Best drumming album of all time?


Junior Member
Very hard to pick only one, probably have to go with Rush - "Exit - Stage Left..."

I just picked up a copy of "Burning for Buddy - A Tribute to the music of Buddy Rich". Very hard to find in Australia.

Totally blew me away. What a list of guest drummers all on the one album: Cobham, Gadd, Peart, Weckl, and Phillips to name a few. I would love to find this on Video or DVD.


This thread's probably done but here goes anyway. I look at it as a introduction and a way for those who care to get to know my tastes. So here goes:

For me a great drumming album has to be a great album first. Therefore (in my opinion, anyway) a great album is by default a great drum album (provided it has a drummer). That being said:

Led Zeppelin: "How the West Was Won"--

Yeah, we know they're all great for drums in their individual ways but I'm currently listening to this one. A lot! Live Bonzo at his best. Some of the songs on these three discs rival the studio versions. One also learns that Zep were far from a band that just overplayed willy-nilly. Aside from longer solos they tend to stay pretty well within the structure of the songs as recorded, demolishing the idea that they were excessive as live performers. Also after a long hiatus from listening to them they seem downright fresh compared to the over-produced bland rock that's currently in favor. Also I've come to respect Plant a lot more as a singer than I did in highschool. At times he sounds like one part Elvis, one part Janis and sometimes even a hint of Nina Simone! I could go on and on but I've just started. Next!

The Who: "The Wo Sell Out" and "Live At Leeds"--

Moonie gets a lot of flack about his playing. One listen to songs like "Oderono" or "Mary Anne" says otherwise. The man was perfectly capable of tasteful drumming. Live At Leeds shows the tightness this group had and just why you had to see them to "get" them. The seeds for punk and lo-fi indie rock were sown by these guys IMO. Moonie could be sloppy but tight at the same time. Also Townsend as a guitarist proves he could hold his own against anyone. Just listen to "Young Man Blues" and the extended jam of "My Generation" on Leeds. There are times when he sounds scarily like Jimmy Page. Next!

The Jimmy Hendrix Experience: "Are You Experienced", "Axis Bold As Love"--

Mitch Mitchell was a self taught drummer but man, he was rock's Elvin Jones. Sloppy but tight like Moonie but less surfy and a little more coherent in skill. When I first heard him it was liberating. "Wow, you can fill over the vocals sometimes, cool!" "Manic Depression" and "If 6 was 9" are absolute gems." Onward!

John Coltrane: "My Favorite Things", "A Love Supreme"--

Elvin Jones. Nuff said.

Charlie Parker: "Complete Live Recordings on Savoy"--

Max Roach. Some of the recordings are primitive at best but man it's one of my faves.

The John Spencer Blues Explosion: "Extra Width"--

Russell Simins (the drummer not the music mogul; although they have worked together on a project or two) prove's that he's indie rock's John Bonham. Yeah, you can play what he's playing on this album but can you play it as fast and as hard and in the groove like him? Play along to this album with your headphones on and don't forget to drag out that cowbell for the song "Pant Leg". This is an album that'll make you move. Also Russell's a big boy behind a tiny kit. One kick, one snare, small floor tom, one crash/ride cymbal and hats. Less is definitely more on this one.

The Clash: "London Calling", "Sandinista"--

Topper Headon a terrific drummer and songwriter. Just learned he wrote and performed "Ivan Meets G.I. Joe" and "Rock the Casbah" all by himself!

Al Green: "I'm Still In Love With You"--

Great grooves, great album.

Wilco: "Being There"--

There's some great rock drumming on this double album.

The Velvet Underground: "Loaded"--

Mo Tucker really shines on this one. You can tell she really developed her style from her minimal (yet still great) debut on the Bannana album.

The Stooges: "Funhouse"--

Simple but wonderful.

Louis Prima and Keely Smith: "The Artist Collection" (Capital)--

I think that's the right title. This is a double cd of they're best. Great swinging,sax,lounge,boogie,jazz,ballad, etc... Plus you get Sam Butera on sax. Anyone who can't get into Prima is a commie.

The Flaming Lips: "The Soft Bulletin", "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots"--

The Lips are to Alternative rock what the Floyd were to Rock. It's all rock though, isn't it?
Steve Drozd. Another multi-instrumentalist and great drummer. You gotta hear these albums. They'll be in the Rock History books someday. Speking of multi-instrumentalists...

