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October 14, 2009 8:20 PM   Subscribe

What are the greatest drum fills ever...?!

For a little project, I'm compiling a list of the greatest/most famous drum fills in pop/rock history. These are the few I've come up with on my own. What others are there? Thanks!

Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love 3:02
Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven 6:20
The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again 7:30
The Who - Baba O'Riley 2:20
Steppenwolf - Born to be Wild 2:07
Beatles - I Feel Fine 1:20
Neil Young - Rockin' in the Free World 2:35
Radiohead - There There 1:54
Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run 2:45
Smashing Pumpkins - Zero 1:04
Weezer - Say It Ain't So 3:33
Phil Collins - In the Air Tonight 3:40
Rush - Tom Sawyer 2:40
posted by frankly mister to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Smashing Pumpkins: Muzzle. (The whole thing, basically.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:26 PM on October 14, 2009


Oh! And it's gotta be a unique fill in the song -- that is, not some lick that's repeated several or more times throughout...
posted by frankly mister at 8:31 PM on October 14, 2009


You already have two by The Who, but you can never have too much Keith Moon.

I recommend "My Generation" and "The Kids are Alright," but make sure for the latter it's the unedited version. In these two tracks you are witnessing the birth of rock drumming as we know it.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:31 PM on October 14, 2009


Steely Dan - Aja 4:40 through the end. Game over.

And I've always loved this one: Steely Dan - Green Earrings 2:05
posted by emelenjr at 8:32 PM on October 14, 2009


I've always been a huge fan of the fill in Queen's Under Pressue. I couldn't tell you where it is exactly, except that it comes at the big build up before 'why can't we give ourselves one more chance, why can't we give ourselves one more chance' etc etc.
posted by twirlypen at 8:39 PM on October 14, 2009


Ooh, good call, twirlypen!
posted by Sys Rq at 8:43 PM on October 14, 2009


I've always been a fan of Michael Shrieve's fills in Santana's colossal performance of Soul Sacrifice at Woodstock. See especially the fills at the beginning of the song (0:59), the fills and roll at the very end (8:40), and the fill that marks the end of his solo (5:10).
posted by googly at 8:52 PM on October 14, 2009


Umm ... what exactly is the governing definition of a "fill" here?
posted by philip-random at 8:58 PM on October 14, 2009


- Opening bars of "Peaches En Regalia" by Zappa
- Something awesome can be found in nearly every Who song recorded before 1980
- "Quality Revenge At Last" by Hey Mercedes opens with this epic circular fill; tons of great drums all around from those guys (and Braid, the band Hey Mercedes descended from)
- "Song For The Dead" by Queens Of The Stone Age starts with this terrific back and forth bit, played by Dave Grohl on the record. Their new drummer can't do it justice, but holy shit Dave Grohl.
- In "Driven To Tears" by the Police, Stewart Copeland (permanently on god mode as a drummer anyway) keeps doing these really rapid runs on the toms alternating on the high hat during the choruses. They are delicious.
- In "Long Division" by Fugazi, there are these six unexpected snare hits with these washes of cymbal with them. It's kind of hard to explain but they just come out of nowhere and punctuate the song so perfectly. That record, "Steady Diet of Nothing" is arguably their best and has great drumming and polyrythmic awesomeness all over it.
It occur to me that none of these are really "fills" exactly, except for the Fugazi and Police; they're still great though.
posted by littlerobothead at 9:05 PM on October 14, 2009


Off the top of my head, from Oasis' What's The Story Morning Glory?:

Don't Look Back In Anger @ 3:37

Champagne Supernova @ ~5:00
posted by querty at 9:07 PM on October 14, 2009


Tool - 46 & 2 at around 4:30
posted by alligatorman at 9:17 PM on October 14, 2009


The fill at 3:04 in Steely Dan's Kid Charlemagne is simple, but it's oh so cleanly done. And I like how sharply he ended the fill at 3:57, compared to most of the other fills in that song.

Genesis' Behind the Lines has great drumming all the way through; memorable little fill at 0:12 and a nice one at 1:31. That song is mirrored on the last track, Duke's End (nice fill, Phil, at 0:42.)

I like the ones in Tool's Parabola at 3:15 and 3:37.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:25 PM on October 14, 2009


How about the Amen Break? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SaFTm2bcac
posted by No New Diamonds Please at 9:31 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


littlerobothead: "Something awesome can be found in nearly every Who song recorded before 1980"

Slightly OT, but our local DJ/rock historian Howard Mandshein said that Keith Moon tended to play along with the melody of the song instead of forging the beat. Any idea if this has been said elsewhere?

