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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Max Weinberg
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55. Max Weinberg

In the spring of 1974, Max Weinberg saw a notice in the Village Voice that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were looking for a new drummer, cautioning would-be applicants that they didn't want any "Junior Ginger Bakers." Weinberg was a steady-handed pro schooled in the pits of Broadway shows: in other words, the complete opposite of Cream's wild-man drummer. He blew Springsteen away at an audition and was hired just as work began on Born to Run. It's impossible to imagine how that album would have sounded without Weinberg's taut pulse — closer in spirit to the Sixties studio kings than the Seventies arena giants — and after its success, the drummer found himself working with everyone from Meat Loaf to Bonnie Tyler. When the E Street Band split in 1989, he found work as Conan O'Brien's bandleader, though when the band reformed in 1999, he managed to fit both jobs into his busy schedule. "Max found a place where Bernard Purdie, Buddy Rich and Keith Moon intersected, and he made it his own," Bruce Springsteen said during his 1999 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acceptance speech. "I ask, and he delivers for me night after night."

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