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Top 10 Best Southern Rock Bands

VO: Matt Campbell
Script by George Pacheco Get ready for some bluesy licks, greasy riffs and a whole lot of southern pride. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Southern Rock Bands. For this list, we'll be ranking the most popular and influential bands from the southern rock genre. Special thanks to our user Jimmy Washington for suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Southern+Rock+Bands
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Top 10 Southern Rock Bands

 
Get ready for some bluesy licks, greasy riffs and a whole lot of southern pride. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Southern Rock Bands.
 
For this list, we'll be ranking the most popular and influential bands from the southern rock genre. In other words, we'll be taking a look at groups who originated in the southern United States, and who are often looked to as ambassadors for the style around the world. We'll be omitting the swampy roots-rock of Creedence Clearwater Revival, however, as John Fogerty and the Boys were actually based out of El Cerrito, California.
 

#10: The Black Crowes

 
Hailing from the heart of Georgia, The Black Crowes first burst on to the music scene back in 1989, and released their debut, Shake Your Money Maker, in the Winter of the following year. Fans soon flocked to The Black Crowes and their accessible take on southern rock, which incorporated old school blues and hard rock into a chart topping musical formula. Add to this The Black Crowes' infectious energy on the live stage, and you have one hard rocking band who wear a love of the south proudly on their sleeve.
 
 

#9: Drive-By Truckers

 
The Drive-By Truckers may not be one of the originators of southern rock, but they sure have served as a driving force for the genre in the years since first hitting the scene in 1998 with their debut album, Gangstabilly. There's a sense of melancholy and true southern-style of blues in much of the band's material, the sort of sad honky-tonk vibe which can make even the toughest rockers want to cry lonely tears into their mug of beer. At other times, Drive-By Truckers hit hard with some impressively strong guitar work, passionate vocals and a progressive songwriting sensibility exemplified by their ambitious 2001 double album, Southern Rock Opera.
 
 
 

#8: Alabama Shakes

 
Hard hitting blues and righteous soul are just two of the immediate markings which make up the musical landscape of Alabama Shakes. This group strikes with power and passion on songs like "Hold On" and "Don’t Wanna Fight”, both of which present Alabama Shakes as a vital and energetic new force for modern southern rock. Much of this success is thanks to the charismatic presence and impressive musical talents of frontwoman Brittany Howard, who leads Alabama Shakes as one of the most promising bands in years to fly the southern rockflag.
 
 

#7: Outlaws

 
Sure, you may be more than familiar with Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird," but have you heard the OTHER famous, southern rock epic? If not, then get ready for the ten minute majesty which is "Green Grass and High Tides," by The Outlaws. The group formed in the late sixties and quickly earned a reputation as one of the most musically dexterous bands around while enjoying a career as one of the most popular contenders for the southern rock crown. Smooth vocals, driving drums and lead guitar to die for are just a few of the elements which make the Outlaws southern rock legends.
 
 

#6: ZZ Top

 
Is there any other southern rock band out there with a visual style as defining as that of ZZ Top? The dark sunglasses and long beards of lead vocalist Billy Gibbons and bassist Dusty Hill, matched with the less-scruffy rhythm section of Frank Beard just evokes an immediate mental image inside the listener's head of what ZZ Top is all about. The band have also possessed the musical chops to back up their MTV-friendly image, thanks to a diet of classic blues and an arsenal of killer riffs from Gibbons. They're Texas' finest power trio: often imitated, but never duplicated...they are ZZ Top.
 
 
 

#5: The Marshall Tucker Band

 
Smooth, soulful and contemplative...this is the sound of The Marshall Tucker Band, one of South Carolina's finest exports to the world of southern rock. The group has seen a revolving door of membership over the years since first forming back in 1972, while in the process laying much of the groundwork over what would define southern rock in their wake. The soothing tone of Jerry Eubanks and his flute are just one of the elements which make The Marshall Tucker Band stand out from their fellow southern rockers, combined with the group's incorporation of slide guitar and smooth country soul into their sound. The results are a refreshing and sensitive alternative in the often traditional world of old school southern rock.
 
 

#4: The Charlie Daniels Band

 
There are few southern rock musicians out there with a resume or pedigree as impressive as that of Charlie Daniels. This North Carolina native has done it all, from performing as a session musician with the likes of Bob Dylan, to writing songs for Elvis Presley, yet the man's biggest hit surely must be the karaoke classic "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." The 1979 track makes excellent use of Daniels' evocative speaking voice as he narrates a musical battle between a man and The Devil, with the man's soul hanging in the balance. The Charlie Daniels Band wasn't a one hit wonder, however, as he continued to compose elaborate and theatrical southern rock throughout the eighties, nineties and beyond.
 
 

#3: 38 Special

 
Southern Rock for the 1980s. This phrase does a good job of describing the career arc of the Floridian group known as 38 Special, which was formed back in 1974 by southern rock royalty. Donnie Van Zant, brother of Lynard Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant, combined his southernrock roots with a smart and memorable accessibility; one which was tailor-made for the arena rock and hair metal scenes that were popular during this time. 38 Special remain a timeless southern rock act, thanks to such enduring radio hits as "Hold On Loosely," "Second Chance" and "Caught Up in You."
 

#2: The Allman Brothers Band

 
Guitars, guitars and more guitars. Ask any fan of The Allman Brothers Band, and they will likely point to this aspect as the groups most important selling point. Duane Allman and Dickey Betts were wizards of the fretboard, trading fiery licks and epic harmonies one minute, before cooling it down for some soul-stripping, emotional blues work. The Allman Brothers Band incorporated everything from jazz, country and soul into their musical stew, developing a powerful sound which came across even better in the live arena. Sadly, the band would suffer a tragic loss when Duane Allman was killed in a 1971 motorcycle accident, but they will always be remembered with an eternal spot in southern rock history.
 
 
Before we name our number one Southern Rock group, here are a few honorable mentions!
 
Ram Jam
 
Kings of Leon
 
Blackfoot
 
Molly Hatchet
 
 

#1: Lynyrd Skynyrd

 
It may not surprise anyone that Florida's Lynyrd Skynyrd tops our list of southern rock greats, but it's also no secret that the group were one of the hardest working and hardest partying bands of their day. Blazing guitars, ultra-accomplished songwriting and the anthemic vocals of Ronnie Van Zant all led to Skynyrd's domination throughout 1970s and beyond. Tragically, a plane crash would claim the lives of Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, his sister Cassie, and road manager Dean Kilpatrick in October of 1977. The magic of Lynyrd Skynyrd would not be forgotten in the years to follow, and the surviving members and fans continue to celebrate the band's music to this day.
 
Do you agree with our list? Which Southern Rock band do you think deserves top honors? For more hard hitting top ten lists, published every day, please subscribe to WatchMojo.com!
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