Top 10 Greatest Rock Bands

These groups defined rock and roll. Whether you play hard rock, heavy metal, progressive rock or any of rock’s related genres, it’s all music to our ears. For this list, we’re picking the bands based on a mix of their influence, their success in sales, the quality and enduring legacy of their music, as well as the band’s industrious nature and how prolific they are. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 greatest rock bands of all time. Special thanks to our users Shaun Vega, Mikewayne for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Credits
Tags
Comments

You must login to access this feature

Transcript
These groups defined rock and roll. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 greatest rock bands of all time.

For this list, we’re picking the bands based on a mix of their influence, their success in sales, the quality and enduring legacy of their music, as well as the band’s industrious nature and how prolific they are.

#10: Radiohead


After gaining popularity with the rise of alternative rock, Radiohead proved they weren’t a one-note band with OK Computer’s more complex sound and abstract themes. This paved the Brits’ way to branch out to other genres and achieve international critical and commercial success. Radiohead remains one of the most highly regarded musical acts for their consistently original and innovative music.

#9: The Beach Boys


They initially rose to fame with their smooth vocal harmonies and carefree, California-inspired surf rock tunes. And soon, the talents and chart success of “America’s band” gave rise to their being touted as worthy rivals to The Beatles. The Beach Boys then confirmed their musical skills by diversifying their sound and can now boast over 100 million albums sold worldwide.

#8: U2


It’s hard to deny Bono’s passionate onstage performances and vocal chops aren’t a big reason why U2 is one of the world’s biggest bands. But there’s also The Edge’s distinctive guitar and the band’s live chemistry that have contributed to their international popularity. Following chart-topping success and critical acclaim, U2 haven’t been afraid to reinvent themselves. Add the world’s highest-grossing tour and U2 is also one of the best-selling artists in history.

#7: Metallica


After their early fast-paced and aggressive sound and complex compositions positioned them as one of thrash metal’s “Big Four,” Metallica turned their underground following into mainstream popularity with The Black Album. With their technically astounding performances, multiple Grammys and chart-topping albums, these leaders of the genre are also one of the most commercially successful metal bands ever.

#6: The Who


These Brits cemented their reputation as a destructive but entertaining live act thanks to Pete Townshend’s loud and fast guitars, Keith Moon’s wild and sensational drumming and Roger Daltrey’s adaptable vocals. After setting the blueprint for the rock opera with Tommy, they took over the airwaves and found a spot within the Billboard top 10 with every subsequent album thanks to their rebellious yet ambitious rock ‘n’ roll.

#5: The Rolling Stones


How could “the greatest rock and rock band in the world” not make this list? Put Keith Richards’ unforgettable guitar playing beside Mick Jagger’s expressive vocals and uninhibited showmanship and throw in the rest of the members’ musical abilities and the result is an energetic and hook-laden bluesy hard rock sound unlike any other. To top things off, the band formed in 1962 and are STILL going strong today.

#4: Pink Floyd


With their introspective lyrics, studio experimentation, and effects-heavy, extravagant shows, Pink Floyd influenced countless later acts. These progressive and psychedelic rockers used their many talents, especially David Gilmour’s evocative, blues-inspired guitar, to attract millions of fans and win multiple Grammys. Meanwhile, their concept albums revealed the band’s unique artistic vision, and solidified their popularity and success.

#3: Queen


By incorporating opera, heavy metal, progressive and hard rock, Queen created some of the greatest classic rock melodies ever. With Freddie Mercury’s theatrical vocals and lively stage presence and Brian May’s incredible guitar abilities, the Brits scored big with the unconventional but highly appealing “Bohemian Rhapsody.” They then became radio favorites with their catchy anthems, which subsequently led them to selling out stadiums worldwide and cemented their reputation as a live act.

#2: Led Zeppelin


What do you get when you bring together Robert Plant’s bluesy vocals, Jimmy Page’s guitar solos, John Bonham’s thunderous bass drum and John Paul Jones’ timeless bass lines? An innovative and unmatched sound that blends blues, hard rock and folk. But that’s not all: thanks to their incomparable live performances, willingness to experiment and wild offstage behavior, Led Zeppelin became the biggest band of the 1970s. With over 200 million albums sold and multiple accolades, the heavy metal forerunners also ensured their influence would reach over the hills and far away.

Honorable Mentions


The Doors
Nirvana
The Ramones
Black Sabbath
The Clash

#1: The Beatles


The “Fab Four” nickname says it all. But if you’d like a little more justification for their top spot, what about their 7 Grammys, 15 UK chart-topping albums, 20 Billboard Hot 100 number-ones, and more than 1 billion units sold worldwide? While these stats are undoubtedly impressive, it’s the way The Beatles changed the musical landscape with their creative output that really lands them here. As their sound evolved, they became known for genre experimentation, technological innovations and refined songwriting that are simply unparalleled and took over the world like no one else.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the greatest band of all time? With new top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
Download

You must register to a corporate account to download. Please login

Related Videos

+ see more

More Top 10