Created By: jaytee on April 22, 2011 Last Edited By: jaytee on September 11, 2011
Nuked

Drum Solo

All the other bandmates shut up and let the drummer go wild

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Rolling Updates, other stock phrases that mean "Help me out!"

You're onstage, shredding the guitar and rocking the crowd's face off. But you're feeling a little thirsty and you could use a smoke; where do you take the song from here?

Drum Solo.

Drum solos are far less common than their cousin Guitar Solo, and are typically limited to a select few genres of popular music. Drummers also tend to take the "solo" part more literally than their bandmates, often playing their solos unaccompanied. Most common in jam music, metal, prog rock and other genres that highly value technical musicianship.

Like the Guitar Solo, drum solos are often improvised.

Sometimes played for comedy. Being unaccompanied, drum solos can be a good time for the other band members to tune up, take a smoke break or 'hang out' backstage. This is very much Truth in Television, as many drummers will relish the opportunity to break free from their 4:4 backbeats and spend fifteen minutes showing of their skills.

Examples

  • The drum solo in Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is one of the Trope Codifiers for modern popular music.
  • Going hand-in-hand with Iron Butterfly as Trope Codifier is Cream. Ginger Baker's lengthy, free-form solos are likely where the joke about the rest of the band leaving the stage came from.
    • Cream's song "Toad" is built entirely around a drum solo and was common in live sets.
  • The Beatles' "The End" is notable for containing Ringo's only drum solo in their catalog.
  • Alex Van Halen tells a story of one concert where Eddie was playing a Guitar Solo, but Alex kept Drum Soloing over top of him until Eddie threw his guitar down and said "We'll continue when you're finished, okay?"
    Reporter: And did you keep going?
    Alex: Hell yeah, I was on a roll!
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic subverts this in "Polka Your Eyes Out", whose drum solo consists of 28 alternating bass/snare+highhat strikes (boom-chick boom-chick boom-chick...) concluding with a snare roll.
  • Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer did quite a few, naturally. On "Toccata" his solo includes lots of electronic fx produced by miniature drum synthesizers.
  • Black Sabbath has a notable drum solo in the song "Rat Salad."
  • The King Crimson song Groon when played live and extended.
Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • April 22, 2011
    Perihelion
    There's a Black Sabbath song with like a two-minute drum solo, but I'm blanking on the name.
  • April 23, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Not quite sure we need a trope for Instrument Solo plus separate tropes for various types of instruments. Also, as with Instrument Solo, it really should be confined to either especially length solos or story significant drum solos.
  • April 25, 2011
    jaytee
    @Perihelion: I'll hold off until you can remember the name

    @Auxdar: Guitar Solo is definitely it's own trope, being so widespread that people with zero knowledge of music will know what a guitar solo is. like I mentioned there, we don't really need an example list. The drum solo as used in modern music is a pretty well-defined trope by itself as well, and has the advantages of having a well-documented history being relatively uncommon, lending itself quite well to an example list.

    I won't be adding YKTT Ws for any other instruments, if that's your worry.
  • April 25, 2011
    GymQuirk
    Subversion:

    • Weird Al Yankovic "Polka Your Eyes Out" drum solo consists of 28 alternating bass/snare+highhat strikes (boom-chick boom-chick boom-chick...) concluding with a snare roll.
  • April 25, 2011
    Scooter007
    • Alex Van Halen tells a story of one concert where Eddie was playing a Guitar Solo, but Alex kept Drum Soloing over top of him until Eddie threw his guitar down and said "We'll continue when you're finished, okay?"
      Reporter: And did you keep going?
      Alex: Hell yeah, I was on a roll!
  • April 25, 2011
    jaytee
    examples added.
  • April 25, 2011
    LeeM
    Carl Palmer of Emerson Lake And Palmer did quite a few, naturally. On "Toccata" his solo includes lots of electronic fx produced by miniature drum synthesizers.
  • April 25, 2011
    MetalKev
    @Perihelion You're probably thinking of Rat Salad (the Drum Solo starts at about 1:20
  • May 9, 2011
    TheHeroHartmut
    The battle themes in Mother 3 'Zombeat' and 'Tough Zombeat' are both entirely drum solos, being completely identical, save for the fact that while 'Zombeat's time signature is 4/4 (Common Time), 'Tough Zombeat' is in 7/8 time. Considering that combos in this game are strung by tapping along to the battle theme that's playing, this makes more or a difference than you might think.
  • May 9, 2011
    elwoz
    For a while, They Might Be Giants would stick what they called a "dial-a-drum solo" in the middle of live performances of She's Actual Size; Dan Hickey would mimic the styles of various famous drummers with John Flansbergh emceeing. "For Animal from the Muppet Show, press or scream eleven!"
  • July 13, 2011
    tugzpaker
    How they had done it doesn't matter.It's their style men. What matters is the musical value (speed + precision * showmanship = awesome). :]
  • July 13, 2011
    TheJackal
    Moby Dick by Led Zeppelin has a two minute drum solo in the middle of it, which was often extended when they played it live.
  • July 13, 2011
    NetMonster
    Manowar like this trope.
  • July 20, 2011
    MysticKenji
    Black Sabbath also has the outro of "Behind the Wall of Sleep"

    Also, the Ayreon song "Chaos"
  • July 20, 2011
    CemetryGates
    'Doomsday Clock' by Smashing Pumpkins opens with a short drum solo before the song begins. It is also the opening track, so the drum solo is the first to be heard of any music from the album.
  • July 20, 2011
    Xtifr
    Grateful Dead concerts inevitably featured one, often several minutes long, and almost always followed by an experimental/feedback session of similar length. (The "solo" part is a bit of misnomer, though, since they featured two drummers.)
  • July 22, 2011
    MysticKenji
  • July 25, 2011
    Sen
    James Brown's "Funky Drummer". Notable because Brown actually tells the band to shut up and let the drummer play for a bit, and Clyde Stubblefield doesn't solo so much as just play the same groove he did throughout the song (just like the "Behind the Wall of Sleep" example).
  • July 25, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The Late Show With David Letterman had "Drum Solo Week," where the musical guest of the evening was a drummer who soloed. Anton Fig, Sheila E, Roy Haynes & Neil Peart.

    EDIT: and now there's been Drum Solo Week II.
  • July 25, 2011
    hotrods4ben
    Foo Fighters doesn't do this very often on their albums, but have done it in live performances. This one from 1999 or 2000 has Dave, being the drummer he is, taking over for Taylor on their song Stacked Actors.
  • July 25, 2011
    MysticKenji
    Would this count?
  • July 26, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    Gene Krupa's solo in Benny Goodman's "Sing Sing Sing (With a Swing)".
  • August 4, 2011
    regresal
    bump
  • August 26, 2011
    jaytee
    Bumping some of my older YKTT Ws. Looks like this one gained some examples while I was gone for the site for a month or so.

    I'll roll these examples in here in a bit. Anyone have any suggestions? Otherwise, I'll start asking for hats and getting ready for launch.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=hlplovdp0i8e6adnp7n49nth&trope=DiscardedYKTTW