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Was John Bonham a better drummer than Neil Peart?

Asked by: Sumocolt768
  • Musician vs. Percussionist

    Neil Peart was obviously very technically talented, but thousands of drummers around the world can do what he does, they just weren't fortunate enough to play in a band that allowed them to play out in such an obnoxious way. Eric Moore, for example, can play neil peart garbage in his sleep, but never made a big name for himself because he's not part of a famous band. You may be thinking I could say the same thing about Bonham, but John was so much more than technical flash. Not only did he coin new techniques that were never done before, he played in a way that contributed to the music. Sure Peart's drum tracks are pretty cool isolated, but besides him lining up all his shitty cymbal mutes and over-the-top fills his drumming adds nothing to the music's feel. Bottom line is Bonham was a musician, knowing exactly where his place was and complementing the rest of the band in the most beautiful way possible. Neil Peart, though he had some bad ass technique, was simply a percussionist that happened to fall in with a band that allowed him to play out. The mark of a great drummer isn't what they're capable of playing but what they decide to play and how they influence the music. That's why John Bonham earned his name as one of the greatest musicians of all time and why Neil Peart can never be anything more than a slightly above-average percussionist.

  • Both Awesome but I have to go with Bonham

    Neil Peart is a better technical drummer than Bonham. Peart had way better rudiments and actually knew the technicalities of drumming, which made peart an absolute legend. However, even though bonham didn't have the technicalities and rudiments of Peart, Bonham served the music of led Zeppelin incredibly. When listening to a zeppelin song you can feel and hear just how essential Bonham's playing was. Each great led zeppelin song was only as amazing as Bonham's playing in the song. He made the songs great. When the Levee Breaks, The ocean, Kashmir. These are not complicated drum tunes, yet the way he played it made it sound amazing anyway. Also, even though bonham didnt have training, his rudiments were actually still quite stellar. Songs like good times bad times, poor tom, in my time of dying, and the crunge. These are more technical challenging songs to play and he nailed them 100%

  • Muscle memory vs musical talent

    Neil Paert just stuck to muscle memory and played on a ton of drums which looks cool, but bohnam did things with his drums that were unheard of before his time. He actually had it in his blood and could innovate. If you told them both they had 1 hour to create a song with their drums, who's would turn out better?

  • Bonham best of his time.

    Neil peart is arguably the better drummer but remember he has an added 30+ years on bonham. However if you take the same sample size period bonham is better. It's shame he had to die when he did because they (Led Zeppelin) were going to tour in the fall. If the roles were reversed we would not be having this discussion b/c Bonham had natural skill while Peart had acquired skill.

  • Rush was great but,

    John didn't even have 2 bass petals, Neil had to be lowered into his drum set, if John Bonham had the same drum set that Neil than there would be no question, Jimmy Page said that the only reason John had only one bass petal was because Jimmy stole all his bass petals because if he had 2 bass petals Jimmy wouldn't be able to keep up with him

  • One word: Feeling

    I am not a musician so my opinion is based on being a music fan growing up listening to both Zeppelin and Rush. As I got older, I began to listen more to the sound of the instruments and their contribution to each song that they play. As I listen, I hear Bonham's feeling in his music. He may not have always been perfect or technical but he put the raw feeling into his music and that is what I love about him. Peart is a phenomenal drummer. His talent is immeasurable, sure, but he's a little too perfect and technical for me so while I can respect his talent, for me, Bonham had more feeling.

  • Bonham better by far

    Peart was a mechanical, educated drummer, where as bonham it was in his blood. Bonham had sense of rytham, feeling, awkward awesome off beats, knew how to fill in space with beautiful hesitation . Most drummers that believe peart was better drummer may know how to play drums, but don't really understand what makes a great drummer!

  • Bonham is actually musically gifted. Pert is just fill and tricks.

    John Bonham actually played music with his drums. Take the music away and there is still a beat and a melody and a fullness and that driving human element. Pert is a talented percussionist but it's all bells and whistles and no substance and no feel, just mindless rolls, not the backbone of a real drummer.

  • Bonham is actually musically gifted. Pert is just fill and tricks.

    John Bonham actually played music with his drums. Take the music away and there is still a beat and a melody and a fullness and that driving human element. Pert is a talented percussionist but it's all bells and whistles and no substance and no feel, just mindless rolls, not the backbone of a real drummer.

  • It's all about depth for me....

    It is amazing the DEPTH John Bonham got out of his relatively small basic kit when compared to the monstrosity of a kit that Neil Peart uses. Peart could swing his sticks anywhere and hit a drum....Bonham had to work for it a bit more. And that right foot ........ He used a single pedal and he made it sound like a Jack rabbit was pounding on it!

