The 10 Best Drummers of All Time (According to Me)

In the world of music, there are legends who have the power to move souls with their rhythmic magic. Among them, the drummers stand tall as the untamed giants of the beat, the fiery guardians of the groove. Spanning across genres, from the smoky realms of jazz to the thunderous realms of rock, these sonic revolutionaries ignite fires within our hearts. Now, behold the divine pantheon of the ten awe-inspiring drummers who have transcended mere virtuosity to become symbols of passion, power, and pure musical wizardry!

(In no particular order, although Gavin Harrison and Simon Phillips are my 2 absolute favorites)

πŸ₯ Drum roll, please! πŸ₯

Gavin Harrison

  • Biography: Born in 1963 in England, Gavin Harrison showed an early interest in drumming. He joined Renaissance at 19 and later became a sought-after session drummer. His work with Porcupine Tree and King Crimson has earned him numerous awards and accolades.
  • Current Projects: King Crimson, Solo Work
  • Artists/Bands: Porcupine Tree, King Crimson, The Pineapple Thief
  • Equipment: Sonor Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Gavin’s precision and creativity are unmatched. His ability to weave complex rhythms into accessible music is pure genius.
  • Fun Fact: Gavin has authored several drumming books!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Simon Phillips

  • Biography: Born in 1957 in London, Simon Phillips began playing professionally at the age of 12. He’s played with a wide range of artists, including The Who and Toto. His powerful style and versatility have made him one of the most respected drummers in the world.
  • Current Projects: Solo Work, Protocol
  • Artists/Bands: Toto, Mike Oldfield, The Who, Judas Priest, Michael Schenker
  • Equipment: Tama Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Pro-Mark Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Simon’s versatility and power behind the kit make him a force to be reckoned with.
  • Fun Fact: He’s played on over 400 albums!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Mike Mangini

  • Biography: Born in 1963 in Newton, Massachusetts, Mike Mangini’s drumming journey began at age 2. He’s played with Extreme and Steve Vai, and in 2011, he became the official drummer for Dream Theater. His incredible speed and precision have earned him several World’s Fastest Drummer records.
  • Current Projects: Dream Theater
  • Artists/Bands: Dream Theater, Extreme, Steve Vai
  • Equipment: Pearl Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vater Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Mike’s technical prowess and speed are jaw-dropping. His solos are a rollercoaster ride!
  • Fun Fact: He holds five World’s Fastest Drummer records.
  • Watch Him in Action:

Gergo Borlai

  • Biography: Born in 1978 in Hungary, Gergo Borlai was a child prodigy, starting to play drums at age three. He’s known for his fusion of jazz, rock, and funk and has played with artists like Scott Kinsey and Gary Willis. His unique style has made him a prominent figure in the drumming community.
  • Current Projects: Solo Work, Various Collaborations
  • Artists/Bands: Scott Kinsey, Gary Willis, Tribal Tech
  • Equipment: Ludwig Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Evans Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Gergo’s fusion of jazz, rock, and funk is a rhythmic feast for the ears.
  • Fun Fact: He started drumming at age three!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Nick D’Virgilio

  • Biography: Born in 1968 in California, Nick D’Virgilio is known for his work with progressive rock bands like Spock’s Beard, Big Big Train and Genesis. He’s also a talented singer and has contributed to numerous albums as a session musician. His melodic sensibility and technical prowess have earned him a dedicated fan base.
  • Current Projects: Big Big Train, Solo Work
  • Artists/Bands: Spock’s Beard, Genesis, Tears for Fears
  • Equipment: DW Drums (and many others), Sabian Cymbals, Pro-Mark Sticks, Evans Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Nick’s progressive rock chops and melodic sensibility are second to none.
  • Fun Fact: He’s also a talented singer and plays the guitar!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Sarah Thawer

  • Biography: Based in Toronto, Canada, Sarah Thawer is a self-taught drummer known for her unique blend of traditional Indian rhythms with modern jazz. She’s a YouTube sensation and has performed with various jazz ensembles. Her innovative approach to drumming has made her a rising star in the music world.
  • Current Projects: Various Collaborations, Educational Work
  • Artists/Bands: Independent, Various Jazz Ensembles
  • Equipment: Yamaha Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Her: Sarah’s blend of traditional Indian rhythms with modern jazz is refreshing and unique.
  • Fun Fact: She’s a self-taught YouTube sensation! And she drums with her face, too. Her facial expressions are something!
  • Watch Her in Action:

Buddy Rich

  • Biography: Born in 1917 in Brooklyn, New York, Buddy Rich was a jazz drumming legend known for his incredible technique and showmanship. He led his own big band and played with greats like Frank Sinatra. His influence on drumming continues to be felt today.
  • Current Projects: Passed away in 1987
  • Artists/Bands: Buddy Rich Big Band, Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey
  • Equipment: Slingerland Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Buddy Rich Signature Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Buddy’s showmanship and technique are legendary. He’s the original drumming superstar.
  • Fun Fact: He once had a drum battle with Animal from The Muppets!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Jeff Porcaro

