Ten Greatest Rock Bands of All Time

Who dares compile such a list?

There have been a multitude of rock bands, of course, many of them spectacular. Who can pick the best? What the heck, I'll try. I've been around for awhile, since all the oldest bands on the list have been in existence - say, 1962. The list only includes bands whose forte is good ol' rock ‘n' roll. No players of blues, rhythm and blues, funk, soul, folk, hip-hop - much less jazz or other dissimilar genres - are included on this list. Moreover, all of these bands has (or had) a distinctive sound that few can imitate, dare they try. All of the bands were together for years - or decades or still perform - and made an indelible mark on the world of rock ‘n' roll.

(Please watch the videos below the text.)

1. The Beatles

What more can anybody say about The Beatles? John, Paul, George and Ringo became household names back in 1964 – in the UK and USA, at least. Soon they became known as the Fabulous Four or Fab Four. By the late 1960s many people thought they were sent here to save the world. Fancy that notion, eh? Perhaps their best album, Revolver, was VH1’s pick for best album of all time. Back in1967, during the psychedelic era, many of us marveled at their enigmatic, post-acid lyrics. Some examples were: “The walrus was Paul . . . Lucy in the sky with diamonds . . . When ignorance and haste may mourn the dead.” Yeah, right, gimme a hit!

Then that Japanese artist chick Yoko Ono broke them up. Or did she? Perhaps a more likely possibility is that aspirations for solo careers sent them in other directions. At any rate, we’ll probably never see their like again. But people must try to bring them back in some fashion. Currently, the Cirque du Soleil production of Love in Las Vegas is a musical production based on the Beatles’ music. Hey, Strawberry Fields Forever!

2. Led Zeppelin

I’ll never forget listening to the first album by Led Zeppelin. This was truly incredible music! I’d never heard anything like Jimmy Page’s searing, hyperkinetic guitar slinging or Robert Plant’s otherworldly screaming, chanting and howling, and the other musicians were decidedly above average as well. The lead riff from the song “Dazed and Confused” is forever implanted in my gray matter – I may die contemplating it! Perhaps the band’s best album was Houses of the Holy, including its smash hits “Dancing Days,” “The Rain Song” and “No Quarter.”

And the Zep didn’t let me down for 12 years, though there was a drop-off in quality material during and after the double album Physical Graffiti (but who can forget the tantric “Kashmir”?) Then in 1980 drummer John Bonham died and the band broke up. Incidentally, in 2000, VH1 voted Led Zeppelin the number one greatest hard rock band. The Zep had a reunion concert at the end of 2007, and plans for a reunion “tour” have been in the works, but it will probably never happen.

The Stones in 2012
The Stones in 2012

3. The Rolling Stones

In 1962 Brian Jones brought together the members of a rhythm and blues band that would become The Rolling Stones. Their list of classic albums is long: Out of Our Heads, Aftermath, Their Satanic Majesties Request, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Mainstreet. Unfortunately, the band transmogrified after the death of guitarist/musicologist Brian Jones in July 1969. Some rock purists think the Rolling Stones were never as good afterwards. The Stones’ sponsored Altamont bummer concert in December 1969, where a Hell’s Angel stabbed a black man to death, may not have helped their group psyche as well.

Be that as it may, about this time, the band began trumpeting themselves as the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world. Evidence of this could be their live album Flashpoint, released in 1991. Rock never sounded so good. At any rate, their longevity certainly speaks for itself, as the band performed at the 12/12/12 Concert, highlighting a tour to celebrate 50 years of rocking out.

4. The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Reputedly, blues guitarist’s Eric Clapton’s jaw dropped when he heard Jimi Hendrix play Howlin Wolf’s “Killing Floor.” I’ll bet many jaws went south when The Jimi Hendrix Experience, the eponymous power trio, hit the music scene in the UK the latter part of 1966. The group lasted only four years or so, changing bass players and drummers a time or two (Mitch Mitchell was the drummer on all albums except Band of Gypsies, on which Buddy Miles played drums and sang vocals.) But the band’s leader, Jimi Hendrix, quickly established himself as the most explosive and inventive guitarist around and to this day is often considered the greatest rock guitarist of all time. (Rolling Stone magazine voted him as such in 2003.) Perhaps the band’s greatest songs were “Purple Haze,” “Foxy Lady,” “All Along the Watchtower” and “Machine Gun.”

Then, in the fall of 1970, Hendrix was planning to record an album with jazz great Miles Davis. Wouldn’t that have been incredible! Unfortunately, the band’s stardom was cut short by the death of Jimi Hendrix in September 1970. Well, to use an astronomical metaphor - appropriate somehow - blue giant stars, because they’re so enormous, burn out in a relatively quick and spectacular fashion, ending in a cataclysmic explosion known as a supernova. Yes, they go – BOOM! Alas, poor Jimi ended likewise.

