As we were taking a look back at some of the most iconic drummers and performances of 1967 for this month’s cover feature, we wanted to find out which tracks our readers and social media followers felt marked the greatest drumming of the entire decade. While certain ’60s drumming staples, such as John Bonham’s performance on “Moby Dick” or Ringo’s timeless “Come Together” groove, were popular choices, plenty of varied cuts stood out in the picks. Here are some favorites.
“Black Comedy” from Miles in the Sky by Miles Davis with Tony Williams on drums. The form of the tune has complex and shifting time signatures, and the band navigates it perfectly with beautiful solos. Williams’ drumming is like a culmination of his previous innovations, including advanced metric modulations and some of the most beautiful and accurate comping. The tune also foreshadows the fusion movement of the ’70s.
John Bonham, on Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick” from Led Zeppelin II. Bonham will always be the king of the power groove. And the song features a definitive drum solo that integrates into the rest of the music so well. There’s so much musicality.
Jon David Jeffery
Otis Redding’s version of “Satisfaction.” Few drummers can cleave to a groove like Al Jackson Jr.
The drumming on the Beatles’ “Rain” is ingenious. To me, that track is an impeccable demonstration of Ringo’s ability to shred behind the kit.
I love Levon Helm’s playing on the Band’s “The Weight.” Check out the tone of the drums (especially the toms), the feel, and the fact that his part supports the song. It’s just a perfect performance. Plus his vocals are so soulful. There can only be one Levon Helm.
Elvin Jones on “JuJu” by Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams on “Out to Lunch” by Eric Dolphy, Roy Haynes on “Reaching Fourth” by the McCoy Tyner Trio, Zigaboo Modeliste on the Meters’ “Cissy Strut,” Clyde Stubblefield on James Brown’s “I Got the Feelin’,” and John Bonham with Led Zeppelin on anything off of their debut. These songs define the decade for me!
Ringo on the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends.” You could serve those tom fills as dessert. His timing, feel, sound, and song enhancement…they’re all delicious!
Want your voice heard? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and keep an eye out for next month’s question.