The Top 10 Greatest Rock Bands Ever

Over the many decades many rock bands have emerged but only a few of them has left indelible marks on American pop culture. Here is a list of the top ten greatest rock bands of all time. Please leave your comments below. As always, I look forward to hearing from you. You may also vote in my online poll question. Who would you crown the greatest rock band ever?

Beatlesmania at its Peak

Super Beatles

The Beatles were a British rock band from Liverpool England. The members consisted of Paul McCartney( bass, guitar, vocals), John Lennon (rhythm, vocals, guitar), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals) and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals). They are considered one of the most important musical acts of the 20th century. The Beatles are credited with redefining the1960s era of American Rock & Roll taking the genre from it's original African American soulful roots to a more mixed skiffle, blues, pop and rock sound.

The Band made their American performance debut in February of 1964 on the Ed Sullivan Show. The British superstars were an instant hit. Their phenomenal success was dubbed Beatlemania and was seen as a cultural revolution. With records such as "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", "P.S I Love You," and "Yellow Submarine", the Beatles went on to define the rock age. They were also known for their unique style of clothing, social conscious lyrics and political messages of peace and love. Throughout their amazing careers they have become symbols of greatness.

After Lennon's death in 1980, the group's popularity continued to evolve over the many decades. Their socially conscious ideals and iconic style was vital in shaping the landscape of American rebellious youth culture during the 1960s era. Many view their amazing success as a culture shock that gave so many a voice in popular music.

The Beatles have gone on to become the most successful rock band of all time with more than 200 million certified singles and albums sold in the United States alone. Global figures of their albums sales have surpassed 400 million in certifications. According to the Guinness Book of World Records the Beatles are the most success musical act of all time.

They also hold the record for the most #1 hits by any rock group in American history with 20 Billboard #1 singles. As global cultural icons the Beatles are second to none in the world of rock music. It is why I naming them the #1 greatest rock band ever.

Rock Gods

Led Zeppelin was an English rock group who were very active and popular during the late 1960s and 1970s. The band experimented with various other genres of music thus laying the ground work for what later became the heavy metal sound during the mid 1970s. Known for their distinct album experiences and edgy style, they are consider one of the greatest rock group's in history. Their mega hit "Stairway to Heaven" has been hailed as one of the biggest and most influential records ever made.

The band's powerful tours has cemented their status as international superstars. Many of their albums are also considered masterpieces in defining the genre of hard sounding rock. Led Zeppelin group members in recent years have pursued solo careers after they disbanded in 1980, following the sudden death of one it's popular member's. They have continued to remain critically and commercially successful despite such hardships.

Led Zeppelin have sold more than 200 million records worldwide and has been cited by Rolling Stone Magazine as the most "heaviest bands of all time" the biggest band of the 1970s" and "unquestionably the most enduring bands in rock history" http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/group/led-zeppelin).

With more than 100 million albums sold in the United States, they rank only behind the Beatles in terms of success making them one of the most critically acclaimed rock bands of all time. It is why I am naming them my number 2 pick for greatest rock bands ever

Rolling Stones biggest influence Chuck Berry

Rock Royalty

The Rolling Stones began their careers over 40 years ago and have continued to remain relevant in America's cultural conscious. The band has shaped the look and sound of Rock n Roll music through their iconic style and string of prolific hit records. Their hit records became staples during the 1960s era of American rebellious youth culture

Known as the original bad boys of rock they gave birth to a new generation of rock performers. Their success was part of a movement dubbed the British invasion. The group hails from London England. They formed in April of 1962. The band's Lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards have become the most beloved standouts of the group mainly because of their unique personalities and immense talent. The remaining original members of the band include (bass player Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts. The last original member Brian Jones left the group before they became known as the Rolling Stones, as they say the rest is history.

The Rolling Stones began their careers covering various African American rock artists, most notably Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters who were both pioneers of the Rock n Roll genre.The man himself Little Richard has been called the architect of Rock n Roll.

Their 1963 cover of Chuck Berry's hit "Come On" became the Stones first record to top the UK charts. Their second single "I Wanna Be Your Man" written by the Beatles, John Lennon and Paul McCartney cracked the UK charts top 15 and turned the band into instant superstars. Their next record a cover of Buddy Holly's hit "Not Fade Away" hit number 3 in the UK and also gave the group their first international American success, hitting number 48 on the US singles charts.

