200 Greatest Drumming Events

See also: Greatest Drumming Moments: Beats and Fills

200 Greatest Gear Moments: Gear and Technology

200 Greatest Moments: Recorded Performances

200 Greatest Events

Earliest Drum Notation

“The English March” is the first notated piece of drum music, the first printed version of which appeared in Thomas Fisher’s Warlike Directions: Or The Souldiers Practice, published in 1634. Fisher based his notation on a warrant from King Charles I, who demanded its “re-establishment.”

200 Greatest Events

Invention Of Traditional Grip

Though first seen on these shores in the years leading up to the American Revolution, traditional grip is actually an import from Europe in the mid-1600s, when fife-and-drum corps of Swiss mercenary soldiers as well as English troops used the technique.

200 Greatest Events

Noble & Cooley Supply Union Troops In Civil War

Established in 1854, this Massachusetts manufacturer experienced major growth supplying Northern regiments with snare drums. N&C cranked out a record 100,000 drums a year by 1873, long after the end of the Civil War. It still makes its drums on the same steam-bending machines from that era.

200 Greatest Events

Invention Of The Drum Set

The drum set is an outgrowth of “double drumming,” a technique started in the late 1800s in New Orleans (hitting the snare with one hand and a marching bass with the other). In the early part of the 20th century, various music shops built “consolettes,” also called “contraption trays” (later shortened to traps), onto which smaller drums, cymbals, and percussion could be fastened.

200 Greatest Events

Elkhart, Indiana, Becomes An Unlikely Drum Mecca

Starting out in an Indianapolis apartment at the end of the 19th century, the Leedy Drum Company soon expanded with a major factory in the city. During the Great Depression, Leedy and Chicago-based Ludwig, a distributor of Leedy products, merged with CG Conn in Elkhart, Indiana, where the brands were manufactured as separate lines. (Unhappy with the arrangement, William F. Ludwig returned to Chicago and started WFL.) In 1951 the companies were combined into Leedy & Ludwig, but it lasted four years. In the 1960s, Conn sold Leedy to Slingerland where the brand fizzled. After new owner Gretsch sold Slingerland, it retained the Leedy rights and resurrected the brand in the early 2000s. Today Ludwig is owned by Conn-Selmer, and is still based in Elkhart.

200 Greatest Events

Leedy Leads The Way

Circa 1893, Ulysses Leedy made the first folding drum stand (before that, players improvised by hanging the drums from straps fastened to furniture such as chairs). By the 1920s, Leedy expanded into percussion, drumheads, and in the late ’30s another innovation: double-flanged hoops. The company also had early production versions of self-adjusting lugs and laminate wraps. When the company was briefly known as Leedy & Ludwig, it created the Knob Tension line only to discontinue it a year later, in 1951.

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200 Greatest Events

Drum Brands Withstanding Test Of Time: Gretsch & Ludwig

Both manufacturers have roots in jazz, flourished in the ’70s rock era, and remain powerhouses today. Madison Avenue’s most creative minds couldn’t have come up with a more powerful ad campaign than Ringo playing Ludwigs on The Ed Sullivan show. A set of Gretsch drums are in the cover design of The Rolling Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Yas Out!

200 Greatest Events

Zildjian Opens U.S. Plant

It was 1909 when Avedis Zildjian came over from Turkey and set up shop in Boston to begin modern cymbal manufacture. Although the company existed in various forms in Istanbul since the 17th century, it was during the early jazz era when the company began to grow exponentially.

200 Greatest Events

First Audio Recording Of Drums

On a 1909 recording of the U.S. Marine Band playing Sousa’s “Semper Fidelis March,” the drums are definitely present. A number of recordings of the drums are on wax cylinder from the early 1890s onward, but if we’re talking traps, the first recording is New Orleans drummer Tony Sbarbaro on drums with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1917 by the Victor Talking Machine Company.

200 Greatest Events

The Moeller Technique

The advanced hand stroke technique characterized by a whipping motion was conceived by Sanford Moeller with the 1925 publication of The Art Of Snare Drumming (also known as “The Moeller Book”). Legendary instructor Jim Chapin was its biggest champion in the U.S.