5. Pink Floyd

Few rock bands have been as influential as Pink Floyd, which formed in 1965. Pink Floyd has sold over 200 million records and still performs from time to time. Their first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, was released during the Summer of Love in 1967. Perhaps the album’s greatest hit was “Interstellar Overdrive,” a decidedly psychedelic title and tune, during a very trippy time, if you remember. In 1965, lead guitarist Syd Barrett, suffering from mental problems, was replaced by his friend David Gilmour. The band has produced numerous hit albums over the years, particularly classics such as The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. After breaking up in 1996, Pink Floyd reunited for the Live 8 concert in 2005. Sadly, Syd Barrett died in July 2006, but Pink Floyd’s space music will never perish.

U2 in 2015
U2 in 2015

6. U2

U2 seems to be one of the most popular musical acts in the world – and a band with a social conscience. One of their first songs, 1983’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” commemorated the slaughter of civilians during upheavals in IRA-embattled Ireland. The band was also prominent at the Live-Aid (for Africa) concerts in 1985. Bono, the lead singer of the group, remains a social activist on the world scene, visiting trouble spots with the regularity of a United Nations ambassador. Of course, U2 has written ballads too, perhaps most prominently “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” featured on their album Joshua Tree, rated number 15 on VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Rock Albums of All Time, compiled in 2001. If any rock group lasts as long - or even longer - than the Rolling Stones, it may be U2.

7. Aerosmith

No American rock band has won more awards and honors – and sold more albums - than Aerosmith. Formed in the early 1970s, this Boston-based band developed a hard rock cutting edge that rivaled that of other hard rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and AC/DC, though some critics considered them nothing more than a poor man’s Rolling Stones. Perhaps the band’s greatest hit is “Walk This Way,” covered by numerous groups, including the hip-hop band Run D.M.C. But it has been a bumpy ride for these guys. By the middle 1980s virtually every band member ended up in drug rehab, and the band didn’t rebound until every member swore off the contraband by the end of the decade. Since then, they've rocked. So, regarding rock longevity, only the Rolling Stones top these aging, though potent, rockers.

Santana in 1971
Santana in 1971
Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana

8. Santana

A San Francisco Bay Area group that went stellar is Santana, which started as the Santana Blues Band, led by lead guitarist Carlos Santana. The band’s Latin-flavored rock ‘n’ roll became a quick sensation in San Francisco’s concert scene. Notably, the band became famous before the release of its first album by playing at Woodstock in August 1969. Over the years, their top-grossing albums have been Abraxas in 1970 and, in 1999, Supernatural, something of a comeback effort after many years of low record sales and no recording contract. Santana has undergone numerous personnel changes over the years, but Carlos Santana certainly hasn’t retired to the old folks’ home. He’s recorded and toured with such notables as Buddy Miles, John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, Alice Coltrane, Stanley Clarke, Herbie Hancock, Vernon Reid and Eric Clapton. And, in 2016, classic band members regrouped, releasing the album Santana IV and its hit single, “Anywhere You Want to Go.”

Frontman Eddie Vedder
Frontman Eddie Vedder

9. Pearl Jam

A multitude of rock fans fell in love with the first album by the Seattle grunge band Pearl Jam. Ten, released in 1991, is certainly one of the greatest rock albums of all time. VH1 listed it as number 79 on the list of 100 Greatest Rock Albums of All Time. (Way too low, don’t you think?) Anyway, members of Pearl Jam thought enough of their fans to sue Ticketmaster because they thought it was charging too much for tickets to their concerts (they wanted to keep the price below $20 per ticket). Unfortunately, the band lost the lawsuit. After many changes in personnel over the years - though lead singer Eddie Vedder remains the group’s main man - the band continues touring and cutting albums. Moreover, many of their performances have been recorded and released on CDs (bootlegs of such are available too).

10. Queen

Queen is certainly one of the most innovative, progressive and experimental rock bands of all time, producing such timeless hits as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Somebody to Love,” “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You.” Having sold as many as 300 million albums worldwide, Queen has been one of the most commercially successful rock bands as well. Forming in 1971 and producing their first album in 1973, Queen’s best days featured Freddie Mercury on lead vocals, Brian May on lead guitar and Roger Taylor on drums. Generally, critics have loved Queen’s music too, as their singles and albums have landed on numerous “best of” lists such as A Night at the Opera, voted number 16 on Q magazine’s list of the 50 Best British Albums Ever, compiled in 2004.

Since the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991, Queen has continued recording and touring, now a legendary assemblage of exemplary rockers with a list of accolades and awards too long to put in this meager space.

