27 Songs With The Best Drum Solos Ever

27 Songs With The Best Drum Solos Ever

What’s better than a good drum solo within a song? It adds energy, elevating the song to new levels of excitement. There are dozens of popular songs with amazing drum solos, so here is a list of the best.

“Moby Dick” by Led Zeppelin

Drum Solo Starts At: 1:01

Song Year: 1969

John Bonham is rated as one of the best drummers to ever live. He pioneered many of the rock drumming techniques that are still used today, and his stage presence with Led Zeppelin was unmatched when they were performing.

Moby Dick was one of the songs where Bonham’s playing was highlighted. It’s an extended drum solo with a bit of music played at the beginning and end.

Bonzo’s solo starts softly with his snares turned off, and then it progresses into an intense display of skill. He uses his iconic “Bonham Triplets” throughout the solo, which are a concept that many drummers use as inspiration for their own solos.

“Toad” by Cream

Drum Solo Starts At: 1:12

Song Year: 1966

Toad features a full-length drum solo by the legendary drummer, Ginger Baker. Cream was one of the world’s first supergroup bands, meaning the three members were part of highly successful band projects before they formed their own band.

Ginger Baker was another pioneer in the drumming world, combining his jazz routes with a rock drumming style. He often incorporated African rhythms as well, and all those influences come out clearly in this drum solo.

Whenever Cream performed this song live, Ginger Baker would amaze the live crowds with his technical proficiency behind the kit.

Ginger Baker was one of the few first drummers to use two bass drums in his setup, making this one of the first popular drum solos recorded with a busy double bass drum pattern being played.

“Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen

Drum Solo Starts At: 0:00

Song Year: 1984

Alex Van Halen is the star of this Van Halen tune, playing a busy and suspenseful drum solo in the intro before the guitar part kicks in.

The solo is meant to sound like a large motorbike being started and left to run, and that is signified by the intricate bass drum pattern. The original recording has two bass drum patterns being layered over each other, but the intro sounded just as good when Alex played it live.

He steps it up a notch when he brings the groove in after playing on the toms. The double pedal shuffle pattern is by no means an easy thing to pull off.

“Wipe Out” by Surfaris

Drum Solo Starts At: 0:32

Song Year: 1963

Wipe Out is perhaps one of the most famous drum solo songs to exist. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me if I can play it after they’ve found out that I’m a drummer.

While the initial 16th note tom pattern is the hook, the most iconic part of the drum solo is when the guitar plays a hit on all the first beats, and then the tom rolls follow.

It’s not the most complex drum solo ever, but it certainly is one of the best in terms of popularity.

“Take Five” by Dave Brubeck

Drum Solo Starts At: 1:56

Song Year: 1959

Joe Morello was the drummer on this well-known Dave Brubeck track. The song is in 5/4 time, and Joe Morello plays a fantastic drum solo from the middle to the end of the tune.

The piano motif plays throughout to keep the song anchored, but Joe Morello still somehow makes his solo sound very natural within the complex 5/4 timing.

It’s a classic jazz drum solo involving rudiments being played around the kit with varied dynamics.

Take Five has become a jazz standard, and the drummer typically takes a solo whenever a jazz ensemble plays it, thanks to the inspiration from Joe Morello’s solo.

“Keep Yourself Alive” by Queen

Drum Solo Starts At: 2:19

Song Year: 1973

Freddie Mercury was always the main focus of Queen, but this particular track has a drum feature from Roger Taylor. It’s a small drum solo just before the guitar solo kicks in.

Roger Taylor plays straight 16th notes across his toms, accenting with cymbals every few bars. Since this drum solo was played the same way every time the band performed the song, it became one of those drum solos that the crowd eagerly awaited in suspense.

“Say Goodbye” by Dave Matthews Band

Drum Solo Starts At: 0:00

Song Year: 1996

Here’s another track with an incredible drum solo intro. Carter Beauford has his snares off, and he’s playing musical tribal-like rhythms.

Most of the solo involves Carter playing 16th notes around the drums, and it culminates with him blasting 32nd notes to create a powerful climax before the bass kicks in with Dave Matthews singing shortly after.

The band typically extends this drum solo when they play live, so you should check out a few live versions of the song as well!

“A Night in Tunisia” by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

Drum Solo Starts At: 0:00

Song Year: 1960

Art Blakey was one of the most influential jazz drummers of the 20th century, and his solo in A Night in Tunisia is widely regarded as one of the best jazz solos of all time.

Of course, he played solos like this all throughout his career, but this one stands out as it can be listened to on a high-quality recording of his band performing the tune.

The cool thing about this solo is that while Art is playing, the rest of the band members whip out hand percussion instruments to add more rhythmic density.

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who

Drum Solo Starts At: 7:37

Song Year: 1978

Here’s another track with a simple drum solo that has a massive impact on the song. The song has a breakdown where the music dies down, and that interludes into a Keith Moon drum solo that leads into the iconic scream by Roger Daltrey.

