Modern Drummer’s Readers Poll Archive, 1979–2017

In Modern Drummer’s May/June 1979 issue, just over two years after Ron Spagnardi launched the magazine, our first Readers Poll appeared. Want to guess some of the names that made the cut that first time around?

Today, more than thirty-five years later, we find a lot has changed. New genres of music have appeared and woven their way into the poll, while others have expanded and contracted. But one fact remains the same: MD readers have passionate opinions about their favorite drummers.

Here, for the first time, we’ve gathered together all of the Readers Poll winners since 1979, with the categories listed as they were in each given issue. So go back through the years and take a look at drumming history unfolding before your eyes—and don’t forget to watch out for the newest list, which will be announced in our May 2017 issue, on newsstands or in your mailbox soon.


 

2017

Hall of Fame
Peter Erskine
MVP
Steve Smith
Studio
Ash Soan
Rock
Steve Smith
Pop/R&B
Josh Dun
Prog
Mike Mangini
Metal
Jay Weinberg
Fusion
Jojo Mayer
Alternative
Abe Cunningham
Country
Jim Riley
Jazz
Mark Guiliana
Up & Coming
Chris Turner
Clinician/Educator
Thomas Lang

Educational Product
Steve Smith, Pathways of Motion (book/DVD)
Recorded Performance, Audio
Mark Guiliana, Blackstar, (David Bowie)
Recorded Performance, Video
Neil Peart, R40 Live (Rush)

2016

Hall of Fame
Vic Firth
MVP
Jojo Mayer
Studio
Matt Chamberlain
Rock
John Tempesta
Pop/R&B
Brian Frasier-Moore
Prog
Gavin Harrison
Metal
Matt Greiner
Fusion
Dave Weckl
Alternative
Dave Elitch
Country
Rich Redmond
Jazz
Antonio Sanchez
Jazz
Tommy Igoe
Up & Coming
Anika Nilles
Percussionist
Alex Acuña
Clinician/Educator
Mike Johnston

Educational Product
Jojo Mayer, Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer, Part II (DVD)
Recorded Performance, Audio
James Gadson, and Chris Dave, Black Messiah (D’Angelo and the Vanguard)
Recorded Performance, Video
Mike Mangini, Breaking the Fourth Wall (Dream Theater)

 

2015

Hall of Fame
Ian Paice
MVP
Ray Luzier
Studio
Gregg Bissonette
Rock
Mike Portnoy
Pop
Abe Laboriel Jr.
Prog
Todd Sucherman
Metal
Vinnie Paul
Fusion
Steve Smith
R&B
Omar Hakim
Alternative
Atom Willard
Country
Jim Riley
Jazz
Jim Riley
Up & Coming
Alex Rudinger
Percussionist
Zakir Hussain
Clinician/Educator
Thomas Lang

Educational Product
Mike Mangini, The Grid (DVD)
Recorded Performance, Audio
Neil Peart, Clockwork Angels Tour (Rush)
Recorded Performance, Video
Joe Bergamini, Neil Peart: Taking Center Stage

 

2014

2014 Modern Drummer Readers Poll Results

Hall of Fame
Carmine Appice
MVP
Mike Portnoy
Prog
Mike Portnoy
Mainstream Rock
Joey Kramer
Pop
Carter Beauford
Metal
Chris Adler
R&B
Aaron Spears
Fusion
Vinnie Colaiuta
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Alternative
Jean-Paul Gaster
Country
Jim Riley
Jazz
Tommy Igoe
Up & Coming
Justin Brown
Percussionist
Pedrito Martinez
Clinician/Educator
Matt Halpern

Recorded Performance
Mike Portnoy, The Winery Dogs
Educational DVD
Aquiles Priester, Top 100 Drum Fills
Educational Book
Joe Bergamini, Neil Peart: Taking Center Stage

 