Fab Four

The Zep

The Stones

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Pink Floyd




Pearl Jam


© 2008 Kelley

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Comments 371 comments

Izzy 7 days ago

The Eagles are my favourite rock band of all time.!! amen!

Gary Smith 2 weeks ago


Tyler Smith 4 weeks ago

The list should be like this:

1. Led Zeppelin

2. The Rolling Stones

3. The Beatles

4. Pink Floyd

5. Queen

6. The Who

7. The Clash

8. The Velvet Underground

9. The Jimi Hendrix Experience

10. The Smiths

Jim 7 weeks ago

Ranking just below the Beatles and the Stones are The Who in the great triumvirate of British rock. Everything after that is almost meaningless.

Yoshi Wall 8 weeks ago

The Who being left out is a crime.

Boomer Music Man 2 months ago

These are one of the best rock bands of all times. Just Great

Danh 2 months ago

The Beatles. Liverpool, since 1960- 1970.

The Tielman Brothers. Den Haag, Since 1947–1990. The Tielman Brothers more older than The Beatlles.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 20 months ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, bonmotsminot. Hey, just about everybody puts Hendrix on a list such as this - and for good reason. Otherwise, after one through five, the field is entirely open. Later!

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bonmotsminot 20 months ago from Wellington, New Zealand

The Clash, the Eagles and the Band should be on there (and scratch Pearl Jam, Santana and JH Experience). It's all subjective though -depends what music you like.

STEVE 2 years ago

Black Sabbath Not many bands invent a genre of music

Laura335 profile image

Laura335 2 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

I'm sending this to my sister. She should be pleased.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, Ashleyjordano1. I also think the Beatles and U2 are great picks for this illustrious list. Later!

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ashleyjordan01 2 years ago from North Hollywood, CA

Hats off to these rock bands, who have entertained every genre with their enthusiastic music & good composition. Though my personal favorite band is the Beatles & U2

Eliken 2 years ago

Wow nobody listing AC DC or Tom Petty, can't ignore ticket sales and album sales over 35 years time.

Altairius 2 years ago

Brilliant idea, including a few bands you know don't belong there in order to get more comments/complaints (all publicity is good).

just sayin' 2 years ago

Swap Led Zeppelin with The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd with U2 and you have a more accurate list.

Juancmn 2 years ago

I agree with your list. The only change I would make would be to swap U2 for The Who....


pinballsmith 2 years ago

The list is pretty good, but Rush does deserve a spot somewhere.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Pearl Jam has influenced numerous bands, the musicians are very good and the band has been very successful. (Who hasn't imitated Eddie Vedder's singing style?) They've also been around for a long time. Of course they belong on this list. Later!

JG 2 years ago

James, if the list was about importance alone; Hendrix would have to rank at #3, behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones ONLY.

Since it's not just about that; Hendrix' position drops.

JG 2 years ago

James, I think you're forgetting to take into account a factor that's just as relevant as commercial/chart success (which you mentioned in your previous comments), which is the IMPORTANCE (impact and influence generated) of the bands.

The impact and the influence The Jimi Hendrix Experience had for the short period they were together was so huge that it it makes up for their lack of mainstream success.

For a list like this to be as objective as possible, you have to balance the 2 main factors that make a band "great" and those are SUCCESS allied with IMPORTANCE.

Under your criteria, bands that achieved huge success, but were not influential/impactful should be ranked in the Top 10 as well. Would you agree if bands like the Eagles, the Bee Gees and ABBA (which are some of the most successful bands ever) were ranked in the Top 10? Probably not.

It's about finding a balance between the 2 factors.

And I agree with you Santana should be nowehere near the Top 10 and neither should Pearl Jam.

Bostonboy 2 years ago

How could Cream be left off of most of these lists? Just ask any rock band that followed them about their influence. How could a band with those three musicians not be included? Cream begat Zeppelin and so on.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Hey, James, Hendrix is here because he's influenced "everybody," to put it mildly. You're right about one thing, though, he wasn't around for very long. As for Santana, they produced many great albums back in the 1970s, and the band these days is still great, and Carlos plays as well as ever. Later!

James 2 years ago

Kosmo "Perhaps the other bands don't belong where they are - who's to say?"

We'll I guess you're saying. It's your list ,right? Jimi Hendrix may belong on the top 10 list of greatest electric guitarist, but that does not mean that The Jimi Hendrix Experience is the 4th greatest band ever. They have only 3 studio albums, only 1 of which hit number 1. All 3 albums sold around 7 million copies, far less than these other bands. His best single "All Along the Watchtower" hit number 20 and no other single was in the top 50. He is no doubt a great guitarist, but The Jimi Hendrix Experience has not hit the top 10 in greatness.