200 Greatest Events

Publication of The Ludwig Drummer

The first drum media to resemble a modern enthusiast magazine, bi-annual publication The Ludwig Drummer contained articles, playing tips, and endorser news. Its first incarnation was in circulation from 1926 to 1948. It was later resurrected by the Conn-owned Ludwig & Ludwig in the 1960s and ran until 1976.

200 Greatest Events

First Drummer Bandleader: Chick Webb

As the leader in the house band at Chicago’s Savoy Ballroom starting in 1931, Webb not only began to earn the moniker “King Of Swing,” but also his crown as the first drummer bandleader.

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200 Greatest Events

Papa Jo Jones’ Approach

Though the precise date are unknown, Jones is widely credited with three major contributions to jazz drumming: Transferred time keeping to the ride cymbal (away from the bass drum), used the hi-hat as a musical instrument in its own right, and popularized brushwork.

200 Greatest Events

Invention Of Steel-Pan Drums

In the early 1930s, Trinidadians began making music out of found objects such as hubcaps, biscuit tins, and garbage pail lids. Local musician Winston Spree hammered in dents of various sizes to create the note scale of modern steel-pan drums.

200 Greatest Events

First European Cymbal In The U.S.

With roots in the pre-Soviet Russian empire, Tallinn, Estonia—based Paiste exports its first cymbals to the U.S. in 1932. The cymbals are distributed by Ludwig.

200 Greatest Events

Rudiments Codified

In 1933 a group of drummers convened in Chicago to discuss methods of teaching drumming. They came up with the first 13 “rudiments of drumming.” Another 13 rudiments were added to form the Twenty Six Essential Rudiments Of Drumming and with it, the creation of the National Association Of Rudimental Drummers. In 1962, NARD published a book containing 150 solo scores written by its members.

200 Greatest Events

Publication of Stick Control

In 1935, George Lawrence Stone, a former music store proprietor and founding member of NARD wrote the grand daddy of all method books used by Morello, Lionel Hampton, and Vic Firth.

200 Greatest Events

Introduction Of Drum Set In Country Music

Bob Wills had incorporated drums into his band Texas Playboys as early as 1935. Wills said in an interview circa 1950 that he felt that a beat was necessary to make the music more danceable.

200 Greatest Events

Buddy Rich’s First Breakout Appearance

Though a former child hood star who had his first public drumming performance as a toddler, Buddy Rich’s arrival as a de facto drumming star was in 1939 when he joined Artie Shaw’s big band, which featured Billie Holiday as the vocalist.

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200 Greatest Events

First Female Drummer

Starting her career in the late 1930s with Phil Spitalney’s swing orchestra, Mary McClanahan is widely credited as the first female drummer after her appearance in a 1939 Gretsch ad for Metronome Magazine. Viola Smith made her debut with the Coquettes, also in 1939, and played well into the 1960s and ’70s. Smith turned 100 late last year.

200 Greatest Events

Krupa Invents Cymbal Taxonomy

Collaborating with Zildjian, Krupa helped to devise the modern naming system for individual cymbals (i.e., ride, crash, splash, swish, etc.) – also in the late ’30s. Previously, they were just cymbals, and how you used them was up to you.

200 Greatest Events

First Custom Kit Builder

Gretsch would say it was them. In the era when the company was making those wacky kits for Louie Bellson, there were only a few people in the Brooklyn facility building the kits. Fred Gretsch has stated the company did a lot of custom work for artists.

200 Greatest Events

Publication of Buddy’s Method Book

Legendary instructor Henry Adler and Buddy Rich coauthor Buddy Rich’s Modern Interpretation Of Snare Drum Rudiments in 1942. Rich’s employer, big band leader Tommy Dorsey, wrote the forward.

200 Greatest Events

Candido Multitasks The Hands

The Cuban percussionist might not have been the first to incorporate congas into jazz, but he became Latin jazz’s first real multitasker, playing bongos (or other percussion) with one hand and a conga with the other when he was the only percussionist during a gig.

200 Greatest Events

Birth Of Rock

In 1940 Ray McKinley drummed on the hit “Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar” with boogie-woogie pioneer Will Bradley. McKinley’s nickname was “eight beats” and the common phrase at the time, “eight to the bar,” points to the shift from the jazz standard of four beats per bar to rock’s eight per bar. In the ’50s Charles Connor, Smokey Johnson, Jerry Allison, and Earl Palmer’s work with rock pioneers including Fats Domino, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly broadened the straight-eighth approach even more. Elvis drummer DJ Fontana was also straightening out the beat with a rockabilly vibe.

