“The List” is a concept that Drew and I stole from a Ralph Peterson clinic we saw. To be clear, Peterson mentioned himself that he took the idea from someone else first. He once had a teacher that made him learn a list of fifty standard jazz tunes. He went on to create his own list of fifty rock tunes for his own students to learn. This is what our first list is, the fifty rock tunes you need to know. We have not seen Ralph Peterson’s list, we don’t know what is on it, and we don’t know his criteria.
For this first list we have various criteria that alllowed a song onto it. There are songs on here that are on there because they have a good groove. There are tunes on here because they’ve got cool licks. There are tunes on here because they are the quintessential example of the beat they use. There are tunes on here because of their cultural impact. There are tunes on here because they are tunes you will have to know for gigs. There are all sorts of tunes on here. Let us be clear. These aren’t the best tunes, these aren’t the best drummers, they aren’t our favorite tunes; these are the tunes we think you need to know.
What does ‘need to know’ mean? To me there are four different kinds of knowing these tunes.
1.) Familiarity (I know the song, I am familiar with it and understand what is going on in the drum part)
2.) Fake It (I can get through the song. I may not be playing everything exact, but I am a good enough musician to perform the song reliably).
3.) Nail It (I know the song. I know all the parts and the form, and I can play it note for note where applicable)
4.) Feel It (I have the right feel for the song. I can make myself sound like the track)
Note this is not necessarily a straight progression. If you go through all of these tunes you will find that there are some that feel great, but you can’t play note for note, and vice versa.
Without further ado: The 50 Rock Tunes you must know