The 25 Greatest Rock Bands of All-Time

25. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Everyone knows the name Tom Petty, as he was one of the most famous musicians of all-time. However, true music lovers appreciate his band, as well. This band was initially made up of lead guitarist Mike Campbell, bassist Ron Blair, drummer Stan Lynch and keyboardist Benmont Tench.

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24. Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Synyrd was easily one of the most popular bands of the 1970’s. With hits such as “Free Bird”, “Simple Man” and “Sweet Home Alabama”, the band quickly rose to the top. Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines tragically died in an airplane crash in 1977 at the peak of the band’s success. The surviving members created a reunion band in 1987.

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23. Metallica

Metallica is undoubtedly one of the most popular bands in the Heavy Metal genre. They formed in 1981 and they continue to rock on to this day. Metallica has sold over 125 million albums worldwide, making them one of the top selling bands in music history.

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22. Nirvana

Nirvana was active and very successful from 1987 until 1994, when vocalist Kurt Cobain tragically took his own life. Although they had a very short run, their music lived on and remained extremely popular throughout the 90’s grunge era. Drummer, Dave Grohl, went on to lead the ever popular band, Foo Fighters.

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21. The Doors

The Doors formed with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore. Jim Morrison was an extremely unique vocalist with a very outgoing, interesting persona on stage. Sadly, Morrison passed away from a drug overdose in 1971. The group continued performing together as a trio until 1973.

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20. AC/DC

AC/DC is one of the most well-respected bands in rock history. While most people love AC/DC for guitarist, Angus Young, they had a powerhouse lineup when they performed. Vocalist Bon Scott was easily one of the most iconic vocalists of all-time, but tragically passed away in 1980. Brian Johnson took over vocals upon Scott’s passing, performing all the way until 2016, when hearing issues forced Johnson to step away. Now, the band has filled the void with legendary Guns N’ Roses frontman, Axl Rose.

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19. The Who

Who Are You? The Who formed in 1964 and quickly rose to the top of the charts. As of today, they have sold over 100 million records, making them one of the top selling bands of all-time. The Who originally consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist/singer Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon.

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18. Journey

We’ve all heard “Don’t Stop Believing” at our local karaoke bar, but we rarely think about how awesome that songwriting process must have been. In 2009, “Don’t Stop Believing” became the top-selling song in the history of iTunes. Journey has achieved two gold albums, eight multi-platinum albums, and two diamond albums.

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17. Red Hot Chili Peppers

Forming in Los Angeles in 1983, the Red Hot Chili Peppers created one of the most unique sounds music has ever seen. Including elements of funk and punk rock, people couldn’t (and still can’t) get enough of their sound. With over 80 million records sold worldwide, their sales speak to their immense popularity.

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16. Heart

Heart has had a handful of lineups throughout the years, but they always maintained the base of the band – sisters, Ann and Nancy Wilson. Heart has sold over 35 million records worldwide, and was finally placed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

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15. Santana

Carlos Santana created this Latin-Rock band in 1966 in San Francisco, California. Quickly becoming an extremely popular band, Santana was eventually enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. This lineup included Carlos Santana, José Areas, David Brown, Gregg Rolie, Mike Carabello, and Michael Shrieve.

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14. Def Leppard

Unless you live under a rock, you know the song, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”. Def Leppard was part of the “new wave of British heavy metal” movement. The band’s album, Hysteria, which was released in 1987, has sold over 25 million copies worldwide.

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13. Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac has been together since 1967, and has sold over 100 million albums worldwide, making them one of the top selling bands of all-time. Fronted by the “white witch” Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac includes some of the most talented musicians alive.

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12. Rush

Rush is one of the few bands from the 60’s/70’s that is still kickin’. As one of the most popular bands of all-time, Rush has received 24 gold albums, 14 platinum albums, and 3 multi-platinum albums. Through all the craziness involved in a rock n’ roll lifestyle, it is impressive that Rush members are still performing together.

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11. Foo Fighters

Nirvana drummer, Dave Grohl, formed a solo project in 1994 after Kurt Cobain’s death. This eventually led to the formation of his incredible band, the Foo Fighters. The Foo Fighters quickly gained a large following, and remain one of the most popular bands in music today.

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10. Guns N’ Roses

Guns N’ Roses, also known as GNR, is easily one of the most talented bands ever. The band quickly rose to the top when they released their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, in 1987, selling over 30 million copies worldwide. The vocalist-guitarist combination of Axl Rose and Slash is one few — if any — rock bands can match.

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9. Black Sabbath

Metal is an extremely popular sub-genre within Rock music. While a lot of metal is too “heavy” for people, Black Sabbath managed to create a sound that was compatible with almost everyone. The band endured plenty of bandmate turnover throughout the years, but was originally created by guitarist Tony Lommi, bassist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne.

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8. Van Halen

Plenty of people consider Eddie Van Halen the greatest guitarist of all-time, which is a strong foundation when discussing a rock band. Joining him in his band, Van Halen, were vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony. With a group like this, it makes sense that they went on to be one of the greatest best rock bands in history.

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7. Pink Floyd

Forming in London in 1965, Pink Floyd quickly stole the hearts of people all over the world. Projecting an exquisitely unique sound, people couldn’t help but jam out to Pink Floyd’s awesome, psychedelic music. Releasing songs like “Another Brick in the Wall” and “Comfortably Numb”, Pink Floyd had a way of taking us to another musical universe.

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6. Aerosmith

Aerosmith is commonly referred to as “the Bad Boys from Boston” and “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.” Fronted by the amazing Steven Tyler, Aerosmith has gained worldwide popularity. To summarize Aerosmith‘s greatness/impact on rock, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll, and three came from Aerosmith (“Dream On,” “Toys in the Attic,” and “Walk This Way”).

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5. The Eagles

While each member of The Eagles is a talented musician, it’s their songwriting prowess that separates them from so many other rock bands. The Eagles were a group of very creative minds. Songs like “Hotel California”, “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Take it Easy” have forever etched themselves as rock classics.

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4. The Rolling Stones

Everyone recognizes Mick Jagger’s extremely distinct voice. Die-hard Rolling Stones fans also appreciate Brian Jones on guitar, Keith Richards on guitar/backing vocals, Bill Wyman on bass, Charlie Watts on drums and Ian Stewart on piano. With so much talent playing in unison, it’s no surprise they are among the five greatest rock bands in music history.

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3. Queen

Simply put, Queen was an extraordinarily special group of musicians. Freddie Mercury is considered by many to be the greatest vocalist of all-time, and he was accompanied by a tremendously talented trio in Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. Queen recently started regaining the appreciation they deserve from the 2018 film, Bohemian Rhapsody.

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2. Led Zeppelin

Forming in 1968 in London, the band Led Zeppelin created one of the most unique and iconic sounds in rock history. With Jimmy Page on guitar, Robert Plant on vocals, John Paul Jones on bass/keys and John Bonham on drums, Led Zeppelin was an absolute powerhouse.

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1. The Beatles

The Beatles claim the #1 spot. While there are plenty of incredible bands worthy of the top spot, there’s no denying The Beatles‘ immense impact on rock music. In just 10 short years, they released 12 iconic albums and are the only musical artist/band to eclipse 150 million albums sold.

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