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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JR Robinson
100
Larry Mah81/100

81. JR Robinson

John "JR" Robinson calls himself the "Most Recorded Drummer in History," which should give you some sense of the voluminous discography of one of pop's go-to slammers: the Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited," Steve Winwood's "Higher Love," Rufus and Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody," a chunk of Daft Punk's Random Access Memories and no song less titanic than "We Are the World." Most importantly, Robinson laid the disco-rock-funk-pop concrete of Michael Jackson's tectonic-shifting Off the Wall. Robinson's perception of drummers as timekeepers only helps his innate ability to supercharge songs with subtle gestures. "He's the only drummer I could ever in my life ask to do a bar introduction on Michael Jackson's 'Rock With You,' Quincy Jones said at the Montreux Jazz Festival's celebration of his 75th birthday. "I said, 'I want a drum lick that the whole world can sing' ... and they sang it."

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