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The 21 Best Drum Solos of All Time

06/11/2023

Featured image: Creative Commons License by Clalansingh

Are you looking to take your drumming to the next level? Are you looking for a challenge? Well, you’ve come to the right place. One of the best ways to progress your drumming is by learning and perfecting drum solos – they’re liberating to play and epic to watch. And we can think of a few iconic moments where legendary drummers have completely unleashed at the kit. In fact, we can think of 21 of them.

In this article, we’ll dive into the best drum solos of all time. We’ll discuss why they’re so great and how you can play them.

In a hurry?

Here’s a quick list of our top five drum solos:

Song/SoloBand/ArtistDrummer YouTube Link
"Won’t Get Fooled Again"The WhoKeith MoonListen here
"The Blister Exists"SlipknotJoey JordisonListen here
"Wipe Out"The SurfarisRon WilsonListen here
Tommy Lee Solo, Los AngelesMotely CrueTommy LeeListen here
"Pain=BESTFRIEND"XXXTENTACIONTravis BarkerListen here

The best drum solos of all time

1. “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who includes a renowned drum solo by Keith Moon, recognised for his wild and innovative drumming style. The solo comprises energetic rolls on the snare drum that propels the track’s rhythm, and its tempo is relatively fast-paced, contributing to the energetic vibe. This is a great one to learn if you’re into hard rock or progressive rock.

Looking for the perfect kit to go crazy on? The Premier Genista Maple 22″ 4pc Shell Pack is ideal for playing this drum solo as it produces a supremely powerful tone. Its 22″ bass drum delivers a deep, punchy sound, perfect for nailing the kind of energy that’s retained throughout the song.


2. “Time” by Pink Floyd

A Pink Floyd classic, “Time” features an iconic drum solo performed by their drummer, Nick Mason. While Nick Mason is not necessarily known for wild drum solos, this solo is particularly memorable. It entails fast rolls on the snare drum, showcasing Mason’s technical skill and precision. And as it has a moderate tempo, it’s ideal for drummers of all ability levels.

Keep practising the intricate drumming patterns – once you have them down, they’ll shine through perfectly in this solo.

The Rototom Set with Stand by Gear4music is ideal for this solo. With it, you can utilise the unique sound and tuning capabilities of the Rototoms, similar to what Mason did in the original recording of the song.


3. “The Blister Exists” by Slipknot

After something heavier? Joey Jordison was known for delivering intense and fierce drum performances, and the solo in Slipknot’s “The Blister Exists” showcases his exceptional, legendary skills and demonstrates his ability to create complex rhythms. Rapid rolls on the snare, powerful double bass pedal work, and intricate fills – they’re all here in this solo, and they contribute to that aggressive and chaotic nature of the music.

The speed of the solo is incredibly fast-paced, so you’ll need good stamina and precision! And what better drum to learn the solo on than the Pearl Joey Jordison Signature Snare Drum? It’s known for its tight and aggressive sound – a picture-perfect match for this solo.


4. “YYZ” by Rush

Neil Peart’s drum solo in “YYZ” is a standout moment in the band’s repertoire. He’s regarded as one of the greatest drummers in rock music, so how could you not want to recreate one of his famous solos?

It comprises intricate patterns, and the tempo is relatively fast-paced, demanding precision and speed.

The Stagg Rock 5-1/2″ Cowbell, Black can be used to add additional percussive elements during the solo.


5. “Chocolate Chip Trip” by Tool

In “Chocolate Chip Trip” by Tool, drummer Danny Carey showcases his talent for intricate, dynamic drum solos. With a combination of rapid rolls, complex polyrhythms, and intricate cymbal work, it’s a fun and skill-enhancing solo to get stuck into.

Plus, the speed ranges from fast and frenetic passages to slower, groove-oriented sections, giving you different tempos to play around with.

If you want to end the solo in the same way Danny Carey does himself, try the Meinl Sonic Energy Wind Gong Flower of Life, 20″.


6. “Pain=BESTFRIEND” by XXXTENTACION

Travis Barker’s solo “Pain=BESTFRIEND” by XXXTENTACION focuses on providing a rhythmic foundation and adding subtle fills to enhance the overall sound.

Along with tasteful cymbal accents, Barker creates intricate rhythms while maintaining a solid groove.

Your current drumsticks aren’t cutting it? Check out the Zildjian Travis Barker Artist Series Drumsticks to get an authentic Travis Barker drumming experience when performing this solo!


7. “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins

Of course, we couldn’t have a list of the best drum solos without including Phil Collins. “In the Air Tonight” is iconic and famous for its drum break, giving us plenty of dramatic rolls on the toms and a powerful snare hit.

