For more than 60 years, rock and roll has captivated listeners’ hearts, minds, and ears, with each band bringing a distinctive sound to the genre. Some bands, however, have achieved greater success than others, and their names will live on forever.
To give you a list of the greatest rock bands ever, we took into account their popularity both domestically and internationally, as well as their cultural impact, accomplishments, and more. See if any of your favorite musical artists are on this list by checking…
Deep Purple is an English rock band that has achieved tremendous musical success over the years, from albums sold to awards received. They are renowned as heavy metal pioneers and modern hard workers. The drummer of the band, Chris Curtis, first approached businessman Tony Edwards with the idea of starting a rock band.
It’s obvious that Curtis’s plan was a huge success. For their 1972 performance at London’s Rainbow Theatre, Deep Purple earned the title of “world’s loudest band” in the Guinness Book of World Records. Their volume reached 117 decibels.
This band, named after the gifted lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen, has been tearing up the music scene since its founding in Pasadena, California, in 1972. The reason the band gelled so well was that each member came from a recent immigrant family.
In addition to the outstanding abilities of every member of the band, Eddie’s inventive two-hand “tapping” guitar technique made Van Halen particularly well-known. One of the best-selling bands of all time, Van Halen is ranked 20th on the RIAA list of best-selling artists in the United States as of March 2019.
Another English rock band, Def Leppard, was formed in 1977 during the new wave of British heavy metal. Their success came in the early 1980s. Surprisingly, the band was able to continue playing despite losing their guitarist and drummer, as well as the arm of their drummer, in a car accident.
Def Leppard has topped the music charts not only in England but also in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand despite the tragedy this band has experienced. Singer Joe Elliott’s description of their music as “AC/DC meets Queen” is the best way to sum it up.
The Who was founded in London in 1964 by drummer Keith Moon, guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle, and lead singer Roger Daltrey.
I Can See for Miles, Happy Jack, and “My Generation” are just a few of The Who’s numerous top hits. Additionally, they were listed on the Woodstock playbill by chance. Even after a few of the band members passed away, the ensemble is still on the road.
Guns N’ Roses
LA-based Guns N’ Roses, also known as GNR, is a hard rock group. The band’s original members were vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler when they signed with their label in 1986.
Young and old still enjoy singing along to “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine” today. But back then, due to their rock ‘n’ roll carnage, the band was called one of the most “dangerous bands in the world.”
The only Canadian rock band on this list is Rush (sorry Nickelback). The band, which included Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart, was founded in Toronto in 1968. Everyone initially believed Rush would attempt to imitate Led Zeppelin, but that was not the case.
Rush are renowned for their intricate compositions and varied lyrical themes and were commercially successful in the 1970s. They had music that changed over time, from their sci-fi style songs to reggae rhythms, like many other rock bands of the era. They have largely stopped making music fifty years later, but they have left a significant legacy.
Another wildly popular English rock band that managed to win over fans everywhere is Iron Maiden. Their persevering hard work has contributed to their success in part. 24/7 they were either on the road or in the studio.
The band’s discography has significantly expanded, and they have even provided the soundtrack for a few video games. Iron Maiden has been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, like Judas Priest, but has not yet been admitted.
Long before Metallica became well-known in the mainstream media, it was building its reputation in the underground music scene of the 1980s. However, once it did, it took off. They relocated to LA from San Francisco because, allegedly, LA wasn’t “full of big-haired posers.”
The thrash metal band Metallica has been active and experienced its fair share of both happy and unhappy times. Their darkest moments included Cliff Burton’s death in a tour bus accident in 1986. They have garnered a fervent following as a result of their many achievements over the years and numerous awards and accolades.
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones eventually took the lead with the gritty sound we love with hard rock after starting with the pop-rock sound. Along with their music, they were well-known for their off-stage antics, particularly Mick Jagger’s reputation as an international playboy and Richard’s heavy drug use.
The Rolling Stones have been linked to numerous other incidents, but despite the bad press, their music is what has kept them in the public eye. Younger audiences still connect with the names of the band’s founding members, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, and Keith Richards, when they hear the lyrics “moves like Jagger.”
The Beatles, made up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, are thought to be history’s most influential band. Whether they claim to love them or despise them, everyone on earth is aware of who the Beatles are.
The Beatles produced a wide range of music, mixing various genres to forge a distinctive sound all of their own that led to them becoming the best-selling musical acts of all time by 2020 with over 183 million units sold. Don’t forget to mention that they completed all of that in only eight years of dating.
Did you know that the Australian rock group AC/DC was founded by two Scottish brothers? Most people aren’t aware of that historical fact, but they are familiar with music because they have participated in the international rock and roll scene for the better part of fifty years.
A diverse collection of songs results from five decades of music; this is understandable given how they have evolved as musicians and people over time. They have created everything, from tender, romantic songs suitable for weddings to anthems that can energize a crowd.
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One of the first British psychedelic bands to gain popularity was the rock group Pink Floyd, which is based in London. You can hear clear differences in their sound as they develop over the course of their albums if you give them a good listen. Many Pink Floyd fans enjoy listening to the band’s albums in order to fully grasp how their music changed over time.
Few musicians have enjoyed the level of fame and recognition that Pink Floyd has throughout their career. In addition to their phenomenal sales, Pink Floyd has received recognition for their contribution to modern music by being awarded the Polar Music Prize in 2008 by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. They were also inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
The Eagles were the epitome of California rock when they were founded in Los Angeles, USA, in 1971. With five number-one singles, six number-one albums, six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and 120 million albums sold, The Eagles are one of the most popular bands to emerge from the 1970s.
Many generations still sing along to songs like “Hotel California,” “Take it Easy,” “Desperado,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” and countless others. The Eagles are still touring and packing stadiums despite the fact that Don Felder was fired and Glenn Frey passed away.
In 1970, the rock group Queen was founded in London. Freddie Mercury provided the lead vocals and played the piano for their iconic lineup, which also included Roger Taylor on drums and vocals, Brian May on guitar, and John Deacon on bass.
There are many well-known songs by Queen, but “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” stand out as favorites among fans of sporting events. Queen, which continues to be one of the best-selling bands despite the passing of Mercury in 1991, had a feature film about them called Bohemian Rhapsody released.
We are currently in position one. It should come as no surprise that Led Zeppelin takes the top spot on our list. The band, which featured vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham, was founded in London in 1968.
One of the most successful musical acts of all time, Led Zeppelin has sold between 200 and 300 million records worldwide. They completed eight straight UK number-one albums, six US Billboard 200 number-one albums, and five albums with diamond certification. They were referred to as “the biggest band of the Seventies” and “unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history” by Rolling Stone magazine.