A lot of people identify with the lyrics of a song, but one can argue that the drum beat is also an important part. Some of the most popular tracks in history have a simple, steady beat everyone can identify with. The following are the 27 best songs with a steady beat:
1. Rebel Rebel – David Bowie
The song features a driving beat where the snare is on the downbeat and the kick is on the upbeat. You could argue that this track is the precursor to some of the punk beats that would gain popularity in the future. It was released in 1974 and is still on playlists and in rotation on the radio today. It charted but never reached number one, but the steady beat in the tune gave it staying power.
2. Ho Hey – The Lumineers
Ho Hey was one of the hit songs off of the Lumineers’ self-titled debut album in 2011. The track’s beat is simple, basically, just a kick drum banging out quarter notes, but it’s enough to make this tune catchy. In 2011, it peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
3. When the Levee Breaks – Led Zeppelin
When it comes to driving rock beats, it doesn’t get much better than John Bonham. When The Levee Breaks is the song that demonstrates this skill better than any other. It’s a cover of a traditional country and blues track from the 1920s in Mississippi. It appeared on Led Zeppelin IV, which came out in 1971 on Atlantic Records. It’s the only cover song on the album.
4. Baby Shark – Pinkfong
No one really knows the true origin of the song Baby Shark. The nursery rhyme has been around for decades, but it recently took over the entire world with a viral YouTube video that captured the hearts of toddlers around the globe. The video was produced by Pinkfong, a South Korean educational media company. It has billions of streams worldwide, and you can’t deny the steady beat in this track.
5. Uptown Girl – Billy Joel
Billy Joel harkened back to the upbeat rock of the 1960s with his hit, Uptown Girl. The driving drum beat is the heart of the song and supports the gliding vocal harmonies perfectly. It worked and the proof is the success of the recording. The track reached number three on the US Hot 100 and number one on the US singles chart.
6. YMCA – Village People
YMCA is a song that’s heard all the time during breaks at sporting events, at roller-skating rinks, and even at political rallies. A big part of the staying power of this disco hit is the driving drum beat. While this track has become somewhat of a meme, it did have success on the charts when it came out in 1978.
7. Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
Thanks to her time with No Doubt, Gwen Stefani is one of the most successful songwriters of the 1990s. She also had a resurgence in pop music in the 2000s. One of the songs that drove this was Hollaback Girl on her debut solo album in 2004. The tune features a driving and repetitive beat built on hip hop, and she even raps the chorus.
8. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen released this song on her debut album in 2012, and it quickly took over the pop charts. The track has an infectious hook, a great topic, and a driving drum beat built on the house style. It went platinum in countries around the world. It even went 15 times platinum in Australia and diamond in the US.
9. A Day In The Life – The Beatles
Ringo Starr doesn’t get a lot of credit for being a great drummer, but his beat on A Day In The Life is a reason the song is one of the band’s biggest hits. It is the final track on the band’s 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This was also famously banned on BBC radio for a short time because of the references to drugs in the lyrics.
10. Believer – Imagine Dragons
Believer is a motivational tune with a driving beat built on electronic drum programming mixed with a live studio drummer. It was released on Interscope in 2017. We think this song is perfect for your next cardio session. A lot of people agree, apparently, since the track reached number one on the US Adult Top 40 chart.
11. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is one of the most successful songwriters of the last decade, and Shake It Off is one of her hits. Instead of a brooding love song, this tune features a danceable beat that will have you humming the tune for days. The track appears in 1989, her fifth studio album that came out in 2014. You can’t have a complete playlist these days without including something from this singer.
12. We Will Rock You – Queen
This track, written by Queen guitarist Brian May, is one of the band’s hits. The driving drum beat starts at the top and is relentless throughout the tune. It’s then capped off with one of the most iconic guitar solos in rock music history. This track appears on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Songs of All Time at number 330.
13. Yellow Submarine – The Beatles
Yellow Submarine has the most simple drum beat in the Beatles’ catalog and is one of the only tracks written by the band’s drummer, Ringo Starr. You might find yourself yelling the chorus to this tune along with the band by the end of the song. Its catchy melody drove it to success, charting at number one in multiple countries around the world.
