In the history of great pub debates, it’s one of the arguments most likely to spill over into violence and end friendships forever: just who is the Greatest Rock Band Ever? Ask most people, and they’ll tell you it’s The Beatles. Received wisdom and all that jazz. And it’s undeniable: there’s a fair bit of merit to that answer. But when we got to compiling the definitive guide of the best rock bands of all time, we wanted to go deep. We didn’t want to leave a single rock unturned. So, we turned to you guys. You’re not most people. You’re proper music-loving rock fans, representing pretty much everything under rock’s vast umbrella, and you think differently. And that’s why we asked you to settle the debate, for once and for all. We asked you to vote for the Greatest Rock Band Ever. We set up a poll, and you came to vote, in massive numbers. Tens of thousands of heartfelt, possibly controversial opinions. And when it was all done we took the data, wrangled it into an enormous spreadsheet, and performed some complicated calculations. The results, as they say, are in. There’s some pretty surprising entries, and some no-not-surprising entries. But here they are. The 50 Greatest Rock Bands Ever. Official. As voted by you.
- The best rock bands of all time have been voted on by music-loving fans.
- The debate over the greatest rock band is subjective, but the results are based on tens of thousands of votes.
- The list includes legendary, iconic, influential, classic, and popular rock bands.
- These rock bands have defined an era and continue to be timeless.
- Stay tuned to discover the top rock bands and their contributions to the world of music.
Roxy Music, led by guitarist Phil Manzanera, may not have reached the level of commercial success they could have achieved due to their self-managed approach. Nonetheless, their impact on the music industry is undeniable. While their popularity may not have translated as strongly in America, Roxy Music dominated Britain’s glam-era pop scene in the 1970s. Despite their stylistic differences from other prominent acts of the time, such as Slade and Sweet, Roxy Music made their mark by standing apart as a distinctive and unique rock band.
Formed by a young Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno, Roxy Music defied categorization by not fitting neatly into the pop or rock genres. Instead, they carved out their own niche and became trailblazers in the music industry. In recognition of their significant contributions to rock music, Roxy Music was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.
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Forget a linear career; there’s nothing stable or logical about the way King Crimson have conducted themselves since forming in 1968. This most exhaustive and exhausting of prog rock bands have had nearly two dozen full-time members across five decades. It’s easy to suggest that it’s Fripp’s vision, his drive, that has kept Crimson at the forefront of pioneering yet idiosyncratic music. But he’s done more than that. Bands such as Tool and Porcupine Tree have cited Crimson as major inspiration, but they have reached far beyond the progressive world – Kanye West sampled 21st Century Schizoid Man for his 2010 hit Power, and British techno band Opus III covered I Talk To The Wind in 1992.
In terms of influence, King Crimson’s impact on the music industry cannot be overstated. With their unique blend of progressive rock, jazz, and classical elements, the band pushed the boundaries of what was considered “rock” music, inspiring countless musicians and challenging traditional musical conventions. Their experimental and genre-defying approach to music has cemented their status as one of the greatest rock bands of all time.
“King Crimson has always been about the search for new sounds and new musical territories. It’s this relentless pursuit of innovation that sets them apart from other bands and makes them truly iconic.”
Throughout their career, King Crimson has released seminal albums such as “In the Court of the Crimson King” and “Red,” which have become timeless classics in the rock genre. Their intricate compositions, complex time signatures, and virtuosic musicianship have captivated audiences for decades. Songs like “21st Century Schizoid Man” and “Epitaph” showcase the band’s ability to evoke strong emotions through their powerful and thought-provoking lyrics.
The Legacy of King Crimson
King Crimson’s influence extends far beyond the world of rock music. Their groundbreaking approach to composition and performance has inspired artists from various genres, including progressive metal, avant-garde, and electronic music.
- Progressive metal band Tool has openly acknowledged King Crimson as a major influence on their sound and musical direction.
- British rock band Porcupine Tree, led by Steven Wilson, has also cited King Crimson as a significant source of inspiration for their progressive and experimental sound.