200 Greatest Events

Louie Bellson Wins Drum Competition

In 1941 when he was still in high school, Bellson beat out 40,000 drummers to win the Slingerland National Gene Krupa Contest, launching his storied career.

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200 Greatest Events

Emergence Of The “Big Four” Historic Drum Shops

Generations of drummers honed their craft and drooled over the shiny new thing at Percussion Center in NYC, run by Frank Ippolito, Franks Drum Shop (a different Frank) in Chicago, Moe’s Drum Shop in Las Vegas, and Pro Drum Shop in Hollywood, California. Only Pro Drum Shop remains in business today. But the mere existence of those four shops had an immeasurable impact on our craft at the national level.

200 Greatest Events

Dizzy Gillespie Introduces Cuban Drummers To America

Besides popularizing bebop, Gillespie is a major catalyst of Latin jazz when the trumpeter brought conguero Chano Pozo (and later Candido) into his band in the late ’40s.

200 Greatest Events

Art Blakey Goes To Africa

Besides radicalizing him politically, Blakey’s African sojourn in the late ’40s altered his drumming approach. In the video of him performing with Elvin Jones and Max Roach, the latter two are in suit and tie but Blakey is sporting a dashiki and Afro. More important, his playing in the Jazz Messengers became far freer and harder hitting.

200 Greatest Events

Louie Bellson Popularizes Double Bass

Though almost a decade before Gretsch actually built it for him, Bellson conceived of the double bass setup idea as a teenager in 1939 when he made designs for it in high school art class. Though a Dallas jazz drummer named Ray McKinely preceded Bellson’s inspiration, often appearing onstage in the ’30s with two small-diameter bass drums, it was Bellson who brought the concept into the mainstream.

200 Greatest Events

The First Instructional Drumming Video

More performance than instructional, Baby Dodds’ 1946 video (strangely preceding Dodd’s own LP), demonstrates practical applications like the press roll but also shows him clowning, foot-muting his floor tom, etc.

200 Greatest Events

First Instructional (Non-video) Recording

Footnotes To Jazz, Vol. 1: Baby Dodds Talking And Drum Solos (1951) reveals Dodds breaking down his famous solos, the 1920s styles, and is capped with a “tom-tom workout.”

200 Greatest Events

A Drummer Allowed At The Grand Ole Opry

In June of 1957, The Everly Brothers became the first act to feature a drummer onstage at country music’s hallowed institution. Previously, country bandleaders Bob Wills (1944) and Pee Wee King (1947) performed with drummers at the Opry, but they were forced to play backstage. Nashville session mainstay Buddy Harman would become the first regular drummer to be seen on the stage at the venue.

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200 Greatest Events

Publication of Progressive Steps To Syncopation For the Modern Drummer by Ted Reed

The first book to exclusively address the concept of syncopation, it opened a world of possibilities for drummers. Fifty-five years after its 1958 publication it was still earning plaudits.

200 Greatest Events

Birth Of Soul

In 1960s Detroit, Benny Benjamin’s work with Motown Records backing band The Funk Brothers can be heard on dozens, if not hundreds, of Motown singles and early soul classics such as “Heard It Through The Grapevine.” Down in Memphis, also in the early-to-mid-’60s, Booker T And The MGs drummer Al Jackson Jr. was the linchpin of the Stax Records rhythm section and played on cuts by everyone from Otis Redding to Al Green.

200 Greatest Events

First Drum Clinic

Benny Goodman sideman and current Aquarian Drumheads president Roy Burns pioneered the modern manufacturer-sponsored drum clinic in 1962. Held at Southern Illinois University in 1962, the clinic was free to the public. The success fueled Drum-A-Rama, which Burns coheadlined with Louie Bellson in Cleveland in 1964.

200 Greatest Events

Tony Williams Gets Miles Davis Gig

At 17 years old, Tony Williams joined what is commonly known as Miles’ Second Great Quintet, in 1963. With Williams’ increased use of polyrhythms and metric modulation, drumming’s vocabulary took a quantum leap, helping to define Davis’ changing aesthetic.