And I'm still scratching my head about Santana belonging on this list???



Bob 2 years ago

Mine would probably go:

1.Pink Floyd


3.Led Zeppelin (only because of Stairway and Kashmir)


5.The Beatles (only putting them here because of how they changed music-not because I like them)

6.The Who

7.The Doors

8.Fleetwood Mac

9.Lynyrd Skynyrd

10.Rolling Stones


Also Muse (their one of if not my favourite bands, I just don't think they can compete in terms of 'greatness'), U2, Aerosmith, Hendrix, The Eagles, Interpol and Bastille are amazing

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Hey, James, perhaps the other bands don't belong where they are - who's to say? But Jimi belongs at number four. Later!

James 2 years ago

Although Jimi Hendrix was a great guitarist and highly respected, has he really produced the volume of work necessary to compete with some of these other groups? His death made him an icon that can cloud peoples judgement. I respectfully disagree that he is #4. And Santana and Pearl Jam above Queen? Don't think so.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, redfive. There are plenty of UK bands on this list, perhaps too many. As for the more contemporary bands, I haven't heard a lot of them. Could any of them be as good as the top ten I have here? Later!

redfive profile image

redfive 2 years ago from California, USA

Hey, can you write another one but with focus on Brit Pop? Keen to know how you're going to rank Oasis, Blur, Stone Roses, Suede, etc :)

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Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, Thief12. I've done very well with this hub by attracting numerous rock enthusiasts such as yourself. Later!

Thief12 profile image

Thief12 2 years ago from Puerto Rico

Good list. Obviously, I would add or subtract some, but it's still a nice list covering most of the bases.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, Tim McCabe. Writing about classic rock bands is certainly one of my hobbies. Glad you enjoyed it. Later!

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TimMcCabe 2 years ago from Gloucester, NJ

Great Hub. I always enjoy reading about music, especially many of the classic rock bands you named. Totally agree with your top 2 and understand why the Stones are 3.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, redfive. I love making these lists, and the harder they are to produce, the more fun they are. Later!

redfive profile image

redfive 2 years ago from California, USA

I always find it extremely difficult to pick my Top 10 -- but, hey.. thanks for this list. Voted up!

Hubb 2 years ago

Why are The Stones behind Zeppelin?

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

iguidenetwork, thanks very much for the interesting and thought-provoking comment. We could use more of those for this article. Later!

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iguidenetwork 2 years ago from Austin, TX

Most say the Beatles are overrated. But well, had they lived in the 1960s, things were different then. The many things that the Beatles did were unprecedented. In their time especially, they became the most innovative band ever, and this is still true today. Not only did they change the face of music and songwriting, but also in fashion, and culture. Their appeal transcends to people of all races and generations. And most of the other bands in your list have been influenced by them. So I won't say they're overrated.

Udit 3 years ago

There is no such definite list as the top ten greatest bands. Everyone has their own such list. Mine goes like this

1.The Who


3.Pink Floyd

4.The Rolling Stones

5.Bon Jovi

6.Led Zeppelin

7.Guns N Roses

8.The Beatles

9.The Doors


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

Hey, Slohan, Cream ranks as the best rock trio of all time. Ain't that high enough for you? And Blind Faith only produced one album, certainly not enough to make this illustrious assemblage. Later!

Slohan 3 years ago

You all missed Cream and or Blind Faith certainly you haven't forgotten Layla one of the greatest songs ever

InMyRoom 3 years ago

hell yeah the 4 Seasons belong on the list, they were phenomenal! frankie valli is the man

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

Hey, AlexdrinkH2o, I like the Four Seasons, but they didn't qualify for this list. Sorry, every band can't make it. Weren't they kind of an early boy band, anyway? Later!

InMyRoom 3 years ago

I gotta reiterate THE BEACH BOYS. NOTHING, NOTHING beats the Beach Boys, not even the Beatles! The Beatles were only a band til 1966 and then the last 3 years after the excessive of the time waned on their output, yeah it was good for what it was but they knew when it quit. Rock n' Roll declined immensely after Good Vibrations. But no other group compares to the brilliance of Brian Wilson, and any list that excludes them or doesn't put them at the top is bogus.

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AlexDrinkH2O 3 years ago from Southern New England, USA

How on earth could Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons NOT be on this list? Hey guys (and gals) -- I got news for you -- rock music did NOT begin in 1965. Think: Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Dion and the Belmonts, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Johnny Maestro and the Crests, Jay and the Americans, Bill Haley and the Comets, etc. etc. Most of the "bands" today couldn't carry these guys shoelaces.

