Video Digest: August 10, 2007

History's five greatest drum solos ever captured on tape: Neal Peart, Phil Collins, Stevie Wonder, a manic child, Tommy Lee, Buddy Rich, and Karen Carpenter(s)

Not until somebody gets a drumstick through the throat, will drum aficionados cease debating who’s the superior stickman: Neal Peart or Phil Collins. But one argument is still unexplored: Is Peart’s favoring of do-rags an attempt to mimic Collins’s hairless pate? Doubtful, but drummers are unpredictable—as are the best drum solos.

Few in the television audience for this Stevie Wonder show might have expected him to take a drum solo mid-song. But the drummer for his band was ready, and dutifully stood behind Robot Stevie throughout the solo, operating the controls.

If there’s one thing anybody who’s ever been in a band knows, it’s that it’s hard to keep a good drummer. There’s a lot of demand, which can breed a lot of prima donnas. As you can see with this three-year-old prodigy, his attitude already stinks. Bravo.

As shown in this clip from a show in 1987, whatever Tommy Lee may lack in drumming ability, he more than makes up for in profanity and hydraulics. Considering the number of stimulants he appears to be on, it would not be surprising if this show actually took place in Cincinnati.

This 1970 video of Buddy Rich is evidence of what the world’s most truly gifted drummers are capable of. This solo hits the triple-point of drum perfection—unpredictable, taut, and passionate. That’s when listeners’ minds enter a simultaneous state of solid, liquid, and gas. The only thing that breaks us out of it is wondering if that sex tape of him and Ann-Margret will ever turn up.

The Carpenters’ 1976 television special may have made Lawrence Welk look like a comic mastermind—the glockenspiel is “German for ‘stinky’” joke is particularly fragrant—but it did feature a room-sized drum solo from Karen Carpenter, who leaps from kit to kit, hitting everything from a wood block to a concert tom. The cacophony tears open the space-time continuum—resulting in the appearance of two Karen Carpenters. Janet asks Chrissy to move out.


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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