  • Biography: Born in 1954 in Connecticut, Jeff Porcaro was a founding member of Toto and an in-demand session drummer. His groove in songs like “Rosanna” is timeless, and his feel for the music made him one of the most recorded drummers in history.
  • Current Projects: Passed away in 1992
  • Artists/Bands: Toto, Steely Dan, Michael Jackson
  • Equipment: Pearl Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Regal Tip Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Jeff’s groove in songs like “Rosanna” is legendary. His feel is simply magical.
  • Fun Fact: He’s one of the most recorded drummers in history.
  • Watch Him in Action:

Marco Minnemann

  • Biography: Born in 1970 in Germany, Marco Minnemann is known for his incredible independence and creativity on the drums. He’s played with The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, and Joe Satriani. His ability to play a different rhythm with each limb is mind-blowing.
  • Current Projects: The Aristocrats, Solo Work
  • Artists/Bands: The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani
  • Equipment: DW Drums, Zyn Cymbals, Pro-Mark Sticks, Evans Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Marco’s creativity and independence on the kit are out of this world.
  • Fun Fact: He can play a different rhythm with each limb! He always seems to have the most fun behind the kit.
  • Watch Him in Action:

Chris Coleman

  • Biography: Born in 1977 in Michigan, Chris Coleman is known for his gospel chops and has played with a wide range of artists, including Prince, Chaka Khan, and Stevie Wonder. His soulful playing and finesse have made him a favorite among musicians and fans alike.
  • Current Projects: Various Collaborations, Educational Work
  • Artists/Bands: Prince, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder
  • Equipment: Sonor Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Chris’s chops and musicality are insane. He plays with soul, power and finesse. Very hard hitter, super groovy.
  • Fun Fact: He’s played with everyone from Chaka Khan to Prince.
  • Watch Him in Action:

So, there you have it, my personal top 10 drummers who’ve ever graced a drum throne. From legends of the past to modern maestros, these drummers have shaped the way I hear and feel music. πŸ₯πŸ’₯


A Personal Take On Rammstein

I’ve always been one to appreciate a wide range of music, but there’s one band that I’ve never been able to get on board with: Rammstein. The German metal band has long been a source of controversy, and for me, their actions and representations have always been a step too far.

Let’s start with their performances. Rammstein is known for their grandiose shows, complete with pyrotechnics and dramatic theatrics. Generally, not really my thing. Plus, beneath the spectacle, there’s an element that’s deeply unsettling. The band’s use of Nazi propaganda aesthetics and right-wing iconography is, in my opinion, a blatant disregard for the historical trauma associated with these symbols.

As the taz article “Verharmlosung von Rammstein: Eiertanz ums Eiserne Kreuz” aptly points out, their shows “[deliver] a celebration of flame-encircled masses as updated staging strategies of the NS propagandists Leni Riefenstahl and Albert Speer and imitate these models under the insignia of the musical shock troop, an Iron Cross.”

Some might argue that this is all part of their artistic expression. But let’s cut the crap here. This isn’t just about pushing boundaries or being edgy. This is about using loaded symbols for shock value and, as some suggest, as a marketing strategy. And that, my friends, is where I draw the line.

But the controversy doesn’t end there. The band’s lead singer, Till Lindemann, is currently embroiled in a MeToo scandal, facing allegations of sexual assaults against young female fans. This, coupled with Lindemann’s past lyrics that fantasize about the rape of a drugged woman, paints a troubling picture.

The taz article states, “If the just exploding scandal gains further substance in the face of the alleged pattern of sexual assaults by frontman Till Lindemann against young female fans, Rammstein would again be number one in Germany, but in the biggest MeToo case.” This is a stark reminder that we need to hold our idols accountable, regardless of their artistic contributions.

And then there’s the academic trivialization of Rammstein’s actions. A book titled “Rammstein’s ‘Deutschland’. Pop – Politics – Provokation” presents the band’s controversial actions as “complex works of art”. The taz article criticizes this perspective, stating, “The reader ‘Rammstein’s ‘Germany’. Pop – Politics – Provokation’… presents the result of cultural science research on Rammstein’s pop-cultural total work of art permeated with fascist aesthetics, right-wing iconography, and sexual violence fantasies.”

To me, this feels like a dangerous oversimplification that overlooks the potential harm such portrayals can cause. It’s like saying, “Sure, they’re playing with fire, but look at how pretty the flames are!” It’s a way of avoiding the hard questions, of sidestepping the uncomfortable truths.

While some may appreciate Rammstein’s boldness and refusal to conform, I find their actions deeply problematic. The controversy surrounding Rammstein serves as a reminder that as consumers of art, we need to keep our eyes open and our minds critical. We need to hold artists accountable for their actions, especially when they exploit historical trauma and personal boundaries for shock value.