200 Greatest Events

Beginning Of Session Player Era

By the 1960s, top drummers were shunning groups in favor of high-playing studio work. In Los Angeles, The Wrecking Crew, the core of which was Hal Blaine, Earl Palmer, and Jim Gordon (and later Russ Kunkel and Jeff Porcaro), was a group of uncredited drummers contributing to songs by artists as disparate as Bing Crosby and The Beach Boys, as well as radio jingles and TV shows. When he moved to New York in 1961, Bernard Purdie became an active session player, most famously with James Brown in 1965, and, starting in 1970, Aretha Franklin.

200 Greatest Events

Ringo Starr Replaces Pete Best

Pete Best will forever be known as the guy who could have been Ringo if he’d just gotten a haircut. Richard Starkey, an unknown drummer with Rory And The Hurricanes, joined The Beatles on the Liverpudlians’ seminal tour of Hamburg, Germany, in 1962, the tipping point of Beatlemania. He soon took on the moniker Ringo Starr, and the rest is history.

200 Greatest Events

The Tonight Show Drummers

In 1963, the sight of Ed Shaughnessy with Doc Severinsen’s band broadcast into millions of American living rooms had an immeasurably positive impact on drumming. Less well known in the show’s Carson era were drummers Jack Sperling and Grady Tate. Once The Tonight Show was taken over by Jay Leno in 1992, it was Marvin “Smitty” Smith, followed by Jeff “Tain” Watts and, currently, Teddy Campbell.

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200 Greatest Events

First Female Rock Drummer

Anne Margot Lantree, better known as Honey, alternately confused and thrilled early rock fans as the drummer in The Honeycombs, a British Invasion band that made a minor splash with All Systems Go in 1965. Lantree beat out Helen Wiggin of American girl group The Shaggs by a good five years.

200 Greatest Events

Keith Moon Blows Up His Kit

If Moon walked the line between chaos and control, he blatantly crossed it in 1967 after secretly smuggling (way too many) cherry bombs into his bass drum on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour TV show. It was a high point of showmanship, but regrettably it cost Pete Townshend the hearing in one of his ears. YouTube it. Immediately.

200 Greatest Events

Advent Of Drum Isolation Rooms

With the advent of rock bands, isolation of the drums was sought for a more controlled recording. One of the most notable examples of the origins of the iso booth is the fort built around Ringo’s drum set using gobos to control the sound during the White Album recording in 1968 at Abbey Road Studios, thus ushering in the dampened drum sound of the ’70s and the pursuit of ever more precision drum recording.

200 Greatest Events

Close/Multiple Miking

The earliest known use of multiple close mikes was on Ringo’s drum set during the Sgt. Pepper sessions. Two years later, Glyn Johns’ four-mike technique for miking drums was used to capture Bonham’s sound on the first Zeppelin album and also to record the drum kits of Keith Moon and Charlie Watts.

200 Greatest Events

Andy Johns Mikes Bonham On “When The Levee Breaks”

In a fit of DIY inspiration, recording engineer Andy Johns (brother of Glyn Johns) decided to put Bonham’s bass drum at the bottom of the stairwell at Headley Grange and the mike at the top to achieve a booming bass sound unlike anything heard before. The result influenced scores of subsequent producers and would be frequently sampled by hip-hop artists.

200 Greatest Events

Ginger Baker Goes to Africa

After Cream’s break-up and his short-lived group Air Force, Baker tried his luck in Nigeria, where he recorded several sessions on drums with pop star and political radical Fela Kuti. Baker’s efforts helped bring Afro-pop to a much larger audience.

200 Greatest Events

First PASIC

A series of clinics called “Days Of Percussion” put on by the Percussive Arts Society National Conference began in 1971. However, the percussion convention we now know as PASIC was first held in 1976 at the Eastman School Of Music in Rochester, New York. The conference is now the de facto yearly meeting ground for industry professionals and drummers of all stripes.

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200 Greatest Events

Publication of The Realistic Rock Drum Method by Carmine Appice

In 1972, Appice took method books out of the classroom and into the arena by notating fills, beats, and grooves that made sense in the loud, fast setting of modern rock.

