Ten Greatest Rock Bands of All Time

Updated on February 9, 2018
Jimi Hendrix Experience
Jimi Hendrix Experience

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!

Fab Four

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
Original Stones lineup
Original Stones lineup

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.

The Stones

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.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

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.

Pink Floyd

U2
U2

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.

By the way, U2 puts on a spectacular live show, particularly when performing in arenas or stadiums. In that regard, The Edge, aka, David Howell Evans, U2’s lead guitarist, seemingly uses a different guitar for every song U2 plays. Small wonder, since it appears every guitar has a unique tone the artist must utilize to its fullest.

U2

Aerosmith
Aerosmith

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.

Aerosmith

Carlos Santana in 2010
Carlos Santana in 2010
Re-formed Santana in 2015
Re-formed Santana in 2015

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.”

Santana

Early Pearl Jam
Early Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam in 2016
Pearl Jam in 2016

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).

In 2017, Pearl Jam was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Pearl Jam

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.

Queen

Questions & Answers

    © 2008 Kelley

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      • profile image

        Will 7 days ago

        I have know doubt that the beatles, and the stones are 2 and 3 it doesnt matter the order but number 1 has to be Queen

      • profile image

        Hey 7 days ago

        YOU DIDN'T PUT NIRVANA AND METALLICA........

        I'm out of here

      • profile image

        Alex 2 weeks ago

        1.Beatles

        2.Rolling Stones

        3.Led Zeppelin

        4.Pink Floyd

        ------------------

        5.Black Sabbath

        6.The Clash

        7.Queen

        8. Nirvana

        9.Metallica

        10.U2

      • profile image

        Bloopville 2 weeks ago

        I think that there is enough of a consensus that the artificial inclusion of groups, based on artificial criteria like "too many British bands" is ridiculous. No list should exclude the Who.

        If modernity is required, only Radiohead supersedes the rock genre.

        I get criticisms of including U2, but they do belong.

        The Jefferson Airplane, The Dead, The Byrds and CSN&Y were all greater bands of the Woodstock era than Santana.

      • profile image

        Kosmo Kelley 2 weeks ago

        Hey, Rod, Pearl Jam made the list because I wanted to pick a grunge band and also one from a time later than the 1960s or '70s. As for the Who - there are enough UK bands on this list. If you could, which UK band would you take off the list so the Who could take their place? Later!...

      • profile image

        Rod 2 weeks ago

        You have Santana but no mention of Peter Green who wrote wrote and performed Black Magic Woman. Follow him with Eric Clapton, John Mayall and Fleetwood Mac you may realize something I did. Fleetwood cover some of the best blues ever, then went on from there. With the test of time, I don't think Pearl Jam belongs there. They're good, but just haven't covered enough ground, at least IMO. Maybe in another 30 years. I also find it hard to believe the Who's not hear.

      • profile image

        Rachel 3 weeks ago

        1. Led Zeppelin 2. Rolling Stones 3. The Beatles 4. Black Sabbath 5. Metallica 6. Judas Priest 7. Pink Floyd 8. Soundgarden 9. Alice in Chains 10. Motorhead. Honorable mention to two very rock and roll individuals, Janis Joplin & Jimi Hendrix.

        Pearl Jam has a huge following of boring mediocre people and had a few good songs (kind of like Foo Fighters) but they are not innovative at all. They belong nowhere near this list. U2 and Santana are really not very rock and roll at all. Others have mentioned Guns N Roses, AC/DC, The Who, Motorhead, Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead, etc. All very solid choices that are better than those made by OP, who apparently just likes the watered-down version of rock and roll.

      • profile image

        Kosmo Kelley 3 weeks ago

        Hey, AnthonyBasileo, there's only so much room for UK bands on this list. Somebody, The Who or others, have to miss out. Sorry!

      • profile image

        AnthonyBasileo 3 weeks ago

        You have U2 / Queen and Santana on this list but you don’t have the Who on this list. Who put this together a bunch of three year olds

      • profile image

        jj 4 weeks ago

        The Who, The Police, The Doors.....The Who in my view should be #2 on the list.

      • profile image

        HBoyy 5 weeks ago

        #1 THE ALMIGHTY LED ZEPPELIN

      • profile image

        MC 6 weeks ago

        Beatles are a pop band NOT ROCK, Led Zep were the greatest to ever grace the stag/studio/radio, never has there or will be any better :)

      • profile image

        David Wityk 2 months ago

        Where are Guns and Roses, arguably the greatest band of all time or at the very least the last great rock band. You hit the snooze button on this list.