In terms of speed, the solo starts slow and gradually builds up to a climactic crescendo. Premier Concert Toms, known for their rich and resonant sound, are ideal for adding depth and impact to this solo.


8. “Painkiller” by Judas Preist

The drum solo in “Painkiller” by Judas Priest showcases the incredible skills of drummer Scott Travis. It’s a remarkable display of lightning-fast double bass drumming, intricate snare and tom fills, and powerful cymbal crashes.

It perfectly intensifies the aggressive nature of the song.

To perform this solo, try the Pearl Demonator Double Kick Pedal. You’ll be able to achieve the rapid double bass drumming that’s needed, adding power and precision to the performance.


9. Joey Jordison Drum Solo

Joey Jordison was known for his impressive drum solos. While his skills were not limited to just crazy drum solos, they were certainly one of his notable talents. This drum solo in particular displays incredible technicality and sheer power. It’s lightning fast and insanely intricate – the epitome of the aggressive metal drumming that Jordison was renowned for.

The Pearl Joey Jordison Signature Snare Drum works exceptionally well with this solo, providing a crisp sound that cuts through the mix and makes every beat stand out.


10. “Best of You” by Foo Fighters

A solo from the legendary Taylor Hawkins could go not amiss on this list. We’ve chosen “Best of You” as the solo at the end is exciting, intense, and uplifting all in one. It entails energetic rolls on the snare, powerful fills across the toms and dynamic cymbal crashes.


11. “Say Goodbye” by Dave Matthews Band

The drum solo in “Say Goodbye” by Dave Matthews Band showcases the incredible skills of drummer Carter Beauford. There are impressive snare rolls, intricate fills across the toms and cymbals, and dynamic rhythms that perfectly complement the song.

The speed of the solo varies, displaying Beauford’s versatility and ability to switch between different rhythmic patterns seamlessly. The Meinl HCS 12” Splash Cymbal can be used to add accents and bright, cutting sounds to enhance the impact of the solo.


12. “Wipe Out” by The Surfaris

If surf rock is more your vibe, this solo captures the genre in its full glory.

Drummer of The Surfaris Ron Wilson provides a captivating, energetic drum solo in the song “Wipe Out”. It’s exhilarating, courtesy of the fast tempo of the song along with the intricate fills across the toms and cymbals.


13. “Moby Dick” by Led Zepplin

Led Zeppelin’s drummer, John Bonham, was known for his captivating drum solos, and the drum solo in the song “Moby Dick” is one of his most iconic performances. The solo showcases Bonham’s incredible power and improvisational skills.

There are thunderous bass drum patterns and intricate fills throughout the kit, and the Ludwig LM402 14″ x 6.5″ Supraphonic Snare Drum is perfect for nailing those sharp and powerful snare hits that are essential in recreating Bonham’s dynamic performance.


14. “What About Me?” by Snarky Puppy

The solo in Snarky Puppy’s “What About Me?” stands out as one of Larnell Lewis’ most notable performances. With dynamic fills using various cymbals and toms, and precise rhythmic patterns, this fill is ideal if you want to cross genres, namely jazz, funk, and world music.

The tempo of the solo varies throughout the performance, showcasing Lewis’ versatility and control – it’s great for honing your timing skills!


15. Tommy Lee solo, Los Angeles

Drummer of Mötley Crüe, Tommy Lee’s performance in Los Angeles is a prime example of his electrifying and show-stopping drum solos. Known for his innovative and extravagant drum setups, Lee’s solos often incorporate unique, captivating elements that set him apart from other drummers.

This solo features his iconic Crüecifly roller coaster drum set, and like “What About Me?”, the tempo varies, but Lee maintains high speed and energy throughout.


16. “The Audacity” by Polyphia

For a progressive rock sound that’s infused with elements of metal and jazz, Clay Aeschliman’s solo in “The Audacity” takes the top spot. The drum solo balances dynamic fills with precise intricate patterns, all whilst diving in and out of different speeds.

The drummer is always the backbeat of the band, but Aeschliman’s drumming style goes one step further. He adds depth and intensity to the band’s overall sound, contributing to their unique musical identity.

To perform the drum solo in “The Audacity”, the Meinl Classics Custom Dark 14” Hi-Hats are perfect. They provide that precise and controlled sound you need, whilst the hi-hats allow for the intricate patterns often found in Clay’s drumming.


17. “The Big Drum Solo” by Thomas Pridgen

“The Big Drum Solo” by Thomas Pridgen showcases his prowess behind the kit and displays exactly why he’s recognised for delivering captivating drum solos.