200 Greatest Events

Camco’s Famous Offspring

The American firm sold its drum hardware patent to future DW president Don Lombardi (at the time running a teaching studio) in 1972. In fact, DW’s “turret” lugs are a carry-over from Camco. Around the same time, Tama purchased the patent for Camco’s foot pedal.

200 Greatest Events

Most Random Drummer Substitution Ever

When Keith Moon passed out during a show in San Francisco in 1973 after taking some tranquilizers, concert promoter Bill Graham hailed an unknown 19-year-old, Scot Halpin, who was standing on the side of the stage, to finish the rest of the set. Halpin would later become an illustrator for DRUM! Magazine.

200 Greatest Events

First Inverted Drum Set Performance

In 1975, Buddy Rich had the first full 360 degree floating inverted drum riser (YouTube “Buddy Rich’s Flying Drumkit”). The feat inspired Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee, and later, Travis Barker and Joey Jordison, to build far more elaborate drum gags.

200 Greatest Events

Reign Of Fusion

The genre’s moment was brief but it burned brightly. Tony Williams’ Emergency (1969); Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew (featuring Lenny White and Jack DeJohnette on drums; Dom Alias and Jim Riley on percussion, 1970); Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds Of Fire featuring Billy Cobham, and Cobham’s solo debut Spectrum, are touchstone albums. Weather Report’s 1977 release Heavy Weather (Alex Acuña) seemed to punctuate the end of the fusion era.

200 Greatest Events

David Garibaldi Bringing Precision To Funk

Prior to Garibaldi, the funk feel was relatively loose and greasy, but the Tower Of Power drummer brought a heightened level of rudimental meticulousness that spoke to more schooled players, especially those with drum corps backgrounds.

200 Greatest Events

First Full-Time Electronic Drum Players

On the 1974 release Autobahn by German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk, percussionists Wolfgang Flür and Karl Bartos played homemade electronic drums. Earlier Kraftwerk albums used preset drum machines likely cannibalized from an organ.

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200 Greatest Events

First Electronic Drums Combined With Acoustic Kit

Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge used a primitive e-drum on “Procession” from the 1971 album Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. However, David Robinson’s intro on “Good Times Roll” (1978) using a Syndrum, which Pollard Industries put on the market in 1976, is a better example.

200 Greatest Events

Neil Peart Replaces John Rutsey

When Rutsey was in the band, Rush had a bluesier Zeppelinesque sound (as heard on the ’74 self-titled debut). But when Peart joined in early 1975 they morphed into the prog juggernaut responsible for 2112, Hemispheres, and Fly By Night.

200 Greatest Events

“The Black Page”

Written for Terry Bozzio during his audition in Frank Zappa’s band, this infamous chart is named for the fact that the transcription is so dense with tuplets, nested polyrhythms, and other notation marks that the ink nearly blended together into an illegible mass. Its reference became synonymous with sketchy auditions and difficult transcriptions alike.

200 Greatest Events

Zappa As Litmus Test For Drummers

Starting in the mid-1970s thru the ’80s, Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Chad Wackerman all did their time in Zappa’s constantly changing musical context. Far from the unschooled hippy ethos of the time, Zappa demanded academic rigor from his drummers and the ability to sightread insane parts (see above).

200 Greatest Events

Launch Of Modern Drummer

When Modern Drummer debuted in 1977, it was the first time drum set players got their own monthly magazine. It was about time. Guitar Player launched a decade earlier. Even surfing had its own magazine since 1962.

200 Greatest Events

Stewart Copeland’s Snare Sound

Throughout the history of rock drum recording, snare drums had been muffled and dampened in ways that made the tone subdued, bland, and all but negated rimshots. Copeland’s bright sounding snare sporting a wide-open crack put the snare drum front and center in the mix.

200 Greatest Events

Keith LeBlanc Of Tackhead

As the drummer in backing band for DJ Grandmaster Flash (“White Lines”) and other artists at Sugar Hill Records in the late 1970s, Le Blanc is considered the first hip-hop drummer. His record No Sell Out (Tommy Boy) was one of the first sample-based releases.

