Disco Hats – Drum Beat

Learn this disco-esque drum beat that borrows some of the hi-hat techniques and snare pattern used in the song Le Freak by Chic.

When Doves Cry – Prince

"When Doves Cry" dominated the US charts when it was released in 1984 and has endured as a fan-favourite for the last three decades. Prince played all of the instruments on the song, including programming the distinctive drum track on a Linn drum machine. He made the unconventional decision to not include bass guitar accompaniment in the song, instead allowing the bass drum and toms to occupy the low-frequency range.

Roxanne – The Police – Verse

'Roxanne' was originally released in the UK in 1978 without making waves. However, it was re-released early the following year, giving The Police some much-needed early exposure and their first hit-single. In 2008, 'Roxanne' was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and is ranked #388 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Ride – Twenty One Pilots

Twenty One Pilots drummer, Josh Dun, kicks off 'Ride' with a powerful reggae-inspired feel. The right-hand plays the hi-hat in sixteenth-notes, with an emphasis on the eighth-note pulse.

Teardrop – Massive Attack

Teardrop is the UK based trip-hoppers most famous song to date. It featured as the second single from their critically acclaimed album, Mezzanine (1988).

Walk This Way – Aerosmith

This funky groove paves the way for Aerosmith's classic hit 'Walk This Way' from their 1975 album, Toys in the Attic.

Lazarus – David Bowie

Blackstar, David Bowie's 25th studio album was released on his 69th birthday just two days prior to his death. It was deliberately created and timed as a parting gift for his adoring fans. Lazarus, the second single from the album, features master modern jazz drummer, Mark Guiliana, laying down a simple, propulsive rhythm which drives the melancholic vamp. As the song progresses, he adds intensity through variations and expressive fills while maintaining the core rhythm.

Like Toy Soldiers – Eminem

Eminem's "Like Toy Soldiers" borrows its chorus from Martika's 1989 single "Toy Soldiers". The distinctive drum kit groove (above) features syncopated bass and snare notes on either side of beat 4. Note that the hi-hat part approximates the shaker part in the song. Eminem also added a dynamic marching snare and bass drum part to the verse sections.

Let’s Dance – David Bowie – Verse

The verse section of Bowie's 80s hit, Let's Dance, features a funky bass line and accompanying drum part, which skips along to the rhythm of the bass. Rather than cycling a 2-measure pattern, as is commonly done, the rhythm section creates a unique phrase using a combination of the 'straight' and 'skipping measures' (ABBA BBAB). Drummer, Tony Thompson, plays a short fill to mark the end of each 8-measure cycle.

Rehab – Amy Winehouse – Verse

This driving soul groove is heard throughout the verses of Amy Winehouse's signature song, Rehab. Notice the accented hi-hat note appearing on beat 3 after the double-pop snare hits. The song earned Amy three Grammys in 2008: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The drum track was recorded using only a single microphone to achieve an authentic 60s sound.

Centuries – Fall Out Boy

Centuries was one the best-loved pop/rock songs of the last year and Fall Out Boy's biggest hit to date. This two-measure pattern is heard throughout most of the song with plenty of variation to keep things interesting. As you can see, the second measure is identical to the first except for an extra bass drum note placed on the 'e of 3'. This small variation gives the pattern a longer cycle, making it seem less repetitive.

Indians – Anthrax – Intro

This simple, yet effective pattern is heard in the introduction section of Indians, one of Anthrax's most popular songs. It features the mid and floor toms being struck in unison followed by rapid double strokes played on the bass drum.

Valerie – Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse – Beat

Homer Steinwiss played this fun, up-beat soul groove throughout most of the song. The lightly swung off-beat eighth notes played on the bass drum give the groove a nice bounce. The 2/2 time signature suggests that the pulse be felt on the first and third beats of the measure (when played at full speed).

Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve

This simple, but effective 2 measure pattern was played with only minor variation throughout the song.

Summer – Imagine Dragons

Daniel Platzman plays this groove throughout the intro section of the song, then moves the off-beat 8th note part to the rim of the tom for the verse. The drum part gradually evolves throughout the song.

QUICKLINKS

OUR GUIDES