The Drums

Give the Drummer Some

What role do drums play in Rock? Should that be keeping the beat or leading from the front? Who are some of the greatest drummers in rock music? The beat goes on as Jim and Greg focus on the contributions of drummers to rock music with drummer Joe Wong. Wong also hosts a podcast on drummers called The Trap Set.

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Joe Wong

JoeWong While the lead singer in a band usually gets most of the spotlight at the front of the stage, this week we focus on someone much further back on the stage - the drummer. Someone who doesn't always get the attention, but is often just as deserving. To help Jim and Greg dig into the role of drummers, they spoke with drummer and composer Joe Wong. He's also the host of the The Trapset, a podcast all about drummers.


Favorite Drum Moments in Rock

Jim and Greg share some of their favorite drummers as well as some notable drum fills, beats and more:



Bernard Purdie

In the 1960s and '70s, Bernard“Pretty”Purdie was one of the most prolific session drummers out there, laying down the beat for Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Al Kooper, Nina Simone, Hall & Oates, Miles Davis and hundreds more. His distinctive style, known as the“Purdie Shuffle,”has influenced generations of drummers, but has been frequently sampled in hip hop since the 1980s. Sound Opinions producer Ayana Contreras spoke with Purdie about his career and contributions to popular music.

Featured Songs

  1. The Beatles, Come Together, Abbey Road, Apple, 1969
  2. Led Zeppelin, Rock And Roll, Led Zeppelin IV, Atlantic, 1971
  3. James Brown, Funky Drummer, Funky Drummer (single), King, 1970
  4. Wild Flag, Romance, Wild Flag, Merge, 2011
  5. Little Richard And His Band, Heeby-Jeebies, She's Got It (single), Specialty, 1956
  6. Michael Jackson, Billie Jean, Thriller, Epic, 1982
  7. Earth Wind and Fire, Can't Hide Love, Gratitude, Columbia, 1975
  8. Rush, Tom Sawyer, Moving Pictures, Mercury, 1981
  9. Elvin Jones, Agappe Love, Poly-Currents, Blue Note, 1970
  10. The Rolling Stones, Paint It Black, Paint It Black (single), Decca, 1966
  11. Battles, Atlas, Mirrored, Warp, 2007
  12. Can, Paperhouse, Tago Mago, United Artists, 1971
  13. The Who, Young Man Blues, Live at Leeds, Decca, 1970
  14. The Who, I Can See For Miles, I Can See For Miles (single), Track, 1967
  15. Dennis Coffey, Scorpio, Evolution, Sussex, 1971
  16. Queen, Fat Bottomed Girls, Jazz, EMI, 1978
  17. Violent Femmes, Blister In the Sun, Blister in the Sun (single), Slash, 1983
  18. Phil Collins, In The Air Tonight, Face Value, Virgin, 1981
  19. Fela Kuti, Zombie, Zombie, Coconut, 1976
  20. Aretha Franklin, Rock Steady, Rock Steady (single), Atlantic, 1971
  21. Led Zeppelin, Dazed and Confused, Led Zeppelin, Atlantic, 1969
  22. Led Zeppelin, Stairway To Heaven, Led Zepplin IV, Atlantic, 1971
  23. Public Image Ltd., Under the House, The Flowers of Romance, Virgin, 1981
  24. Led Zeppelin, When the Levee Breaks, Led Zeppelin IV, Atlantic, 1971
  25. Sleater-Kinney, Youth Decay, All Hands on the Bad One, Kill Rock Stars, 2000
  26. XTC, Senses Working Overtime, English Settlement, Virgin, 1982
  27. James Brown, I Got the Feelin', I Got the Feelin', King, 1968
  28. Rolling Stones, Honky Tonk Woman, Honky Tonk Woman (Single), Decca, 1969
  29. The Stairsteps, O-o-h Child, O-o-h Child (single), Buddah, 1970
  30. Doris Troy, Just One Look, Just One Look (single), Atlantic, 1963
  31. Gil Scott-Heron, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Flying Dutchman, 1974
  32. The Exciters, Tell Him, Tell Him (single), United Artists, 1962
  33. Melvin Bliss, Synthetic Substitution, Reward (single), Sunburst, 1973
  34. Public Enemy, Don't Believe The Hype, It Takes a Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, Def Jam, 1988
  35. Ultra Magnetic M.C.s, Ego Trippin', Ego Trippin' (single), Next Plateau, 1986
  36. Naughty By Nature, O.P.P. (instrumental version), O.P.P. (single), Tommy Boy, 1991
  37. EPMD, I'm Housin', Strictly Business, Fresh, 1988
  38. Wale, Lacefrontin', The Eleven One Eleven Theory, Maybach Music, 2011
  39. Steely Dan, Home At Last, Aja, ABC, 1977
  40. Leon Bridges, Bad Bad News, Good Thing, Columbia, 2018
  41. Kraftwerk, The Telephone Call, Electric Cafe, EMI, 1986
  42. John Prine, Sam Stone, John Prine, Atlantic, 1971
  43. John Prine, Paradise, John Prine, Atlantic, 1971
  44. Frightened Rabbit, The Modern Leper (Live On Sound Opinions), The Midnight Organ Fight, Fat Cat, 2008