- Even hip-hop superstar Kanye West recognized the greatness of King Crimson, sampling their iconic track “21st Century Schizoid Man” on his hit single “Power.”
King Crimson’s unconventional and boundary-pushing approach to music continues to resonate with audiences today. Their ability to seamlessly blend different musical genres and create intricate compositions has solidified their status as one of the greatest and most influential rock bands of all time.
Two guys with beards, and a guy called Beard who doesn’t have a beard. Those 1980s videos. The car. The keyring. The furry, twirling guitars from Back To The Future III… ZZ Top – Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard – are certainly among America’s musical elite; a band who took blues rock, gave it a Texan tweak, and have for 50 years made gutsy music that amuses, amazes and gets your body moving. After 1976’s Tejas, the trio decided on a three-year break, returning in 1979 with the Deguello album, by which time both Gibbons and Hill had grown those trademark beards. They even survived a scare when Hill inadvertently shot himself in the chest while taking off a boot. ZZ Top have become a treasured American institution; icons who love to upset the establishment. And as of 2012’s La Futura, they’re still making great music.
Frayed and ragged like well-worn sneakers, the bubblegum blitz of New York’s Ramones was as simple and blunt as a mallet. Along the way, they became slouched heroes to future generations of speed freaks, grunge geeks, and pawn-shop guitar slashers with neither the dexterity nor the inclination to mimic Led Zeppelin or Eric Clapton.
Nicking their fictional surname from either Paul McCartney’s one-time pseudonym (Paul Ramone) or producer Phil Ramone (depending on who you ask), the founding fab four ‘brothers’ were singer Joey, guitarist Johnny, bassist Dee Dee, and drummer Tommy. Praise was hardly faint, as no less a bruiser than Lemmy himself wrote a namesake tribute to the Ramones for Motörhead’s 1916 album.
|Rocket to Russia
|Road to Ruin
|End of the Century
- Blitzkrieg Bop
- I Wanna Be Sedated
- Rock ‘n’ Roll High School
- Sheena Is a Punk Rocker
- Teenage Lobotomy
With nearly an entire discography of earth-shattering records, Robert Plant’s unique voice paired with Jimmy Page’s cryin’ guitar has been unparalleled to this day. Taking deep influence from blues and soul, Led Zeppelin turned the world of rock on its head and still does to this day more than 40 years since their last release. Led Zeppelin transformed rock music with their songwriting ability, musical talent, and creativity.
“Led Zeppelin is the embodiment of raw, unadulterated rock. The combination of Plant’s vocals, Page’s legendary guitar skills, and their ability to create timeless classics sets them apart as one of the greatest rock bands of all time.”
The Zeppelin Legacy
From their explosive debut album to the epic soundscapes of “Stairway to Heaven” and the hard-hitting riffs of “Whole Lotta Love,” Led Zeppelin revolutionized the rock genre. Their fusion of blues, folk, and hard rock paved the way for countless bands that followed in their footsteps.
With their unparalleled stage presence and a reputation for pushing musical boundaries, Led Zeppelin set a standard for live performances that has yet to be surpassed. Their electrifying concerts became legendary, leaving audiences in awe of their technical prowess and sonic intensity.
“Led Zeppelin’s impact on popular rock music cannot be overstated. Their timeless classics continue to resonate with fans young and old, solidifying their place as one of the greatest and most influential rock bands of all time.”
Despite disbanding in 1980 after the tragic death of drummer John Bonham, Led Zeppelin’s legacy continues to thrive. Their music remains a staple on rock radio stations, their albums continue to sell millions of copies, and their influence can be heard in the music of countless bands across multiple genres.
From the heavy blues-infused rock of “Black Dog” to the mystical grandeur of “Kashmir,” Led Zeppelin’s music transcends time and continues to captivate new generations of rock fans. It’s undeniable that Led Zeppelin is one of the greatest rock bands to have ever graced the stage, forever etching their name in the annals of rock history.