The Rolling Stones went on to write their own hit records which included Mick Jagger's and Keith Richards mega # 1 hit Satisfaction. Other notable masterpieces that were penned by the group's song writers were "Get of My Cloud," "Nervous Breakdown," Paint it Black" and "Ruby Tuesday" among many other successful singles.

The Rolling Stones in their more than four decades long career have sold over 200 million records worldwide. They have also released 22 studio albums in the UK and 24 studio albums in the US making them one of the most prolific and successful musical acts of all time. It is why they are my third pick for greatest rock band ever.

Guitar Genius/ Rock Innovators

Jimi Hendrix and the experience first rose to fame in the late1960s. They were an American and British psychedelic rock group. The band's big break came after they had successfully made a career for themselves in Europe, touring the continent for several months. In 1967, the trio headlined the iconic Monterey Pop Festival (one of the first major rock festival in the United States). Hendrix's prolific guitar playing skills and iconic stage antics made him and his group superstars.

He debuted his unique style of guitar playing during the band's 1967 performance at Monterey which led to his group eventually touring with the Monkees that same year. During this iconic performance, a young Hendrix set fire to his guitar and smashed it on the ground breaking it. It was the first time such a display was made and has since become common among today's rock bands. Hendrix and his group also popularized the use of the feedback and the wah wah pedal which became the birth of the heavy metal sound as a new genre of rock music.

The music icon's style of playing the guitar behind his back have also become a well known signature move for guitarists in today's rock world. His distinct style of playing the guitar with his teeth was groundbreaking at it's time and has since been hailed as one of the greatest musical techniques of the 20th century.

Jimi's band consisted of backing vocalist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, both were English men who played with him during his early years in night clubs around Europe. The band released three successful studio albums before their mysterious deaths. "Are you Experienced ", "Axis: Bold as Love" and "Electric Ladyland" (were all released in 1967).

Hendrix died in 1970, followed by Noel in 2003 and Mitch in 2008. The causes of deaths are unclear. Their many hits include "Purple Haze", "Hey Joe" and "Burning of the Midnight" among many others. They were inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall Fame in 1992 and all of their albums 'are listed within the top 100 of Rolling Stones list of the 500 greatest albums of all time' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimi_Hendrix_Experience). It is why I am naming them the fourth greatest and influential rock band ever.

The One and Only Queen

The rock band Queen emerged out of the psychdelic and progressive rock movements of the 1970s and 1980s. The British quartet has redefined popular culture with their record breaking stadium concert tours. They have also influenced various rock bands throughout the many decades such as Guns n Roses, Def Leppard, Green Day and Metallica to name a few.

Their 1975 album "A Night at The Opera" spawned several hit singles most notably "Bohemian Rhapsody" which quickly climbed the charts spending nine weeks at number one in England and breaking the record for the longest run at number one. The video to the song enabled the single's massive success. The song and album also did well in the US climbing into the top 10 and quickly going platinum. After the iconic success of this album , the group was established as international superstars.

In 1976, they broke an attendace record during a free concert performance at London's Hyde Park. The band released the hit single "Someone to Love" a few months later. This was followed by their next studio album Off To The Races which was another massive hit in both London and America. Over the next several years they continued to rack up hits leading to further success. They also toured the world playing in global markets such as Africa, South America and Asia which most rock bands completely ignored. Their mega singles "We will Rock You" and "We are the Champions" became sports stadium anthems and upgraded their status to global pop cultural icons.

The group's lead singer Freddie Mercury argurably the most dynamic and Flamboyant frontman in rock history, became seriously ill during the early 1990s leading to a slowdown in the band's success. Mercury who was bisexual passed away in 1991 from Aids. He had managed to down play his sexuality for most of his amazing career. Only one day before his tragic death did the world become aware of his failing health after he released a statement confirming that he had suffered from the illness . His death signaled an end to an era and bought spotlight to the terrible yet to be realized new disease known as Aids.

A tribute in his honor was held at Wembely Stadium later that year. The concert featured a host of musical talents such as David Bowie, Elton John, Def Leppard and Guns n Roses. Freddie Mercury tribute concert aired on national television around the world to an audience of a billion people. Their albums immediately re-entered the charts giving them new found success and global sympathy. Queen eventually disbanded after Mercury's death but has since launched successful solo careers. Though in recent years they have re-emerged as a group and has continued to tour occasionally.

In their more than two decades long careers,They have managed to sell over 250 million records making them one of the most acclaimed rock bands of all time. Queen have also had 18 #1 albums and 18 # 1 singles which is only second to the Beatles in terms of chart success. They are also inductees into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. It is why I am naming them my fifth pick for greatest rock band ever.