14. Love You Like A Love Song – Selena Gomez & the Scene
This dance anthem by Selena Gomez & The Scene in 2011 on their third album. It was one of the first pop tunes of its time to embrace the dubstep sound gaining popularity then. It was their most successful effort in the US. It peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
15. Barracuda – Heart
The most successful all-girl rock band of all time is undoubtedly Heart. They dominated the rock radio airwaves in the early-1980s. One of the driving forces behind this was the drum beat in their anthem, Barracuda. This track is influenced by the drum beat on Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin. They should both be on your playlist of songs with a steady beat.
16. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
Uptown Funk tried to revive the funk sound in pop music, and it was very successful in doing so. On top of the great vocals and syncopated horn section, the driving and steady drum beat make the song work. If it was any more complicated, the track would become a mess. Catch this tune on a wedding dance floor near you.
17. Juice (Know The Ledge) – Eric B. & Rakim
Eric B. & Rakim are two of the godfathers of rap, and this is one of their most important tracks. You can’t have a playlist of songs with a steady beat without including some classic hip hop. This NYC duo had a huge hit with Juice (Know The Ledge) as it peaked at seven on the US Rap Charts. This was a huge accomplishment during this highly-competitive time in recorded music.
18. I’m Still Standing – Elton John
Elton John is usually known for more ornate and complicated compositions. That’s why when I’m Still Standing was released, it was such a huge hit. The song appeared on his 1983 album Too Low For Zero. It was one of his first tracks to have a music video, which was a driving force behind its reach. The song peaked at number 12 on the US Hot 100 Billboard chart.
19. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes propelled the Detroit duo into worldwide fame. The song has a quarter-note drum beat that brings the deliberate guitar riff to life. You still hear crowds at sporting events chanting this tune all over the US to this day.
20. Spiderman – Ramones
Punk music is the first genre we think of when it comes to steady drum beats, and the Ramones might be the most important band in this genre. Their recording of the Spider-Man theme song is one of their most popular covers. It’s the perfect mix of an iconic band with an iconic comic book franchise.
21. Lust For Life – Iggy Pop
Lust For Life is another pre-punk song that was a huge influence on the genre to come. Iggy Pop is known for his wild antics both onstage and off, and this is one of his most popular releases. The tune came out on his 1977 album of the same name and was co-written by David Bowie. It currently sits at number 149 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Songs of All Time list.
22. Blue Da Ba Dee – Eiffel 65
Blue Da Ba Dee by Eiffel 65 might be one of the strangest songs to be successful on the radio charts. The driving house tune features nonsensical lyrics, but the real reason people love the track is the drum beat. The French group was nominated for the Grammy for Best Dance Recording in 2001 for this work.
23. Needy – Ariana Grande
The simple electronic kick and snaps in needy by Ariana Grande help support her glistening pop vocals perfectly. A great drum beat drives a tune while still leaving enough space for the rest of the song to breathe. That’s exactly what the drums on this hit pop track do.
24. Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake is known for cranking out pop hits, and this driving tune is no exception. The house style of the drums makes it catchy, and the vocal hook seals the deal. If this song sounds familiar to you, it’s because it was heavily featured in the animated movie, Trolls.
25. Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke Feat. T.I. And Pharrell
Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke is a divisive tune. Some people love it and some people find it nauseating. The steady drum beat of the track is undeniable. The song has been a staple on wedding dance floors for years. It also features rappers T.I. and Pharrell Williams.
26. Firework – Katy Perry
Firework by Katy Perry is basically a perfect electro-pop tune and that genre is built upon a foundation of steady drum beats. The track, released in 2010, hit number one on every single US chart it was eligible to chart on. It debuted on her album, Teenage Dream.
27. You’re Welcome – Dwayne Johnson
I bet you never thought you would have a track by The Rock in your songs with a steady-beat playlist, but here we are. This catchy tune is from the Dreamworks animated film, Moana. You’re Welcome is the seventh song on the movie’s soundtrack and might be the most popular one on the album.
If you are looking to make a playlist with steady drum beats, these 27 songs are a great place to start. Each of these tracks is great if you are going for a long drive or are getting ready to work.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.