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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Earl Hudson

75. Earl Hudson

Ferocious D.C. hardcore band Bad Brains started life as a jazz fusion crew, and Earl Hudson kept his superb chops when the tempos were cranked up to light speed and hurled against a wall. Nirvana's Dave Grohl admits to swiping his moves for the intro to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and told Modern Drummer, "I would learn all of [his] licks verbatim." When hard rock drummer Chad Smith joined the punkified Red Hot Chili Peppers, frontman Anthony Kiedis told him to get familiar. Eventually Bad Brains slowed down, stretched out into metal, reggae and funk, giving Hudson more room to flaunt his supple versatility. But he'll always be best known as the chief architect of American hardcore.

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