Drums are the foundation of rock music. They are the structure. If music moves you, it is likely because of the quality of percussion. That said, here are the 10 best at their trade:
1. Neil Peart
Virtuoso raised the bar and continues to raise it. He's the reason Rush vaulted to superstar status after just a few albums. Peart is so gifted, so versatile, so talented that he has no peer. It's not even honorable to refer to The Professor as a drummer; he's a percussionist. "La Villa Strangiato" says it all.
2. Ian Paice
Best hard rock drummer ever. Just listen to Deep Purple "Made in Japan" and you'll have no questions. He never stops, never slows down. It's full speed ahead for one of the fastest drummers to ever sit at a drum kit. Just another slave for the mule.
3. John Bonham
Talk about versatility and inventiveness. Equally comfortable playing with his bare hands as he is with the sticks. It takes a special drummer to keep pace with the madness that was Led Zeppelin. Think he commands respect? When he died, that was the end of Led Zeppelin. No auditions.
4. Bill Bruford
Backbone of Yes and King Crimson. Monumentally precise with his approach, showing a unique ability to drive prog rock to new heights. Listen to songs like "Long Distance Runaround" and "Heart of the Sunrise" and it's easy to see why he's so high on the list.
5. Terry Bozzio
Anyone who can keep time for Frank Zappa deserves heavy praise. Bozzio played on 10 Zappa albums before anchoring UK and Missing Persons. His quickness, ability to shift timing and versatility are reasons he's one of the best live performers of his trade.
6. Keith Moon
Others are technically more sound, but Moon was a huge reason for The Who's success ("Who Are You," Moon's last album before his death in 1978, is arguably the last great Who album). Moon's signature album is "Quadrophenia," where he never slows down. Even on the quieter songs, he's pounding away relentlessly. Ah, bollocks.
7. Carl Palmer
Three-piece bands bring individual talent to the forefront and this is a guy who can flat-out play. His haunting, spacey and often frenetic drumming made ELP one of the most relevant bands of the early '70s. Epics like "Pictures at an Exhibition" and "Endless Enigma" showcase his talent.
8. Don Brewer
One of rock's best live drummers, Brewer helped Grand Funk Railroad win America's hearts as one of the most influential American bands. Brewer played a simple kit, showing he was more about substance than style. "TNUC" is one of hard rock's classic drum solos.
9. Nick Mason
While Roger Waters and David Gilmour got most of the attention, it was the consistent, subtle percussion of Mason that helped Pink Floyd achieve rock 'n' roll super-stardom. Songs like "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" and "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" highlight his ability to set a mood through rhythm.
10. Mike Annis
This Boston-based drummer carved his path with bands like Hell Toupee, Mindgrinder and the Weeds, refusing to convert to the "boom-chink" mentality Top 40 radio demands. One of the early adopters of rototoms, Annis' versatility led him to several musical genres, most recently zydeco.