The future of music

Best Drum Songs – 30 Iconic Drumming Performances

December 14, 2023
best drum songs

I’ve gathered the best drum songs, a collection that showcases the incredible power and rhythm of the drums at their finest.

This article is a celebration of tracks where the drum beats are not just a part of the music, but the driving force that makes each song unforgettable.

Top drum songs

  • “Come Together” by The Beatles
  • “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins
  • “When the Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin
  • “Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen
  • “My Generation” by The Who
  • “One” by Metallica
  • “Tom Sawyer” by Rush
  • “Back In Black” by AC/DC
  • “21st Century Schizoid Man” by King Crimson
  • “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes

1. “Come Together” by The Beatles 

Let’s start with one of the greatest bands of all time – The Beatles.

Few bands have had as much impact on the world as The Beatles, and many Beatles classics are songs with good drums.

However, “Come Together” stands out – the beginning of the song is characterized by drums, and it still gives us chills every time we hear it.

After all, Ringo Starr is a great drummer, and he has a unique and recognizable playing style that became an essential ingredient of Beatles hits. 

2. “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins 

In Phils Collins’ signature song, the drums go unnoticed at first.

But then the song bursts with an explosive energy followed by a powerful drum fill.

That being said, “In The Air Tonight” is arguably one of the best drumming songs ever made.

The drums play an important role here, and that’s why they’re so memorable.

3. “When the Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin

On the other hand, “When The Levee Breaks” shows off its drums right away.

So if you’re looking for the best drumming rock songs, Led Zeppelin has plenty to offer.

But we decided to go for “When The Levee Breaks”, for obvious reasons.

Led Zeppelin’s drummer, John Bonham, put his drum kit at the bottom of the staircase and the recording mic above – that’s how he got that recognizable echoing sound.

4. “Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen

“Hot For Teacher” is another rock song with great drumming.

It was released in 1984, on the band’s sixth studio album.

For his drum part, Alex Van Halen has layered the sound of two drum sets and strung four bass drums together.

As a result, Hot For Teacher” is one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about iconic drumming songs.

5. “My Generation” by The Who

“My Generation” also belongs on every list of the greatest drumming songs.

The Who classic features awesome drumming from Keith Moon, a talented drummer known for his unique style of playing.

During live performances, Moon would pour all his energy and passion into it, resulting in a loud, explosive sound.

And Moon’s bandmate and rockstar Pete Townsend has suffered from partial deafness for decades, due to constantly being surrounded by loud music.

6. “One” by Metallica

When it comes to rock songs with the best drums, we also want to mention “One” by Metallica.

After all, Metallica is one of the most influential bands in history, and their drumming songs are iconic.

Metallica’s drummer Lars Ulrich started playing drums at the age of 12, and eventually became a legendary drummer. 

He has been drumming with Metallica for decades, and “One” is a great example of his talent.

7. “Tom Sawyer” by Rush 

Rush was a Canadian rock band known for their complex composition and progressive style. 

Their music is also recognizable by powerful drum parts.

“Tom Sawyer” is hands down one of their most memorable songs with good drums.

It’s also Rush’s best-known song and a staple of their live performances.

8. “Back In Black” by AC/DC

Of course, AC/DC is another band known for making great drum songs.

It’s hard to pick their best drumming song, but “Back In Black” is definitely high on the list.

In this AC/DC hit, Phil Rudd proved his intricate drumming skills. 

It’s not easy to go into a quick-paced drumming with a lot of power but also with enough restraint not to overshadow other instruments. 

9. “21st Century Schizoid Man” by King Crimson

“21st Century Schizoid Man” is taken from King Crimson’s debut album In the Court of the Crimson King.

Lasting nearly seven and a half minutes, the song provides a truly unique listening experience.

It’s a mix of progressive rock, jazz-rock, and heavy metal.

And their drummer Michael Giles made a substantial contribution with his memorable drum part.

