We all have our favorite music and while the biggest draws to me are electric and acoustic guitar, to some people it could be Bollywood, Cajun, or Hawaiian, or the country of Russia for all I care, but what drives a majority of them to like that music is the album artwork.
The way it’s designed, the artwork, a painting, or a photograph, it draws you in and gets you off on that journey.
I’ve often found myself wandering into a record store and just being drawn to the artwork before I ever even know what the music sounds like, and most of the time it’s a vocalist or a track, but it’s those albums that form the tastes in the people I’ve listened to.
Whether it’s that vivid artwork on the front, or if you’re a metalhead like myself and the artwork is on the back, or if you’re into the cool album covers, the artwork is often a game-changer and plays an important role in someone’s ears.
So what songs do drummers around the world of all genres and styles like to listen to in headphones?
Digital Drum Chronicles recently put together a really cool chart showing what they call “The Top 20 Drummers listening to in headphones”.
I think it’s a fantastic list and if you’re a drum player out there and you have a favorite, it’s a great list of tunes you should be listening to when you’re on the road.
1. Edward Van Halen
The reason this album is number 1, and why Van Halen is played on the road, is for all the great work and work ethic Ed Van Halen has displayed throughout his life, despite the road to success not being easy.
He struggled and scratched and clawed his way into the spotlight to become one of the best guitarists to ever live.
2. The Rolling Stones
If there’s one thing all drummers can agree on it’s The Rolling Stones.
They have been a staple of popular music for the last 50 odd years, and whilst I will never argue that they’re a classic rock band, they’re a classic rock band in my mind and they still sound fresh and innovative.
To be honest the lead drumming on this album from Charlie Watts is what initially drew me to this album. Just pure, clean, classic rock brilliance.
And although Keith’s drumming, up until a couple of years ago, had been sub-standard, he’s improved so much, I actually can’t deny that his talent, and commitment, are tremendous.
3. Dream Theater
Many drummers and drummers I’ve heard (and heard very little of) are generally great record collectors, and although I am not one of those people, if I’m going to be listening to a band, I’ll try to find some more of their work, because this is one of those bands that have really improved over the years and continually try new things.
And let me tell you if you’ve never played a Dream Theater song live, get with it, and it’s not as hard as you might think, at least for the most part, other than that bone-shaking intro, but it is worth it.
What can I say about Slayer? They are the masters of sound, madness, and hammering metallic beats and energy.
They have no back catalog, to me, they’re not really a classic rock band, they’re an apocalyptic, progressive death metal band, and to me, that’s classic rock.
I don’t listen to them very much, but if I’m going to listen to them in my headphones, I’ll get on my metal high horse and listen to that Overkill solo and nothing else.
5. Iron Maiden
By the way, I just remembered that I hadn’t actually got round to listening to the first Iron Maiden album for this blog, and it’s this first album that’s the ultimate Maiden, the record where everything clicked, the most underrated of their first 6 albums.
I could listen to it for hours and days, and I did at one point, years ago, after this was first released.
These first few tracks off this album are fantastic. You can almost taste the excitement in the air as Maiden are making their first attempt at releasing an album.
And although the second album is better, you can’t beat the original.
6. Judas Priest
Man, my mate Mikey and I had this album on continuous rotation for months.
This is the one that I always recommend to people, and, indeed, it’s not their finest album, in fact, it’s their weakest, but I love it for all the same reasons as I love Hammer of the Gods.
And that’s its simplicity, you know the band isn’t going to take any risks on this album because they can’t, it’s safe.
But man, it’s good. Classic metal.
7. Joe Satriani
Satriani has been a guitar hero of mine since I saw him live on the 1981 Judas Priest tour.
His guitar playing is simply, awesome, he’s one of the best shredders in the world right now.
And he’s an incredibly humble guy, and it’s no secret that Judas Priest was huge in our house, we saw them play several times, and when I was about 18, I bought my first guitar, I got a Satriani copy of Wild Adventures of Sinister, it was about $200 and man, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
8. Robben Ford
I’ve always loved Robben Ford’s guitar playing, he’s another guitarist that has all the technical skills to be as good as he is, and he has a fantastic way of putting all those skills together and creating something new and exciting.
He’s part of the Baja Boys, a supergroup that is essentially inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, and he’s from Houston Texas, which you’ll all know of from one of the great American Graffiti movies.
OK, I’ve left some huge legends out of this list. Not because I don’t love them, but because I feel that in the last 5 years or so, most metal bands have forgotten about some of their classic albums.
And the only reason that I can think of is that every album’s been remastered, and with that comes endless improvements, which is great, but we all know that’s not always the case.
And that’s what made some of these albums classic.
They’re not remastered, they’re like new albums, and I’d recommend that you listen to them again, just as they were when they were first released.