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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Phil Collins
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty43/100

43. Phil Collins

Before Phil Collins became one of the most successful pop singers of the 1980s, he was one of the most adventurous drummers of the 1970s, working with groundbreaking acts like Brian Eno, the jazz fusion collective Brand X and, of course, the virtuosic Peter Gabriel-led lineup of Genesis. It was during a Gabriel solo session in late 1979 that Collins established his signature "gated snare" drum sound, quickly emulated all across the pop universe, becoming a key part of countless Eighties records. He used it again on "In the Air Tonight," a song that peaks with what might be the most famous drum fill of the decade. After that song hit, Robert Plant, Eric Clapton and many other superstars pulled him into the studio to drum on their albums. He suffered severe nerve damage to his hands following Genesis' 2007 reunion tour, making it nearly impossible for him to even grip drumsticks, let alone play the instrument, a cruel fate for an innovative and influential musician. "I love his drumming and I'm not afraid to admit it," said Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor. "As Genesis' drummer I think he's phenomenal and not really talked about enough. He's just such a great, well-rounded drummer."

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