59. Jim Gordon
Hal Blaine's protégé was among the top session players of the Sixties, drumming on everything from Pet Sounds to "Classical Gas." While touring with Delaney & Bonnie, Gordon met Eric Clapton, who enlisted the drummer (and several of his bandmates) to form Derek and the Dominoes. Gordon's combination of bluesy feeling and professional finesse powered the classic double LP Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Gordon went on to record with the likes of Randy Newman and Steely Dan, and became an unlikely figure in the rise of hip-hop once DJ Kool Herc started inspiring Bronx dancers with Gordon's drum break from the Incredible Bongo Band's "Apache." "Everybody started searching for the perfect beat, trying to beat that record," Herc recalled. "They still can't beat that record until this day."