Repetitive, riffy, drum driven songs
February 26, 2009 5:42 PM   Subscribe

Suggest me some songs driven by drum riffs.

I love songs that have a great percussion section, and those with repetitive drum riffs are some of my favorites from those. An idea of what I'm looking for would be Autolux's Turnstile Blues, or Morrissey's All You Need Is Me. Something with different sounding, repetitive drum riffs, and a couple of drum breaks to really get the feel of the beat. Is riff even the right word? Show me what you have!
posted by Bleusman to Media & Arts (52 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
How about Fleetwood Mac's song "Tusk"?
posted by newfers at 5:56 PM on February 26, 2009

The song that springs to mind first is "Rock n Roll" by Led Zepplin.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:57 PM on February 26, 2009

"Seconds" by U2
posted by Ironmouth at 6:01 PM on February 26, 2009

I was a drummer for ten years, and I have no idea what you mean. There are certainly drum-driven songs, but the ones you link to seem to be just plain rock songs with just plain rock drums.

In any case, no, riff is not the right word. There are beats, there are fills, there are solos, and there are breaks (which, to the drummer, is just more beat). The Morrissey song you link to could be said to have a break, but really it's a guitar solo. The other one is basically a Levee redux, so maybe start there?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:01 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

The shuffle in Toto's "Rosanna" is legendary.
posted by jquinby at 6:01 PM on February 26, 2009

Actually, for me, the song that springs to mind first is "When the Levee Breaks" sort of kind of by Led Zeppelin.
posted by ob at 6:02 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Take On All The World by Judas Priest. no question, hands down. total drum based anthem
posted by Redhush at 6:04 PM on February 26, 2009

Placebo Black Eyed is the one that sprang to mind from your question description thingummy.
posted by merocet at 6:09 PM on February 26, 2009

Trans Am - Futureworld
posted by amb at 6:09 PM on February 26, 2009

Radiohead - The National Anthem. The drum pattern was shamelessly stolen from Can's Halleluhwah (at 9 minutes, that YouTube clip is only half of the song.)

Also, DJ Shadow - Midnight in a Perfect World. Or most anything by him. Though it's probably cheating to include hip hop.
posted by abcde at 6:12 PM on February 26, 2009

There's a lot of examples from Led Zeppelin; John Bonham is considered one of the greatest rock drummers of that time. Seconding "When the Levee Breaks".
posted by zardoz at 6:19 PM on February 26, 2009

50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
posted by SNACKeR at 6:31 PM on February 26, 2009

Stop! by Against Me!?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 6:37 PM on February 26, 2009

DEVO Satisfaction, Zimbo Echo and the Bunnymen, Over the Wall - Echo and the Bunnymen, in fact lots of Echo and the Bunnymen.
posted by mattoxic at 6:43 PM on February 26, 2009

The Chameleons, Soul in Isolation.
posted by googly at 6:47 PM on February 26, 2009

Maybe Lust for Life - Iggy Pop, the end of In the Air Tonight - Phil Collins (start ~3:15 in this YTL), or to some extent Song 2 - Blur?
posted by buzzv at 6:49 PM on February 26, 2009

Kieran Hebdan (Four Tet) and Steve Reid's collaborative work. it is not like what you say you are looking for, but maybe it will do. I saw them live, a couple of years ago, and that was some really, really great drumming.
posted by object-a at 7:14 PM on February 26, 2009

The Police have awesome examples of drum work:
-Voices Inside my Head
-The Other Way of Stopping.
-Frantic by Metallic
-Physical Presence by Level 42 (I'm partial to the drum solo on the album)
Proudest Monkey - Dave Matthews Band (CRAZY drums! But you know there are many versions of DMB tunes. I haven't listened to this version but check out the drum kit! Where's the drummer??)
posted by Piscean at 7:28 PM on February 26, 2009

What about Raki by Oliver Mtukudzi?
Good People by Jack Johnson?

Yeah, I'm not sure what you are looking for.
posted by Piscean at 7:36 PM on February 26, 2009

Please keep in mind that I don't know the first thing about music, but my rock star dream is to be a drummer. In my dreams, I'm in Pearl Jam, playing Porch (especially that part from 2:00-2:25, but that's the fancy stuff, I'm guessing). Also, I'm all about when the drums come in in Foo Fighters' But, Honestly (starting around 2:37).

Maybe I just like climactic drums? Whatever, I'm a rock star*!

* In my head, in my car, driving to work.
posted by AlisonM at 7:50 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Phil Collins In The Air Tonight
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 7:57 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

"The Obvious Child" by Paul Simon

Also- get yourself into world music. African, Celtic, the fusion thereof. Neat things happen. How are you with bagpipes? If you're pro-bagpipe, check out Blair Douglas. Afro-Celt Sound System, also.
posted by SaharaRose at 8:07 PM on February 26, 2009

Not so sure about "repetitive, riffy", but the Rhythm of the Heat, by Peter Gabriel, is what immediately comes to my mind when I hear "drum driven". The drumming slowly builds more or less throughout the song, starting subdued and ending in a frenzy.
posted by Flunkie at 8:11 PM on February 26, 2009

Portishead's Machine Gun.
posted by number9dream at 8:34 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

IANADrummer, but what about Zeppelin's Moby Dick? Or is that just a long wank and not a drum driven song?
posted by scratch at 8:40 PM on February 26, 2009

i'm not sure if drum riffs is the right word, but drum breaks have been known to get people moving. looping breaks so people could dance created hip hop!

you could look for rock songs that feature breaks, as sampled by hip hop artists.
a big one is the turtles' "im chief kamanawanalea". look at the entire Ultimate Breaks & Beats compilation series for drum heavy songs/sections of songs. Or check out, a listing of breaks and artists who sampled them.