Daltrey’s scream wouldn’t quite be the same without the solo, which is what makes it so good. Keith Moon was known for his crazy antics on stage, but he often whipped out impressive drumming demonstrations.

The thing I love about Keith Moon’s solo here is that it’s just 16th notes, making it easy for drummers to learn and play it note-for-note if they wanted to.

“YYZ” by Rush

Drum Solo Starts At: 2:20

Song Year: 1980

YYZ was one of the best songs that Rush ever put out. It was an instrumental track that showed off the technical skill of all the band members.

The original recording didn’t have a drum solo in it, but the song was released on a live album in which Neil Peart plays a 3-minute solo. This version has become the popular one, and Neil Peart typically played a long solo whenever Rush performed the song live.

Neil Peart was one of the first progressive rock drummers to become world-famous, and he’ll always be remembered for pulling out solos like this.

“Chocolate Chip Trip” by Tool

Drum Solo Starts At: 1:57

Song Year: 2019

Tool is one of the weirder bands on this list, but it can’t be understated how fantastic of a drummer Danny Carey is. This track is from their latest album, and it mostly involves a drum solo from Danny Carey.

It starts with some quirky alien-like sounds, and those build until the drum solo starts. You need to listen to the track with headphones as the music moves around your head as it progresses.

The members of Tool are always making unique and boundary-pushing music, and it just so happens that this particular tune has an epic drum solo.

“Overkill” by Motörhead

Drum Solo Starts At: 0:00

Song Year: 1979

Phil Taylor starts this track off with a short groove intro. It’s one of those short drum solos that set the scene for a song, and it perfectly sets the tone for the guitar riff to kick in.

Motörhead was one of the first thrash metal bands, and this iconic thrash metal groove has been used by dozens of bands since this track was released.

“The Mule” by Deep Purple

Drum Solo Starts At: 2:04

Song Year: 1971

The Mule became synonymous with Ian Paice’s drum solo for Deep Purple fans. It’s another track that didn’t include a drum solo upon its initial release, but it later became a focused drum solo song.

I remember my dad showing me Ian Paice’s drum solo on The Mule countless times as a kid when we used to watch live DVDs of Deep Purple performing.

The whole band goes all out in this tune, but Ian Paice’s drumming is what stands out to me the most. Even apart from the drum solo section, Ian Paice plays a unique rudimental groove that is vastly different from what most drummers play in verses and choruses.

“What About Me?” by Snarky Puppy

“What About Me?” by Snarky Puppy

Drum Solo Starts At: 5:12

Song Year: 2014

We Like It Here was Larnell Lewis’ debut album with Snarky Puppy. He got a last-minute call to play drums on the album, and he learned all the songs on his flight to the studio.

It’s a crazy story, but I think Larnell Lewis’s solo in this song perfectly represents just how good of a drummer he is.

He may have learned this tune a few days before recording it, but he completely made it his own, tracking one of the best drum solos to be released in the last decade.

“Painkiller” by Judas Priest

Drum Solo Starts At: 0:00

Song Year: 1990

The drum solo in the intro of Painkiller is loud, aggressive, and incredibly satisfying to listen to. The style of the song itself is very vibrant and energetic, so the solo sets the tone very well.

The snare drum sound in the song almost sounds like big gunshots, making the drum solo sound even more intense than if the snare were to sound normal.

This is also the kind of solo that people air drum to all the time, and those are always fun!

“Rambo” by Nate Smith

Drum Solo Starts At: 0:00

Song Year: 2018

Rambo is one of my favorite Nate Smith tracks. He’s performed it with a few different music groups, and it always starts with an open drum solo when he plays it live.

The drum solo here has Nate Smith demonstrating an incredible amount of control behind his strokes. His triple strokes are flawless, allowing him to play concepts that most drummers can’t.

The drum solo slowly builds into the musical backing that comes in 3/4 time.

“Storm Before The Calm” – By Tom Misch And Yussef Dayes

Drum Solo Starts At: 0:00

Song Year: 2020

Yussef Dayes is one of the most popular jazz drummers in the UK at the moment, and his solo in this song is both chaotic and very musical.

His busy playing over the simple piano chords is what gives the song its title. Something that makes drum solos sound incredibly satisfying is when they resolve into a new musical section, and this song demonstrates a perfect example of that.

After his solo, Yussef Dayes grooves out very calmy for the rest of the tune, and that adds so much more depth to the initial solo.

“Grebfruit” by Benny Greb

Drum Solo Starts At: 3:24

Song Year: 2014

Grebfruit is one of Benny Greb’s most played tracks. He’s a master clinician drummer, and he tends to play the tracks at all the clinics that he hosts.

It comes from a mostly acapella album where Benny Greb recorded all the voice parts as well as the drums. His solo comes toward the end of the song, and it mostly involves creatively placed triplet drum fills.

