best drum songs

The Best Drum Songs: 10 Songs You Need to Know

best drum songs

With so many music styles and genres, it can be hard to make a list of the absolute best drum songs. Plus, everyone has their own opinions on which songs are the best. Since it’s impossible to make a definitive list of the best drum songs, drum instructor Maegan W. put together this list of 10 must-know songs. Check out the list and let us know what you think…

For this article, when I talk about the best drum songs, I’m referring to the signature songs that every drummer should know how to play. These are the songs you can always go to when you need to play a song at a gig, party, or event. These must-know drum songs also have important grooves or fills that you will use over and over in thousands of other songs. Knowing these types of grooves and fills will make learning any other song that much easier.

So here it goes…. the 10 best drum songs, or the 10 must-know songs for drummers.

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*Note: I decided to use newer songs for this list. There are so many must-know classics, but those lists of drum songs are everywhere. So here’s a new-age update for the next generation of drummers.


 

“Lost Without You” – Robin Thicke

This song is pure soul. The groove is tricky and it’s challenging to get the feel just right. If you can master this song, you’re ready to play an R&B gig. Even if you’re a rocker, this song will help you gain dynamic control and tap into some fun, unusual rhythms.

 

“Love Me Like You Do” – Ellie Goulding

This is a great song to learn to add to the music, meaning you don’t have to overplay. Just play to make the song better, not to be heard or standout. This song has several breaks where you can practice your coloring (as I call it) on the different cymbals and practice your timing by coming back in right on time.

Lastly, it has a section with a half-time feel so you can work on that, too.

“Clarity”  – Our Last Night Band (Cover)

The original is great too, but this cover is epic! This drummer is amazing and super clean on his fills and grooves. The band takes it to a whole new level, and you will want to be able to play this way, too.

This song will take you through different levels of intensity and different emotions. Playing with emotion is important to get the audience to vibe with you.

“Shut Up and Dance” – Walk the Moon

This song makes you want to dance, and it’s always good to have a couple of dance songs in your back pocket. It has a disco groove in the chorus, with a nice open hi-hat splash. It also has some nice tom builds. The fills are simple and perfect for this type of music and it also has some hits in unusual places.

“Guns for Hands” – Twenty One Pilots

All of 21 Pilots’ songs have a lot of cool drum parts. In “Guns for Hands”, you will find a simple bass drum “four-on-the-floor“, with perfectly placed hi-hat accents. You will find big half-time grooves, tom grooves, and if you watch the video, you can see a high-energy performance and great visual cues that help the audience hear you.

This song also has an awesome reggae-type breakdown in the bridge.

“Up All Night” – Blink 182

All of Blink 182’s songs have awesome drum parts, thanks to the one-and-only Travis Barker. This song is one of my favorites to play. In the beginning, you have some 32nd-note hi-hat action, with some bell accents in unique places to add to the feel. It gets super heavy and has hits that you can use in many songs to come.

It features 16th-note triplet fills around the kit and nice builds. Learn all the parts to this song and you will expand your drumming vocabulary.

“Save Me” – Gotye

This song has some really cool tom grooves, with a displaced back beat. Hitting the backbeat on the “+ of 4” can be tricky, but otherwise, this song is pretty simple. You can focus on really nailing it, and gaining limb independence and control, while getting into the groove and hypnotic rhythm.

OK, I can’t resist…..the last three are classic, must-know drum songs!

“Fool in the Rain” –  Led Zeppelin

Get your half-time shuffle on; this will teach you how to shuffle with the best and can be applied in any half-time shuffle situation. Also, look out for the Latin breakdown. If you can nail it, you’ve earned your throne!

“War Pigs” – Black Sabbath

Talk about epic drum fills! Also, there are many parts to learn so it will help learn about song structure. This song is popular at any event, well maybe not at a wedding, but at almost any party. You will learn a lot by playing this song, and you can apply these skills to many other songs as you advance as a drummer.

“Grey Street”  –  Dave Matthews Band

This groove is tough to get just right. It’s a little awkward, but when it’s played right, it’s amazing! Pay close attention: there’s more to this song than just a complicated groove. The feel here is essential, so add this song to your setlist.

I hope you enjoy this list. Some of these songs are challenging, but they will make you a better drummer!

Which drum songs are on your must-know list? Let us know in the comments below! 

Maegan-W
Post Author:
 Maegan W.
Maegan W. teaches drums, songwriting, and more in San Diego, CA. She earned a degree in Percussion from the Musician’s Institute, and has been teaching private lessons since 2004.  Learn more about Maegan here!

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