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Ali Torabi 3 years ago from NY

Very Clever.

The Beatles with two legendary crews John lennon and Sir Paul McCartney will be on TOP all the time.

InMyRoom 3 years ago

Number one greatest rock band- the Beach Boys. There wasn't a single other group that had a more brilliant composer-producer-arranger than Brian Wilson. I mean who doesn't agree with that? NO ONE

Anyone who would give the Beatles the top spot is beyond ignorant, its sad... very sad.

U2 3 years ago

I think U2 should be ahead of Floyd

mike 3 years ago

This is real easy and simple

#1 Rush

Now the others...... and so on

nazoo 3 years ago

this is the one of the most worst list i've ever seen. Queen must be 1#. Only beatles ,led are tolerable. Queen is most innovative band of all time including bohemian rhapsody, the great king rat .we will rock you ,we are the champions, the millionair's waltz ,liar. they are really innovative. Ahead of their time.

nanzo 3 years ago



3)led zeppelin

4)pink floyd


6)guns n roses

TOP 4 3 years ago

No solo artists included.

1) THE BEATLES - Absolute no-brainer:

- best-selling act of all time (over 1 billion sales)

- best-charting act of all time (top the all-time Billboard ranking)

- most praised, respected, important, influential, groundbreaking and impactul act of the 20th century (won the first Grammy by a Pop/Rock act and top most "best of" lists - almost infinite amount of accomplishments)

- most longevus act of all time (their "1" album is the best-selling album of the 2000s - 40 years after the band split up).

2) THE ROLLING STONES - Easy pick for 2nd place:

- top 5 best-selling band of all time (over 200 million sales)

- 2nd best-charting band in the history of the Billboard (behind The Beatles only)

- most important, influential and impactful Rock band of all time (wrote the book of Rock'n'Roll - every Rock band owes something to them directly or not)

- most longevus active group of all time (50 years of existence and still breaking records tour after tour)

3) LED ZEPPELIN - greatest band of the 70's:

- 5th best-selling act and 2nd best-selling band of all time (300 million sales)

- responsible for one of the greatest songs of all-time (Stairway To Heaven)

- greatest, most important, influential and impactful Hard Rock band of all time (regarded as the originators of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal)

- extremely longevus (still have a huge following)

4) U2 - greatest band of the 80's:

- top 15 best-selling act of all time (150 million sales)

- one of the few bands that can still hit high in the charts (last UK number 1 single in 2005)

- most successful group in the history of the Grammy Award (22); extremely important and influential, especially in the 80's (highly regarded as the greatest band of the last 30 years and the last "dinosaurs" of Rock music)

- compete with The Rolling Stones for the title of greatest and most successful touring band ever

Facts don't lie - I challenge anyone to come up with a better Top 4, including Kosmo, and give better RATIONAL, LOGICAL unbiased reasons for it. Cheers!

LOL 3 years ago

JoBlo, U2 are the biggest band in the world on the last 30 years. They sell out WORLDWIDE stadium concerts almost every year since they started.

Not to mention they are the most influential band of the 80's with considerable ease.

You'd have to be a pretty irrational person not to put U2 in the Top 10.

JoBlow 3 years ago

U2 number 7 are you crazy they are normal average band Edge is playing the same rift for the las 30 years come on wake up

Marco 3 years ago

I'm sorry for you all, but if the list doesn't include Deep Purple, The Velvet Underground and (maybe) Triana, is not useful. Very sad for you all.

Deep Purple is at the same level that Led Zeppelin (as some other bands are). You are obsessed with LZ. No one's fault that Deep Purple made every LP different and complicated, you should listen to every one of them carefully, including soul and funky ones.

The Velvet Underground is on top five too, easily.

Triana is not renowned internationally, not even in Spain as it deserves, but 100 years from now, will be considered one of the biggest bands in the whole world.

Don't be obsessed, guys, calm yourself and open your minds.

-- 3 years ago

It will always be The Beatles vs The Stones, man. It's the ultimate rivalry in Rock music and every band pretty much comes from those two.

For that alone, they should top the list.

KIINA POIKA 3 years ago

1 Nirvana

2 Iron Maiden

3 Rage against the machine

4 Red Hot Chili Peppers

5 Led Zeppelin


7 Rammstein

8 Mayhem

9 Doors

10 Sex pistols

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

You Brits should be proud this list is dominated by UK rockers of great stature. Hey, don't bitch about it - simply enjoy. Later!

Agree 3 years ago

Cualquiera, I couldn't agree more with you. I have been in Britain with that same illusion of the image that we get from their past.

The fact is that Britain, which used to be the center of the world in terms of Pop culture for a few decades since the 60's, has become completely isolated and truly irrelevant since the 90's.

