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7 Songs with a Killer Snare Drum Sound


The snare drum brings a dynamic breadth of range to fill the frequency between cymbals and bass drum.

A good snare will enhance a recording or performance as it intertwines and influences the whole song. A finely tuned snare drum can have a significant impact on the overall product.

The ideal way to really capture a solid snare sound is to have a well-tuned drum, decent drummer, and a great recording room. If you are in the Portsmouth area of North Hampton, the Drum Center of Portsmouth can help with getting a great snare drum and tuning it well. The recording space and skill of the drummer will be on you!

In the long and rich history of music, there’s certainly been standout drummers and songs. Some of those songs bring in an amazing snare sound. As you dive into appreciating the power of a snare drum, check out this list of songs with a killer snare drum sound.

1. Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin is an iconic band with an iconic sound. This jam starts off with a slow-vamping guitar but it’s clear the song doesn’t take off until the 30-second mark when John Bonham’s snare enters. Guitarist Jimmy Page and lead singer Robert Plant set the stage, but the entrance of Bonham’s snare announces the real kick-off to the song. The entrance of the snare in this song shows how the snare is the most valuable player of the drum kit and an anchor to rhythm. In the right hands, like Bonham’s, the snare drum becomes as important and iconic as any guitar solo.

2. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

Smells Like Teen Spirit was the debut of new drummer Dave Grohl on a Nirvana recording, and a very strong one at that. The snare drum keeps the whole song together and keeps the audience drawn into this classic song. Even if the track feels overplayed at times due to its popularity, the snare drum continues to give a killer sound as Teen Spirit’s legacy lives on.

3. It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) – R.E.M.

This 1987 hit kicks off with a machine-gun delivery on the snare drum and continues to provide a rapid-fire snare sound. It is a unique sound with a military-esque “rat-a-tat” and an engaging energy that keeps the listener hooked. The drums of war are also drums of dance, making you want to jump around and attempt to memorize the rapid lyrics. The snare perfectly fits into what the song is about and keeps you hooked even as the world ends.

4. Rock with You – Michael Jackson

Before Michael Jackson was a zombie in the global phenomenon that was Thriller, there was 1979’s Off the Wall. This album melded genres in a smooth and easily enjoyed way. Rock with You was one of those melds that featured a really smooth and consistent snare sound. The snare at the start is an instantly recognizable introduction to one of Jackson’s most popular songs. It is so smooth and done so well a first-time listener will be tasked with deciding if this is a disco track, soulful ballad, or catchy pop-rock song. For the duration of the song, the snare and sound of Michael Jackson make the three seem almost indistinguishable.


5. Superstition – Stevie Wonder

The snare intro on this timeless song is instantly captivating. For many, it is the calling card of a jaunty riff that keeps its consistent vibe in the whole song. Once that snare hits, true Stevie fans know what is coming. The snare hesitation in the intro between certain notes is a preface to the funkiness that comes in this Motown classic. It is a signature number – and part of that is definitely due to the killer snare sound.

6. Crosstown Traffic – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Being in Jimi Hendrix’s band meant being easily overshadowed by the genius and talent of Hendrix. However, drummer Mitch Mitchell held his own and lent his talent to the signature sound behind the guitar. In this song, he gets a shining moment on the introduction. It is a brief, propulsive sound that is iconic in the band’s history. The snare sound is pivotal, as it is in many songs, when it sets the mood between repeated notes. That mood is tension and chaos, just like the song’s confusion. The pattern continues, popping in to increase the suspense and then grant melodic catharsis when needed.

7. We Will Rock You – Queen

Alright, in comparison to other snare sounds, this song has a rather simplistic beat. It is an easy switch between two bass drum strokes and a hit on the snare. However, the iconic nature of this song and the importance of setting the pace for the audience is phenomenal. Queen was one of the first bands to really incorporate audience participation with thousands clapping and stomping to the beat. That participation starts and is set by the snare and bass sound on this song. From the start, drummer Roger Taylor creates a masterful snare sound that keeps the audience engaged and wanting more.

Of course, there’s plenty of snare hits not on this list, but it is a start for those looking to get hooked on a snare. This essential piece of a drum set can be dramatic, consistent, or captivating, sometimes all at once. For many songs, it is the unifying part that gives it the hook listeners need and crave.

It is no secret why drummers, and their snares, are pivotal to the success of the band. If you are looking to really create and perfect your snare sound, there are hundreds of options for equipment and snare drums here at Drum Center of Portsmouth.