200 Greatest! Beats & Fills

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

200 Greatest Events

Ringo Starr on “In My Life” by The Beatles - 1965

This remarkable groove is still fresh, musical, and is probably the most popular linear groove ever recorded. It’s also arguably the most unique beat in The Beatles’ catalog.

beats
200 Greatest Events

John Bonham on “Good Times Bad Times” by Led Zeppelin - 1969

Though his greatness was more about his feel and creativity than his remarkable technique, this tune, the first track on the band’s self-titled debut, certainly demonstrates his fast right foot. Bonham subdivided his hi-hat notes to create the quick bass drum triplets that became permanently identified with him.

beats

Levon Helm on “Up On Cripple Creek” by The Band - 1969

Levon Helm’s unique brand of lazy funk combined elements of country, rock, and second-line drumming. This funky groove has a ridiculously deep pocket and though his fills might look simple on paper they were always musical and unique.

beats

Clyde Stubblefield on “Funky Drummer (Reprise)” by James Brown - 1969

Clyde Stubblefield’s tricky percolating funk groove has three quick open hi-hat notes on the (2) e ah and the (4) e. The song’s title says it all. This groove is one of the most sampled of all time.

beats
200 Greatest Events

G. C. Coleman on “Amen, Brother” by The Winstons - 1969

Speaking of sampled beats, Gregory Cylvester Coleman’s solo in “Amen, Brother” is accepted as the most sampled drum solo in music and can be researched in great detail by searching on “The Amen Break.” This four-measure solo helped create hip-hop and there’s much more to this fascinating story that you can discover on the Web.

beats

Carlton Barrett on “Get Up, Stand Up” by Bob Marley - 1973

Barrett popularized the one-drop reggae groove where the bass drum was primarily played on count 3 and often omitted from the downbeats.

beats
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