      • profile image

        Jay B 2 months ago

        How are The Who not at least #4 on that list?

      • profile image

        Aditya 2 months ago

        U2, Pearl Jam and Santana don't really belong on this list. No consideration for hard rock like AC/DC or Maiden either.

      • profile image

        Blackbart 2 months ago

        I get it’s subjective but even those who love Aerosmith would never put them on a damn list depicting them as the 7th greatest rock band of all damn time

      • profile image

        Rhea 3 months ago

        U2??? LOLOLOL... what about the Doors and 90s Brtish rock like Oasis.

      • profile image

        John 3 months ago

        So many great bands to pick from, it's impossible to make a true top 10 list or 15,20,,,,,,,,Long Live Rock!

      • Vicki Martin Wood profile image

        Vicki Wood 3 months ago from Eldon, Missouri

        I think The Who and Queen also, but otherwise, I might bump Pearl Jam for Nirvana for the grunge age. Good list!

      • profile image

        Jamie 3 months ago

        What.......???where's bon jovi...??

      • profile image

        Jozo Kozoguzić 3 months ago

        1. The Clash by far. Much better than anyone else.

        2-4. Pink Floyd, Beatles, Stones. Not as Clash, but much better than anyone else. Order - not important, they are roughly the same.

        5- there are many good bands, and ranking them is difficult and pointless.

      • profile image

        Ash Keir 4 months ago

        Why isn't Roxette on this list?

      • profile image

        Michal 4 months ago

        Who bout A7x or Nirvana or Metallica or slayer

      • profile image

        CLIFF 4 months ago

        THE WHO

      • profile image

        jones 5 months ago

        here's what your list should look like

        Frank Zappa

      • profile image

        metal 5 months ago

        how about Metallica,,,,your list is joke

      • profile image

        Khetha 5 months ago

        If ac/dc is not on your top 10, there's something wrong with you.

      • profile image

        miki 6 months ago

        John Harding .

        I agree 100%.

      • profile image

        Benny 6 months ago

        Haha...... Bon Jovi ? Iron Maiden ?

        People please stop my gut hurts.

        Hahaha.

      • profile image

        Bob 6 months ago

        What about imagine dragons!!!!!!!

      • profile image

        Josh 6 months ago

        Okay. Pearl Jam? Pearl Jam and absolutely NO inclusion of Nirvana? Also, Freddie Mercury is above Queen.

      • profile image

        Mat 7 months ago

        I am not much of a beatles fan. I am Stones man. Nevertheless i agree they should be number one. This list should only include Juggernauts of the industry who had a huge influence on music and are known not just to fans. Pearl Jam wouldnt crack the top fifty by this standard.

      • profile image

        Mat 7 months ago

        You should probably do a bit more research. Claiming the stones werent as good after Brian died. Sticky Fingers and Exile on main street, albums you cite, were recorded after his death. Then you mention Satanic Majasties as a classic album. It is unanimously regarded by the stones themselves and their fans as a turd of an album. You clearly know nothing at all about the stones.

        Aslso where is AC/DC?

      • profile image

        Matt 8 months ago

        Grateful Dead deserves top 5 IMO

      • profile image

        Jon Harding 8 months ago

        1. Led Zeppelin

        2. The Beatles

        3. Guns N' Roses

        4. Black Sabbath

        5. AC/DC

        6. Jimi Hendrix

        7. Queen

        8. The Who

        9. Metallica

        10. Rolling Stones

        U2? Pearl Jam? Santana? Pink Floyd? Whoever made this list is an idiot lol. #1-2 is Zep & Beatles. The rest you could mix around but those are the ten best ever.......period. Pearl Jam hahaha GTFO. Nirvana, Sound Garden & Alice in Chains were bigger and better then PJ.

      • profile image

        Yo 9 months ago

        The Who ?

      • profile image

        Stad 9 months ago

        The Byrds, Jefferson Airplain, then at least Cream if not Derek And The Dominos, The Smiths, Simple Minds, Dire Straits, King Crimson, Roxy Music, Nirvana... to just mention but a few... Ah, and perhaps The Doors.

      • profile image

        Queen_Misery 12 months ago

        Radiohead.

      • profile image

        miguel 12 months ago

        Faltan SUPERTRAMP y BEE GEES

      • profile image

        mike 13 months ago

        Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson , Al Jardine , Mike Love....The Beach Boys

      • profile image

        Linda Jones 14 months ago

        You're kidding surely?

