Top 10 Grooves And Fills According To Chris

Top ten drum grooves and fills voted by Chris

In today’s post, I put together my top ten picks for drum grooves and/or fills.  You’ll probably recognize most of the list, but there’s a chance that you may not.  I attached videos for each song so you can see it and hear it in action too.  These are the ten drum grooves that have stood out to me over the years.  Enjoy!

1. Rosanna by TOTO. (Jeff Porcaro). When I heard this groove for the first time it completely changed my life. The mix of hard core groove and subtle grace notes all over that distinctive shuffle feel blew me away! I ran to the only drummer in town I knew would know what he was playing and begged him to transcribe it for me. Within 48 hours I had it in my little teenage hands and dove right in. It has been part of my repertoire in some form or fashion ever since!  This video features Simon Phillips, who became the drummer for Toto after Porcaro passed away, but you still hear the distinct shuffle groove.  See the video at

2. Funky Drummer by James Brown. (Clyde Stubblefield). Without question the most sampled drum beat on the planet, and for good reason! When I heard this tune for the first time, I new immediately that funk and I would have a life long love affair!

3. Spoonman by Soundgarden. (Matt Cameron). I love when a groove in odd time is created to sound effortless and feels easy to bob your head too. This groove in 7/4 is exactly that.

4. Brick House by Commodores. (Walter “Clyde” Orange).  Talk about a signature drum intro! To this day, if you crank this at any party, the dance floor is filled before the opening lick is finished.

5. When the Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin. (John Bonham).  Only one word can describe the intro groove to this iconic tune… EPIC! To get that sound at that time was amazing, but the laid back feel had me loving every minute of it and simultaneously begging for more. Solid.

6. Hot For Teacher by Van Halen. (Alex Van Halen).  I didn’t even like my teachers, but after hearing this tune for the first time and seeing the video, I never missed another day of class! Ok not really but the first time I heard the double bass used in a shuffle feel, my perspective was forever changed.

7. YYZ by Rush. (Neil Peart).  A cute little 5/4 riff which evolves into nothing short of musical mayhem. The first time I heard it, well I counted like crazy to figure out what time signature it was in. Then I sat back and enjoyed what is one of the most recognizable intros in the rock world.

8. Superstition by Stevie Wonder. (Stevie Wonder).  One of the most signature funk intros of all time and it is played by a keyboard player? What? Well, not just any keyboard player. Stevie laid down one of the most iconic intro licks of the generation into a funky money beat with a little shuffle sprinkled in. People still fill the dance floor every time it is played.

9. Sad but True by Metallica. (Lars Ulrich).  This tune is great, but I love it the most about 20 seconds in. After the initial intro, there is an epic pause. The first time I heard it, it felt as if Lars paused for a day and a half. He finally came in with a dead simple lick that was a perfect set up for the most obnoxious, blatant, eardrum blowing money beat on the face of the planet! I still get giddy when I hear “The Pause”… cause I know what’s coming!

10. You Could Be Mine by GNR. (Matt Sorum).  This intro for the “Terminator 2” grabbed my attention the very first time I heard it. The intro, based on a simple 16th note pattern leads into a simple yet effective tom based groove. I must be honest, I liked it so much when I was a teenager that I stole it as the intro to my drum competition solos… sorry Matt!

Ok, so there you have it!  That’s my list of top 10 drum grooves and fills that I can recall.  Check all these out and then post some of your own picks.



Leave A Reply (6 comments so far)

  1. Gail

    Hi Chris,
    I’m thinking there must be something from: ‘Genesis’ and ‘Phil Collins’, when he went solo…

  2. Chris,

    Excellent examples. I will get back to you on some of my picks. However, again these ten are some of the best out there.



  3. Joe Loes

    I think of Phil Ehart from Kansas is very good

  4. dave

    excellant, performences, wow! practice ,practice

    thx dave

  5. Jerry


    How about tabs on the fills?

  6. @Jerry: I can certainly add this to my list. I am currently charting out a ton of lessons right now. I am contemplating making some video lessons to go along with the top ten as well. I will keep you posted!