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According to Avclub.com the top 10 of the 25 iconic snare drum intros!
I'm including all 25 for you drum geeks!!
1. Led Zeppelin, “Whole Lotta Love”
The kick drum may be where the beat lives, but generally speaking, a song doesn’t truly begin until the snare enters. It’s the most valuable player of any drum kit, the anchor of every rhythm, the make-it-or-break-it force behind a song’s respective strength, the thing listeners tap their steering wheels to—and yet, it often goes unsung, likely disregarded as too utilitarian or ordinary to be of note. But under the right hands, the snare drum can be every bit as iconic as a guitar solo. Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham was one such master of precise snare work, and while he’s rightly celebrated for his hard-hitting double-bass thundering on “Immigrant Song” or the frenzied multi-headed cacophony of “Moby Dick,” he also demonstrated the arresting power of a simple snare drum intro on songs like “D’Yer Mak’er” and especially the muscular, minimalist wonder that kicks off “Whole Lotta Love.” After 30 seconds of seduction from Jimmy Page’s slow-vamping guitar and Robert Plant talking the audience’s pants off, Bonham breaks the mounting tension with a series of snare drum 16th notes so ballsy it’s like he’s rapping them out with his testicles, then rolls off down the toms like lovers tumbling into bed. Plant and Page may have set the mood, but—as with any solid rock tune—it’s the arrival of Bonham’s swaggering snare that announces it’s time to get down to business.
2. Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Dave Grohl made his recorded Nirvana debut on the opening of Nevermind’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” simultaneously shaking off the grungy cobwebs of the group’s Chad Channing-driven era and blasting it onto the national stage with his monster flams—the first volley of the “alternative” rock war in four furious blasts. The song’s impact has been rehashed and overstated so many times it’s lost some of its power, but that’s not true of Grohl’s intro, which still kicks like cannon fire.
3. R.E.M., “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
Michael Stipe’s machine-gun delivery on Document’s “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” continues to vex listeners who’ve heard the song a million times, yet still cling to “Leonard Bernstein” as the buoy in a sea of impossible-to-memorize lyrics. But even relative neophytes can air-drum along to Bill Berry’s equally rapid snare salvo—a playfully military-inspired rat-a-tat that jumpstarts the song with an instant kick of bombs-away energy. They’re drums of war that quickly turn into drums of danceable abandon, which is exactly what the song is all about.
4. Michael Jackson, “Rock With You”
Three years before Thriller officially became The Biggest Thing That’s Ever Existed In 20th-Century Popular Music, Michael Jackson perfected the formula for mass crossover success with 1979’s Off The Wall. Jackson set out to appeal to many different audiences simultaneously by subtly slipping elements from different genres into his music: an R&B groove here, a rock guitar there, and an easily digestible pop melody uniting it all. On paper, this might sound like pandering. But when the formula produces a song as perfect as “Rock With You,” who can fault pandering? The snare hits at the start of “Rock With You” instantly conjure one of Michael Jackson’s most loved songs, but for the first-time listener, they are cleverly non-distinct: This could be a disco track, a cool soul ballad, or a pop-rock song. In fact, it’s all three, though “Rock With You” makes such distinctions seem irrelevant for three and a half minutes.
5. Bob Dylan, “Like A Rolling Stone”
When inducting Bob Dylan into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1988, Bruce Springsteen referred to the opening of “Like A Rolling Stone” as “that snare shot that sounded like somebody’d kicked open the door to your mind.” Listeners spend the entire tune recovering from that initial hit, which serves as a concussive blast obliterating any limits to what a pop song can do. It’s a statement of purpose, a call to arms, and a preemptive strike (and it’s even more important when you think of rock music in terms of pre- and post-“Rolling Stone”). The most famous version of the intro probably occurs during the song’s most famous performance, captured on The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert (which was actually recorded at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall). After hecklers cried “Judas” and “I’m never listening to you again!” Dylan admonished the crowd before directing his band, The Hawks, “Play fucking loud.” Drummer Mickey Jones obliged with that single electrifying snare hit, and the rest is rock history.
