boomba-boomba-boom drum part was...definitely iconic)
1940s: A Night in Tunisia by Dizzy Gillepsie (don't know who drummer is)
1950s: Freddie the Freeloader by Miles Davis (I forgot who played the drum part)
1960s: Come Together by The Beatles (Ringo)
1970s: Stairway to heaven by Led Zep (Bonzo)
1980s: In the Air tonight by Phil Collins (that awfully famous wet and dry gated reverb snare drum sound)
1990s: Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (Dave Grohl)
New Millinium Decade: Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap (Toby Dundas)

I was thinking of putting White Rabbit (by Jefferson Airplane) in the 1960s section but Ringo got more drummers drumming.

I agree with alot of things in the original list. I wouldn't go with Bleed for New Millenia, a very niche audience that listens to Meshuggah.


Gold Member
The 1970's seem to have lots of iconic drum parts in addition to those already mentioned such as:

Radar Love by Golden Earring
Billion Dollar Babies by Alice Cooper



Platinum Member
Another iconic 70s drum part - Simon Kirke in Bad Company's Alright Now.

A one - a two - a one two three KAPOW!


Silver Member
I think you'll find the most iconic parts from whichever generation you identify with the strongest.

A couple from from the 60's (same year actually, 66),

The Doors - Break on through
The Rolling Stones - Paint it Black


1990 - White Stripes - Seven Nation Army (Meg White)

A lot of people know that one, regardless of what one thinks of Meg!
Last edited:


Silver Member
I'd have to agree a lot with the original post. Regarding the mini-80's debate between "In the Air Tonight" vs. "Hot for Teacher", I'd have to go with Phil Collins strictly for the fact that I was in a bar a few months ago and someone put that on. Now I was sitting in a corner enjoying the ambiance when out of nowhere one of my friends and about three other guys through out the bar began air drumming that intro. And not that kind of air drumming where you're sitting tapping on your thighs trying to figure out the parts, no these cats were swinging and flailing, legs whipping around and everything! It gave everyone in the bar a good a laugh that night. I just don't see that happening with "Hot for Teacher", although that's a damn close one!

And for the 00's may I add "Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus" The Mars Volta, Jon Theodore on drums.

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
"Hot for Teacher" and "One" are both Iconic parts from the 80's, and it depends on what you are into. When I worked in music stores in college I would hear metal kids all the time trying to play that part from "One", and it was the older rockers that tried to replicate "Hot for Teacher"

And I know all of your are all about Zepp for the 70's, but what about "Walk This Way"? I think that would count as Iconic for the 70's.

Also in the 90's, yeah Teen Spirit was a hugh one for drums, but I think Enter Sandman was bigger...

When you think iconic you have to think about the non-drummers and non-musicians out there.
EVERYONE knows the drum fill from "In The Air Tonight" even non-musicians, THATS what makes it iconic.


When you think iconic you have to think about the non-drummers and non-musicians out there.
EVERYONE knows the drum fill from "In The Air Tonight" even non-musicians, THATS what makes it iconic.
That's exactly what I was going for with this thread. What's difficult (for me at least) is to step away from yourself and think about what non-drummers and non-musicians listen to in a song, and whether they'd even notice a drum groove that us drummers would consider obvious.

For 90's, another good one I just thought of is "My Name is Mud" by Primus.

Another question: why do you think it's so hard for us to come up with ones for the 00's? Is it because the most popular music is either programmed drums, or overproduced to the point of being rhythmically sterile? Is is just too soon for us to know what drumming will withstand the test of time?

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" produced an iconic drum part in the early sixties with the hit "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes. Boom, Boom-Boom, Crack!

Hissig Gompen

Senior Member
Some honorable mentions:
70's: Pink Floyd - Time
80's: GnR - Paradise City
90's: Pantera - Becoming (rivals One for coolest double bass lick ever imo)
00's: System of a down - Chop suey


Senior Member
60'sWipe Out - Surfaris - Ron Wilson

Toss up for 70's
Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover - Paul Simon - Steve Gadd

We Will Rock You - Queen- Roger Taylor

Toss up for 80's
Paradise City - Guns-n-Roses - Steven Adler

Hot For Teacher - Van Halen - Alex Van Halen

90's - I'm stumped but here's a couple of candidate
Interstate Love Song - Stone Temple Pilots - Eric Kretz

Hard To Handle - Black Crowes - Steve Gorman ( I know this is a remake of the Otis Redding song, but the drums are a more focal in the BC's and drives the version.)

2000's -
I have to think about the 00's

I came up with these from two angles. One, they popped in my head when I think of how a song starts - drums. Two, at my gym, the music that is played depends on who is working behind the desk, so it is a mix throughout the day, everyday. These songs often get the people bouncing their heads and moving a little quicker.