10. “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes 

“Seven Nation Army” is an iconic rock song and a stadium anthem.

Although it’s known for its bass line, the song is also characterized by some powerful drumming.

On the other hand, the song’s drum part is relatively easy to play.

Therefore, “Seven Nation Army” is a great drum song for beginners – if you have basic drumming skills, you’ll be able to learn it in no time.

And once you master it, you can pretend you’re performing it in a large stadium in front of thousands of people.

11. “Raining Blood” by Slayer

If you’re looking for a song with heavy drums, this one’s for you.

Slayer’s “Raining Blood” was released in 1986, and it has been regarded as one of the best thrash metal songs ever since.

It’s also one of Slayer’s most popular songs, and of course, the song wouldn’t be the same without drums.

Drums play a crucial role in most Slayer’s songs, but there’s something about  “Raining Blood” that will make you want to grab your drum sticks right away.

12. “Ticks & Leeches” by TOOL 

Tool’s “Ticks & Leeches” starts off with drums and eventually evolves into a powerful hard rock masterpiece.

Danny Carey’s drum beats are unmatched, and Tool’s sound wouldn’t be the same without him.

His bass drum technique is flawless, and his sense of rhythm is just as impressive.

Moreover, Carey was ranked among the 100 greatest drummers of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

13. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2 

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” has a simplistic yet very memorable drum beat.

Larry Mullen did a great job at adding a military-inspired drum part that basically leads the whole song. 

This is arguably one of U2’s greatest hits, taken from their 1982 studio albumWar.

And if you want to learn how to play “Sunday Bloody Sunday” on drums, there are many tutorials and drum tabs online.

14. “The Passenger” by Iggy Pop 

The drumming in “The Passenger” may seem simplistic at first, it’s actually a central part of the song.

The drums in Iggy Pop’s signature song provide a build-up, leading to the clash of cymbals and the song’s climax.

That being said, “The Passenger” is without a doubt one of the best drum rock songs, and generally one of the best 70s rock songs.

15. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana 

Speaking of the best rock drum songs, we can’t skip “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” 

The first sound of drums in the song announces that something powerful is about to happen, and they stay a crucial part of the song.

Dave Grohl’s drumming in the song is simply amazing.

In one of the interviews, Grohl said that he was inspired by funk and disco groups, and you can hear that in his unique approach to the song’s drum beat. 

16. “Wipe Out” by The Surfaris 

The drumming in “Wipe Out” will immediately make you feel energized.

The Surfaris’ best-known song was a huge hit in the 1960s, and it remains one of the surf rock classics.

And Ron Wilson’s drumming inspired every aspiring young drummer in the 60s to try out the song’s iconic drum solo.

So if you want to improve your technique and rhythm, practicing the “Wipe Out” drum riff would be a great idea.

17. “Moby Dick” by Led Zeppelin

Another Led Zeppeling’s song with lots of drums is “Moby Dick.” 

The song has an epic drum solo that makes the song so unpredictable and memorable.

After all, Led Zeppelin’s drummer John Bonham is regarded as one of the best drummers in music history. 

And he will always be remembered for his fast single-footed kick drumming, unique sound, and an impeccable sense for rhythm.

18. “Fire” by Jimi Hendrix Experience 

Although he is known for his remarkable guitar skills, Jimi Hendrix’s songs also have incredible drum beats.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s drummer Mitch Mitchell has a lot of skill and talent, and his energy matched Hendrix’s vocals and guitar playing perfectly.

And the song “Fire” is a great example – it’s a psychedelic rock tune with soulful vibes and jazz-like drumming. 

19. “Toad” by Cream

Cream’s “Toad” is definitely a drum song for advanced drummers.

The band’s drummer Ginger Baker showed incredible skill here.

The song is basically centered around the drums, so it’s definitely not easy to play it, but Baker managed to pull it off effortlessly. 

He combined rhythms on the hi-hat, ride cymbal, double-bass drums and tom-toms simultaneously.