6. The Doors, “Light My Fire”
Much like Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” from a couple of years earlier, The Doors kicked off the breakthrough hit from their self-titled debut with John Densmore’s single snare crack—a surprisingly simplistic choice from one of rock’s fussiest drummers. Densmore’s patterns from there follow his usual lightly jazzy, Latin-inflected idiom, but the entire song lives in the wake of that reverb-laden opening smack, ringing out as startlingly (and theatrically) as a gunshot. As Greil Marcus wrote of the band’s performance of the song on The Ed Sullivan Show, “At the time, it was hard to imagine anyone hitting anything harder”—and while certainly other drummers have topped it in intensity since then, few have matched Densmore’s understated ability to make you sit up and listen with a single note.
7. U2, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
In spite of anchoring one of the most successful rock bands ever for more than 30 years, Larry Mullen never gets mentioned among the genre’s most famous drummers. Being flashy is not Mullen’s role in U2: When you play alongside someone like Bono, it’s your job to minimize the bullshit. Mullen’s drumming is workmanlike in the best possible sense—it would only be noticeable if it weren’t there, at which point the whole stadium-filling exercise would fall apart. At the start of “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” Mullen gets a rare moment in the spotlight, when his martial snare pounding signals the start of U2’s angriest and hardest-hitting anthem. What Mullen does is not complicated, nor does it need to be. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is U2 at its leanest and meanest, and Mullen’s steady beat announces the song as a call to arms that’s just as powerful as anything described by his grandiose singer in the lyrics.
8. The Smashing Pumpkins, “Cherub Rock”
Recorded in the midst of one of drummer Jimmy Chamberlin’s worst heroin benders, “Cherub Rock” was reportedly the breaking point for Billy Corgan, who punished Chamberlin by having him record the drum part over and over until his hands bled. The incident is but one of many examples of times when Corgan’s perfectionism bordered on tyranny, but whatever he did, it worked. While it may lack the showiness of, say, the barreling “Geek U.S.A.,” from the same album, Chamberlin’s “Cherub Rock” intro—a series of insistent rolls followed by quickening stabs that build in intensity that matches Corgan’s guitar riff—provides an unmistakable, arresting opening to Siamese Dream that’s worth a little bloodshed.
9. Paul Simon, “The Obvious Child”
If you’re going to put the word “rhythm” in your album title, you’d best lead off with something more intricate than a 4/4 backbeat. For 1990’s The Rhythm Of The Saints, Paul Simon hired the Brazilian troupe Olodum, whose introduction to “The Obvious Child” opens the album with a literal bang. The metallic rap of snare hits played by multiple drummers in perfect unison is almost militaristic at first, but the beat quickly shifts into a lopsided rhythm that feels more like a horse’s gallop. A pointed departure from the mellow mbaqanga of Graceland, those sharp opening reports of “Obvious Child”—both as the album’s first track and its first single—served notice that Simon wasn’t going to simply copy Rhythm’s hugely successful predecessor, and that he was still searching for new sounds.
10. The Police, “Can’t Stand Losing You”
The Police were masters of catchy, instantly recognizable intros, many of those coming from drummer Stewart Copeland. Copeland had more than his fair share of drums—probably still does—but the five-beat snap at the start of “Can’t Stand Losing You” (from the band’s 1978 debut, Outlandos D’Amour) announces the song’s intentions better than any Rototom monstrosity could.
And for the rest of the list!!!
11. The Who, “I Can See For Miles”
12. Weezer, “Undone (The Sweater Song)”
13. The Ventures, “Hawaii Five-O”
14. Steve Miller Band, “Take The Money And Run”
15. The Clash, “Tommy Gun”
16. The Rolling Stones, “Get Off Of My Cloud”
17. Gene Pitney, “Town Without Pity”
18. Bruce Springsteen, “Hungry Heart”
19. Stevie Wonder, “Superstition”
20. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Crosstown Traffic”
21. The Temptations, “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”
22. Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, “Here Comes My Girl”
23. Cheap Trick, “Surrender”
24. Bel Biv Devoe, “Poison”
25. James Brown, “Funky Drummer”
Hope you enjoyed!!