Here are some of the top drumming performances immortalized on studio recordings for you to practice along with.
No matter where you currently are in terms of drumming ability, you will notice huge improvements in every aspect of your playing by learning new songs.
Having fun while playing along to recordings is equally as important as practicing your rudiments, reading notation, and improvising. However, with so much music at our fingertips, it can be difficult to know which songs would be good to play.
In this article, we’ve put together a complete list of the best drumming songs in all styles and genres. Read on to find some killer drum performances.
- Drumeo is the Best Way to Learn New Songs
- 1. Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
- 2. Nirvana – Come as You Are
- 3. Pink Floyd – Money
- 4. Rush – Tom Sawyer
- 5. System of a Down – Chop Suey!
- 6. Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight
- 7. Arctic Monkeys – The View From the Afternoon
- 8. Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
- 9. Michael Jackson – Beat It
- 10. Queens of the Stone Age – No One Knows
- 11. The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun
- 12. AC/DC – Back in Black
- 13. The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five
- 14. Foo Fighters – Times Like These
- 15. Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
- 16. Stevie Wonder – Superstition
- 17. Cream – Sunshine of Your Love
- 18. Khruangbin – August 10
- 19. James Brown – Funky Drummer
- 20. Black Sabbath – War Pigs
- 21. The Who – Who Are You
- 22. Pixies – Where is My Mind?
- 23. Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer
- 24. Can – Vitamin C
- 25. Tame Impala – Elephant
That’s where tools like Drumeo come in. Stacked with lessons from world-class instructors, drummers of all experience levels can benefit from the wealth of material this platform includes.
And with Drumeo’s 40 Free Songs, you can access some of the best tracks to drum along to from all styles and genres and with varying difficulties.
Drumeo includes a range of features that can enhance every aspect of your playing.
The app includes over 3100 songs, and you can use the intuitive in-app player to read notation in real time and adjust the tempo if needed.
If you’re serious about improving and developing your drumming behind the kit, I’d highly recommend exploring what Drumeo has to offer.
Get access to Drumeo’s free 40 songs for free today, and you’ll get professional charts and handy playback tools to help you nail every note. Slow down the tempo, add/remove metronome, or loop any section you’re struggling with. It’s never been easier to learn your favorite songs.
In the list below, you can find our selection of some good songs to drum to, many of which feature in Drumeo’s free selection with notation for you to read too.
1. Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
Led Zeppelin’s entire back catalog is filled with exceptional drumming from John Bonham. “Whole Lotta Love,” from the 1969 album Led Zeppelin II is a great track for heavy rock drummers to play along to.
This song shifts between a relatively straight rhythm on the hi-hat, kick, and snare and a more syncopated beat that accompanies the iconic guitar riff played by Jimmy Page.
The breakdown section involves playing 8th notes on the hi-hat pedal while using your cymbals to add to the ambient soundscape. Playing this song will improve your dynamics as well as your ability to blast out Bonham’s beats with power and precision.
2. Nirvana – Come as You Are
When Nirvana released Nevermind in 1991, grunge music was propelled into the mainstream. Kurt Cobain’s songwriting and vocals were undeniably essential to the album’s success, but drummer Dave Grohl also played a huge part.
“Come as You Are” is one of the standout performances by Grohl on the album. This is an excellent song to play, as it involves dropping down your volume when playing the ride cymbal groove in the verses, then going full-throttle in the chorus.
The kick and snare pattern in this song closely follows the main riff, which is played on the guitar and doubled by the bass. Once you lock into the rhythm, the rest of the song becomes pretty simple, and you can have a lot of fun playing it.
3. Pink Floyd – Money
Playing songs that deviate from the conventional 4/4 timing we’re accustomed to in contemporary music styles can be very challenging, but once you crack the code, your ability will have significantly improved.
Arguably the most famous example of a song in 7/8 timing, “Money,” should be on every drummer’s list of tracks to play. There has been some debate as to whether the majority of the song is composed in 7/8 or 7/4, but this doesn’t matter too much as long as you remember to count the rhythm in seven beats.
Another thing that makes this song so great to play along to is that it seamlessly morphs back into 4/4 timing for David Gilmour’s fantastic guitar solo. This requires concentration and focus, but it’s satisfying when you nail the transition.
4. Rush – Tom Sawyer
“Tom Sawyer” is undeniably one of the best drum songs of all time. The late Neil Peart, widely considered one of the best technical drummers in recent history, plays a mixture of 4/4 and 7/8 rhythms throughout.
The ride cymbal is used heavily in this song, and Peart plays some highly complex rhythms as the song progresses. You’ll probably need to listen through a few times and pay attention to the slight nuances of his drumming.
