Top 10 Bill Bruford Songs

Bill Bruford Songs

Photo: By Steven Rieder [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

When defining the most important drummers in the history of Progressive Rock, the legendary drummer Bill Bruford stands at the top of that list. There are not many drummers in classic rock history that have played such an important role in so many classic bands. Bill Bruford played a significant role in two of the biggest progressive rock bands of all time. Bill Bruford recorded ten albums with the band Yes. The work he performed with Yes included the late 1960s and early 1970s recordings and his return to the band in the 1990’s  He was also one of the founding members of the band. After leaving Yes in 1972, Bill Bruford joined King Crimson. Bill Bruford would end up appearing on sixteen King Crimson albums including a few live recordings.

When Bill Bruford was not performing with bands like Yes and King Crimson he was fronting his own bands Bruford and Earthworks. Bill Bruford also was a member of the progressive rock band U.K. for the band’s first album along with Allan Holdsworth. When Bill Bruford was not performing as a member of Yes, King Crimson, U.K., or working in his own bands and solo albums, he was appearing as a guest musician on hundreds of albums. Over the years, Bill Bruford appeared on albums by artists such as Genesis, Kazumi Watanabe, David Torn, Steve Howe, Al Di Meola, Steve Hackett, Rick Wakeman, Pavlov’s Dog and so many others.

Our Top 10 Bill Bruford songs list focuses on the songs Bill Bruford released on his solo albums including his own bands Bruford and Earthworks. It was very difficult to chooses only ten songs because there is so much amazing material Bill Bruford has recorded. This was a tough one to do. Since there is so much stuff, we will attempt to define this list in chronological order.

# 10 – Beelzebub

We open our Top 10 Bill Bruford songs list with the great tack Beelzebub. The song was released in Bill Bruford’s debut solo album Feels Good To Me. The record was released in 1978. The album also featured the great Allan Holdsworth on guitar. Jeff Berlin played bass and Dave Stewart handled the keyboard duties.

# 9 – Sample and Hold

“Sample and Hold,” was also released on Bill Bruford’s debut solo album. The opening drum beat sounds like the groove from Michael Jacksons’ “Billie Jean.” But oh boy does it go in a very different direction, Some Frank Zappa over vibes can be felt through this one.

# 8 – Hell’s Bells

We continue our Top 10 Bill Bruford Songs lust with the opening track from Bill Bruford’s debut solo album One Of A Kind. The album was released in 1979. Make sure to check out the incredible guitar solo by Allan Holdsworth in the middle of the track.

# 7 – The Sahara of Snow

Oh is this Progressive Rock at its finest. Bruford and Holdsworth show everyone how it’s done. From the great One Of A Kind album released in 1979. The album featured Allan Holdsworth on electric guitar, Dave Stewart on keyboards, and synthesizers, Jeff Berlin on bass, and of course Bill Bruford on drums.

# 6 – Land’s End

The track Land’s End was the closing song on Bill Bruford’s third solo album entitled Gradually Going Tornado. The album featured John Clark on guitar albim with Jeff Berlin and Dave Stewart. The album was released in 1980.

# 5 – Joe Frasier

Another great track from the Gradually Going Tornado album. Jeff Berlins’ virtuoso bass playing is very prominent in the tune. We like his Bill Bruford named the songs after Smoking Joe Frasier who at one time was the world heavyweight champion of boxing who used to battle it out with Muhammad Ali.

# 4 – Bridge Of Inhibition

The song “Bridge Of Inhibition,” was released on the first Earthworks album. The record was released in 1987. The album featured musicians Bill Bruford on drums, electronic drums, and percussion, Iain Ballamy on alto, soprano, and tenor saxophones, Django Bates on tenor horn, trumpet, and keyboards, Mick Hutton on bass, and Dave Stewart on keyboards.

# 3 – Stromboli Kicks

Yes, this one is a great deal of fun. “Stromboli Kicks,” was released on the Bill Bruford Earthworks album entitled Dig? The album was released in 1989. It’s really hard to describe music like this. It’s really just about listing. We hope this list turns you on to some really fabulous and innovative playing.

# 2 – Nerve

The great track Nerve was released in the album All Heaven Broke Loose. The record was released in 1991. The album featured musicians Bill Bruford on electronic, acoustic and chordal drums, Django Bates on keyboards, E peck horn, trumpet, Iain Ballamy on saxophones, and Tim Harries on acoustic and electric bass.

# 1 – Triplicity

This great jazz track defines Bill Bruford’s talent across the board on all musical genres. Bill Bruford’s brilliant playing in this one presents the perfect way to close out our top 10 Bill Bruford Songs list. The song “Triplicity,” was released on the Earthworks album entitled The Sound of Surprise. The album was released in 2001.

Updated March 28, 2023

Top 10 Bill Bruford Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2018

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