Recognized as the most influential band of all time, The Beatles 10-year span changed the world of rock’n’roll. Taking influences from doo-wop, skiffle, and early rock’n’roll, The Beatles touched on just about every genre in their run. The Beatles defined what it is to be a world-famous, four-piece rock band. The Beatles left an unmovable mark on everything in the rock world from how music was recorded to how bands performed.
Often cited as the greatest progressive rock band of all time, Pink Floyd has left an indelible mark on the music industry. With their groundbreaking experimentation and unconventional song structures, Pink Floyd pushed the boundaries of rock music and paved the way for future generations of musicians.
Formed in London in 1965, Pink Floyd consisted of Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason. Their unique sound, characterized by atmospheric instrumentals, introspective lyrics, and complex arrangements, captivated audiences around the world.
“We don’t want to be just another brick in the wall.”
The band’s most iconic album, Dark Side of the Moon, released in 1973, solidified their status as one of the most influential rock bands in history. With its thought-provoking themes and innovative use of studio effects, the album became a musical masterpiece and remained on the charts for a record-breaking 937 weeks.
Pink Floyd’s ability to seamlessly blend musical genres, from rock to psychedelic to progressive, sets them apart from other bands. Their timeless compositions, such as “Wish You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb,” continue to resonate with audiences today.
|The Dark Side of the Moon
|1 (US), 2 (UK)
|1 (US & UK)
|Wish You Were Here
|1 (UK), 12 (US)
|3 (UK), 3 (US)
|The Division Bell
|1 (UK), 1 (US)
Pink Floyd’s impact on the music industry cannot be overstated. Their ability to create sonic landscapes and evoke deep emotions has influenced countless artists and continues to shape the rock genre to this day.
Described as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music,” Jimi Hendrix revolutionized the way the electric guitar was played, leaving an indelible mark on the genre. With his virtuosic talent and boundless creativity, Hendrix crafted some of the most iconic and influential rock anthems of all time.
During his tragically short career, Hendrix pushed the boundaries of rock music, breathing new life into the genre. His innovative use of distortion, feedback, and wah-wah pedals created a sonic landscape that had never been heard before. From the blistering solos of “Purple Haze” to the soulful melodies of “Little Wing,” Hendrix’s music resonated with audiences worldwide, captivating listeners with his raw emotion and technical prowess.
Backed by his band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, he electrified stages and redefined what it meant to be a rock performer. His mesmerizing stage presence and showmanship, coupled with his unrivaled guitar skills, cemented his status as a true rock legend. Today, his influence can be heard in countless guitarists and rock bands that continue to draw inspiration from his timeless music.
What are some of the best rock bands of all time?
Some of the best rock bands of all time include The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Queen, Nirvana, and The Who, among others.
Who is considered the greatest rock band ever?
There is no definitive answer to this question as it is subjective and depends on personal opinions. However, The Beatles are often regarded as one of the greatest rock bands ever due to their immense cultural impact and musical influence.
Which rock bands have defined an era?
Rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Nirvana are known for defining their respective eras and leaving a lasting impact on music and popular culture.
Who are some influential rock bands?
Some influential rock bands include The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Queen, among others. These bands shaped the landscape of rock music and inspired countless artists.
What are some iconic rock bands?
Iconic rock bands include The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, U2, Aerosmith, Queen, and Foo Fighters. These bands have established themselves as timeless figures in the rock genre.
Are there any classic rock bands that are still popular today?
Yes, several classic rock bands continue to be popular today, such as The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Queen, and The Who. Their music has stood the test of time and continues to resonate with audiences.
Which rock bands have made a significant impact on the music industry?
Rock bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, and The Rolling Stones have made a significant impact on the music industry through their innovative sound, groundbreaking albums, and cultural influence.
Can you name some timeless rock bands?
Some timeless rock bands include The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, The Rolling Stones, and AC/DC. Their music remains relevant and beloved by fans across generations.
Are there any legendary rock bands?
Yes, there are several legendary rock bands including The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Queen, and Jimi Hendrix Experience. These bands have achieved legendary status due to their contributions to rock music.
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