2013

Bernard Purdie

Hall of Fame
Bernard Purdie
MVP
Neil Peart
Prog
Neil Peart
Mainstream Rock
Travis Barker
Pop
Vinnie Colaiuta
Metal
Matt Halpern
R&B
Tony Royster Jr.
Fusion
Jojo Mayer
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Alternative
Stephen Perkins
Country
Jim Riley
Jazz
Antonio Sanchez
Up & Coming
Garrett Goodwin
Percussionist
Daniel de los Reyes
Clinician/Educator
Benny Greb

Recorded Performance
Jojo Mayer, Nerve EP4
Educational DVD
John “JR” Robinson, The Time Machine
Educational Book
Benny Greb, The Language of Drumming

 

2012

Phil Collins

Hall of Fame
Phil Collins
MVP
Mike Mangini
Prog
Neil Peart
Mainstream Rock
Taylor Hawkins
Pop
Larry Mullen Jr.
Metal
Chris Adler
R&B
Tony Royster Jr.
Fusion
Steve Smith
Studio
Josh Freese
Alternative
Thomas Pridgen
Country
Jim Riley
Jazz
Jeff Hamilton
Up & Coming
Navene Koperweis
Percussionist
Luis Conte
Clinician/Educator
Chris Adler

Recorded Performance
Mike Mangini, A Dramatic Turn of Events (Dream Theater)
Educational DVD
Neil Peart, Taking Center Stage
Educational Book
Joe Morello, Rudimental Jazz

 

2011

Jim Chapin

Hall of Fame
Jim Chapin
MVP
Mike Portnoy
Prog
Neil Peart
Mainstream Rock
Dave Grohl
Pop
Carter Beauford
Metal
Chris Adler
R&B
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Fusion
Vinnie Colaiuta
Studio
Josh Freese
Alternative
Jack White
Country
Jim Riley
Jazz
Brian Blade
Up & Coming
Mike Byrne
Percussionist
Luis Conte
Clinician/Educator
Steve Gadd

Recorded Performance
Mike Portnoy, Nightmare (Avenged Sevenfold)
Educational DVD
Stanton Moore, Groove Alchemy
Educational Book
Stanton Moore, Groove Alchemy

 

2010

Hal Blaine

Hall of Fame
Hal Blaine
MVP
Max Weinberg
Prog
Gavin Harrison
Rock
Anton Fig
Metal
James “the Rev” Sullivan
R&B
Aaron Spears
Fusion
Morgan Ågren
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Country
Rich Redmond
Jazz
Keith Carlock
Up & Coming
Elliot Jacobson
Percussionist
Luis Conte
Clinician
Rich Redmond

Recorded Performance
Rich Redmond, Wide Open (Jason Aldean)
Educational Package
Zoro and Daniel Glass, The Commandments of Early Rhythm and Blues Drumming (book/CD)

 

2009

Mitch Mitchell

Hall of Fame
Mitch Mitchell
Prog
Gavin Harrison
Rock
Todd Sucherman
Pop
Keith Carlock
Punk
Travis Barker
Metal
Lars Ulrich
R&B/Hip-Hop
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Traditional R&B/Funk
David Garibaldi
Fusion
Keith Carlock
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Country
Dave McAfee
Traditional Jazz
Peter Erskine
Contemporary Jazz
Brian Blade
All-Around
Keith Carlock
World
Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez
Jam Band
Carter Beauford
Up & Coming
Tommy Bales
Percussionist
Luis Conte
Clinician
Jim Riley

Recorded Performance
Joey Jordison, All Hope Is Gone (Slipknot)
Educational DVD
Todd Sucherman, Methods and Mechanics
Method Book
David Stanoch, Mastering the Tables of Time

 

2008

Ginger Baker

Hall of Fame
Ginger Baker
Prog
Gavin Harrison
Rock
Neil Peart
Pop
Keith Carlock
Punk
Travis Barker
Metal
Tomas Haake
R&B/Hip-Hop
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Traditional R&B/Funk
Steve Jordan
Fusion
Dave Weckl
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Country
Paul Leim
Traditional Jazz
Peter Erskine
Contemporary Jazz
Brian Blade
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
World Music
Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez
Jam Band
Carter Beauford
Up & Coming
Thomas Pridgen
Percussionist
Alex Acuña
Clinician
Thomas Lang

Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, Snakes & Arrows (Rush)
Educational DVD
Jojo Mayer, Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer
Educational Book
Rich Lackowski, On the Beaten Path

 

2007

Jack DeJohnette

Hall of Fame
Jack DeJohnette
Prog
Gavin Harrison
Rock
Chad Smith
Pop
John Blackwell
Punk
Travis Barker
Metal
Chris Adler
R&B/Hip-Hop
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Traditional R&B
David Garibaldi
Fusion
Dave Weckl
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Country
Paul Leim
Traditional Jazz
Jeff Hamilton
Contemporary Jazz
Jack DeJohnette
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
World Music
Zakir Hussain
Jam Band
Carter Beauford
Up & Coming
Ronald Bruner Jr.
Percussionist
Alex Acuña
Clinician
Virgil Donati

Recorded Performance
Mike Portnoy, Score (Dream Theater)
Educational DVD
Thomas Lang, Creative Coordination & Advanced Foot Technique
Educational Book
Joe Morello, Master Studies II

 

2006

Charlie Watts

Hall of Fame
Charlie Watts
Prog
Mike Portnoy
Rock
Neil Peart
Pop
Abe Laboriel Jr.
Punk
Travis Barker
Metal
Jason Bittner
R&B/Hip-Hop
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Traditional R&B
Steve Jordan
Fusion
Dave Weckl
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Country
Paul Leim
Traditional Jazz
Jeff Hamilton
Contemporary Jazz
Roy Haynes
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
Jam Band
Carter Beauford
Up & Coming
Aaron Spears
Percussionist
Alex Acuña
Clinician
Dom Famularo

Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, R30 (Rush)
Educational DVD
Neil Peart, Anatomy of a Drum Solo
Educational Book
Stanton Moore, Take It to the Street

 

2005

Stewart Copeland

Hall of Fame
Stewart Copeland
Prog
Mike Portnoy
Rock
Chad Smith
Pop
Carter Beauford
Punk
Travis Barker
Metal
Jason Bittner
R&B
John Blackwell
Hip-Hop
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Studio
John Freese
Country
Paul Leim
Mainstream Jazz
Bill Stewart
Contemporary Jazz
Dave Weckl
Big Band
Louie Bellson
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
Up & Coming
Chris Adler
Hand Percussionist
Giovanni Hidalgo
Classical/Mallet Percussionist
Leigh Howard Stevens
Clinician
Dom Famularo

Recorded Performance
Jason Bittner, The War Within (Shadows Fall)
Educational DVD
Billy Ward, Big Time
Educational Book
John Riley, The Jazz Drummer’s Workshop

 

2004

Mike Portnoy

Hall of Fame
Mike Portnoy
Prog
Mike Portnoy
Rock
Neil Peart
Pop
Carter Beauford
Punk
Travis Barker
Metal
Morgan Rose
R&B
Zoro
Hip-Hop
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Studio
Josh Freese
Country
Paul Leim
Mainstream Jazz
Jeff Hamilton
Contemporary Jazz
Dave Weckl
Big Band
John Riley
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
Up & Coming
Jason Bittner
Hand Percussionist
Richie “Gajate” Garcia
Classical/Mallet Percussionist
Leigh Howard Stevens
Clinician
Virgil Donati

Recorded Performance
Morgan Rose, Seasons (Sevendust)
Educational Video/DVD
Russ Miller, The Drum Set Crash Course, Tuning Edition
Educational Book
Mark Atkinson, The UnReel Drum Book

 

2003

Simon Phillips

Hall of Fame
Simon Phillips
Prog
Mike Portnoy
Rock
Danny Carey
Pop
Carter Beauford
Punk
Travis Barker
Metal
Lars Ulrich
R&B
David Garibaldi
Hip-Hop
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Country
Paul Leim
Mainstream Jazz
Peter Erskine
Contemporary Jazz
Dave Weckl
Big Band
Louie Bellson
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
Up & Coming
Mike Cosgrove
Hand Percussionist
Alex Acuña
Classical/Mallet Percussionist
Evelyn Glennie
Clinician
Terry Bozzio