  • Not even in the same league

    Bonham a talented alcoholic drummer, has no relation with a musically minded and intelligent Peart! Although i am a fan of Zeppelin, Rush is more of a progressive band. Think of it like this...If you had to play the drums for Led Zeppelin or Rush which would be easier. Bonhams alcohol certainly helped him

  • John Bonham lacked the formal training Neil Peart had

    Though both drummers are (or were, in this case for Bonham) fantastic percussionists, Bonham simply didn't have the formal training that Peart was provided early on. Whereas Bonham was more experimental (think Led Zeppelin's "Two Sticks"), Peart was more methodical and precise. John Bonham may have been speedy, but Peart has stamina and proficiency.

  • Such a hard question, but also impossible to answer.

    They're different and their playing styles are different, one is simply not better. I went back and listened to the songs they are most known for, I really couldn't tell. Finally I listened one last time and I felt Peart had something I can't described that I liked, barely tipping the scales for me in his favour.

  • Bro vs Bro

    My brother and i have gone back and forth over this since 1982. His favorite band is LZ and mine is Rush. That being said I am open to any argument about who is a better musician on any instrument. Dont get me wrong - I love moby dick but an wish John was still with us. I just think Neil is from another time or planet. We are all so fortunate to hear 40 plus years of his magic.

  • Not better, different

    So many times I hear "who is the best guitar/drum/bass etc player". I say after a certain level it's not better, just different. I love Bonham's drumming, but Peart's early stuff, up to say G/P, is some of my favorite drumming. There are other greats such as Bruford that are true stand outs.

  • A funny story...

    So many (keith) moons ago (probably 1986), in an apartment in Lexington, my old friend had two other friends over - just hanging out, doing hits, shots, etc. As they enjoyed a selection of music fromt those bands, a discussion started between the two invited friends (who knew each other) as to whether Bohnam was a better drummer than Peart. They disagreed. On and on it went as my friend mused that neither would conceed. Before long, though still on topic, it was clear that each was beginning to see the other as a jerk. When guest "A" had reached his limit, he pulled his tool out of his pants and drew the line. "If you're so damn sure that Bonham is better than Peart, then reach down an pull my d1*k!" guest B would not give in and reached down and pulled it. As you can guess, the gloves came off, furniture was broken, One went away pissed and the other with a busted nose etc, and my friend with a broken stereo and furniture. So yes this is a very serious topic and needs to be settled in the manliest of manners. Have never heard of that line in the sand before, but thought it was classic. Although I wouldn't pull anyone's tool to make the point, I'll choose Peart for his ability to cover such a diverse set of rhythms and instruments What can be said about Bonham, his style was unique and took rock to a new place and he will be sorely missed.

  • Both of them are exceptionally skilled, But I still think that Peart is the better drummer.

    I do not doubt that Bonham was exceptionally skilled, But I think that Peart is simply the more refined and more experienced drummer. He is very famous for his jaw dropping drum solos and his exceptional speed and accuracy when he is drumming. While Bonham is pretty equal when it comes to speed I have never seen him playing a drum set that is bigger than maybe a seven piece set. Peart not only does well with any drum set thrown at him but he has massive drum sets and amazing solos? How does that even compare with Bonham?

  • I think they are both exceptionally talented percussionists, but I still think Peart is the better and more refined drummer.

    Neil is very famous for his very precise and incredible drum solos, and he also can drum very quickly and efficiently. Both drummers share this talent, but Neil is able to do this on a MUCH bigger scale. I don't know much about Bonham but most of the videos I have seen of him are on six piece drum sets max. How can you beat Peart with his precise flow, amazing speed and exhilarating solos?

  • I think they are both exceptionally talented percussionists, but I still think Peart is the better and more refined drummer.

    Neil is very famous for his very precise and incredible drum solos, and he also can drum very quickly and efficiently. Both drummers share this talent, but Neil is able to do this on a MUCH bigger scale. I don't know much about Bonham but most of the videos I have seen of him are on six piece drum sets max. How can you beat Peart with his precise flow, amazing speed and exhilarating solos?

  • Neil Peart is the best drummer ever!!!!!!

    (In addition to being the best song writer ever). Listening to him play hits the mind and soul in ways that are consummate to his sheer poetry. Bonham might have mastered basic percussive skills, but Neil played in a way that made his kit just as crucial and in your face as an electric guitar. He also never stopped experimenting with different styles, and managed to always stay skilled for 40 years.


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