Two legendary drummers face off in the opening round of our new March Drum Madness competition, as Mitch Mitchell (who backed guitar great Jimi Hendrix) goes up against Alex Van Halen (who backs guitar great Eddie Van Halen).

We've placed 32 of the most famous drummers in classic rock history into our March Drum Madness bracket. Over the coming weeks, their ranks will be cut in half in each of five rounds until we arrive at your choice for the greatest rock drummer of all time.

Mitchell, along with bassist Noel Redding, was part of Hendrix's Experience band as they released three classic albums in the '60s. He played on favorites like "Fire," "Purple Haze" and "All Along the Watchtower." He died in 2008. Van Halen has been playing with his brother since the mid-'70s, when they formed Van Halen in California. His butt-rattling stomp has fueled songs such as "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," "Jump" and "Hot for Teacher," one of rock's all-time greatest drum intros.

We don't envy you for having to make this decision. You can vote once per hour in each of our 16 opening March Drum Madness battles until the first round closes on March 23 at 11:59PM ET. The ultimate winner will be revealed on April 7.


 See Van Halen and Other Rockers in Our Top 100 Classic Rock Albums of the '70s