Recorded Performance
Carter Beauford, Live at Folsom Field, Boulder Colorado (Dave Matthews Band)
Educational Video/DVD
Steve Smith, Drumset Technique/History of the U.S. Beat
Educational Book
Johnny Rabb, Jungle/Drum ’n’ Bass for the Acoustic Drum Set

 

2002

Steve Smith

Hall of Fame
Steve Smith
Progressive
Mike Portnoy
Rock
Danny Carey
Pop
Carter Beauford
R&B
Zoro
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Country
Paul Leim
Mainstream Jazz
Peter Erskine
Contemporary Jazz
Dave Weckl
Big Band
Ed Shaughnessy
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
Up & Coming
Jose Pasillas
Percussionist
Alex Acuña
Clinician
Mike Portnoy

Recorded Performance
Mike Portnoy, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (Dream Theater)
Educational Video/DVD
Mike Portnoy, Liquid Drum Theater
Educational Book
Russ Miller, Transitions

 

2001

Dennis Chambers

Hall of Fame
Dennis Chambers
Progressive
Mike Portnoy
Rock
Jimmy Chamberlin
Pop
Carter Beauford
R&B
Zoro
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Country
Paul Leim
Mainstream Jazz
Peter Erskine
Contemporary Jazz
Dave Weckl
Big Band
Louie Bellson/Ed Shaughnessy
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
Up & Coming
Scott Phillips
Percussionist
Giovanni Hidalgo
Clinician
Terry Bozzio

Recorded Performance
Dave Weckl, Transition (Dave Weckl Band)
Educational Video
Russ Miller, The Drum Set Crash Course
Educational Book
Russ Miller, The Drum Set Crash Course

 

2000

Dave Weckl

Hall of Fame
Dave Weckl
Progressive
Mike Portnoy
Rock
Lars Ulrich
Pop
Carter Beauford
R&B
Zoro
Studio
Kenny Aronoff
Country
Eddie Bayers
Mainstream Jazz
Bill Stewart
Contemporary Jazz
Dave Weckl
Big Band
Phil Collins
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
Up & Coming
Tony Royster Jr.
Percussionist
Giovanni Hidalgo
Clinician
Mike Portnoy

Recorded Performance
Mike Portnoy, Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory (Dream Theater)
Educational Video
Mike Portnoy, Liquid Drum Theater
Educational Book
Zoro with Russ Miller, The Commandments of R&B Drumming

 

1999

Roy Haynes

Hall of Fame
Roy Haynes
Progressive Rock
Mike Portnoy
Hard Rock
David Silveria
Pop/Mainstream Rock
Carter Beauford
R&B
Ricky Lawson
Studio
Kenny Aronoff
Country
Lonnie Wilson
Mainstream Jazz
Bill Stewart
Electric Jazz
William Kennedy
Big Band
Bernie Dresel
All-Around
Rod Morgenstein
Up & Coming
David Silveria
Percussionist
Giovanni Hidalgo

Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, Different Stages (Rush)

 

1998

 Ringo Starr

Hall of Fame
Ringo Starr
Progressive Rock
Mike Portnoy
Hard Rock
Danny Carey
Pop/Mainstream Rock
Carter Beauford
R&B
Herman Matthews
Studio
Kenny Aronoff
Country
Billy Mason
Mainstream Jazz
Bill Stewart
Electric Jazz
William Kennedy
All-Around
Anton Fig
Up & Coming
Jeremy Taggart
Percussionist
Giovanni Hidalgo

Recorded Performance
Mike Portnoy, Falling Into Infinity (Dream Theater)

 

1997

Terry Bozzio

Hall of Fame
Terry Bozzio
Progressive Rock
Mike Portnoy
Hard Rock
Matt Cameron
Pop/Mainstream Rock
Carter Beauford
Funk
Chad Smith
Studio
Kenny Aronoff
Country
Eddie Bayers
Mainstream Jazz
Peter Erskine
Electric Jazz
William Kennedy
Big Band
Marvin “Smitty” Smith
All-Around
Anton Fig
Up & Coming
Chad Sexton
Percussionist
Tito Puente

Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, Test for Echo (Rush)

 

1996

Vinnie Colaiuta

Hall of Fame
Vinnie Colaiuta
Progressive Rock
Mike Portnoy
Hard Rock
Alex Van Halen
Pop/Mainstream Rock
Kenny Aronoff
Funk
Chad Smith
Studio
Kenny Aronoff
Country
Eddie Bayers
Mainstream Jazz
Peter Erskine
Electric Jazz
Dennis Chambers
Big Band
Marvin “Smitty” Smith
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
Up & Coming
Carter Beauford
Percussionist
Sheila E

Recorded Performance
Mike Portnoy, A Change of Seasons (Dream Theater)

 

1995

Elvin Jones

Hall of Fame
Elvin Jones
Progressive Rock
Mike Portnoy
Hard Rock
Matt Cameron
Pop/Mainstream Rock
Kenny Aronoff
Funk
Chad Smith
Studio
John “JR” Robinson
Country
Eddie Bayers
Mainstream Jazz
Peter Erskine
Electric Jazz
Dennis Chambers
Big Band
Louie Bellson
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
Up & Coming
Scott Mercado/Tré Cool
Percussionist
Tito Puente
Recorded Performance
Mike Portnoy, Awake (Dream Theater)

1994

Larrie Londin

Hall of Fame
Larrie Londin
Progressive Rock
Tim “Herb” Alexander
Hard Rock
Lars Ulrich
Pop/Mainstream Rock
Kenny Aronoff
Funk
Dennis Chambers
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Country
Eddie Bayers
Mainstream Jazz
Peter Erskine
Electric Jazz
Dennis Chambers
Big Band
Louie Bellson
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
Up & Coming
Mike Portnoy
Percussionist
Tito Puente

Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, Counterparts (Rush)

 

1993

Jeff Porcaro

Hall of Fame
Jeff Porcaro
Progressive Rock
William Calhoun
Hard Rock/Metal
Lars Ulrich
Pop/Mainstream Rock
Kenny Aronoff
Funk
Dennis Chambers
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Country
Eddie Bayers
Mainstream Jazz
Jeff Watts
Electric Jazz
Dennis Chambers
Big Band
Louie Bellson
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
Up & Coming
Dave Abbruzzese
Latin/Brazilian Percussion
Tito Puente
Recorded Performance
Dave Weckl, Heads Up

1992

Max Roach

Hall of Fame
Max Roach
Progressive Rock
William Calhoun
Hard Rock/Metal
Lars Ulrich
Pop/Mainstream Rock
Kenny Aronoff
Funk
Dennis Chambers
Studio
Harvey Mason
Country
Fred Young
Mainstream Jazz
Peter Erskine
Electric Jazz
Dennis Chambers
Big Band
Louie Bellson
All-Around
Vinnie Colaiuta
Up & Coming
Tim “Herb” Alexander/Dave Grohl
Latin/Brazilian Percussion
Tito Puente
Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, Roll the Bones (Rush)

1991

Art Blakey

Hall of Fame
Art Blakey
Progressive Rock
William Calhoun
Hard Rock/Metal
Tommy Lee
Pop/Mainstream Rock
Phil Collins
Funk
Dennis Chambers
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Country
Mark Herndon
Mainstream Jazz
Jack DeJohnette
Electric Jazz
Dave Weckl
Big Band
Ed Shaughnessy
All-Around
Steve Smith
Up & Coming
Blas Elias
Latin/Brazilian Percussionist
Alex Acuña
Multi-Percussionist
Ed Mann
Mallet Percussionist
Ed Mann
Classical Percussionist
Evelyn Glennie

Recorded Performance Dave Weckl, Master Plan

 