Keith also used to hum along with the tune when recording. Apparently at the very end of one of the songs on 'Who's next' you can hear Pete Townshend saying 'I caught you,' as he'd asked Keith not to hum just before rolling tape.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:33 PM on October 14, 2009


Sweet Home Chicago as done by the Blues Brothers. Short, sweet, and oh so satisfying.
Youtube, skip to around the 3 minute mark for those impatient to hear the fill.
posted by cosmicbandito at 9:34 PM on October 14, 2009


Duke's Travels.


note that Phil Collins still has some hair.
posted by philip-random at 9:48 PM on October 14, 2009


Incinerate by Sonic Youth (not exactly what you're looking for, but drums drive that thing)
posted by readery at 10:25 PM on October 14, 2009


Midnight Oil - Power & the Passion - there's an extended drum break at 2:37. (And later on the horns come in, but you're not looking for horns.)
posted by awfurby at 10:36 PM on October 14, 2009


The snare fills at the end of The Alan Parsons Project's (done by Stuart Elliott) "Nothing Left to Lose" are awe inspiring to me.
posted by OneOliveShort at 10:50 PM on October 14, 2009


Eric's Trip - "My Room" 2:00
posted by Sys Rq at 1:00 AM on October 15, 2009


Hey! What about Phil Selway?

His drop-in fill in Exit Music (for a film) is a magical piece of drumming.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 2:58 AM on October 15, 2009


Ted Nugent-Stranglehold.

Seriously. Happens in the first thirty seconds.
posted by josher71 at 4:58 AM on October 15, 2009


Slayer's "Angel of Death" at about 4:23. So gross.
posted by saladin at 5:50 AM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


The first ten seconds or so at the very beginning of Slayer's cover of "Ina Gadda Da Vida"

The bridge in "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" by Nirvana
posted by Atom12 at 5:57 AM on October 15, 2009


Isis - "Hym" 5:52-6:26; "Hall of the Dead" 2:18-2:23
Smashing Pumpkins - "Superchrist" 4:14-4:18
The Mars Volta - "Wax Simulacra" 0:00-0:15, 1:21-1:24; "Ouroboros" 1:50-1:52
posted by sinfony at 6:44 AM on October 15, 2009


- "Song For The Dead" by Queens Of The Stone Age starts with this terrific back and forth bit, played by Dave Grohl on the record. Their new drummer can't do it justice, but holy shit Dave Grohl.

Seconding this. And just about any other track on the Songs for the Deaf album actually. You hear the drums and when it's done you will literally think to yourself "holy shit Dave Grohl."
posted by dogwalker at 6:51 AM on October 15, 2009


Genesis, "Fly on a windshield" from The Lamb. Phil does a brief 3 tom hit that just completes the song for me at around the 2:14 mark.
posted by Gungho at 7:13 AM on October 15, 2009


I'm not a huge Zep fan, but for my money the best drum fill of all is the second fill after the Latin section in Fool in the Rain.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:47 AM on October 15, 2009


John Mellencamp, Jack and Diane - right before the bridge ("don't let it rock, let it roll")
posted by PercussivePaul at 8:42 AM on October 15, 2009


The fill at 2.45 or so in Prince's Diamonds and Pearls is the best I've ever heard. Akin to Parker's break in Night in Tunisia; it's that amazing.
posted by Mundungus at 9:28 AM on October 15, 2009


Like Keith Moon, the Melvins' Dale Crover has asuch a unique drumming style that its hard to pick out specific fills that are especially impressive. Check out the first minute or so of Boris for multiple little phrases and fills that just make the song. Some tasty fills (by Crover and Coady Willis) in this live version of The Talking Horse, too.
posted by googly at 9:44 AM on October 15, 2009


No no no - no covers, please! "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly.
posted by Lynsey at 10:33 AM on October 15, 2009


This is certainly not among the most famous in pop history, but should be. Get yourself a copy of the song "We're Waiting" from Boz Scaggs' album Down Two Then Left. Jeff Porcaro plays some mean fills towards the end of track, using (I think) Simmons pads or some other electronic gear to supplement his acoustic drums. I would give you time markers but I don't have my iPod with me. I could identify tons of other fills within the works of Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan and Toto, and on any other album featuring the likes of Jeff Porcaro, Bernard Purdie, Jim Keltner, Rick Marotta, Steve Gadd, or any of the other great session drummers, but that would take all day.
posted by crLLC at 10:47 AM on October 15, 2009


Seconding "Jack and Diane".

There is a ridiculous set of fills in the Spyro Gyra song "The Archer", but unfortunately they aren't popular enough to have any YouTube videos of the song.

Another one I've always found really interesting is a long-form rambling fill in the Nine Inch Nails song "Piggy". I remember reading the story behind it. Apparently Trent Reznor didn't like anything he was able to write for that part, so one day he just played it without any forethought. It was totally random and without tempo, evoking the chaotic mood he wanted. Then he assigned Chris Vrenna the agonizing task of learning it by wrote to play it on the tour.
posted by Cogito at 12:03 PM on October 15, 2009


The band you want is the Buzzcocks, pretty much every song has great fills.
posted by Locobot at 12:30 PM on October 15, 2009


maybe The Who - Young Man Blues (live at leeds)?
posted by chalbe at 1:21 PM on October 15, 2009


Okay, it's not rock or pop. But this drum battle between Ed Shaughnessy and Buddy Rich is pretty much the best thing ever.
posted by 6550 at 8:24 AM on October 16, 2009


Better than this drum battle between Buddy Rich and Animal?
posted by dirtdirt at 8:28 AM on October 16, 2009


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