John Bonham named best drummer of all time

John Bonham
(Image credit: Getty)

Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham has topped Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Drummers list.

The late sticksman beat Cream’s Ginger Baker, Keith Moon from The Who and Neal Peart from Rush to the No.1 spot in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Drummers Of All Time.

The magazine says it based its choices on “one important caveat: we used rock and pop as our rubric, so a drummer’s work needed to directly impact that world to make the list.”

They say that Bonham “changed rock drumming forever” on Led Zeppelin’s first record.

Rolling Stone adds: “Jimmy Page was still amused by the disorienting impact that Good Times Bad Times, with its jaw-dropping bass-drum hiccups, had on listeners: ‘Everyone was laying bets that Bonzo was using two bass drums, but he only had one.’ Heavy, lively, virtuosic and deliberate, that performance laid out the terrain Bonham’s artful clobbering would conquer before his untimely death in 1980.

“At his most brutally paleolithic he never bludgeoned dully, at his most rhythmically dumbfounding he never stooped to unnecessary wankery, and every night on tour he dodged both pitfalls with his glorious stampede through Moby Dick.”

Bonham died, aged 32, on September 25, 1980 of a pulmonary edema after drinking 100 shots of vodka in a 24 hour period while the band were rehearsing for tour. Led Zeppelin broke up shortly after.

Bonham’s son Jason previously said he’s confident that the remaining members of Led Zeppelin will play together again.

Rolling Stone’s Greatest Drummers Of All Time

Top 10

  1. John Bonham, Led Zeppelin
  2. Keith Moon, The Who
  3. Ginger Baker, cream
  4. Neal Peart, Rush
  5. Hal Blaine
  6. Clyde Stubblefield and John ‘Jabo’ Starks
  7. Gene Krupa
  8. Mitch Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix Experience
  9. Al Jackson Jr, Booker T and The MGs
  10. Stewart Copeland, The Police

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.