20. “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson 

Songs with good drums can be found in other music genres as well. 

Michael Jackson’s timeless dance-pop hit is a great example.

The drums in “Billie Jean” were played by Leon “Ndugu” Chancler, a prolific jazz drummer and producer.

Chancler added another layer to the song, making it more catchy, powerful, and simply unforgettable. 

21. “We Will Rock You” by Queen

Without a doubt, “We Will Rock You” has one of the most recognizable drum patterns of all time.

The drumming in Queen’s classic is intentionally simple, so the audience can become a part of the song during live shows. 

And that stomping and clapping in the song became iconic.

“We Will Rock You” is also one of the most popular beginner drums songs. 

22. “Aja” by Steely Dan 

Widely known for his skillful and impactful drumming, Steve Gadd contributed a lot to Steely Dan’s music.

The song “Aja” was released on the album of the same name, and it’s hands down one of the best drumming songs from the 70s.

Just like the majority of Steely Dan’s tunes, it’s a jazz-rock fusion with elements of progressive rock.

Musically, the song is very interesting, so if you’re up for a challenge, you can try making a drum cover. 

23. “Sugar” by Maroon 5

And if you want to play something more modern, “Sugar” by Maroon 5 is a nice option.

It’s a catchy disco-influenced song with good drums that can help you improve your rhythm and overall performance.

The song has a steady groove pattern, and it’s generally fun to play.

24. “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons 

Another popular song with great drums is “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons.

The song is not too fast, and the pattern is the same throughout the song.

In a way, “Radioactive” is very simple, yet it sounds powerful and motivating.

That’s probably because of the combination of drums and the way everything was produced and carefully mixed. 

25. “Cissy Strut” by The Meters 

If you’re looking for a cool, funky drumming song, look no further.

The Meters’ “Cissy Strut” was released in 1969, and it still sounds great.

It was even inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2011.

But more importantly, the song has a cool drum part that will make you want to start with drumming lessons right away.

26. “Karn Evil 9” by Emerson, Lake & Palmer 

“Karn Evil 9” is also regarded as one of the best drum songs.

And we can see why – the song has an epic drum track that is 29-minutes long.

So, it’s fair to say Emerson, Lake & Palmer created an unmatched listening experience that caught the attention of every aspiring drummer. 

27. “YYZ” by Rush 

“YYZ” by Rush also deserves a spot on this list.

It’s an intense and almost overwhelming track characterized by so many distinctive sounds.

However, the song also showcases Neil Peart’s drumming skills, and that’s why it’s often referred to as one of the best drumming tracks.

28. “Rosanna” by Toto 

“Rosanna” by Toto is one of the most famous 80s songs.

This Grammy-award-winning song is catchy, familiar, and probably more gentle than most of the songs on this list.

And the drumming in the song is so good – Jeff Porcaro did a really good job here.

He is responsible for the Rosanna shuffle, the song’s drum pattern that became popular among the drummers around the world.

29. “Painkiller” by Judas Priest 

On the other hand, “Painkiller” is fast-paced, energetic, and extremely loud.

So if you need to blow some steam off, playing “Painkiller” on drums is a great idea.

After all, the song is characterized by Scott Travis’ masterful and complex drumming.

“Painkiller” was released on the album of the same name, and became the band’s signature song.

30. “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly

Iron Butterfly’s album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida features some of the best drumming in psychedelic rock.

And the drum solo in this song of the same name is long and epic.

Generally, Ron Bushy’s skillful drumming fits the guitars and vocals perfectly.

All in all, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” is considered one of the greatest drumming songs for a good reason. 

Best Drum Songs – Final Thoughts

There are too many great drum songs to fit on this list.

Whether you are just learning how to play drums or are a skilled drummer already, all of the songs we mentioned today inspire drummers around the world in some way. 

We hope you enjoyed our selection of the best drum songs!

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Best Online Drum Lessons

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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