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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Tony Thompson

62. Tony Thompson

Tony Thompson laid down the merciless four-on-the-floor grooves for Chic, the hardest-rocking band of the disco era. His reputation ballooned in the Seventies but his influence poured into the Eighties, playing on pop juggernauts like Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" and Madonna's "Like a Virgin." Thompson was even considered as a replacement for the late John Bonham when there were talks of Led Zeppelin revival. And, of course, he laid down the groove for the original "Good Times," the Chic song replayed by multiple drummers as the bedrock for the first wave of rap records and cut up in "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel." "All these years, people wanted to sample me. Everyone always assumed that there was some kind of special knobs turned, Thompson told Modern Drummer. "All it basically was, was a brand-new Yamaha kit in a very live, brick recording studio. I hit the drums very hard. That's it!"  

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