Songs driven by thunderous drumming (2022)

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'In Bloom' - Nirvana-

Drummer Dave Grohl's work on 'In Bloom,' taken from Nirvana's 1991 album 'Nevermind,' is memorable for his sharing vocal harmony duties with Kurt Cobain.

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'Toad' - Cream-

The five-minute drum solo performed by Ginger Baker on 'Toad' was one of the earliest recorded by a rock group. The track appears on the band's 1966 debut album, 'Fresh Cream.'

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'When the Levee Breaks' - Led Zeppelin-

Led Zeppelin's 1971 reworking of the country blues song 'When the Levee Breaks' is defined by John Bonham's sledgehammer drumming.

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'My Generation' - The Who-

Keith Moon is up there with John Bonham as one of rock music's most influential drummers. His work on 1965's 'My Generation' is a cacophony of thudding snare drum and crashing symbols.

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'Pink Cadillac' - Bruce Springsteen-

'Pink Cadillac' is the B-side of the better-known 'Dancing in the Dark.' Max Weinberg is on drums, with the rest of the E Street Band supplying a slick, rhythmic groove to a song that's using automobile travel as a metaphor for sexual activity.

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'Seven Nation Army' - The White Stripes-

Drummer Meg White takes simplicity to a new level with her uncomplicated but hugely effective job on 2003's 'Seven Nation Army.'

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'Let's Dance' - David Bowie-

Two drummers, Omar Hakim and Tony Thompson, worked with David Bowie on his seminal 1983 album 'Let's Dance.' It's Hakim that's playing on the single of the same name, one of Bowie's biggest-selling tracks.

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'No One Knows' - Queens of the Stone Age-

The first single from Queens of the Stone Age features the thundering isolated drums and separated cymbals of Dave Grohl, a sound achieved by clever mixing in the studio. Grohl, formally of Nirvana and taking time out from Foo Fighters, was filling in for the band.

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'In the Air Tonight' - Phil Collins-

Genesis drummer Phil Collins' 1981 debut solo single starts almost as a whisper, but towards the end we get a dramatic, huge-sounding drum fill made all the more dynamic by use of gated reverb that just hits you in the face.

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'Come Together' - The Beatles-

'Abbey Road' is famous for featuring Ringo Starr's one and only drum solo. But it's on 'Come Together' that the Beatles' drummer works a subtle magic against McCartney's bass line to produce a sound like rolling thunder.

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'One' - Metallica-

Lars Ulrich is the motor behind Metallica, and with 1989's 'One' he sets the scene with a rapid-fire drum beat akin to a machine gun. And the analogy is apt. The song is about a First World War soldier who is severely wounded—arms, legs, and jaw blown off by a landmine, blind and unable to speak or move.

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'Get Off of My Cloud' - The Rolling Stones-

Charlie Watts introduces the Stones' follow-up to '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' with knock-on-the-door drumming that's unusual throughout the song for its unconventional 4/4-beat-fill-4/4-beat-fill pattern.

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'Back in Black'- AC/DC-

'Back in Black' is noted as the first album released by AC/DC following the mysterious death of lead singer Bon Scott. Taken from the album, the single of the same name features an initially restrained Phil Rudd, who then pounds the skins before backing off as to take a breath.

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'Hound Dog' - Elvis Presley-

Drummer D.J. Fontana was the unsung hero of numerous Elvis Presley numbers. But it's his frantic machine gun breaks in 'Hound Dog' that rank among his finest work.

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'Raining Blood' - Slayer-

Slayer's signature song was released in 1986. Drummer Dave Lombardo heads the charge, with an urgent tap-tap-tap before the guitars kick in. Then all hell breaks loose.

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'Sunday Bloody Sunday' - U2-

One of U2's overtly political songs serves as an ode to the tragedy that was the Bloody Sunday massacre, which took place in Northern Ireland in 1972. The track is noted for the militaristic drumbeat hammered out by Larry Mullen Jr.

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'The Invisible Man' - Queen- Written by Queen's drummer Roger Taylor, 'The Invisible Man' begins with a quick drum roll, with Taylor then keeping in time with John Deacon's urgent bass line.

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'Fire' - The Jimi Hendrix Experience-

AllMusic critic Matthew Greenwald in a retrospective review describes Mitch Mitchell's work on 'Fire' as "polyrhythmic jazz-inspired drumming." In fact, Mitchell is responsible for much of the power and energy behind the track, recorded in early 1967.

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'Instant Karma' - John Lennon-

John Lennon's pounding 1970 hit 'Instant Karma' is lifted considerably by Alan White's inspired drumming. He enhanced the sound by adding a second, muffled drum part.

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'Aja' - Steely Dan-

'Aja,' taken from the 1977 album of the same name, is regarded as one of the best Steely Dan songs ever recorded. That's due in part to session drummer Steve Gadd's inspired contribution, allowed as he was to create a stunning drum solo, something Walter Becker and Donald Fagen rarely allowed for.

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'Karn Evil 9' - Emerson, Lake & Palmer-

ELP drummer Karl Palmer is let loose with wild abandon on 'Karn Evil 9,' which runs for nearly 30 minutes. The track is taken from the band's 1973 album, 'Brain Salad Surgery.'

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'Hot for Teacher' - Van Halen-

Eddie Van Halen's virtuoso guitar work takes somewhat of a backseat on 'Hot for Teacher,' which begins with a 30-second drum solo from sibling Alex, followed by another 30 seconds of instrumental introduction.

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'Ain’t Too Proud to Beg' – The Temptations -

Motown in-house drummer Uriel Jones competes with fellow session musicians Johnny Griffith on piano and saxophonist Henry Cosby to drive the rhythm of this 1966 masterpiece by The Temptations.

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'Brick House' – The Commodores-

Legendary funk-soul band The Commodores had a huge hit with 'Brick House' in 1977. The dance-influenced track is helped along the way by a sexy drum roll intro that has a serious crush on the cymbals.

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'Driven to Tears' – The Police-

Stewart Copeland counts the band in on 'Driven to Tears,' taken from the band's 1980 album, 'Zenyatta Mondatta.' Although not released as a single, the song reached no. 35 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

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'Paschendale' – Iron Maiden-

A gentle high hat introduces 'Paschendale'—and then the battle begins. The song is taken from the album 'Dance of Death,' released in 2003, and features multiple tempo changes throughout the song. Its theme of course is inspired by the Battle of Passchendaele, one of the bloodiest engagements of the First World War.

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'21st Century Schizoid Man' - King Crimson-

British progressive rock band King Crimson released '21st Century Schizoid Man' in 1969. Michael Giles is heavily involved in the nearly eight-minute track, his polyrhythmic drumming style brought to the fore in the instrumental middle section.

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'YYZ' - Rush-

Neil Peart's superlative drumming on Rush's instrumental rock composition 'YYZ' gets more complicated as the track progresses, with rolls, fills, and other intricacies adding to the music's allure.

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'Soul Sacrifice' - Santana-

Santana performed 'Soul Sacrifice' at Woodstock in 1969, which kicks off with a groovy percussion-handclap drum-led intro before Carlos Santana starts doing his thing. The brief drum solo later on is pure magic.

Sources: (ABC Australia)(AllMusic)

See also: Fifty years of music festivals.

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