With so many songs and so many drum beats, we simply cannot decide which of them is the best. There may also be others out there that we have not heard of or considered before, we never know.
If you have been searching for the best one to mimic, check out this list of the best drum solos of all time. Do you think your favorite drum solo is on the list? Find out now!
Acoustic vs. Electric Drums
Before we get started on the songs, it is important to note that not every single drum solo is done on acoustic drums. As time improves, we create more and more ways to produce the type of music that we want to hear.
In this section, you will know the difference between electric and acoustic drums. I will also be discussing what each type can do to create show-stopping solos.
When you mention drummer or drum set, the acoustic drum is immediately what comes to most people’s minds. Acoustic drums produce an analog sound that many musicians love. Having a set allows you to create multiple sounds due to varied areas your drumstick hits.
Precision is one of the keys to playing well. This is because acoustic sets are a lot more sensitive than electric sets. Acoustic sets are also highly-customizable. You can add as many components to it as you want. Niel Peart, for one, is known to perform shows with an enormous set.
One of the best features of an acoustic kit that helps with drum solos is the rebound it creates. The skin or membrane head of a drum allows your drumstick to bounce back when you hit them. This will greatly reduce the fatigue you get when playing drums. Reduced fatigue means a longer time for you to play your solos!
Electronic drums are a more modern take on the traditional acoustic drums.
The best feature of this type is its ability to create sounds that an acoustic drum simply cannot. With its ability to pre-record every sound you create, you can get multiple voices for your drumming. This is especially great for drummers who love to explore the boundaries of what they can and cannot play.
Another amazing feature of electronic drums is because they are highly customizable. This is why Def Leppard’s drummer, Rick Allen, used electronic drums when he lost his arm.
A common misconception most people have about electronic drums is that they simply do not have the same amount of rebound that acoustic drums have.
The fact is, electronic drums use mesh heads that are fairly springy, which can lead to a little more bounce than what an acoustic drum head can make.
Another great thing about acoustic drums is how easy it is to amplify them. There is no need to buy mic sets or bass amplifiers for this one. All you have to do is plug it into an amplifier and control the volume output from there.
Top Ten Best Drum Solos
So, it is time to present to you the best of the best. Remember that this list includes all genres, new and old.
Rush by Tom Sawyer
This old-time classic has been a legend for many decades–and for good reason! It is easy to see Neal Peart’s immense talent, especially in this song. The amount of drums and cymbals he was able to use in a short time during his solo at around 2:35 is incredible.
Moby Dick by Led Zeppelin
Another classic, Moby Dick is a song that never disappoints if you are searching for amazing drum solos. John Bonham is known to perform this solo live differently every single time.
In this video, the solo starts at the very beginning and goes on for about two minutes. However, when live, it can go on for about twenty minutes. This version I have for you is the one they played at London’s Royal Albert Hall and is one of the best versions of this solo out there.
Beast And The Harlot by Avenged Sevenfold
Jimmy Sullivan, also known as The Reverend, is known for his agility when playing the drums. You can get a taste of his amazing skills and speed at the beginning of this song. Starting on the cymbals, he starts a roll that increases in intensity for 20 seconds and then goes off on the snare drums. Just when you think it is going to calm down a little, he kicks it up a notch at 45 seconds in by adding the bass.
In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins
If you listen to this song, one thing you will notice immediately is that the drums sound a bit different from the ones we have on this list so far. The reason behind this is that the drums in this song are accidentally discovered. They are subtle at the beginning which makes the drum solo towards the end more prominent and exciting to listen to.
Painkiller by Judas Priest
The moment you play this song, you will immediately hear Scott Travis’s amazing drum solo. It goes on for two minutes before the band goes in with their memorable intro. The solo was perfect for buildup and the band truly delivered throughout the entire song.
The End by The Beatles
Ringo Starr was not very fond of doing drum solos during live shows. However, for this song, which is their last song as a group, by the way, each member had to do their solo. Twenty-one seconds into the song, you will be able to hear Ringo Starr’s drum solo which was actually recorded in the studio with twelve microphones!
Hot for Teacher by Van Halen
The drum solo for this song starts at the very beginning. If you listen closely to it you will notice that it is different. In order to create this unique sound, Alex van Halen stringed together four bass drums for that layering effect.
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly
This is an old song created in the 1960s and a very long one at that, spanning for up to seventeen minutes. If you are looking for a monster drum solo, then you are looking at the right song. Ron Bushy’s solo starts at about six minutes and thirty seconds into the song and lasts for about two minutes.
Aja by Steely Dan
Going into the jazz genre, the drum solos by Steve Gadd can be a challenge to catch in this song, but if you listen closely, every time he gets the time to shine, he really takes off! A lot of his drum solos can be heard near the end of the song at around the five-minute mark.
Por Ti Volare by Will Ferrel and John C Riley
This one is technically a movie soundtrack but I meant it when I said that this section contains songs from a lot of different genres! Even though this is a cover made for the movie Step Brothers in 2009, John C Riley has actually been playing the drums since he was a child and you can really see his experience in this song.
Best Rock Drum Solos
Now that we have the top ten out of the way, let us go ahead and go through the best rock drum solos of all time. Here are ten of the best rock drum solos ever created!
YYZ by Rush
First I want you to take a good look at Niel Peart’s crazy drum setup. Seen it? Perfect. Now play the song and listen to one of the best drum solos out there. Niel has done it again and you can listen to his skills extensively as this solo goes on for most of the song! If you can find an aerial view of Niel Peart playing the drums, then you should definitely watch it!
Rock and Roll by Led Zeppelin
You can immediately hear the drums at the very beginning of this song. This song, while not being their longest or best, is still something fans will definitely enjoy as it has some quick, light drums. The second part of the solo can be heard near the end of the song.
Toad by Cream
Ginger Baker takes London’s Royal Albert Hall by storm as he performs Toad. This entire video is just him giving us the best beats you could ever find. With how intricate his solos are, it is very difficult for drummers to simply replicate this solo!
Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
Even though Meg White did not start playing the drums until she and her husband, Jack White, got back together, she immediately developed a straightforward drumming style that many people loved. During live shows, Meg loved to perform drum solos and always, always brings the house down!
I’m In Love With My Car by Queen
Roger Taylor is an absolute legend when it comes to drumming. His agility, accuracy, and creativity are unmatched. Queen is known to never do anything with half intentions and Roger Taylor proves he is definitely a part of it in his drum solos.
Panic Attack by Mike Portnoy
Another drumming legend, Mike Portnoy shows off his amazing speed and skill. He is often seen with a giant kit and he never seems to fail at hitting every single beat accurately and perfectly.
People = Shit by Slipknot
Joey Jordison proves time and time again that he is deserving of the title of Greatest Drummers in the last twenty-five years. As one of the kings of metal, Joey’s playstyle is loud and fast.
If 6 was 9 by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Mitch Mitchell’s style may have originated from jazz but his style matched perfectly with Jimi Hendrix’s revolutionary way of using the guitar. In this song, you will definitely see his amazing skills as a jazz-originated rock drummer.
As I Am by Dream Theater
Mike Portnoy proves to us again that he is one of the best drummers in the world with his work in this song by Dream Theater. Witness his speed and skill on the drums during his solo starting at six minutes and fifteen seconds into the song.
- Scavenger Of Human Sorrow by Death
Death is well-known in the metal scene during the ‘80s. They are known for their progressive rock music as well.
Despite the many drummers’ Death had, Richard Christy is one of the best, which obviously is highlighted in this particular song. His solo can be heard from the very beginning of the song giving it a heavy start and continues until the end.
Best 70s Drum Solos
Just because a song is old does not mean it has lost its magic. True enough, plenty of old songs in different genres like jazz and classical rock still stay in our hearts to this day. As pioneers of modern-day music, we should take a look at the best musicians of the past now and then.
Nutville by Buddy Rich
With Buddy Rich’s impressive skill on the drums, it almost seems like he was put on this earth to make every other drummer look bad. Seriously, if you doubt me on this go ahead and search for his drum solos on YouTube. He displays amazing agility, skill, and accuracy–all while wearing a three-piece suit!
100,000 Years by KISS
According to Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, this song is about a time traveler, and it seemed like Peter Criss had the right idea when he played the drums. Today, even after almost five decades since its release, this song’s impressive drum solo remains to be one of the greatest influences of modern drum music.
Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who
This song was made to criticize revolution and power. Keith Moon certainly did a revolutionary take on the drum solo he did for this specific song. The song was initially intended for a rock opera. The band confirmed that the message of the song was not entirely about being against revolution but instead, stating the fact that revolution tends to be unpredictable.
The Mule by Deep Purple
Deep Purple makes an appearance on this list for their amazing song with an amazing drum solo: The Mule. Ian Paice brings you an intense drum cover starting at the two-minute mark of this video. During their live shows, lead vocalist Ian Gillan introduces this song as “a song for Lucifer and some of his friends, most of whom are sitting around here somewhere”.
Spectrum by Billy Cobham
Jazz-drummer Billy Cobham was one of the most popular acts in the late 60s and early 70s. Together with Miles Davis and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, he was able to show his talent and skill to the world. Billy Cobham is known to be fusion’s greatest drummer and this song will show you exactly why.
Brother to Brother by Gino Vannelli
Mark Craney plays drums for Gino Vannelli as he sings this old 70s classic. The drums throughout the song are amazing and intense. However, if you truly want to see what Mark Craney is capable of, then you should definitely listen closely to the solo around four minutes and thirty-five seconds.
So, what do you think of our top songs?
If you would like to learn more about reading drum sheet music, you can check out this article. Additionally, if you would like to have some more guidance while you are learning how to play the drums, consider taking online drum lessons! We have a handy list curated just for you. You may also check the review of online drum lessons and choose what’s best for you.
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