The Band: "Music From Big Pink", "The Band"--

Every great album collection needs these discs. Levon Helm. Wow, where to start. He was a farmer then a rock musician, then back to farming after splitting from Dylan's backing band, then back to music in the Band (i.e. Dylan's backing band). Aside from being a great accompanist he plays many instruments. Plus he sang in The Band! Also check out the film, "The Last Waltz". It's great. Also was it just me or were the segments with Van Morrison and Dylan bizarre or what? Speaking of Dylan and his backing band...

Bob Dylan: "Blond on Blond"


Joni Mitchell: "Blue" Then there's...

Tom Waits: "Small Change", "Bone Machine", "Mule Variations"--

Yeah I know, there's only one drum song on "Small Change" but it's "Pasties and a G-String" and it's Shelly Manne... The other two are just filled with great percussion and music. I'm not even sure if I know who all plays on them but I think they're great. Actually I think Less Claypool and Keith Richards appear on Bone Machine.

Elvis Costello: "This Year's Model", "Brutal Youth"--

There are more but "This Year's" was my first Costello album and "Brutal" was a great comeback to the old Costello sound. Both have some terrific drumming on them.

Johnny Cash: "Live At Folsem and San Quentin" They're one album to me--

W.S. Holland. Listen to him on Orange Blossom Special in particular. Awesome.

Cream: "Wheels Of Fire", "Disraeli Gears"--

It's Ginger, isn't it?

U2: "The Joshua Tree"--

Another one for the history books. "Bullet the Blue Sky", "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", "Where the Streets Have No Name" and what I consider one of the most perfectly crafted/performed/recorded love songs in history, "With Or Without You". This was the song that woke me up about music. I was a young metal head. I loved playing the drums but I didn't really "think" about music or how drums could be used "for" the song. I heard this song and it all made sense. The way it fades in, the atmosphere of the vocals, the soft beat in the begining, the snare beat, the quiet rumble of the floor toms at the end of the beat. Listening to this song one experiences an emotional event that happens at a distance, then slowly moves toward you, then envelopes you, then carries you along in an explosive catharsis. This song does what Aristotle said all great poetry, music, theatre (and in our time, film) should do: Make the spectator/listener go through a spirtual/primal emotional journey that cannot be described intellectually. But, by gum I just tried to, didn't I? Okay, moving right along...

The Melvins: "Ozma"--

Not for everyone but what great ssssllloooowwww drumming. Also the guitarist (King Buzzo) collaborated with Mike Patton and Terry Bozzio on that musical project thingy, the name of which escapes me but I'm very intrigued. Speaking of slow...

Soundgarden: "Louder Than Love"--

The first and best, in my opinion.

Rush: "Moving Pictures"--

I gotta say I was never a big Rush fan back in the day. I mean I always thought Peart was amazing and I even saw them on the "Presto" tour but they never grabbed me. But compared to the music today, they're like jazz. I think I have a new crush.

R.E.M.: "Life's Rich Pageant", "Document", "Green"

I love the drums on these albums. I love Bill Berry. I wish he'd drum for them again.

Okay, this got long winded a long time ago. Sorry. There are many others but whoever bothered to read this far, thanks for your time.


Jarek Witkowski

Junior Member
Steps Ahead CD "Smokin' In The Pit" a 1979 live recording 2CD set recorded at the Pit Inn jazz club in Tokyo, Japan.

The line-up is marvellous:

Mike Mainieri - vibraphone
Michael Brecker - tenor saxophone
Don Grolnick - piano
Kazumi Watanabe - guitar
Eddie Gomez - bass
Steve Gadd - drums


I would have to go with Physical Graffiti by Zep, The song " In my time of dying" is awesome and sounds like alot of fun to play..I hope to learn it someday. And I like every song on permanet waves by rush, although every album by rush has pretty incredible drumming. Honorable mention for me would be Fastway's 1st album self titled. I am new so I do not know for sure but I bet the songs are kinda easy to play but man they just hit at the right times and the fills are dead on.. plus the lead guitar is played by fast Eddie Clark formerly of motorhead so how can ya go wrong.Listen to it if you get the chance.


Silver Member
Well lets see erm...