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200 Greatest Events

Kevlar Drumhead Invented

The first aramid heads (generic Kevlar) were introduced in 1978 by Duraline and designed for free-floating snares. Known for their woven cloth surface and off-yellow color, the Duralines were heavily coated to deaden vibration (hence the pok-y drum corps snare sound) and withstand abuse. Duraline also came out with multiple size heads for toms with less successful results. The company shuttered in 1987.

200 Greatest Events

Formation Of Sabian Cymbals

When the scions of the Zildjian cymbal company, Armand and Robert, had a falling out, Robert broke off to form Sabian in 1980. Due to legal restrictions, the elder Zildjian brother couldnot have a competing cymbal company in the U.S., hence the establishment of Sabian in Canada.

200 Greatest Events

Phil Collins’ Drum Sound As A Solo Artist

If you listen to Collins’ “In The Air Tonight,” its big, saturated, ambient drum tone, especially that famous fill, you’re hearing the birth of the ’80s drum sound revolution.

200 Greatest Events

Drum Sound Replacement (pre-ProTools)

The LinnDrum (LM-2) was introduced in 1982, allowing triggering of sampled sounds via five trigger inputs. This made it possible to trigger a sound from a drum set and use that sound over the acoustic drum sound. Many recordings in the ’80s featured this machine. When DAWs came into existence, Digidesign (now Avid) developed ProTools. In 1999 a plug-in called SoundReplacer was introduced and the rest is history.

200 Greatest Events

Bass Drum Tunnel

Engineer/producer Bruce Swedien innovated a furniture blanket bass drum cover to isolate the bass drum mike inside the drum while recording Michael Jackson’s Thriller album in 1982. While it’s not clear who first used the extended tunnel concept, undoubtedly this technique pioneered by Swedien was an inspiration for that now frequently used approach.

200 Greatest Events

Two Most Famous Cowbell Intros

Rick Allen on Def Leppard’s “Rock Of Ages.” The mysterious words spoken over the bell strikes in this 1983 song have entered classic rock lore, joining Corky Laing’s quarter-note opening to Mountain’s 1970 hit “Mississippi Queen.”

200 Greatest Events

Rick Allen’s One-Armed Comeback

After a car wreck in the early ’80s in which he lost his left arm, the Def Leppard drummer came back hard with an electronics-assisted kit. Peter Hart of e-kit maker Hart Dynamics created the foot-operated snare drum that enabled Allen to continue playing.

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200 Greatest Events

Publication of 4-Way Coordination by Marvin Dahlgren and Elliot Fine

While previous books had been focused on the hands, Fine and Dahlgren’s pivotal tome from 1985 stressed the importance of full-body independence.

200 Greatest Events

Publication of A Funky Primer For the Rock Drummer by Charles Dowd

With its encyclopedic inclusion of funk patterns, this 1987 book is a bible for rock drummers interested in greasing up their groove.

200 Greatest Events

First Drumming Festival

Hosted by Modern Drummer magazine in 1987 and featured Joe Morello, Rod Morgenstein, Dave Weckl, Danny Gottlieb, Kenny Aronoff, and Alan Dawson.

200 Greatest Events

Opening Of Drummer’s Collective, Musician’s Institute, and Berklee

In a total flip of the pedagogy model, drummers interested in furthering their education could skip the orchestral percussion and learn with an eye toward lucrative touring gigs and session work.

200 Greatest Events

First Theatrical Drum Troupe

Groups such as Stomp!, Re:Percussion, and Bang On A Can! owe a debt to the Blue Man Group, which debuted in New York in 1987. The Blue Men were knows for their use of PVC pipe and elaborate convolutions of tubing such as the Drumbone.

200 Greatest Events

First Guitar Center’s Drum-Off

The flagship drumming contest began in 1988, launching the careers of players such as Cora Coleman-Dunham, Thomas Pridgen, and Tony Royster Jr. A panel of elite drummer judges – which over the years has included Dennis Chambers, Danny Carey, and Thomas Lang – further burnished the contest’s reputation.

200 Greatest Events

Launch Of DRUM! Magazine

When the Miller-Freeman Publications shut down Drums & Drumming, Phil Hood and Andy Doerschuk started their own drum magazine in 1991 as a free tabloid available in record stores and music instrument retailers. The rest is history.