      • profile image

        Steve 16 months ago

        What about Dire Str.?

      • profile image

        Yes, you... Who on Black Sabbath Rushed through the Deep Purple Doors! 16 months ago

        And no Doors???

        Now this is a crime!!!

        (how could I've not seen it straight away)

        And that is just to stick to the older crews, but out of the younger generation (though not young) Guns'n'Roses simply must be mentioned, would be a sin not to... way rather than U2 and especially Aerosmith with all due respect to them, but they are just not the same class with Guns'n'Roses, and most certainly not with the Doors... whether you look at their music style or its complexity, their technique and skills or hit ration, timeless classics, songs for generations, always to be remembered, you just can't compare the Doors & G'nR on one hand, off the list, and U2 & Aerosmith on the other hand, on the list, that's now a cardinal sin ;)

      • profile image

        Yes, you in Deep Purple, Who Rushed on Black Sabbath! 16 months ago

        U2, Aerosmith & Pearl Jam before Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, The Who, Rush, Yes, etc. c'mon... with all respect to the 1st three, but you gotta be kidding me???

      • profile image

        Antia 16 months ago

        No Guns'N'Roses??

      • profile image

        Izzy 18 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Gary Smith 18 months ago

        ABBAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

      • profile image

        Tyler Smith 19 months 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

      • profile image

        Jim 19 months 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.

      • profile image

        Yoshi Wall 20 months ago

        The Who being left out is a crime.

      • profile image

        Boomer Music Man 20 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Danh 20 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
        Author

        Kelley 3 years ago from California

        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!

      • bonmotsminot profile image

        Sue Minot 3 years 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.

      • profile image

        STEVE 3 years ago

        Black Sabbath Not many bands invent a genre of music

      • Laura335 profile image

        Laura Smith 3 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

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

      • Kosmo profile image
        Author

        Kelley 3 years ago from California

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

      • ashleyjordan01 profile image

        Ashley Jordan 3 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

      • profile image

        Eliken 4 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Altairius 4 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).

      • profile image

        just sayin' 4 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Juancmn 4 years ago

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

        Thx

      • profile image

        pinballsmith 4 years ago

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

      • Kosmo profile image
        Author

        Kelley 4 years ago from California

        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!

      • profile image

        JG 4 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.

      • profile image

        JG 4 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.

      • profile image

        Bostonboy 4 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
        Author

        Kelley 4 years ago from California

        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!

      • profile image

        James 4 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???

        Regards,

        James

      • profile image

        Bob 4 years ago

        Mine would probably go:

        1.Pink Floyd

        2.Queen

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

        4Radiohead

        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

        11.Nirvana

        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
        Author

        Kelley 4 years ago from California

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

      • profile image

        James 4 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
        Author

        Kelley 4 years ago from California

        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

        Levy Tate 4 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 :)

      • Kosmo profile image
        Author

        Kelley 4 years ago from California

        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 4 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
        Author

        Kelley 4 years ago from California

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

      • TimMcCabe profile image

        Tim McCabe 4 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
        Author

        Kelley 4 years ago from California

        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

        Levy Tate 4 years ago from California, USA

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

      • profile image

        Hubb 4 years ago

        Why are The Stones behind Zeppelin?

      • Kosmo profile image
        Author

        Kelley 4 years ago from California

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

      • iguidenetwork profile image

        iguidenetwork 4 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.

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        Udit 4 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

        2.Queen

        3.Pink Floyd

        4.The Rolling Stones

        5.Bon Jovi

        6.Led Zeppelin

        7.Guns N Roses

        8.The Beatles

        9.The Doors

        10.AC/DC

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        Kelley 4 years ago from California

        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!

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        Slohan 4 years ago

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

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        InMyRoom 4 years ago

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

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        Kelley 4 years ago from California

        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!

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        InMyRoom 4 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 4 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 4 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.

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        InMyRoom 4 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.

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        U2 4 years ago

        I think U2 should be ahead of Floyd

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        mike 5 years ago

        This is real easy and simple

        #1 Rush

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

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        nazoo 5 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.

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        nanzo 5 years ago

        1)queen

        2)beatles

        3)led zeppelin

        4)pink floyd

        5)metallica

        6)guns n roses

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        TOP 4 5 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!

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        LOL 5 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.

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        JoBlow 5 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

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        Marco 5 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.

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