200 Greatest! Beats & Fills

200 Greatest Moments: Beats & Fills

See also: 200 Greatest Gear Moments: Gear and Technology

200 Greatest Moments: Recorded Performances

200 Greatest Moments: Drumming Events

Listen while you read and learn. Here's 28 tunes covering 48 years of great beats and fills from 1956-2003.

Clifton James on “Bo Diddley” by Bo Diddley - 1955

The groove for this classic beat is usually played on the toms and is derived from a 3:2 son clave pattern that’s the basis of many Latin music styles.


Bobby Morris on “Just A Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody” by Louis Prima - 1956

This track employs a two-handed unison shuffle with quarter-notes played underneath on the bass drum, known as the “Prima shuffle.” This groove remains very popular today.


Charles Connor on “You Keep A-Knockin’” by Little Richard - 1956

The first time I heard the intro to this song I thought it was a different version of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock And Roll.” I later learned John Bonham “borrowed” Connor’s pattern almost note for note for Zeppelin’s better-known song.

200 Greatest Events

Earl Palmer on “Lucille” by Little Richard - 1957

This track was important because it marks the transition from shuffle-based grooves to straight rock patterns. Earl Palmer played the eighth-note rhythm of Little Richard’s piano part on his snare with his right hand and played backbeats with his left.

200 Greatest Events

Skip Moore on “Walk Don’t Run” by The Ventures - 1960

The original version of this class song features a typical surf or twist beat characterized by the snare playing 2& and 4. The original recording has a quiet bass drum, though on later recordings the four-on-the-floor pattern is more obvious.

200 Greatest Events

Ron Wilson on “Wipeout” by The Surfaris - 1963

This classic tom tom drum solo was based on drummer Ron Wilson’s high school marching band cadence and can be thought of as surf music’s “Sing, Sing, Sing.” It’s one of the first beats drummers often learn and is in a rare class of beats that are instantly identifiable even by non-drummers.

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