Some of the biggest hits through the ages are the easiest to play on the drums. This can be seen through the lens of a musician noticing very similar concepts between the hits.
One big ringer is the money beat, simply it is four on the floor, and the snare on two and four. Coincidentally this is one of the first grooves you learn as a drummer, giving you the ability to play these popular songs with ease.
Here in this article, we will be going over some of the greatest songs for beginners to play drums with.
This list tries to be diverse and touch on as many different genres of music as possible, of course with drums classic rock rules all as the core essentials of the instrument.
There are some songs thrown in here that can be slightly more difficult for a beginner, but not out of reach. The reason they are here is because they introduce some great concepts in a comprehendible way.
Despite these songs being easier still take them slow and be sure to take the time to inspect each part of the song. Taking it slow and steady will benefit you in the long run.
Be sure to check out the video lessons we provide here, but also try listening to the tracks and figuring out the parts yourself.
These are the best drums songs for beginners:
- Highway to Hell – AC/DC
- Enter Sandman – Metallica
- Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
- Yellow – Coldplay
- Sugar, Sugar – The Archies
- Come As You Are – Nirvana
- Gangnam Style – PSY
- Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
- Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
- We Will Rock You – Queen
- I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
- Dynamite – BTS
- It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me – Billy Joel
- Hot N Cold – Katy Perry
- Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
- Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
Highway to Hell – AC/DC
Almost any AC/DC song would fit on this list.
The verses are a simple rock beat, there is one variation in the kick that will not be difficult to catch on to.
Moving into the chorus is a straightforward build with the floor tom and snare. During this, be sure to really build the dynamic level. The chorus includes the simple rock beat with some unison hits with the guitar.
The second verse has some open hi-hats.
Bridging into the guitar solo are more strikes with the guitar, with the solo blending into another chorus which ultimately ends the song.
Finishing off with a large cymbal roll, here is another time to build the dynamics as the roll goes on.
This song is not quite a highway of hell to play, so beginners are welcome!
Enter Sandman – Metallica
A classic in the metal community, drummed by one of the best-known drummers, Lars Ulrich, and off one of Metallica’s most popular albums, The Black Album.
The intro here starts with some simple quarter note hi-hats, which then goes into the most popular tom groove to exist. It includes four on the floor, and work on all three of the toms (if you have three). As it builds the snare starts to crack in with cymbal hits.
Through the verse you will be playing a simple rock beat, with the hardest part being inserting the kick on the and of four.
The bridge is a half time feel with more kicks on the and’s.
The chorus is a bit more complex but flows with what is happening with the rest of the band. Be sure to recognize where the big accents are on the and’s of the beats, this is key to this song.
Moving into the solo are similar parts as before.
You then go into the interlude before the outro chorus, which includes the tom groove from the beginning.
The last chorus includes some abrupt pauses that you will need to pick up on, but they help emphasize and add suspense to the song.
Entering this song will give you access to one of the most recognizable tom grooves in music.
Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
This song includes the infamous money beat the whole way through. There is not too much to explain here other than the money beat, four on the floor, snare on two and four, and the hats on the eights.
You will hear some snare fills; those are played separately from the actual drum track so do not worry about those at first. Once you are comfortable with the basic beat you can try throwing in the snare fills.
You will not be left in the dust with this one at all, easy peasy!
Yellow – Coldplay
Coldplay is one of the most popular bands who have survived as time goes by, and “Yellow” is one of their biggest songs.
Without complexity, this song will teach any beginner about the emotion in playing. Lyrically you can easily tell what this song is revolving around, it deals with some sort of relationship and the passion that came with it.
One can feel that when playing and having the ability to feel a song in such a way is extremely important, especially in the drum part presented.
Both a driving yet held back feeling is there, so be sure to push the song but also hold back in such a way that makes the song have a movement to it.
The beats here are very simple rock beats, except for the chorus which has some off beat kicks which may be tricky for a beginner.
When playing this, be sure to do it with a sense of cold, to really exemplify the emotions.
Sugar, Sugar – The Archies
We could not find a drum tutorial for this one, you can look at some renditions on YouTube of the song, or take a listen and break it down on your own.
Although the band is not well known, this song has passed through the ages as one of the most recognizable tunes.
A cool aspect of this song is that it starts with the hook, or the chorus.
