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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Ralph Molina
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Henry Diltz/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty92/100

92. Ralph Molina

Neil Young has played with a lot of drummers during the past 50 years, but he always comes back to Ralph Molina, whom he first met during the Buffalo Springfield days, when Molina was a member of the Rockets. Like his Crazy Horse compadres, Molina is the furthest thing imaginable from a cookie-cutter virtuoso. "I can start playin' the guitar, and Ralph can pick it up on the wrong beat and play it backwards," Young told biographer Jimmy McDonough. "That happens all the time. Never happens with professional groups." He doesn't mean that as an insult. It's that kind of raw, from-gut-playing — and a knack for earthy backbeats that lope along with elemental grace underneath Young's signature fuzz-toned flights — that helped Molina lay the foundation of "Down by the River," "Cinnamon Girl" and other timeless classics. “We don’t know the songs; we don’t have charts," Molina said of in 2011 of his work with Young. "We just start playing. The magic just seems to happen ... " The proof is clear on any Crazy Horse recording from 1969's Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere to 2012's Psychedelic Pill.

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