Gotye performs live

Five phenomenal drummer lead singers

Let’s take a moment to recognise the guy bashing the round things at the back of the stage. Someone’s got to keep time while everyone else has fun, right? Okay, that might be a bit unkind, especially when we’ve all seen the drummer at the wrong gig. Just don’t get us started on the drum solo – you never listen to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Moby Dick’ all the way through, and neither do we. Enter the drummer as frontman/woman – no longer just the sturdy friend who’ll sit through your breakup breakdowns, but the one sweeping you off your feet with a candlelit dinner. Here’s a roundup of some hypnotising performances from the very best drummer lead singers…


Phil Collins – ‘In the Air Tonight’

The phenomenal Phil Collins caused a stir when it was announced (via a live stream on his Facebook page cos he’s down with the kids, yeah) that he was returning from a 10-year hiatus to grace the stage of the Royal Albert Hall next summer. While injury will prevent the former Genesis frontman from playing the drums for most of his set (he’s previously had to tape the sticks to his hands to get through a performance), he’s promised to try to find a solution for the legendary beats of ‘In the Air Tonight’. Thank heavens for that.


Gotye – ‘Learnalilgivinanlovin’

Back before he found himself addicted to a certain kind of sadness, Gotye started life as a happy-go-lucky scamp with just a drum and a backing track for company. Things were simpler then. Damn you Kimbra.


San Cisco – ‘Beach’

We all know Australians like turning things on their heads, and it’s no different for this Fremantle four-piece. While not technically the lead singer, drummer Scarlett Stevens manages to eclipse all of the other members with her sweet vocals.


The Carpenters – ‘Top of the World’

In what must be one of the most surreal live performance videos on the internet, Karen Carpenter takes to the stage of President Nixon’s White House, dressed in a Disney princess-style gown, and promptly sings jolly ‘Top of the World’ from behind her drum kit. She even manages to get some ethereal hand gestures in between beats.


Queen / Roger Taylor – ‘I’m in Love with my Car’

Queen’s drummer really loved his car, and he loved the song he wrote about his car so much that he locked himself in a cupboard until the other band members would allow it to be the B-side of the first single from fourth album A Night at the Opera. It was always going be tough to beat an A-side like er… ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, but a bemused Freddie Mercury stood aside for his percussion man to shine on this track.


Bonus Drum Battle – ‘Roger and Rufus Taylor’

We know everyone hates drum solos, but there’s something to be said for this drum battle between Roger Taylor and his equally doe-eyed son Rufus. Taylor Jr.’s followed in his father’s footsteps, performing as a touring drummer for We Will Rock You and Queen + Adam Lambert. Here, he hilariously tries to match his dad’s legendary beats with a smorgasbord of rubbish percussion at the side of the stage that looks like it’s been stuck there to amuse a toddler.


Image courtesy of Andrew Braithwaite on Flickr