The Bad Boys from Boston

The rock band Aerosmith are the most successful American rock band of all time. They have sold an estimated 150 million records worldwide. Their longevity and enduring careers have made them cultural icons for a generation of music lovers. Known for their hard rocking guitar sound, powerful vocals, and kick ass attitudes, they have defined the rock genre with hits such as "Walk this Way", "Janie's Got a Gun", "Love in an Elevator" and "Dream On" among many others successful singles. Aerosmith has left indelible footprints on the landscape of Rock n Roll music with milestone albums such as "Toys in the Attic" (1975), Pumps (1989), and Get a Grip (1993).

The band formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1971. Their classic break through album "Toys in Attic" made them superstars. Over the past three decades they have remained relevant. Their peak years came during the 1980s decade after a string of hit records and iconic stage performances. They became so popular that they were branded in video games and films. They also made various TV appearances developing a loyal fan base along the way that was often referred to as Blue Army.

Their late 80s collaboration of hard rock and Hip Hop was ground breaking in introducing a new genre of music into the mainstream of American popular culture. The mega hit "Walk this Way" with hip hop pioneers Run DMC enabled rap music to be taken seriously by critics. In 2001, Aerosmith were inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. "They currently hold the record for the most gold and platinum albums by an American group" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerosmith). As the biggest selling American rock band in history, it is only right that I named them the 6 greatest rock band ever.

The Voices of the 1990s

Nirvana was an American rock band that defined the 1990s alternative rock era. Their classic two albums Nevermind (1991), and Utero (1993) became blueprints in establishing the group's lead singer Kurt Cobain as the voice of a generation for legions of young rock fans. With mega hits such as Lithium, "In Blum", "Smells like Teen Spirit" and "Heart Shaped Box" they popularized Alternative rock music taking it from its underground roots into the realm of American pop culture.

Though their careers were cut remarkably short after the death of their lead Singer Kurt Cobain in 1994, the band still remained dominant figures for their ground breaking music.

Kurt Cobain was one of the greatest and most iconic rock singers in music history despite his short life and career. To date the rock group Nirvana has sold more than 25 million records within the United States and over 75 million records worldwide. It is why I am naming them the seventh greatest rock band ever

The Mighty Doors

What can one not say about a group that once shocked the world with their unique poetic and dark sound. The doors were one of the first rock groups to openly sing about reptilian evil, bloody vengeance and sexual mischief thus shaping a new era of rock music. The groups front-man Jim Morrison was known for his powerful manic onstage performances which left his audiences in awe of his immense command of the stage.

Born out of Los Angeles California after years of performing on the underground club circuit, the group have gone on to become one of the most beloved and controversial rock bands of all time. Other members besides lead singer Jim Morrison included Ray Manzarek (key boards), Drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger.

The doors sound was as unique as their style. Manzarek's organ work defined the psychedelic experience. Their first major hit "Light my Fire" became one of the most groundbreaking songs of that era blending blues, classical and pop music into a masterpiece of great art, thus creating a sound never heard before. Their success continued with other major hits.

After the death of Jim Morrison from a heart attack in 1971, the band was still a house hold name. But it was their sold out shows and strings of gold and platinum records that would eventually make them true icons within the rock world. They became the first American rock band to have eight consecutive gold LPs. In total the doors have accumulated 19 gold records, 14 platinum and 5 multi-platinum albums in the US alone. The group's global sales is estimated to be around 100 million records sold to date.

Surviving members Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger continues to tour under the names Manzarek and Krieger. The doors were inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of fame in 1993. Their musical legacy continues to inspire numerous rock and pop artists. It is why they are my number 8th pick for greatest rock band ever.

Amazing Eurythmics

The Eurythmics were a British new wave pop and rock duo. The group members consisted of lead vocalist Annie Lennox and singer, songwriter and instrumentalist David A. Stewart. Both Lennox and David were part of previous bands before uniting together to form the Eurythmics. They were also former lovers.

Their first album "In the Garden" (1981) received very little success but their next LP turned the British duo into international superstars. Their second album titled " Sweet Dream Are Made of This" (1983) was a monster hit reaching #2 in the UK and also performed well in the US. The album's title track became a huge hit on MTV turning a young Annie Lennox into an international icon. Her beautiful vocals, blond short hair and gender bending style was grounding breaking during the 1980s rock era. The band's success enabled new wave rock to once again become mainstream. Their third album "Touch" was also successful becoming their first #1 album in the UK. The LP also did well in the US earning gold and platinum certifications. They released a string of hit singles which includes "Who's That Girl", "Here Comes the Rain Again", "Right by Your Side" among many others.

