While drums typically stay in the background, keeping rhythm but rarely taking center stage, a drum break not only adds a captivating shift to a song but gives drummers the opportunity to shine. Despite appearing briefly in a song, drum breaks are typically so memorable, that they’re used by later artists, particularly hip-hop artists, to provide the rhythm to an entire song.
To pay tribute to such drum breaks and the percussionists who created them, J.J. Flueck & SoulVision Productions compiled a list of, in their opinion, the most legendary and used drum breaks, most of which hail from the ‘70s:
- Impeach the President by The Honey Drippers (1973) (Drums: Uknown)
- Synthetic Substitution by Melvin Bliss (1973) (Drums: Bernard Purdie)
- Funky Drummer by James Brown (1970) (Drums: Clyde Stubblefield)
- Apache by Incredible Bongo Band (1973) (Drums: Jim Gordon)
- The Big Beat by Billy Squier (1980) (Drums: Bobby Chouinard)
- It's A New Day by Skull Snaps (1973) (Drums: George Bragg)
- Think (About It) by Lyn Collins (1972) (Drums: Clyde Stubblefield)
- Lafayette Afro Rock Band (1973) (Drums: Ernest "Donny" Donable)
- Ashley's Roachclip by The Soul Searchers (1971) (Drums: Kenneth Scoggins)
- I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More, Baby by Barry White (1973) (Drums: Ed Greene)
- Amen, Brother by The Winstons (1969) (Drums: Gregory C. Coleman)
Can you guess in which songs any of the drum breaks were later used? Any other notable drum breaks you would add? Want more? Head over to www.whosampled.com, where you can hear the song that uses the drum break, then listen to the song in which the original drum break appeared.