Like most of Rush’s music, “Tom Sawyer” is highly complex and therefore is a great choice for advanced drummers looking to further their ability.
5. System of a Down – Chop Suey!
Produced by Rick Rubin, “Chop Suey!” was released as the lead single from heavy metal outfit System of a Down’s classic album, Toxicity. It’s a worthy inclusion on our list of songs with good drumming.
Drummer John Dolmayan uses the entire drum set to drive this song forward, with a syncopated and intricate rhythm in the softer section, then some classic powerful metal drumming kicking in when things get loud!
A blend of 8th and 16th notes is used in this song, and the toms are heavily used to match the energy of the guitars and bass.
6. Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight
Phil Collins made his name as the drummer and lead singer of the British rock band Genesis. “In the Air Tonight” is one of his best-known solo compositions, and it’s a fantastic track to play on drums.
After two minutes of no percussion, Collins comes in with a huge-sounding snare and tom fill that morphs into the main rhythm. You’ll need to use flams on the snare drum to get the powerful sound that is heard in the choruses.
“In the Air Tonight” was widely lauded by critics for the drum sound, which is processed using gated reverb.
7. Arctic Monkeys – The View From the Afternoon
Arctic Monkeys were still teenagers when they burst onto the scene with their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am… in 2005. With indie rock riffs and Alex Turner’s observative lyrics, the band reached the top of the UK charts.
Drummer Matt Helders, who was completely self-taught, laid down a stunning performance on the single “The View From the Afternoon.” Playing this song requires a lot of stamina, as it has a tempo of 146 BPM.
The drums in this track move between a heavy section with lots of fills, and a two-handed 16th-note rhythm on the hi-hat, kick, and snare. Interestingly, the music video shows an actor playing the song on the drums in the street.
8. Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
Although perhaps not the most technical of musicians, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich is renowned for being a hard-hitting drummer who has an ear for providing exactly what the band’s songs need. “Nothing Else Matters” is a perfect example of this, and it’s an excellent heavy rock track for beginners to play on the drums.
After the long intro, the drums come straight in with a simple, straight beat, which makes it easier to lock in tightly with the bass, guitars, vocals, and string arrangement. As the track gets heavier, you’ll need to add in the powerful fills and increase the energy of your drumming.
9. Michael Jackson – Beat It
Jonathan Moffett was Micahel Jackson’s preferred drummer for the majority of the pop icon’s career. One of his finest performances was on the hard rock track “Beat It” from the legendary album Thriller.
This song is a great challenge for any drummer to undertake, with an 8th-note hi-hat pattern accompanied by a syncopated kick and snare beat. The tempo of 138 BPM means you’ll need good stamina to keep the energy in your drumming for the full duration of the song.
10. Queens of the Stone Age – No One Knows
With Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl on drums, Queen of the Stone Age’s 2002 hit “No One Knows” is a great track to play along to. QOTSA wrote many songs with a good drum beat, but this one stands out.
The chorus involves playing a fast triplet fill which starts on the snare and goes around the entire kit before settling back into the verse’s straight beat that matches the strumming pattern of the guitars.
11. The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun
Ringo Starr’s importance to The Beatles’ sound is often underestimated. “Here Comes the Sun,” which was written by George Harrison, showcases Starr’s technical ability, and it features some pretty complex time signature changes.
The song’s verses stick to a straight 4/4 groove that requires you to get in the pocket, then later in the middle 8, the drums switch to a sequence of 11/8 and 15/8 sections.
Playing one of the Beatles’ most fun drum songs will improve your ability to count while drumming and to change between time signatures with more fluidity.
12. AC/DC – Back in Black
Australian hard rock outfit AC/DC released their hugely popular album, Back in Black, in 1980, and the single of the same name became a worldwide hit. The drums in this track are awesome to play, even though they may seem quite simple at first.
It’s relatively easy to nail down the main groove of this song, with a straight beat in the verses that then follow the accents on the guitars. The challenge is to play it with the same level of tightness displayed on the record.
13. The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five
The 1959 song “Take Five” is an excellent track to play on the drums, thanks to its distinctive jazz style. Even if you’re predominantly a rock drummer, playing this song will improve your skills and your musical ear.
With a two-chord pattern that repeats on the bass and piano that is later accompanied by smooth sax melodies, “Take Five” later features an innovative drum solo. It’s in 5/4 time, which is a challenge for most drummers but is very rewarding once you find the groove.
14. Foo Fighters – Times Like These
You could randomly select any of Foo Fighters’ drum tracks played by the late Taylor Hawkins, and I’d guarantee you’ll enjoy playing them, but “Times Like These” from the band’s fourth album, One by One, is a standout choice.
