When it's good to be the drummer: Great "drummer's" songs

Listening to some oldies while working on the ol’ thesis, I had to stop and pretend to be Phil Collins when “In The Air Tonight” came along. I don’t know if he ever performed the song in concert – I understand the technology used to get that sound was pretty cutting-edge and pretty much confined to the studio. But it occurred to me that there are a good number of rock and pop songs that are “drummer’s” songs – not just because of the solo potential a la “In A Gadda Da Vida” but because the drums really carry the music. I think Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” is one, and Swampdawamp’s “I’m Feelin’ Saturday” is another.

What others can y’all think of? If I’m the drummer in my fantasy garage band, what do I want to play?


I was at a dance this weekend and heard the orchestra do a damned good job on Sing, Sing, Sing. Although the drummer was no Krupa, Nashville is brimming over with excellent musicians and this guy was one of them.

You’re a woman after my own heart, Zoe; exactly the song I came here to mention.

Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

Well, OK, it’s not played on drums, but there are places in it where it feels like you are running up and down the toms like there’s no tomorrow. One hell of a great drummer’s song, despite not being a drum song. I wonder what Emerson and Palmer could do with it?

Arcturus’ Collapse Generation. That’s not a drum machine.

Either of you got a link to this? It sounds great.

There seem to be many versions around; different lengths, maybe depending on how much energy the band had that night. Good sound on this one. If you want to see Gene on the skins, he’s here.

The skill level required may be just a smidge beyond your average garage band.

Thanks! That brings back some memories… My dad used to play sax in a big band called The Lamplighters. There are several bands by that name, but this is the only reference to them that I found, and his name isn’t mentioned. He used to listen to that stuff constantly. I can imagine him listening to that, and feeling like I do when I hear “Stairway to Heaven,” or something like that…


Moby Dick, of course.

When I break into the riff for Misty Mountain Hop, everybody else steps back because we know from experience that our drummer Mark is going to explode into the beat when the 1 comes back around. Green Day’s Basketcase features the drumming in a cool way, too…

I love Neil Peart, but Bonzo was the fucking KING.


Don’t know about it from a drummer’s perspectives, but one of my favorite drum songs as a listener has always been Radar Love.

In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel (Manu Katche, drums)
Some Grateful Dead Jams - Scarlet Begonias/Fire on the mountain, Lazy Lightning/Supplication, Help on the Way/Slipknot, Cassidy, Bird Song (Hart & Kreutzmann, drums)
Cinema Show - Genesis (Seconds Out - Collins & Bruford)

To name a few…

My husband’s the drummer, not me (yet), but he flipped when I played Galileo by the Indigo Girls. It has become one of his favorites.

I love the drum break in the middle.

Here’s a list of songs I got when I asked a similar question.

There were sooo many Zep songs where that tremendous driving drum sound just took it to another level.

One of my favorites is Gallows Pole.

Won’t Get Fooled Again
Hot for Teacher

“Dreaming” Blondie.