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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Mitch Mitchell
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8. Mitch Mitchell

"He played the kit like a song, it was just wonderful," said Roger Taylor of Queen, praising Mitch Mitchell's "fusion of jazz technique and wonderful riffs, but with this rolling ferocious attack on the whole kit ... Total integration into the song. Not just marking time." And Stewart Copeland of the Police has admitted "All of this stuff I did that I was rather proud of, I thought I came up with it. But no, I got it from Mitch." However, in 1966, when it came time to choose a drummer for the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the decision was literally a toss-up — a coin was flipped to pick between Mitch Mitchell and Aynsley Dunbar. Mitchell won out and this hard-hitting Elvin Jones disciple brought a heavy improvisatory quality to Hendrix's power trio, typically constructing a tense, heavy groove then veering off into a fluid yet structured counterpoint to Jimi's guitar.

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