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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Mick Avory

79. Mick Avory

"If it never got beyond the hard-hitting things, I wouldn't have been very suitable," said Kinks drummer Mick Avory. It might be one reason the Kinks' used a session drummer on their proto-metal missile "You Really Got Me" (though Avory contributed tambourine). But as Kinks' frontman Ray Davies matured as a songwriter, Avory would emerge as one of the Sixties more quietly innovative drummers. "I don't know if Ray's writing blended into my way of playing or if I blended into the way he was writing." With his jazz-tutored versatility and witty drum cadences, Avory, who'd been courted by the Rolling Stones in 1962, was indeed the ideal rhythmic foil for Ray Davies' sardonic, mature style. While Avory's playing was refined and low-key, his onstage fights with guitarist Dave Davies were the stuff of legend; when Dave trashed Avory's drum kit to close off a 1965 Cardiff gig, he got a drum pedal launched at his head in return. Yet, somehow Avory managed not to get kicked out of the band until 1984.

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