It’s one of those drum solos that makes you realize how good of a drummer Benny Greb is, as he somehow manages to keep the groove and pocket feel throughout the whole thing.

“I Got a Woman” by John Mayer Trio

Drum Solo Starts At: 0:00

Song Year: 2005

John Mayer has played with a few drummers in his trio over the years. One of his most regular members has been Steve Jordan.

In this track, Steve Jordan starts with a few drum fills. After those, he does what Steve Jordan is so well-known for doing, and that is grooving so hard that you can only smile when listening to him.

This groovy solo intro has become one of Steve Jordan’s most iconic drum grooves that drummers like to learn.

“The Weekend” by The Lesson GK

Drum Solo Starts At: 3:34

Song Year: 2018

Unfortunately, The Lesson GK hasn’t released a full-length album yet, but you can listen to plenty of their tracks on YouTube.

The Weekend is a track that heavily focuses on Lenny “The Ox” Reece’s drumming, and he plays one of the best drum solos that I’ve ever heard.

Lenny Reece’s drumming is heavily inspired by the producer J Dilla, and it comes out in his ability to pull and push grooves but somehow keep them in time. He keeps doing this throughout his drum solo, making it sound incredibly unique.

“Funky Drummer” by James Brown

Drum Solo Starts At: 5:21

Song Year: 1970

Funky Drummer needs no introduction here. It’s one of the most famous James Brown songs, and there’s a drum break in the song that has become known as the Funky Drummer Beat.

Clyde Stubblefield was the drummer that created this solo groove, and it’s one of the trickiest grooves to master for drummers wanting to learn it. The open hi-hat part is what makes it so elusive.

The drum solo you hear on this track is a good example of a drum break, something that was very commonly heard in funk tunes back in the day.

“Rope” by Foo Fighters

Drum Solo Starts At: 2:51

Song Year: 2011

Taylor Hawkins was one of the best and most-liked rock drummers of the 21st century. He died way too soon, but his drum solos will live on forever.

In this track, he plays a short solo amongst a few guitar hits, and it ends with him playing several distinct triplets to lead the song into the next section.

It’s another drum solo for this list that isn’t very elaborate. However, it’s extremely effective in the context of the song, and it’s another one that people love air drumming to.

“Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman

Drum Solo Starts At: 2:30

Song Year: 1950

Sing, Sing, Sing is one of the songs that brought Gene Krupa into the spotlight. The song starts with him playing a floor tom solo. At the time of this song’s release, drummers weren’t playing this like this on the kit.

So, the idea that Krupa was playing went on to be labeled as the Krupa-style drum solo. Whenever a band performs this song, the intro tom solo is a vital part.

Apart from the intro, Gene Krupa also rips an epic solo in the middle of the song, adding more to the mix than only the floor tom.

“Steroids” by Oz Noy Trio

Drum Solo Starts At: 3:52

Song Year: 2011

Vinnie Colaiuta is the drummer on this track. He’s one of the great fusion drummers in the music industry, and he’s always been known to play amazing drum solos.

He plays a drum solo toward the end of the tune, and it’s another technical solo that exhibits plenty of musicality. I love how he phrases his drum fills, creating a story from beginning to end when the solo hits its climax.

“Fire” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Drum Solo Starts At: 0:52

Song Year: 1967

Jimi Hendrix was one of the most innovative guitarists to ever play the instrument, but I don’t think he would’ve got to that level if he didn’t have amazing musicians to back him.

When he started The Jimi Hendrix Experience, he got Mitch Mitchell to play the drum kit. Fire was one of the songs where Mitchell was unleashed to play a solo on the drums. 

In the original recording, he plays a few short solo fills amongst all the guitar hits. When the group played the song live, his solos often got extended. 

“Black Betty” by Ram Jam

Drum Solo Starts At: 1:36

Song Year: 1977

While Black Betty is a massively popular song, most people don’t associate it with the incredible drum solo that it has.

Pete Charles plays a quick drum solo just before the song ends. The solo consists of a few tom rolls with some intricate stick work. It’s short, but it adds plenty of depth to the tune.

The whole song is very fun and exciting to listen to, and the drum solo perfectly adds to that.

“Aja” by Steely Dan

Drum Solo Starts At: 4:32

Song Year: 1977

The final solo on this list is one by Steve Gadd. Steve Gadd has always been known as a groove drummer, with his grooves being an influential factor for many people looking to start learning drums.

However, he could rip an amazing drum solo when he really needed to. The solo in this track comes at the same time as a saxophone solo. Steve Gadd opens up on the kit to communicate with what the sax is doing, and then the musicians join together near the end to finish off the song.

Best Drum Solos, Final Thoughts

There are countless other songs out there with amazing drum solos, but these are the ones that have really stood out over the years.

If you want to hear different versions of the drum solos in these songs, try to find live versions of the bands playing them. Drummers tend to change it up a bit, leading to a fresh listening experience!

Similar Posts

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *