Top 10 rock bands of all time

8:08 am 5 May, 2012

Rock music began in the 1960s at a time when musicians were looking to explore new areas other than just the usual romantic themes. The roots of rock music go back to the 1940s rock and roll music besides it is also heavily influenced by folk, blues and jazz. The main feature of rock music is the electric guitar on which the whole setup is usually centered on. After more than 50 years of its birth it has become a highly diverse genre with a lot of differences in styles and compositions. Although mainstream to a large extent, it focuses on live performances which are often accompanied by a display of musicianship which is rare in other forms of music. There are countless groups that have left their mark in this genre of music and here we look at some of the best rock bands of all time. 


10. Van Halen:

Van Halen is one of the most successful American rock bands. The band was formed in 1972 and has recorded as many as 12 albums with the newest one coming out in 2012. With a worldwide sales chart of more than 75 million albums this hard rock band is iconic in many ways. Known more as a hard rock band the group is often also considered as a heavy metal group but their music has many different elements other than heavy metal as their sound is a little more pop friendly as compared to some other heavy metal bands.

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9. Velvet Underground:

Velvet Underground is one of the underrated rock bands that have never got its due recognition from fans and critics alike. Formed in New York in 1964, the band was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in 1996 and is also ranked high on the top 100 bands of all time. The band stood out at a time when flower power was the mantra for most musicians as they embraced concepts of addiction, social alienation, violence and hopelessness through their sound. The group is an influence to countless new bands and a popular statement says that whoever bought their first album ended up forming a band.

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8. Ramones:

The Ramones were formed in 1974 in Queens, New York. This band is also underrated to a large extent despite being one of the pioneers of the punk rock genre. The band was active for more than 22 years during which time they toured extensively and finally disbanded in 1996. They feature on many lists such as the top 50 artists of all time, VH1’s 100 greatest hard rock artists and many other lists. The group was also inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in 2011 and has also received a lifetime achievement Grammy award.

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7. The Doors:

The Doors are known most for their charismatic front man Jim Morrison who was one of the greatest and most controversial rock artists to have walked the face of the earth. The Doors were formed in 1965 in California and were active till 1973 despite losing out their front man who died in 1971. The band has sold more than a 100 million albums worldwide which is more than a testament of their immense success. The fact that the band still finds popularity with new music lovers is well known to a lot of music aficionados.

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6. The Grateful Dead:

The Grateful Dead is also a highly underrated rock band which was formed in 1965 in San Francisco. The band’s music is a heady mix of rock, folk, blues, reggae, jazz, and psychedelic rock. Their live performances were packed with musical improvisations that would often be done impromptu. The are ranked as one of the most enigmatic groups of all time and were inducted in the rock and roll hall of fame in 1994. The band has more than 120 albums most of which are live albums recorded during concert performances.

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5. Queen:

Queen is a British rock band that was formed in 1971. Known for their charismatic front man Freddie Mercury who also performed piano duties other than doing the vocals the band’s musical style can only be classified as Queen. Although they started off making radio friendly numbers initially, their music became all the more diverse as time went on. They are among the world’s best selling artists with worldwide sales figures crossing 300 million albums. Their music is a wide mix of progressive rock, heavy metal, glam rock, hard rock, dance, disco, opera, gospel and even folk. An influence for a very high number of musicians, Queen is one of the best known rock groups of all time.

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4. U2:

U2 was founded in 1976 and is one of the most successful and consistent rock groups of all time. Fronted by Bono who is known as one of the most enigmatic front men of all time, the music of U2 expresses a wide variety of spiritual imagery and also focuses on philosophy and socio political areas. The band has won 22 Grammy awards which is more than any rock group and is ranked 22 in the 100 greatest artists of all time lists. Their early sound had a lot of post punk influence although that changed as the band adopted a more mainstream friendly sound with traces of their earliest self. The band and its members are also well known to have raised their voice for many social causes all around the world.

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3. The Rolling Stones:

The Rolling Stones also known as the Stones were formed in 1962 and are among the bands that are synonymous to rock as a genre of music. Fronted by Mick Jagger, this band has sold more than 200 million records worldwide and is among the most successful rock bands ever. The Stones were inducted in the Rock and Roll hall of fame in 1989 and also rank very high on the top 100 artists of all time. The band has given more to rock than possibly any other bands in terms of style, look and attitude.

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2. Pink Floyd:

Easily among the most known progressive and psychedelic rock bands of all time, Pink Floyd was founded in 1965 by members Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Syd Barett and Richard Wright. They also added a fifth member in avid Gilmour towards the end of 1967. Their music is experimental to a great extent with a lot of obscure themes and sounds incorporated into a mix of amazing psychedelic rock. The band broke away from conventional songwriting and developed their own mix of rock, blues, psychedelic rock and progressive rock.

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1. The Beatles:

The Beatles were formed in Liverpool in England in 1960. The band is among the most commercially successful bands of all time with the highest number of sales for any band in any genre. The band’s sound is a mix of 1950’s rock and roll, classical, progressive rock, psychedelic rock and even pop ballads. The band was among the first of the British bands to break out worldwide and more so in the United States. They have numerous awards to their name and also hold numerous world records. Their impact on rock, rock and roll and popular culture is widely acclaimed as they are undoubtedly the greatest rock band of all time.

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