Any Judas Priest album with Les Binks mainly- "Unleashed in the east". If you listen to 'Sinner' on the "Sin after Sin" album you will experience impossible open hi-hat work well i think!
Any Judas Priest album with Scott Travis in it mainly-"Painkiller" if no ones heard the title track they deserve to be shot as it is one of the most renowned drumming tracks of all time!
Racer X- Live at the whisky snowball of doom. An awesom album with some fantastic fills in it again Scott Travis.
Any album of Dream Theaters because Portnoy has to be seen or heard to be believed but mainly-"Scenes from a memory".
And of course "Beneath the Remains" by Sepultura should be on there too"



Junior Member
Personal favourite is Ghost In The Machine by The Police. The album wouldn't have been so cool without Copeland's style and intelligence.

White City by Pete Townsend, Simon Phillips on Give Blood and Secondhand Love, awesome.

Living My Life, Grace Jones with Sly and Robbie.


Junior Member
Matt Johnson - that guy has excellent independence. Grace is definitely one of the best, the sound´s just sooo cool, one of the best sound of drums I ever heard on CD.
Than Sting - Ten Summoners tales, I like ...all this time (Sting), Joe Satriani and Manu Katche.


Silver Member
"Sailing the Seas of Cheese" Primus, 1991
Tim Alexander

"Symbolic" Death, 1994
Gene Hoglan

"The Only Law is Survival" Hateplow, 2000
Dave Culross

"Images and Words" Dream Theatre, 1992
Mike Portnoy

Good stuff, really good stuff...


Senior Member
Fredrik Thordendal Special Defects- Sol Niger Within Feat. Morgan Agren. This guy is simply amazing. Thomas Haake looks up to him.


Fish said:
I just picked up a copy of "Burning for Buddy - A Tribute to the music of Buddy Rich". Very hard to find in Australia.
Did you try iTunes? I guess they have different selections for different countries (stupid record labels).

I like the Steve Ferrone, Pick up the Pieces, but I'm not sure where Buddy fits. That was an Average White Band song played by Ferrone. The only thing I can think of is the BAND in the track is Buddy's big band?


Junior Member
Ginger Baker - Middle Passage: Superb world-jazz drumming and excellent band
Dave Brubeck - At Carnegie Hall: Joe Morello at his best!
Art Blakey - Moanin': Needless to comment...

and many many more ......


Junior Member
Mercy, Mercy - Buddy Rich
Soul Searching - Steve Ferrone
Just about any Tower of Power album w/ David Garibaldi


Senior Member
I don't think I could call one album "best," but I'll mention a particular one of my personal favorites because not many people seem to know of it:

Cure for Pain, by Morphine

A masterpiece of an album all in all, in my opinion.

Jerome Dupree plays on most of the album's tracks and his drumming is beautiful in its own right, but serves the songs completely. It's never flashy or distracting, complimenting the band's "less is best" approach, but the groove is overwhelming and his fills are perfectly constructed, yet sound totally effortless. That being said, the drumming's not simplistic or easy stuff -there is a lot of off-beat hihat pedal work and syncopated cymbal parts and his feel is just unbelievable. I highly reccomend this album to any drummer. I was really into the prog thing (rush/primus/tool ...etc) back in '94 when I first heard this album and it was completely unlike anything I'd ever listened to. I was floored and although I still loved guys like Peart, Alexander, and Carey, I thought "that's how I want to sound when I play"

The music's best called rock, I guess, but there's no guitar. These guys were right on the fringes of the international main-stream and their stuff is easily available, but surprisingly few people know them. They had a sad ending around 2000, but were one of the most original bands of the 90s. Morphine was a trio with vocals, bass (played with only 2 strings, a pick, and a bottle-neck slide -I know, but it sounds amazing), drums, and sax (mostly barritone). If anyone decides to check them out, I'd go for either Cure for Pain or The Night at first -both incredible albums, if you ask me. Their other albums (and one or two songs on Cure for Pain) feature Billy Conway on drums who I also liked very much, but he was a much different player -more of a charlie watts thing going on with him.
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Senior Member
Superlow said:
John Coltrane's A Love Supreme with Elvin Jones on drums. That album will be played repeatedly at my funeral. Elvin rips it up so hard on this album and manages to comp the other players so well it makes me sick.
although i havnt really ben into a lot of jazz lately, this is very possibly the greatest jazz akbum if all time; John Coltrane, insane, and Elvin Jones, there really isnt much yoou can say abut him, i read in DRUM! magazine that he truly fel;t that every time he played rums he was healing someone...his music is so powerful...its intoxicating