They try to emulate the Rock N Roll and Pop culture that was so present in the past, but fail to do so because it's become out of time. So they end up with crappy marginalized and segregated overhyped depressing indie bands being the icons of new generations.

The main responsibles for that: Oasis. They started it all and absolutely destroyed Britain in terms of Pop culture and had such a huge negative impact that it isolated them from the rest of the world.

Now, all the bands want to be "anti-establishment" (because they can't relate to the rest of the world) and you get all these people with an attitude making music and it keeps spreading.

Unfourtunately, if you want to find nice people in Britain, stay away from people who enjoy Rock music.

JG 3 years ago

Nothing will ever be as impactful, groundbreaking and influential as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones when it comes to Rock bands. That's pretty much consensus amongst music critics nowadays. I mean, they paved the way to everyone that followed in the 60's and 70's.

Zeppelin is a close third, though.

WHAT? 3 years ago

Dee, you think Led Zeppelin was more influential than The Beatles and The Doors more important to Rock music than The Roling Stones?? Jagger and Richards pretty much singlehandedly wrote the book of Rock N Roll, more than any other artist in the world.

Sorry, but it seems that your based strictly on the weight of your own personal taste for music, as far as I can see.

This is it, man 3 years ago

1 - The Beatles

2 - The Rolling Stones

3 - Led Zeppelin

4 - Pink Floyd

5 - U2

6 - Queen

7 - The Beach Boys

8 - The Who

9 - Ramones

10 - The Clash

Anonymous 3 years ago

Wonderful list, but it was already predictable.

eriberto nunez 3 years ago

no# 1 beatles,,,no #2 rolling stones, no# 3 led zepplin,no # 4 the who no#5 fleetwood mac no#6 the doors no#7 cream no#8 the dave clark 5 no#9 ramones no#10 the police

royaljam 3 years ago

Led Zep

Jimi Hendrix Experience


The Who

Allman Brothers


New York Dolls


Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

Neil Young and Crazy Horse

and no. 11 The Band

Rick 3 years ago


2-Rolling Stones

3-Led Zeppelin

4-Pink Floyd

5-The Who


7-The Eagles

8-The Allman Brothers Bad


10-The Doors

Gabe 3 years ago

OK, Kosmo. Without the slash:

1 - The Beatles

2 - The Rolling Stones - how do you not put them at #2? Those guys did not only change music, but changed the WORLD, culturally and socially, in the 60s, together with The Beatles.

3 - Led Zeppelin

4 - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

5 - Pink Floyd

6 - U2

7 - Queen

8 - The Beach Boys

9 - The Who

10 - The Ramones

11 - The Clash


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

Okay, Gabe, your list looks a lot like mine. But it's not fair using a slash, even for Hendrix or the Clash. Hey! Later!

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

Okay, Gabe, people without lists can trash talk with impunity. Now let's see YOUR LIST. Put it right here, dude, and we'll see how much rock acumen you possess. Later!

Gabe 3 years ago

I think it would make a lot more sense to have Nirvana on the list than Pearl Jam. Nirvana's impact and influence simly cannot be overlooked.

But hey... it's your list.


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

Hey, Jon, I like Nirvana very much, but I think Pearl Jam is much better, and they've been together longer too, which always counts for a lot. That's why Pearl Jam, the best grunge band, I figure, is on this list. Later!

Jon 3 years ago

I was disappointed that you did not include Nirvana on your list. Nirvana is what started the grunge movement, and Kurt Cobain's songwriting is put together to become more than just a catchy song. Nirvana made the 90s, and they will never be forgotten.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

The Who are definitely one of the best rock bands of all time, but the list stands as it is for now. Hey, I've already changed it twice. Later!

Who are you 3 years ago

Exactly. You don't think they deserve a place in the Top 10?

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

If you're referring to the best of the so-called British Invasion, taking place around 1965, that would probably include the Beatles, the Stones and the Who. Hey! Later!

Who are you 3 years ago

Not according to especialists, Kosmo. Led Zeppelin is from a later wave of bands that did not have the same cultural and social impact as the greatest bands of the 60s.

They don't have the same relation. It's the Holy Trinity of ROCK, the originators of all the other bands; not Heavy Metal.

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Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

This Trinity about which you write would include the Beatles, Stones and Led Zeppelin. Come on! Later!

Who are you 3 years ago

THE WHO must be included in any decent Top 10 greatest bands list. Impossible to overlook their influence on Rock music. The're referred to as the band that completes the Holy Trinity of British Rock, the other two being The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I mean, come on!