There are plenty of drum-heavy disco songs too - check out the percussionist Candido's song Jingo or the drum fills in Loose Joint's Is It All Over My Face?
posted by stachemaster at 9:06 PM on February 26, 2009

Mad Tom of Bedlam by Jolie Holland. Starts around 2:23 in this video.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:13 PM on February 26, 2009

Steely Dan, "Home At Last"
posted by kid_dynamite at 9:15 PM on February 26, 2009

Phil Collins' I Don't Care Anymore is a pretty drum driven song.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:21 PM on February 26, 2009

Zeppelin, The Crunge
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:23 PM on February 26, 2009

Lay Low by Morning Jacket. Sound quality on the youtube video is not great.
posted by Benjy at 9:57 PM on February 26, 2009

Bow Wow Wow - I Want Candy
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:58 PM on February 26, 2009

Tom Sawyer - Rush
Up On Cripple Creek - The Band
Use Me - Bill Withers
Master Blaster - Stevie Wonder
posted by doctor_negative at 9:58 PM on February 26, 2009

That Thing You Do by the Oneders!
posted by rossination at 10:40 PM on February 26, 2009

I Fought The Law - The Clash

Watching The Detectives - Elvis Costello

But mostly, the massive drum sound of Tony Sales on Lust For Life - Iggy Pop.
posted by artdrectr at 12:07 AM on February 27, 2009

Atlas - Battles
15 Step - Radiohead
The Rat - Walkmen
Give it Up - LCD Soundsystem
posted by martens at 12:18 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, I *love* that song by Autolux. when will they finish that next record anyway?

Joy Division Atrocity Exhibition
Liars whole record Drums not Dead, check A Visit From Drum
Portishead Machine Gun
PiL Flowers of Romance

oh and I really dig Kanye West Love Lockdown .. wait for the chorus for it to really kick in. video is great too, I mean, who else is going to put an African tribe dancing and American Psycho in the same clip.
posted by citron at 12:39 AM on February 27, 2009

If I understand you correctly - Boogie With Stu
posted by watercarrier at 12:41 AM on February 27, 2009

Beatles: Ticket to Ride and Tomorrow Never Knows both grow organically right out of (and are almost impossible to imagine without) Ringo's beat.

Also, plenty of classic James Brown songs, duh.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:13 AM on February 27, 2009

When you mention drumming, I post the audio documentary about the Amen Break, which you should all watch, because it is good.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 2:01 AM on February 27, 2009

What, no "Sing, Sing, Sing"? People, that sucker is about Gene Krupa and the drums and horns, lots of horns.
posted by jadepearl at 4:13 AM on February 27, 2009

"We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister
posted by DWRoelands at 5:41 AM on February 27, 2009

"You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar but I'm a Millionaire" by Queens of the Stone Age
"Chemistry" off UNKLE's War Stories album sounds a lot like what you're looking for as well.
posted by Atom12 at 6:06 AM on February 27, 2009

Inasmuch as Bo Diddley played guitar more like a drum than a guitar, I suppose any of his many songs with the famous 'Bo Diddley beat' might qualify as answers to your question, as well.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:10 AM on February 27, 2009

Despite all of the fancy pants keyboards in this classic, the drums in Edgar Winters' Frankenstein have always stood out for me.
posted by PsuDab93 at 6:37 AM on February 27, 2009

Lots of good answers here.

The drum riff in Rock n' Roll by Led Zep was actually 'Good Golly Miss Molly' by Little Richard.

The first song on Radiohead's OK Computer (Airbag) has a killer drum riff (and bass riff too).

Most stuff by Bloc Party and by the Cold War Kids has killer drums in them.

Heart's Barracuda shamelessly ripped off Led Zep's Achilles Last Stand (and did it better to boot).
posted by MesoFilter at 7:57 AM on February 27, 2009

Is We Will Rock You too obvious?
posted by turaho at 9:12 AM on February 27, 2009

Come On by Verve
Five Years by David Bowie
My Sharona by The Knack
posted by monospace at 9:23 AM on February 27, 2009

Are you just looking for rock, or will straight up percussion pieces do?

Glen Velez?
posted by juv3nal at 10:30 AM on February 27, 2009

Oh!!! Now that someone's mentioned Devo's version of Satisfaction, I get it. As much as it weirds me to apply the word riff to drums, that song definitely must qualify.

In fact, although Satisfaction is the best example, Devo's pre-80's output is full of undeniable drum riffage, often in weird time signatures.

Still, it's less about the drums per se than the rhythm, which involves every other instrument as much as the drums. The Knack's My Sharona, for example, is on every "best guitar riffs" list, but the drums and bass are every bit as important.

Nirvana were very rhythm-heavy.

Tears for Fears did some neat stuff.

And I've always liked this Talk Talk song.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:44 AM on February 27, 2009

Adam and the Ants, "Dog Eat Dog"
Genesis, "That's All"
posted by kirkaracha at 3:58 PM on February 27, 2009

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