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Was John Bonham a better drummer than Neil Peart?

Asked by: Sumocolt768
  • This is almost Apples and Oranges, Heres why.

    Bonzo was ahead of his time. But you can't compare Zeppelin to Rush. Zeppelin is all over the place (which I like). Rush is all progressive. Zep is for the main part, Blues and hard rock perfectly blended. But they didn't limit themselves to one genera, They played more jazzy songs and some harder songs like the Immigrant Song. And they also did songs like Stairway to Heaven which you can almost feel their emotions. Its impossible to know who really is more technically skilled. Because we can't ask John (Rest his soul) if he held back or if he was all out 24/7 which I highly doubt. Because Rush is progressive, The drummer has to be giving it his all, Or else its not really impressive, Now unless Neil was just so incredibly skilled that he could play 2x as fast and good as he did, Then he was probably doing the best he could most of the time. But I personally believe that if the two of them played the same song in present day and they were both at their prime that John would win. The main reason people might say that he wouldn't is because that kind of music wasn't around in '69, And they probably wouldnt have played it either. But if they did, And Bonzo had a double bass and a complete setup that he would be more technically skilled. But still they are the greatest drummers of all time.

  • Peart is better

    My brother had technical training by a rigid teacher, making him the only drummer I know who can play as precise as Peart. I remember him playing along with headphones to Peart since he brought the 2112 album home. Bonham did master the 2 kick drum sound with one kick, one pedal (Good times, bad times tune) My bro did, too. These technical drummers like Peart are the dudes that can play in bands like King Crimson or with Frank Zappa (outrageous time signatures). Bonham couldn't keep up with those bands, I am sure.
    Ultimately, two styles of playing. Both the best at what they did, in my opinion..

  • Peart does math, Bonham does music.

    Both are members of a band. Interplay and dialogue matter. Music isn't just about the sounds you make with your own instrument, but your ability to hear and respond to others' instruments and participate in weaving an ongoing dialogue and unity that is bigger than the sum of its parts, providing unique enrichment with your part. Peart is a drum machine made out of meat, but computers make better drume machines. Bonham had feel, ear, and reaction time that Peart just plain lacks. Peart has one part of the equation in spades, but is lacking the rest. Bonham had them all at a very high level. Bonham all the way. Which is one of the reasons why Led Zeppelin was Led Zepplin and Rush was just Rush.

  • Bonham had soul. Peart doesn't

    There are many drummers similar to Neil Peart. He has amazing technical skills without any real heart in his playing. Bonham had soul to spare. He was truly a one of a kind drummer with more creativity in his pinky than Peart ever had. The proof is in how memorable and distinct Zep songs are vs Rush songs.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • It's all Skill

    How good a drummer is mainly based on Skill, No? Neil peart is much more skilled than bonham. He invented his style of drumming. Until then, Nobody played the style of drums he did. The only person who came close was Keith Moon, But even then they were two completely different musicians. There's a reason he's called the professor.

  • Are you crazy there is no need to discuss this topic

    Not even an argument. This shouldn't even be a discussion.
    Peart is better. I love Led Zeppelin and RUSH. Peart is far more advanced than Bonham was. That is evolution. I feel that Danny Carey is better than Neil Peart, Again, Evolution. We advance with technology and this is an example of that.

  • Peart Over Bonham

    John Bonham was a great drummer and greatly overrated in my opinion. Why he is consistently referred to as the best rock drummer of all time is hard to understand. Again I do believe he was great and one of the greatest, however I certainly will not jump on the band wagon as him being the greatest of all time.Mthere are so many great drummers and so many that approach the instrument differently. I will agree he had a great meter as we all know that keeping time is what drumming is all about. John Bonham’s error had several drummers that in some cases don’t seem to get the credit due them.
    Here are a few:
    1. Don Brewer - Grand Funk Railroad. Great drummer, incredible meter, great single stroke rolls, trpllets, great fast fills and also a great vocalist.
    2.Ian Price- Deep Purple, fantastic player, incredibly quick and awesome single stroke rolls.
    3. Corky Lang - Mountain
    4. Bill Buford - Yes
    5. Carl Palmer - ELP
    6. Barrimore Barlow - Jethro Tull

    Back to the question, no Bonham is not better than Bonham. It is really difficult to make statement that someone is the best of all time. Different bands, styles, etc. Also Mut mention that I only listed rock drummers, I could go on forever with great drummers from various genre’s.

  • Bonham is possibly more influential, but not more skilled.

    Peart really has no peer in classic rock or prog, with the possible exception of Bill Bruford. What makes Bonham exceptional is his feel and groove, which was essential in making Zeppelin work; That said, Peart is much more technically adept, and Rush's music is magnitudes more complex than Zeppelin. Listen to La Villa Strangiato or Tom Sawyer—how many drummers can play these songs correctly? Very few.

  • Bonham is possibly more influential, but not more skilled.

    Peart really has no peer in classic rock or prog, with the possible exception of Bill Bruford. What makes Bonham exceptional is his feel and groove, which was essential in making Zeppelin work; That said, Peart is much more technically adept, and Rush's music is magnitudes more complex than Zeppelin. Listen to La Villa Strangiato or Tom Sawyer—how many drummers can play these songs correctly? Very few.

  • 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.


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