This song fluidly moves between different time signatures, beginning in 8/4, then briefly moving into 7/4 before returning to 8/4. The chorus is three bars long, as opposed to the more conventional four bars found in most rock songs.
15. Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
Many Guns N’ Roses fans believe the band’s sound was never the same after drummer Steve Adler parted ways with the group. The 1988 hit “Sweet Child O’ Mine” illustrates the drummer’s excellent ability to blur intricate and powerful playing techniques.
16. Stevie Wonder – Superstition
Stevie Wonder played numerous instruments on the 1972 song “Superstition.” The drums on this track are a masterpiece in funk drumming, with Wonder displaying a great feel for syncopation.
You’ll notice the hi-hat rhythm moves between the 8th and 16th notes, and a good challenge is to try to keep this beat going while only playing the hi-hats with your lead hand rather than using both hands.
17. Cream – Sunshine of Your Love
Cream drummer Ginger Baker is considered one of the most original and unique rock drummers of all time. Trained as a jazz drummer originally, Baker’s style gave the hit single “Sunshine of Your Love” a totally different feel.
Rather than following the rhythm of the iconic riff, the drums in this song produce a counter rhythm that accents the first and third beats in a 4/4 pattern. Then, in the chorus, fast-paced fills are played between the stabbed chords.
18. Khruangbin – August 10
Hailing from Houston, Texas, psychedelic rock band Khruangbin is renowned for their groovy, predominantly instrumental tracks. Instrumental to their sound is drummer Donald Johnson’s expert feel on the drums.
“August 10” is a song with good drums that uses quick 16th notes on the hi-hat. You’ll need to use rim clicks on the snare to get the effortlessly cool sound that is featured in the original, and the syncopated kick pattern adds the final touch to the beat.
19. James Brown – Funky Drummer
Although “Funky Drummer” isn’t one of legendary soul singer James Brown’s best-known compositions, it’s renowned amongst the drumming community for the iconic drum break played by Clyde Stubblefield.
Stubblefield’s immaculate feel for funk drumming is on full display in this track, and when he is prompted to solo by Brown towards the end of the song, he plays an unaccompanied beat that lasts for eight bars which has been sampled thousands of times as one of the most popular hip-hop grooves.
20. Black Sabbath – War Pigs
With its powerful lyrical message and classic distorted guitar riffs, “War Pigs” is one of Metal pioneer Black Sabbath’s most popular songs. The drums played by Bill Ward are also excellent on this track, making use of the full drum kit.
For most of the song, the drums tightly match the guitar and bass rhythms, but eventually, they break out and start to become more expressive. Triplet fills at blistering pace are played on the snare and toms, and the outro gets heavier and heavier.
21. The Who – Who Are You
The title track from the 1978 album Why Are You showcases Keith Moon’s versatility on the drums. To play the two-handed alternated hi-hat rhythm in the intro and chorus, which then develops into a classic rock 8th note rhythm in the verses.
Throughout the song, Moon expertly uses his crash cymbals to highlight the other instrument and vocal parts.
22. Pixies – Where is My Mind?
Released in 1988, “Where is My Mind” was featured on the rock band Pixies’ debut album, Surfer Rosa. With a tempo of 81 BPM, the song’s drums drive it forward with a steady groove.
The drumming in this song isn’t particularly technical or difficult, but its tightness is the key quality. Locking into the rhythm and paying attention to the finer details of the drums in the track is highly enjoyable.
23. Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer
“Livin’ on a Prayer” is Bon Jovi’s best-known song. The iconic talk-box melody and basslines are integral to the sound of the track, but the drums, performed by Tico Torres, are also outstanding.
With a straight drum beat played with 8th notes on the hit hat and a kick and snare pattern on the first and third measures of each bar, this song will test your ability to lock into the groove for the full duration.
24. Can – Vitamin C
Can’s Jaki Liebezeit is one of the most underrated rock drummers in history. He learned his trade as a jazz drummer in Germany and transitioned to rock later in his career. “Vitamin C” is one of his finest performances.
This song features expert control of dynamics and utilizes lots of double and triple snare rolls. The kick drum is highly syncopated throughout, making this track a really enjoyable challenge for most drummers.
25. Tame Impala – Elephant
Kevin Parker is hailed as one of the most innovative artists and producers in recent history. Many fans still assume that Tame Impala is a band, despite Parker being the sole member.
One of Tame Impala’s trademarks is that they have many great drumming songs. “Elephant,” from the 2012 album Lonerism, is a lot of fun to play, with its blend of syncopated and straight rhythms on the kick, snare, and hi-hat. There are some excellent fills added in that will test your flair, too.