The drum beat here is very simple, quarter notes on the ride and two and four on the snare.
Bass drum wise it is on the one and three, and the a’s right before those, so it resembles a stuttering bass drum pattern.
In the verse we move to eighths on the hi-hat, with a simple four on the floor rock beat.
In between the sections of the songs there are small snare fills.
This song is fun and easy to play, be sure to recognize the arch at the end where the large bass horn comes in, add some more beef to the kick here.
Come As You Are – Nirvana
Nirvana has some of the best catalogues in drumming. All their songs have so much power and rebellion instilled in them that they are a complete joy to play.
The song begins with a small tom fill, which then goes into a groove that mirrors the guitar riff. That is what makes this song unique in drumming, everything is there for the song and not to flare or show off.
It then builds into a short pre-chorus that is a bit heavier, with some snare builds.
After the second verse and pre-chorus we go into the chorus, which is much heavier than what we had before, it includes a simple rock beat to play.
Next is the guitar solo in which we play the same groove as the verse except on the crash instead of the ride and with quarter notes.
The song ends with the guitar riff again with some vocals thrown in as well. Come in and catch the small snare/kick fill at the end to really nail the song.
Gangnam Style – PSY
This song is not on your usual drumming list but to try and touch as many people as possible we included it.
The song starts with some quarters on the kick. A common fill then leads into the verse which will be very important to pick up, as it is used constantly within this piece and is good vocabulary.
Through the beginning of the verse, you are keeping quarters on the kick, the second half you have an offbeat hi-hat groove. Keep the hats only on the and’s, continue the quarter kicks, and throw the snare on two and three.
For the pre-chorus, you can learn the snare solo that is present or come up with your own thing but be sure to keep the building snare towards the latter part to rise into the chorus.
During this section play the same thing you played on the verse, there are some crashes thrown in.
As you move between the sections you will hear that same fill from the beginning being repeated.
After this you pretty much have the song learned, it is repetitive without variation. The style of this song is very bouncy, so to avoid sounding like a robot, add some bounce to the grooves, continuing to play for the song though.
Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson is the king of pop and has some of the grooviest songs in the world of music. Considering that, the drumbeats in his songs aren’t usually too complex, especially in this one.
The beat through the whole song is the basic rock beat with eighths on the hats, two and four snare, and one and three kick. Keep this going through the song and play it decently straight.
Usually, you should imply some emotion into music, here it sounds just as it would be written.
There are some tom flares, but for a beginner it may be difficult to nail those as you will need to cross arms, unless you play open handed, but most drummers do not start that way.
Throughout the song there are a few open hats but other than that, nothing different.
If you are into Michael Jackson, then “Billie Jean” is a great song to learn.
Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
The mid 2000’s had some of the catchiest songs and this is without a doubt one of them. It has some aspects of modern music, but also includes a sort of passion that is not usually heard in new music.
This is a great song for beginners as it has a two-bar drum groove for the verses. This means instead of repeating the same beat for one measure over and over, it goes back and forth between two different beats. Seems simple but it may take some time to be able to hold the two thoughts in your mind and where to play them.
After the verse we go into the banger of a chorus, this is where you can really whale on the drums. The chorus has a very simple groove, but there are some snare flares that are quick, and you may need to take some time to build up that speed.
There is also a tom roll into the second part of the chorus which will teach you how to maneuver between the drums.
In the second full chorus, there is an offbeat snare/kick and crash fill leading into the bridge. In this bridge there are some cool tom parts that are fun and easy to play.
During the small guitar solo, be sure to take the liberty and play around during that tom part once you have it down.
The last chorus is the same as before with more of the offbeat groove and some extra crashes. Once you have been practicing this song for a while it will be extremely fun to take liberties and jam on.
We Will Rock You – Queen
If any song is the anthem of rock and roll it is this one.
Though the drum beat here is extremely simple it has been played by countless musicians and audience members across the globe. It is very recognizable due to its simplicity.
To play this, it is simply two hits on the floor tom, you can play kicks with this as well, then a hit on the snare.
Rocking has never been easier than with this song.
I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
As a beginner, Stevie Wonder may not come to your mind when thinking about drums, but his tracks have some of the grooviest beats around. This song here is no exception, though very simple, it sticks and grooves with the song.