1990

Bill Bruford

Hall of Fame
Bill Bruford
Progressive Rock
Rod Morgenstein
Hard Rock/Metal
Lars Ulrich
Pop/Mainstream Rock
Phil Collins
Funk
Dennis Chambers
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Country
Larrie Londin
Mainstream Jazz
Jack DeJohnette
Electric Jazz
Dave Weckl
Big Band
Ed Shaughnessy
All-Around
Steve Smith
Up & Coming
Jason Bonham
Latin/Brazilian Percussionist
Alex Acuña
Multi-Percussionist
Ed Mann
Mallet Percussionist
Ed Mann
Classical Percussionist
Anthony J. Cirone

Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, Presto (Rush)

 

1989

Carl Palmer

Hall of Fame
Carl Palmer
Progressive Rock
Rod Morgenstein
Hard Rock/Metal
Lars Ulrich
Pop/Mainstream Rock
Phil Collins
Funk
Steve Jordan
Studio
Vinnie Colaiuta
Country
Larrie Londin
Mainstream Jazz
Tony Williams
Electric Jazz
Dave Weckl
Big Band
Ed Shaughnessy
All-Around
Steve Smith
Up & Coming
William Calhoun
Latin/Brazilian
Alex Acuña
Multi-Percussionist
Ed Mann
Mallet Percussionist
Dave Samuels
Classical Percussionist
Anthony J. Cirone

Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, A Show of Hands (Rush)

 

1988

 Joe Morello

Hall of Fame
Joe Morello
Progressive Rock
Rod Morgenstein
Hard Rock/Metal
Tommy Aldridge
Pop/Mainstream Rock
Phil Collins
Funk
Steve Jordan
Studio
John “JR” Robinson
Country
Larrie Londin
Mainstream Jazz
Jeff Watts
Electric Jazz
Dave Weckl
Big Band
Ed Shaughnessy
All-Around
Steve Smith
Up & Coming
Manu Katché
Latin/Brazilian
Alex Acuña
Multi-Percussionist
Stewart Copeland
Mallet Percussionist
Ed Mann
Classical Percussionist
Anthony J. Cirone

Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, Hold Your Fire (Rush)

 

1987

Billy Cobham

Hall of Fame
Billy Cobham
Progressive Rock
Rod Morgenstein
Hard Rock/Metal
Alex Van Halen
Pop/Mainstream Rock
Phil Collins
Funk
Steve Jordan
Studio
Simon Phillips
Country
John Stacey
Mainstream Jazz
Tony Williams
Electric Jazz
Dave Weckl
Big Band
Louie Bellson
All-Around
Steve Smith
Up & Coming
Gregg Bissonette
Latin/Brazilian
Alex Acuña
Multi-Percussionist
Stewart Copeland
Mallet Percussionist
Dave Samuels
Classical Percussionist
Anthony J. Cirone

Recorded Performance
Dave Weckl, The Chick Corea Elektric Band

 

1986

Tony Williams

Hall of Fame
Tony Williams
Rock
Rod Morgenstein
Funk
Steve Jordan
Studio
Jeff Porcaro
Country
Larrie Londin
Mainstream Jazz
Tony Williams
Electric Jazz
Omar Hakim
Big Band
Ed Shaughnessy
All-Around
Neil Peart
Reggae
Sly Dunbar
Up & Coming
Mel Gaynor
Latin/Brazilian
Sheila E
Multi-Percussionist
Neil Peart
Mallet Percussionist
Gary Burton
Classical Percussionist
Anthony J. Cirone

Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, Power Windows (Rush)

 

1985

 Louie Bellson

Hall of Fame
Louie Bellson
Rock
Neil Peart
Funk
David Garibaldi
Studio
Steve Gadd
Country
Larrie Londin
Mainstream Jazz
Alan Dawson
Electric Jazz
Omar Hakim/Danny Gottlieb
Big Band
Buddy Rich
All-Around
Steve Gadd
Reggae
Sly Dunbar
Up & Coming
Larry Mullen Jr.
Latin/Brazilian
Airto
Multi-Percussionist
Neil Peart
Mallet Percussionist
Gary Burton
Classical Percussionist
Vic Firth

Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, Grace Under Pressure (Rush)

 