They Eurythmics eventually disbanded in 1990, but has since launched successful solo careers especially lead singer Annie Lennox whose debut solo album Diva (1992) sold more than 2 million copies in the United States Alone. The Eurythmics became one of the most respected rock groups of the 1980s rock era and has since become cultural icons. In 2005, they were inducted into the UK Hall of Fame.

Though their commercial success falls short of the other talents on my list, I still believe that their impact on popular culture has been just as great. It is why I am naming them my number 9th pick for greatest rock band ever.


Rap Metal leaders

Wow, what is there not love about Linkin Park? In my opinion, they are one of the most talented rock bands out there. Since their debut in 2000, the band has gone on to sell over 50 million albums and singles worldwide making them one of the most successful Alternative rock bands of the 21st Century and of all time.

Linkin Park formed in 1996, in Agoura Hills California. The band members consist of Rapper, keyboardist, rhythm guitarist player and main songwriter Mike Shinoda, lead vocalist Charles Bennington, DJ Joe Hahn, bass, guitar player Dave Phoenix Farrell , and Rob Bourdon drums, percussion's.

The group's first album Hybrid theory turned the band into international superstars. Their album's hits include "Crawling" and "One Step Closer" which earned the band their first Grammy. It also made DJ Joe Hahn the first person of Korean decent to ever receive a Grammy.

The group's infusion of alternative, nu metal rock and hip hop was ground breaking in discovering new sounds into the ever more changing genre of rock music. Their debut album to date has sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S and over 24 million worldwide. Their second album was also very successful. It consisted of a string of top 40 Billboard hits which included the masterpieces "Numb", "Somewhere I Belong", "Breaking the Habit" and "faint". The album became the most successful LP in the history of Alternative songs charts selling a record 11 million copies worldwide.

Linkin Park throughout their 12 year career has continued to release successful albums and are due to release a new LP this year. They were also named by 'MTV2 as the six greatest band of the music video era and the third best band of the new millennium behind Oasis and Coldplay' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linkin_Park#Hybrid_Theory_.282000.E2.80.932002.29)

It is why they are my 10th and final pick for greatest rock band ever. This concludes my hub on the Top Ten Greatest Rock Bands. Please leave your comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Which of these rock bands would you crown the greatest ever?

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Comments 12 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Great list! Hard to argue with any of them.


Aarisa profile image

Aarisa 4 years ago from Cleveland, Oh

Hard to narrow down.....all great and yet the list goes on.


Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

Great selection, read and listen!


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Thanks for this awesome top 10 list, i was glad to see my two favorite bands at the top of the list at 1 and 2.

Vote up and more !!! SHARING !


Andrew 4 years ago

I completely agreed with this list until Linkin Park...but great list anyway


Triggerdebate profile image

Triggerdebate 3 years ago

Great article but i have to say the Euythmics don't belong on a list of the great rock bands.Good pop band but simply not a rock band


Patrick 2 years ago

Rock this way...I think you mean walk this way, and I think acdc and Def leppard shouldget a spot in the top 10


Ryan in L.A. 2 years ago

lol Linkin Park. let's throw in C&C Music Factory while we're at it.


Austin 2 years ago

Aerosmith!!!


Nick 2 years ago

I choose Nirvana , The Doors, and Pink Floyd (that it's not in this article but I consider that it was an amazing instrumental band) .Please try to put Pink Floyd in this list too.I will be proud of it.Thank you.


Sharpe79 profile image

Sharpe79 22 months ago from Whitehouse, Texas

I wouldn't class all of those as 'rock' bands. If you are talking rock you should think Black Sabbath, Metallica (although maybe they would be heavy metal), AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Green Day etc. I would maybe also look back to the blues / R&B influences from the likes of John Mayall or the Yardbirds. They helped a lot of guitarists in their early days like Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page.


BlurryGuy profile image

BlurryGuy 3 months ago

I can't believe you didn't list The Who. They are clearly number 3 behind The Beatles and The Stones and before Zeppelin. The Who pioneered the Rock Opera, guitar smashing, the Power Chord, as well as laying the foundations for Metal, Power Pop, Prog Rock, and Punk Rock. They were a primary influence on Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Nirvana, and so many more.

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