From the sublime to the ridiculous, and everything in between, there is no denying that Buddy Rich was one of the greatest drummers of all time. From his speed and technical ability to his ability to entertain an audience, no one did more to bring the role of the drummer to the forefront of music than Buddy. Many people experienced a “conversion” after seeing Buddy play… to want to go out and pick up a pair of sticks for the first time, or to go home and practice. Though many of us didn't have the chance to see him live, today, thanks to videos on YouTube, his influence on the drumming community is still going strong!

To honor him, and celebrate what would be his 100th birthday, our team here at Zildjian / Vic Firth have put together our Staff Picks of favorite Buddy videos, or videos that pay tribute to Buddy. We hope you enjoy our list. Feel free to celebrate with us and add your own links in the comment section below!

It’s great to hear Buddy playing with a Quintet where usually you hear him with his Big Band. It’s also a real treat to hear him alongside the great Max Roach.
Craigie Z.


This is the epitome of Buddy playing with a band- not just soloing. One of Don Menza's classics - it sums up the style of the band and their iconic sound over the years.
Christian L.


My favorite is from the 1982 Montreal Jazz Fest – the first two minutes is a cymbal solo…what’s not to love!?
Kim D.


Hands down the best drum battle of all times: Buddy Rich vs. Animal!
Emily S.


A classic drummer with a classic comedian. I love the iconic, out of the box pairings. Buddy is very unique because he was able to bridge the gap between music and entertainer that gave him a much wider audience then just music fans. HE obviously did that over many years as he worked with Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Lewis and Animal.
Adam C.


For me, this two-minute solo encapsulates all the reasons Buddy’s playing will always be on another level. That stick trick at 2:13!
Dave C.


I love this one with Buddy and Gene battling, and Sammy Davis Jr. tap dancing.
Sarah H.


My favorite is when he battled Ed Shaughnessy on The Tonight Show.
Chris H.


A totally unique one that most don’t likely know about. Listen to Buddy playing with brushes in an orchestra. This is just one track, but he recorded the whole album this way.
Christian L. (he couldn’t decide his favorite so we let him pick two!)


In 1989, Zildjian created the very first Buddy Rich Memorial Concert to honor Buddy. Being in the audience to witness this in person was magical. All the performances were amazing, but to me, Dennis Chambers just blew the roof off the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. Buddy’s spirit was definitely in the house that night!
AnnMarie S.


This footage from 1970 shows why Buddy was a step ahead of the rest.
Victor F.


Love the build and dynamics and all the cool little flicks and tricks… and the concentration!
Bob W.

Happy Birthday, Buddy – we’re sure there’s one swingin’ party going on in Heaven today!

Listen to a piece of rare audio dug out of the Zildjian Archives – “A Tribute to Buddy Rich”, featuring great performances of Buddy and his own Big Band, along with conversations of Armand Zildjian and Zildjian Artist Relations Manager, Lennie DiMuzio – two of Buddy’s lifelong friends.

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