1984

Steve Gadd

Hall of Fame
Steve Gadd
Rock
Neil Peart
Funk
David Garibaldi
Studio
Steve Gadd
Country
Mark Herndon
Jazz
Buddy Rich
Big Band
Buddy Rich
All-Around
Steve Gadd
Reggae
Sly Dunbar
Up & Coming
Rick Allen
Latin/Brazilian
Airto
Multi-Percussionist
Neil Peart
Mallet Percussionist
Gary Burton
Classical Percussionist
Vic Firth

Recorded Performance
Stewart Copeland, Synchronicity (the Police)

 

1983

Neil Peart

Hall of Fame
Neil Peart
Rock
Neil Peart
R&B
David Garibaldi
Studio
Steve Gadd
Jazz
Buddy Rich
Big Band
Buddy Rich
All-Around
Steve Gadd
Up & Coming
Stewart Copeland/Terry Bozzio
Latin/Brazilian
Airto
Multi-Percussionist
Neil Peart
Mallet Percussionist
Gary Burton
Classical Percussionist
Vic Firth

Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, Signals (Rush)

 

1982

Keith Moon

Hall of Fame
Keith Moon
Rock
Neil Peart
R&B
David Garibaldi
Studio
Steve Gadd
Jazz
Buddy Rich
Big Band
Buddy Rich
All-Around
Steve Gadd
Most Promising New Drummer
Stewart Copeland
Latin-American Percussionist
Airto
Mallet Percussionist
Gary Burton
Classical Percussionist
Vic Firth
Percussion Instrumentalist
Neil Peart

Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, Exit: Stage Left (Rush)

 

1981

John Bonham

Hall of Fame
John Bonham
Rock
Neil Peart
R&B
David Garibaldi
Studio
Steve Gadd
Jazz
Buddy Rich
Big Band
Buddy Rich
All-Around
Steve Gadd
Most Promising New Drummer
Stewart Copeland
Latin American Percussionist
Airto
Percussion Instrumentalist
Ralph MacDonald
Classical Percussionist
Vic Firth

Recorded Performance
Neil Peart, Moving Pictures (Rush)

 

1980

Buddy Rich

Hall of Fame
Buddy Rich
Rock
Neil Peart
R&B
David Garibaldi
Studio
Steve Gadd
Jazz
Tony Williams
Big Band
Buddy Rich
All-Around
Steve Gadd
Most Promising New Drummer
Neil Peart
Latin-American Percussionist
Airto
Percussion Instrumentalist
Ralph MacDonald
Classical Percussionist
Vic Firth

Recorded Performance
Bill Bruford, One of a Kind (Bruford)

 

1979

Gene Krupa

Hall of Fame
Gene Krupa
Rock
Carmine Appice
R&B
Harvey Mason
Studio
Steve Gadd
Jazz
Tony Williams
Big Band
Buddy Rich
All-Around
Steve Gadd
Most Promising Drummer
Jeff Porcaro
Latin Percussionist
Airto
Percussion Instrumentalist
Ralph MacDonald
Classical Percussionist
Vic Firth

Best Recorded Performance
Steve Gadd, Friends (Chick Corea)

 

This information is pulled from MD’s July issue from each year, with the exception of 1979 (May/June), 1980 (June/July), and 2014-16 (May).

 

7 thoughts on “Modern Drummer’s Readers Poll Archive, 1979–2017

  1. How could Jeff Porcaro only win one year for studio? He played on more hit records than all the others combined.

  2. Jethro Tull’s Barriemore Barlow!! Most underrated rock drummer ever. Should be in your Hall of Fame.Even John Bonham was quoted to say that BB was the best rock drummer.

  3. As I expected, Neil Peart is in the top almost every year! I also think he is the best drummer ever. Other drummers that inspired me were John Bonham, Lars Ulrich, Ian Paice, Cozy Powell, Mike Portnoy, Stewart Copeland, Phill Colllins and many others. Lately, drummers who impressed me are two female drummers – Meytal Cohen and Emanuelle Caplette. I love all the drummers that put their heart into plaing drums!

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