By Jon Cohan, Rick Mattingly, and Dndy Doershuk 

Consider for one moment the magnitude of what’s going on here. We’ve chosen 50 drummers who have had the most profound influence on the art form. Does this mean they were the greatest? Well, kind of, although the word “great” seems to imply that the following is a list of the best technicians who ever lived.

You see, we didn’t pick these guys because they played the fastest single-stroke rolls or the most limb-twisting polyrhythms in history (though some of them have). No. We tried to compile the drummers who had the biggest impact on … well … you — whether you know it or not. So while some made the final cut due to their radical techniques, others were included because they spearheaded a sound or a style that had never been tried before, and in the process, changed the direction of drumming. Forever.

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