Classic Drummer Hall of Fame
Honoring Music's Most Influential Drummers
As voted by the readers of Classic Drummer Magazine
Widely considered the world’s greatest drummer, Buddy Rich established the gold standard for swing and jazz drumming. From his vaudeville beginnings as toddler drumming sensation “Traps the Drum Wonder” to a jazz and big band career that touched seven decades, Buddy continually captivated audiences and fellow musicians alike with a mix of natural talent, musical perfectionism and blinding speed.
Throughout his career, he manned the kit for a who’s who of big band and jazz greats from Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey and Harry James to Les Brown, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. His relationship with Dorsey singer Frank Sinatra led to Sinatra financing his first band that toured from the late forties to early fifties. He was to reprise this arrangement in the late sixties and tour with a variety of his own bands for the last two decades of his career.
His wicked wit, show business acumen and flamboyant soloing style made him a household name and a staple on television variety shows, particularly aspiring drummer Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show.
Respected by musicians and music lovers alike, Buddy Rich has been recognized with countless awards and tributes. The Classic Drummer Hall of Fame is honored to recognize him once again on behalf of our readers and industry colleagues.