The solo involves a combination of explosive rolls, complex fills utilising various cymbals and toms, and dynamic rhythmic patterns. It also blends elements of rock, jazz, and fusion.

The speed of the solo also varies, ranging from blistering fast sections to more groove-oriented passages.


18. “Extended drum solo CTSO” by Tony Royster Jr.

Accomplished drummer Tony Royster Jr. is known for his impressive drum solos, and the “extended drum solo CTSO” is no exception.

This solo showcases his exceptional skills and creativity behind the drum set, not least his dazzling hand and foot coordination. It’s high in energy and intensity, with Tony Royster Jr. effortlessly navigating through complex rhythms and showcasing his remarkable precision on the drums.


19. “Beast and the Harlot” by Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold’s original drummer, The Rev (James Sullivan), was renowned for his energy behind the kit, and his performance in “Beast and the Harlot” epitomises his sheer talent.

With thunderous fills and intricate footwork, this solo is both fast and aggressive – great for just completely letting loose at the kit.

During his career, The Rev used the DW 9000 Series Single Kick Drum Pedal. This fast-paced and agile pedal gave him the precision and power he needed, allowing him to deliver those iconic thunderous beats.


20. “The End” by The Beatles

A song that’s characterised by Ringo Starr’s powerful drum playing, “The End” is a great song to learn on the drums for drummers of all abilities. It has a moderate pace but is great for honing a sense of rhythm and groove. It’s diverse, spans various speeds and techniques, and puts the drums right at the forefront Plus, it’s part of one of the most iconic albums of all time. What’s not to love?

Tap into Ringo Starr’s vibe and aesthetic with the BDK-22 Rock Drum Kit by Gear4music, Black Oyster.


21. “Stranded” by Gorjira

Duplantier’s solo in “Stranded” features intense and intricate elements that will really test your skills at the kit.

Gojira is a renowned French metal band known for their unique blend of progressive and death metal, characterised by heavy riffs and atmospheric soundscapes. This solo in particular demonstrates both power and precision that drives the music forward.

Everything a drummer needs for a legendary solo

If you want to recreate these solos, we’ve chosen our three favourite kits that suit all skill levels. These are perfect for completely going wild with your playing and will ensure your solo sounds just as legendary as the original.

First up we have the Ludwig Continental 26” 3pc Shell Pack, a versatile drum set that suits a range of drumming styles. Its high-quality construction and materials ensure excellent sound and durability, whilst its 3-piece configuration keeps it a compact and manageable size.

The Sonor Vintage 20” 3pc Shell Pack in Vintage Black Slate is another versatile kit. With its vintage-inspired design and rich, resonant sound, it adds a touch of nostalgia to any performance or practice session.

Finally, the Pearl Export EXX 22” Rock Drum Kit is a superb choice for rocking out to your favourite songs. Its powerful sound and responsive feel accommodate a wide range of musical styles and techniques – perfect for learning the drum solos on our list!

FAQs

What is the most famous drum beat?

Clyde Stubblefield’s drum beat in “Funky Drummer” by James Brown is regarded as the most famous drum beat of all time. This beat is widely recognised and has been sampled countless times, making it an iconic rhythm in the world of music. Other notable drum beats that are instantly recognisable include “We Will Rock You” by Queen, “Rosanna” by Toto, and “Come Together” by The Beatles.


What makes a good drum solo?

A good drum solo is characterised by its ability to captivate and engage the audience. It showcases the drummer’s technical skill, musicality, and creativity. The solo should have a clear structure, with dynamic contrasts and rhythmic variations to keep it interesting. A sense of timing and control is key, allowing the drummer to build tension and release it at the right moments.


What is the most sampled drum solo?

The most sampled drum beat in history is the Amen Break. The Amen Break is a four-bar drum solo originally performed by The Winstons, an American funk and soul band. This iconic drum break has been widely used in various genres of music, particularly in hip-hop and electronic music.

Final thoughts

We’ve covered multiple genres, ability levels, and drumming heroes. So now you know our top picks for the best drum solos, what are yours? Let us know in the comments below.

After more drumming content? Check out our nominations for the greatest songs with drum intros!

 

Joe is an enthusiastic drummer who has been drumming for 12 years. He plays Heavy Metal and Djent on drums and also plays some electric guitar in his spare time.

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1 Comment

  1. Tom VanNortwick

    You left out Barrimore Barlow’s drum solo in the song Conundrum on Jethro Tull’s live album Bursting Out. None of the ones listed can hold a candle to Barlow…

    Reply

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