100 Greatest Drummers of All Time

From rock thunder machines to punk powerhouses, we count down the kings and queens of slam

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Carter Beauford
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41. Carter Beauford

A founding member of the Dave Matthews Band, Carter Beauford is a chops-heavy jazz drummer and Tony Williams fan with pop sensibilities. Though his band depends on groove, he fills out even their most popular tracks with wildly complicated, incredibly busy licks – for example, giving "Ants Marching" an unlikely hi-hat pattern before orchestrally accenting Matthews' vocal stabs, adding tricky bass drum work to "So Much to Say," treating "Dancing Nancies" like a second line that stops at Stewart Copeland's house or using two snares on "Two Step." And, of course, there's the live shows where his monster drum solos explode in double-kick frenzies and songs evolve from night to night. "Every audience is different, so we want to try and speak directly to that audience or deliver a different message every time we play," Beauford told Guitar Center. "If you play the same thing every time, the word will get out."

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