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Mickey Hart’s Post-Dead Percussion Ventures

After leaving Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart would put out 14 solo albums, the best known being 1991’s Grammy-winning Planet Drum, which brought together iconic yet wildly different percussionists including Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju, and Airto Moreira.

200 Greatest Events

Remo Belli Meets Arthur Hull

Arthur Hull basically took Babatunde’s Drums Of Passion concept and took it live, kickstarting a movement as one of the first drum circle facilitators. After meeting up with Hull in Santa Cruz, California, in the early ’90s, Remo president Remo Belli was inspired to start manufacturing percussion instruments. Hull’s first intensive workshop was in Hawaii in 2000.

200 Greatest Events

Max Weinberg: TV’s First Drummer-as-Bandleader

Before the E Street Band drummer’s gig with Conan O’Brien started in 1993, the drums were mostly in the background on the late-night talk show (think Paul Shaffer on Letterman). While Shaughnessy/“Smitty” Smith were earlier TV drum stars, they didn’t lead the bands they were in.

200 Greatest Events

Freddie Gruber Revamps Dave Weckl’s Approach

Weckl’s studies with Fredie Gruber in 1996 opened up the drummer to the physics of drumming and allowed him to utilize a more natural approach to playing with greater ergonomic efficiency. The change was dramatic.

200 Greatest Events

First Drumming Website

It’s a tie between Drummerworld (run by Bernard Castiglioni in Switzerland) and Drummer Café, a service-oriented portal created by Nashville drummer Bart Elliot, both of which were launched in 1997.

200 Greatest Events

American Drummer Achievement Awards

To celebrate its 375th anniversary, Zildjian presented The American Drummers Achievement Awards in 1998 at the Berklee Performance center in Boston. The event was hosted by Bill Cosby and included performances by Terri Lyne Carrington, Peter Erskine, Steve Gadd, and Marvin “Smitty” Smith.

200 Greatest Events

“More Cowbell” Skit From Saturday Night Live

Christopher Walken’s frantic demands for “more cowbell!” from Will Farrell probably didn’t inspire a new generation of drummers but it does make you wonder about this percussion accessory’s place in modern rock, and made everyone who hadn’t already suddenly take notice of the strangely prominent cowbell in Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.”

200 Greatest Events

Drumline Released

The first drum-centric Hollywood feature with a bankable actor, this underrated gem shows the cutthroat nature, intramural bonding, and musical alchemy within the drum corps sub culture. The 2002 film’s highlight is the slow-mo breakdown of a first-snare player’s blisteringly fast tattoo to show star (and actual drummer) Nick Cannon’s method of mentally separating the strokes in order to replicate it.

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200 Greatest Events

Debut Of YouTube

Once teachers and students began to use the online video-sharing site, almost immediately after its debut in 2005, in-person lessons became much less lucrative as a business. On the plus side, it also helped countless drummers launch careers from the comfort of home.

200 Greatest Events

Longest Hand Drumming Performance

In July 2009, Indian percussionist Kuzhalmannam Ramakrishnan performed for 501 hours straight at the Rhythm Therapy Hall in Kerala, India. Ramakrishan’s time beat the previous record by a whopping 177 hours. He had a record in this category before, with 101 hours, which was beaten in May 2009.

200 Greatest Events

Mike Mangini Replaces Mike Portnoy in Dream Theater

Nothing in recent memory caused more scuttlebutt than when Portnoy left DT in 2010. With drum-jocks like Thomas Lang and Marco Minnemann vying for the vacant chair, the online forums were humming with speculation as to the chosen one before Mangini was officially named in 2011.

200 Greatest Events

Yamaha’s Mousetrap—style Drum Setup For Lexus Ad

Yamaha and Lexus got together on this critically acclaimed TV commercial in 2011 featuring a Lesus IS speeding through an airplane hangar along a chain of Yamaha drums and running over strategically placed pedals in perhaps the most deliberately difficult way ever conceived of making beats.

200 Greatest Events

Largest Drum Ensemble

At 798 drummers, the Stick It To MS benefit at EventCity in Manchester, England on July 15, 2012, constitutes the largest full drum kit ensemble. The event included two full performances, one led by an in-person conductor and one by metronome. Take that, MS!