At the end of the day, it’s not just about the music. It’s also about the message. And when that message is wrapped up in controversy and exploitation, it’s time to take a step back and ask ourselves: is this the kind of art we want to support?

a cassette player with headphones attached to it

The Best-Selling Songs of the 80s in the UK and Germany

I’m delighted to take you on a nostalgic journey again, back to the heart of my youth and a remarkable decade in music – the 1980s. Being born in 1973, my formative years were spent in the midst of an explosive era of music innovation and creativity. The unforgettable melodies, the iconic artists, and the cultural movements that framed this period have left a lasting imprint on me. Each song on this list sparks a unique memory, a moment of time encapsulated within the chords and lyrics of these classic tunes.

Back then, we saw a massive shift in the music landscape, from the raw acoustic and earthy sounds of the 70s, transitioning into the vibrant, electronic, and synthesized beats of the 80s. This era was marked by its pioneering use of new technology, synthesizers, and production techniques, a stark contrast to today’s music that thrives on digital platforms, streaming services, and social media influence. And of course, let’s not forget the extraordinary fashion statements – the big hair, the neon colors, and the shoulder pads that were as bold as the music itself!

Now, join me as we travel back in time, revisit the top-selling and most popular songs in the UK and Germany for each year of the 80s, and explore how these hits shaped the music and culture of the time.

Right before we dive into this musical journey, a little surprise awaits you at the end of this post – a link to a carefully curated Spotify playlist featuring all the top-selling songs from the 80s in the UK and Germany that we’re about to explore. Keep reading and enjoy this nostalgic trip, knowing that a musical treasure trove awaits you!


1980

  1. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)” – Pink Floyd
  2. “Call Me” – Blondie
  3. “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” – The Police
  4. “Woman in Love” – Barbra Streisand
  5. “Super Trouper” – ABBA

1981

  1. “Tainted Love” – Soft Cell
  2. “Bette Davis Eyes” – Kim Carnes
  3. “Endless Love” – Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
  4. “Stand and Deliver” – Adam and the Ants
  5. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” – The Police

1982

  1. “Come On Eileen” – Dexys Midnight Runners
  2. “Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor
  3. “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  4. “Ebony and Ivory” – Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
  5. “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” – Culture Club

1983

  1. “Karma Chameleon” – Culture Club
  2. “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson
  3. “Every Breath You Take” – The Police
  4. “Flashdance… What a Feeling” – Irene Cara
  5. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” – Eurythmics

1984

  1. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – Band Aid
  2. “Relax” – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  3. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” – Stevie Wonder
  4. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” – Wham!
  5. “Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker Jr.

1985

  1. “The Power of Love” – Jennifer Rush
  2. “Careless Whisper” – George Michael
  3. “We Are the World” – USA for Africa
  4. “I Want to Know What Love Is” – Foreigner
  5. “Easy Lover” – Philip Bailey & Phil Collins

1986

  1. “West End Girls” – Pet Shop Boys
  2. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” – The Communards
  3. “Take My Breath Away” – Berlin
  4. “Papa Don’t Preach” – Madonna
  5. “Rock Me Amadeus” – Falco

1987

  1. “Never Gonna Give You Up” – Rick Astley
  2. “La Isla Bonita” – Madonna
  3. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” – Whitney Houston
  4. “With or Without You” – U2
  5. “It’s a Sin” – Pet Shop Boys

1988

  1. “Sweet Child o’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses
  2. “A Groovy Kind of Love” – Phil Collins
  3. “One More Try” – George Michael
  4. “Orinoco Flow” – Enya
  5. “Desire” – U2

1989

  1. “Like a Prayer” – Madonna
  2. “Another Day in Paradise” – Phil Collins
  3. “Eternal Flame” – The Bangles
  4. “Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)” – Soul II Soul
  5. “The Look” – Roxette

And there we have it – a nostalgic look back at a decade filled with iconic hits that defined my youth and the music landscape of the 80s. Each song holds a precious memory, a flash from the past, a reminder of how far we’ve come, and yet, how these classics still manage to inspire and influence us today.

The 1980s was a decade unlike any other, a pivotal period that reshaped music and brought a fresh wave of sound that still reverberates today. Comparing the music scene of the 80s to today’s scene showcases a fascinating evolution – from record players and mixtapes to digital downloads and streaming services. Yet, the magic of music remains unchanged – it continues to inspire, unite, and empower us in so many ways.

As we listen to today’s music, we’re reminded of how it’s built on the foundation laid by these legendary 80s hits. These songs – their beats, their lyrics, their spirit – continue to influence modern artists, reminding us that even though times have changed, good music remains timeless.

Thanks for taking this journey with me, through the highs and lows of the music that marked my coming of age. Music is more than just a melody, it’s a connection to our past and a bridge to our future. I hope these songs brought back fond memories for you as well and continue to inspire as we navigate the rhythm of life.

Till the next nostalgic trip, keep the music playing!

As a special treat to accompany this nostalgic journey, I’ve compiled a Spotify playlist featuring all the songs mentioned above.