There are thousands of rock bands that have existed throughout the decades ever since the dawn of rock and roll, but only the greatest ones have stood the test of time and continue to be classic and popular bands to listen to with their timeless music. Crizic lists a few of them. Here are the 10 greatest rock bands of all time:
Nirvana were the poster band for angst ridden teenagers in the nineties, lending them a huge fanbase. Providing the impetus for their rise to fame in the front was the deeply disturbed, incredibly magnetic Kurt Cobain, who, with his angry lyrics and rage against the machine, created what is probably the biggest cult following in the world.
Characterized by a sound that was grungy, with a touch of pure rock, Nirvana went on to become the one of the biggest bands of the nineties, with songs such as Smells like teen Spirit etching their name in stone as one of the most influential rock bands of all time.
Listen to: Smells Like Teen Spirit, Floyd the Barber, Rape Me.
9. The Doors:
Psychedelia and The Doors went hand in hand during the seventies as the band, led by Jim Morrison, produced sound that catered primarily to trance. Despite this, they produced a number of major hits that weren’t entrenched in psychedelia, which went on to lend The Doors variety and massive commercial success.
Add to that The Lizard King’s charisma, and you have a band which made music that elevated, and appeal that transcended.
Listen to: Light My Fire, Riders on the Storm, People are Strange.
8. Guns N Roses:
A nasal, shrilly voice isn’t everybody’s first choice for the role of a rock lead, but Axel Rose, going against convention, led Guns N Roses, along with guitarist Slash, to become one of the biggest acts in the history of rock both commercially and critically.
Guns N Roses’ sound was characterized by “in-your-face” lyrics, solos that melted faces and theatricality that could put a thespian to shame. Infused with the “pop” feel, their songs went on to become international chart-busters, lending the band a permanent place in rock n roll hall of fame.
Listen to: Welcome to the Jungle, November Rain, Sweet Child O’ Mine.
7. Dire Straits:
At No.7 on our list is Dire Straits, the band that every self respecting rock lover listened to in the late seventies and eighties. Led by vocalist Mark Knopfler, The Dire Straits had a very long and successful career, going on to become one of the most commercially successful bands of all time.
Dire Straits differentiated themselves by releasing songs that infused a “pub” feel as opposed to the in-rage “punk” feel at the time, leading to at first, a cult following, and mainstream success eventually.
Listen to: Sultans of Swing, Brothers in Arms, Walk of Life.
6. Pearl Jam:
The most successful rock band of the nineties, eclipsing even Nirvana, is Pearl Jam at No. 6. Pearl Jam achieved wide, mainstream success primarily due to their modern sound and spectacular riffs, combining the wide sound of the 70s, the hardness of the 80s and giving it their own spin by infusing it with melodic hooks.
But the one factor that differentiated Pearl Jam distinctly from all others were the incredibly original, angst-ridden lyrics, lending their sound a rough edge and forever catapulting them into the rock n roll hall of fame.
Listen to: Black, Alive, Jeremy.
5. Pink Floyd:
The primary factor behind Pink Floyd’s historical success was the instant relatability their music evoked in the youth of the 60s and 70s; probably because Pink Floyd was formed by a bunch of students themselves.
Inherent psychedelia made their songs transcend conventional boundaries of rock and almost transmute into a genre of its own, leading to major hits such as Comfortably Numb.
Unique amongst rock bands in history, Pink Floyd finds its place at No. 5 on our list.
Listen to: Comfortably Numb, Money, Shine on you like a crazy diamond.
Led by Freddy Mercury’s unmatched charisma is Queen at No.4. Probably the most successful band in history concert-wise, Queen gave us unforgettable technical and lyrical masterpieces like Bohemian Rhapsody.
Resounding lyrics, powerful emotions and impossible star power formed the impetus behind Queen’s rise to rock n roll’s peak and to this day, they remain one of the most influential rock bands in history.
Listen to: Bohemian Rhapsody, The show must go on, Don’t stop me now.
3. The Rolling Stones:
Coming in at No. 3 is the band that gave us the stylistically immaculate “Sympathy for the Devil”. The Rolling Stones were a bonafide rock sensation, completely engulfing two continents with their charisma and incredible singles.
Led by Mick Jagger, The Rolling Stones made wave after wave by releasing songs that were replete with both depth and style, their iconic “Satisfaction” being a major example.
Combining a power packed ensemble with Mick Jagger’s showmanship and dancing repertoire, TRS buried themselves into public consciousness by forming the major part of the counterculture vanguard in the late sixties, also being responsible for incorporating blues heavily into rock and roll.
TRS was the young man’s reply to tradition that had bogged ambitions and killed dreams; and for that simple reason, they find themselves on this spot.
Listen to: Sympathy for the Devil, Satisfaction.
2. Led Zeppelin:
Deciding between Number 1 and Number 2 was a critical nightmare since both bands deserve to be on the top as much as the other does. Slightly being left behind due to the breadth of their influence at number 2 is Led Zeppelin, the band that gave rock its iconic guitar solo in “Stairway to Heaven”.
A British rock band, Led Zeppelin are probably the hardest punch rock has ever thrown. Their inventiveness with music, astounding lyrics and chart-busting songs made sure they endure in the minds of the people as probably the greatest hard rock band in history.
With Robert Plant lending his voice, Jimmy Page on the guitar and John Bonham on the drums, Led Zeppelin was dynamite. And explode like one it did.
With incredible solos, mournful rock ballads and just the right pinch of crazy, Led Zeppelin became the biggest name in rock during the 70s. And have continued to remain like that over the years.
Listen to: Stairway to Heaven, Immigrant Song, Kashmir; Actually, get their discography.
1. The Beatles.
There is no argument here.
The Beatles, when they debuted, revolutionized the genre of rock n roll by expanding its style to include the synthesis of instruments that were previously thought to be incompatible with the “riffy” signature tone of rock.
Their first act established them as a major band, and from then onward, the band went from strength to strength, charting out music that made them critical darlings and also smashed the billboard. Consistently.
With the singular exception of Led Zeppelin, there hasn’t been any rock band that has stood in comparison to The Beatles’ influence over the years and if common sense is anything to go by, there probably won’t ever be.
Listen to: Their discography.