It is eighths on the hats, and a snare on the two and four. The bass drum pattern is a simple rock beat, a single kick, then a snare hit, then directly followed with two more kicks on the two eighths after.
There are some snare hits in the breaks, those will be very easy to fill in.
If you have been calling for an easy love song to play, this is the one.
Dynamite – BTS
BTS is one of the hottest new pop bands with the biggest hits of the current time. Hopefully this appeals to the younger crowd looking to get onto the kit!
The intro begins with some quarter bass hits. Then the money beat comes in with some open hats thrown in on the and’s between beats.
This same beat is used in the chorus. Once you get to the last chorus, there is a small snare and bass fill used to move into it.
Finally at the end there are some tom hits to close it out.
Songs like this further exemplify how dynamite the money beat is.
It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me – Billy Joel
Very few songs make the older folks move like this one, a timeless classic by Billy Joel.
The basic premise of this song is driven by the consistent bass drum hits, the beat here is one, two, a three, four. Be sure to keep this going and do not slow down.
Throughout the verses there are some triplet tom rolls to keep in mind, they are very simple, and will not be hard to keep in line with the bass drum.
After the first roll, the snare comes in on the two and four.
The main chorus is the money beat except with quarters on crash, once you have this down, try swinging the beat by playing, a three four, a one two.
It then moves to a swing groove on the hats, with quarters on the bass drum. This may be hard to grasp at first, if you cannot play the swing, then just play quarters in the hats.
Next there is an awesome tom fill which is fun to play. Take your time figuring this out to really nail it.
In this next verse some of the snare hits are flams, so take note of those. Flams are when you play one note right before the main note, they sound like they hit at the same time, but they are just far enough apart to notice.
After this is another chorus, but with a sax solo.
The final verse alternates between single snare hits and a flam.
To end it, there are some consecutive hits followed by two solo drum hits.
This song is still a fun a song to play along to once you have mastered it.
Hot N Cold – Katy Perry
The song starts with a simple rock beat with sixteenth notes on the hats, which then goes into the verse with quarters on the hats.
We then move into the chorus that has the same beat as “Gangnam Style”. Keep the rock beat, but move the hats to only the off beats, the and’s.
Next, we move back to the quarter hats, into the verse with the rock beat with hats on the eighths. This beat continues through the synth solo, and through the bridge.
There is a small section with a simple snare fill. With this you will see your ability to run hot right through this track.
Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
Amongst the countless artists on this list, Elvis will be the most universally known. “Jailhouse Rock” is one of his greatest hits with a very catchy drum hook.
The hook at the beginning is on the snare that feels like, a four a one. You can hear in the background that the drummer is also keeping quiet quarters on the hi-hat pedal. Pay close attention to the snare accents on the quarter hits.
In the chorus we can hear the absence of the bass drum. There is a swing hi-hat and snare, but no bass. Elvis’s drummer loved to use the bass for big accents, or to bring in a new section.
The fill right before the chorus has a bass drum at the end to call in the new section. You can also hear it on the way out of the chorus.
In the solo section, we move that snare and hat pattern over to the ride.
Also, the fill right before the solo is a simple snare, with a loud and booming kick in. Really emphasize that kick to catch the style of the drummer.
Hold back and keep the kick in jail for most of this song and you will be playing just like D. J. Fontana!
Note: Everything is great in this cover except for the use of the bass drum, to really catch the vibe that Fontana was going for, try to keep the bass drum out except for moving in and out of sections.
Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
This must be one of the songs you hear people singing to themselves the most. What about the fact this is the song your supposed to do chest compressions to?
Overall, through this whole song you will be doing the money beat.
When listening you will hear some extra open hats, but those were recorded separately from the basic drum track, try to throw them in if you can, but for the basics, you can keep it simple and still get through this.
If anything will keep you alive on the drums it will be playing groovy, funky songs like this, so get to it as a beginner!
All the songs on this list are great songs for a beginner drummer looking into getting into the hobby. Some of them may require a bit of practice to get through certain parts, but you can get the basic bits of the song without much hesitation.
Be sure to take all the songs slow at first to really understand the style and groove that is meant to be established, this will help you to start learning some different methods of voicing yourself on the kit.
Above all have fun and enjoy playing the instrument!