I'd easily have The Who over Aerosmith, Pearl Jam and Santana, without a blink.

guitarX 3 years ago

idiots saying that the who rush or bullsh** the best are easily led zepplin and beatles and pink floyd and rolling stones and jimmi hendrix

i agree that guns n roses are awesome and nirvana and rhcp but those are bands who are just 20 years ago well led zepplin could be their fatjer s

respect please

Shawn 3 years ago

1 Beatles ( best song writers)

2 ac dc ( best work out music)

3 nirvana (unfulfilled but can't deny cobains song writing )


5 stones

6 Metallica (only black album and earlier)

7 the who

8 Coldplay ( I know I'll catch flack but there set list in concert is fucking impressive )

9 rage against the machine ( might be higher in my book but lead singer is a flaming liberal terrorist)

10. Skynard

beatles 3 years ago

Most music critics would even rank The Rolling Stones higher than Led Zeppelin. The Beatles are in a league of their own.

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Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

You're smoking bunk weed, dude. The Beastles are atop this list. Later!

Beatles 3 years ago

Sorry, but to put Led Zeppelin ahead of The Beatles is to be musically uneducated and 99.9% of muic critics will agree.

Max 3 years ago

1-Led Zeppelin

2-The Beatles

3-The Rolling Stones


4-Pink Floyd

5-The Who

6-The Jimi Hendrix Experience

7-The Doors



10-King Crimson

Pink Floyd are great, the who are great, the doors are great, the stones are great, the Beatles are great, but Led Zeppelin are the best. Led Zeppelin always did good albums compare to pink Floyd who suck without Roger Waters. The Doors did good songs, but nothing near led zeppelin. Almost the half of the Beatles song weren't good they only fill the albums. The stones were good in the 60's and in the beginning of the 70's. How many band were influenced by led zeppelin? Yes they took blues songs and lyrics but everybody do this and they made very great songs with them. Led Zeppelin were the best. That's it nothing to argue. Jimmy the second best guitarist (after Hendrix), Bonham's the best drummer ever, Plant is one of the 5 best singer ever and JPJ is in my opinion the best bassist with Geddy Lee. All in the same band. All good songs. All good albums. 1968-1980 but still the best and always be the best.

smitman71 3 years ago

Led Zeppelin had met an untimely demise that had left their catalog a bit smaller than most. As far as talent each of their members was tops and diverse(ie. there's no Ringo in Zep!). Every song they wrote was decent at worst. They were a much better live than the Beatles. What's more it was the wild excess that adventually destroyed the band. Everything the ultimate band should be!

KLAUS RECI 3 years ago

Queen is the best band ever..Freddie Mercury,we all know he is the best singer in history..But he was such a great composer,a great artist,a great man,a wonderful pianist,a great EVERYTHING..He changed the history of music..Don't forget he mixed rock with operah who made a revolution in music..For me Queen is the best band in history... Greetings from ALBANIA..

?? 4 years ago

It's actually only one annoying fanatic with several useranames. There's absolutely no way that Rush deserves to be in the Top 10.

Agree with you with The Who. They have to be in any Top 10 simply because they were too important and influential.

Nirvana? Top 15-20. Top 10 would be a bit too much. But they definitely need to be ahead of Pearl Jam for the same reason The Who should be on the list.

Steve 4 years ago

No way you can leave out The Who and Nirvana. What's up with all the Rush fanatics? Come on. . . Really?

AbbeyRoadkill 4 years ago

Filling up a list of the top ten greatest rock 'n roll bands really isn't very hard if you think about it this way:

Who can even BEGIN to compete with The Beatles?

Competing with The Fab Four requires music that is truly timeless, extremely influential, highly innovative, and very popular among ALL generations. To be listed next to The Beatles, a band's music better be able to live for at least hundreds, if not thousands, of years into the future.

(This list does not include people who I consider to be solo artists. Thus, I'm not considering for inclusion people like Elvis, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Neil Young, Ray Charles, Prince, Michael Jackson, Buddy Holly, Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, Sam Cooke, and Curtis Mayfield.)


1. The Beatles (Duh! The ultimate no-brainer. They're untouchable. The Beatles will live FOREVER.)

2. The Rolling Stones (Sooo many great songs. In terms of timeless songwriting, they're the closest rival of The Beatles.)

3. Led Zeppelin (The most copied band since The Beatles. Musically, they're as diverse as anyone, ever.)

4. Jimi Hendrix Experience (They had the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time of anyone. Jimi might be the most revolutionary figure in rock history.)

5. Bob Marley and The Wailers (Spiritually, they're on a completely different level from anyone else. Great music is supposed to have meaning, and these guys have it in spades.)

6. U2 (The most important band since Led Zeppelin (sorry Nirvana!) They've written a TON of classic songs-- and they aren't finished yet!)

7. The Who (Along with The Kinks they invented hard rock. Their music gives meaning to the word 'energy.')

8. Pink Floyd (Completely unique sound. If Roger Waters had stuck around instead of calling it quits, they'd be ranked higher)

9. The Beach Boys (In some ways they were as creative as The Beatles. If Brian Wilson did not have a nervous breakdown, they could've made the top 5.)

10. Queen (Virtuoso musicians. Freddie's voice was amazing. While I don't think many of their albums will be remembered, their singles definitely will be.)

Just missed the cut:

Bruce Springsteen and the 'E' St. Band, The Clash, Nirvana, The Doors, The Kinks, Radiohead, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, AC/DC, Steely Dan, Ramones, Sly & The Family Stone, The Eagles, Aerosmith, The Band, The Allman Brothers, R.E.M., Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Talking Heads, The Byrds, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pearl Jam, The Grateful Dead, Parliament/Funkadelic, Metallica, Van Halen, Fleetwood Mac, The Cars, Jethro Tull, Heart, Dire Straits, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden

John 4 years ago

Chris, Pink Floyd are Rock N Roll, mate. Progressive Rock.

If you are going to narrow its meaning like that, then the only ones who were Rock N Roll were the likes of Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Buddy Holly.

Same for Ramones, who were Punk Rock.

Chris 4 years ago

I thought this was a thread for greatest rock n roll bands. All other genres were excluded. Therefore Pink Floyd and Rush cannot make the list. Nor can the Ramones or Sex Pistols.

1) The Beatles 2) The Who 3) The Rolling Stones 4) Led Zeppelin 5) Aerosmith 6) The Grateful Dead 7) CSNY 8) The Beach Boys 9) Queen 10) Fleetwood Mac

This is a list of the most ground breaking and influential bands IMO

Who? 4 years ago

I think that even Eddie Vedder would be mad at you for putting Pearl Jam on a list that does not have The Who, since the man is a self-proclaimed ultimate fan of theirs.

May I ask you why you chose not not include The Who? I simply cannot find an explanation for it... Extremely important and influential, huge impact, very successful... they have all it takes to make it to any Top 10, mate.

JG 4 years ago

The Beatles are practically unanimously number 1.

The Rolling Stones come with little dispute at number 2.

And I really can't think of any other band greater than Led Zeppelin to occupy the third spot.

All the rest is arguable because it will depend on the factors you'd consider more important. Big dispute amongst names like Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys, U2, The Who, Queen, The Ramones, The Clash, Black Sabbath, The Velvet Underground, Nirvana, The Doors.

Some were extremely important and had a huge grounbreaking impact and revolutionized music, but weren't as successful and longevus. Others were extremely influential and innovative, but not as popular and remained kind of dated.

But yeah, the 3 undisputed names will always be The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, as far as I can see it... they're in a different league because they combine all the factors better than anyone else, which leaves very little room for weak spots to counter their position.

Stop to think about it.

Congratulations Kosmo, for the Top 3, you got that right (although The Stones should be ahead of Zeppelin). The others spots will always be relative and subjective.

THEGARDEN 4 years ago

In the fullness of time all will recede, and then there will only be RUSH. CLOCKWORK ANGELS is truly a crowning achievement on an epic career.

Jacob 4 years ago

How the hell is Guns N' Roses not on your list? They're "The world's most dangerous band"!

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Kosmo 4 years ago from California Author

Hey, nonsense, I guess the Who could be on this list. As for Santana, you must have forgotten how good their albums were back in the 1970s - as good as anybody's at that time, and they still sound GREAT, particularly Carlos. As for Pearl Jam, they're the best rock band in the last 20 years. Duh! Later!

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Kosmo 4 years ago from California Author

Old Mate, Fleetwood Mac are the soft rock kings. Hey!

... 4 years ago

You can keep them there, it does not mean you're right. They should be #3 or #4 ;)

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Kosmo 4 years ago from California Author

No matter what Led Zeppelin may or may not have done to create their numerous hits, they're staying number two on this list. You can put them wherever you want on yours. As for this plagiarism you suggest, it sounds like a good idea for an article, which I will soon write. Later!

... 4 years ago

Led Zeppelin lost the lawsuits in ALL the occasions they happened. Yes, that's right, all of them. One thing is to be influenced by an artists or to cover other people's songs. Another complete different thing is to copy their material, crediting the authorship to themselves. They did not only "steal some lyrics", they stole entire songs. Plagiarism has NOTHING to do with influence, pal. You're confusing the terms. Again, serach it on the internet and you'll see what I mean.

90% of their stuff is just 3 chord progression songs, with a lot of fillers to cover up lack of songwriting talent.

Led Zeppelin = the most overrated band of all time.

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