Having dominated the rock scene for more than 30 years, The Beatles are indisputably one of the greatest bands in history. Their legacy continues to move generations of people around the world, and their music is still heard everywhere today. They were an exceptional band made up of four very unique individuals; they revolutionized popular music in a way that will never be repeated.
The following list showcases our picks for 15 Of The Greatest Rock Artists Of All Time. We took into account creativity, peak-to-current popularity, influence on other musicians (past and present), album sales (both commercial and critical,) versatility in style throughout their career, live performances, lasting power as icons…and naturally how much we like them!
Top 16 Rock Band Of All Time
Keep in mind this isn’t a list of the 16 “best” bands, although we feel that many that were included in this list are deserving of such praise. That would be like trying to rank your favorite Beatles song (how can you do that? You love them all!) We hope you enjoy it!
15. Iggy Pop | Peak Popularity: 1979 – 1982 | Greatest Hit: Lust For Life
James Newell “Jim” Osterberg, Jr., known by his stage name Iggy Pop, is an American singer-songwriter, musician, producer, and actor. He was the vocalist of influential proto-punk band The Stooges , who reunited in 2003, and is well known for his outrageous and unpredictable stage antics. His solo career has spanned several decades.
14. Doobie Brothers | Peak Popularity: 1975 – 1981 | Greatest Hit: What A Fool Believes
The Doobie Brothers are a rock band from San Jose, California. The group’s core lineup consists of Tom Johnston (vocals, guitar), Patrick Simmons (vocals, guitar), John McFee (guitar, pedal steel guitar), and Tiran Porter (bass). The band is best known for their number one singles “Black Water” and “What a Fool Believes”, as well as other popular songs such as “Rockin’ Down the Highway”, “Long Train Runnin'” , and “China Grove”. They have sold more than 40 million albums worldwide throughout their career.
13. Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band | Peak Popularity: 1973 – 1984 | Greatest Hits: Born In The U.S.A., Dancing In The Dark
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949) is an American musician and singer-songwriter. He is known for his work with the E Street Band. Nicknamed “The Boss”, Springsteen is widely known for his brand of poetic lyrics, Americana, working-class, and sometimes political sentiments centered on New Jersey and his home life.
12. Pearl Jam | Peak Popularity: 1991 – 1998 | Greatest Hits: Black, Jeremy
Pearl Jam is a rock band that formed in Seattle, Washington in 1990. Since its inception, the band’s line-up has included Eddie Vedder (lead vocals), Mike McCready (lead guitar), Jeff Ament (bass guitar), and Stone Gossard (rhythm guitar). The band’s current drummer is Matt Cameron, also of Sound garden, who has been with the band since 1998.
Pearl Jam entered the mainstream with a series of successful albums and singles in the early 1990s. In 1992, the band became a key member of the grunge movement popularized by Nirvana and released their debut album ” Ten ” one year later. Since its release, “Ten” has been certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA and has sold over 13 million copies worldwide. Pearl Jam won’t release another studio album until sometime next year!
11. David Bowie | Peak Popularity: 1976 – 1979 | Greatest Hit: Ashes to ashes
David Bowie (born David Robert Jones on 8th January 1947) is an English singer, songwriter, and actor. Active in five decades of popular music and frequently reinventing his music and image, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. He has been cited as an influence by many musicians and is known for his distinctive voice and the intellectual depth of his work.
10. Elvis Presley | Peak Popularity: 1956 – 1973 | Greatest Hits: Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Heartbreak Hotel
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is known by the single name “Elvis”. He is often referred to as “The King of Rock and Roll”, or simply, ” The King “.
9. U2 | Peak Popularity: 1980 – 1984 | Greatest Hits: Sunday Bloody Sunday, With Or Without You, Where The Streets Have No Name
U2 is an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono (vocals and guitar), the Edge (guitar, keyboards, and vocals), Adam Clayton (bass), and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums). Initially rooted in post-punk, U2’s musical style has evolved throughout their career; however, they have maintained a sound built on melodic instrumentals. the past 35 years, their musical focus has been dominated by Bono and The Edge’s lyrics, as well as their successful venture into the film industry.
8. The Rolling Stones | Peak Popularity: 1964 – 1969 | Greatest Hit: Paint It, Black
The Rolling Stones is an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first settled line-up consisted of Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica), Ian Stewart (piano), Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica), Keith Richards (guitar), Bill Wyman (bass), and Charlie Watts (drums). Bassist Bill Wyman has been with the band since they started recording in 1963. After initially playing mostly blues and R&B, their early material encompassed a variety of genres including psychedelia, hard rock, blues-rock, folk, and country. Despite being seen as primarily a singles band, many of their albums are now generally regarded as classics within the context of rock music.
7. Black Sabbath | Peak Popularity: 1970 – 1979 | Greatest Hits: Paranoid, Iron Man
Black Sabbath is a Heavy Metal band from Birmingham, England. Formed in 1968 by Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), and Geezer Butler (bass), they have since had Tommy Clufetos on drums after Ward’s departure in 1989 and Brad Wilk on drums after the retiring of original drummer Bill Ward in 2012. Black Sabbath was ranked #1 on MTV’s “Top Ten Heavy Metal Bands” list and VH1 ‘s “100 Greatest Artists Hard Rock”. The band also has an album in the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS for “most successful to tour and record”, with estimated sales of 75 million albums worldwide. Black Sabbath has sold over 70 million records worldwide.
6. Aerosmith | Peak Popularity: 1974 – 1985 | Greatest Hits: Dream On, Walk This Way
Aerosmith is an American rock band, sometimes referred to as ” The Bad Boys from Boston ” and “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band”. They were formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1970. Guitarist Joe Perry and bassist Tom Hamilton, originally in a band together called the Jam Band, met up with vocalist Steven Tyler, drummer Joey Kramer, and guitarist Ray Tabano, and formed Aerosmith. In 1971 Tabano was replaced by Brad Whitford and the band began developing a following in Boston.
5 Led Zeppelin | Peak Popularity: 1970 – 1979 | Greatest Hits: Stairway To Heaven
Led Zeppelin was an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. The band’s heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia, and folk music.
4. Pink Floyd | Peak Popularity: 1967 – 1981 | Greatest Songs: Comfortably Numb, Another Brick In The Wall (Part II)
Pink Floyd is an English rock band formed in London in 1965. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. Distinguished by their philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, extended compositions, and elaborate live shows, they are one of the most commercially successful and influential groups in popular music history.
3. Queen | Peak Popularity: 1970 – 1984 | Greatest Hits: Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You
Queen are a British rock band that formed in London in 1970. Their classic line up was Freddie Mercury (lead vocals ), Brian May (guitar , backing vocals ), Roger Taylor (drums , backing vocals ), and John Deacon (bass guitar ). Queen’s earliest works were influenced by progressive rock , hard rock and heavy metal , but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works by incorporating further styles, such as arena rock and pop rock, into their music.
2. The Beatles | Peak Popularity: 1964 – 1966 | Greatest Hits: Twist and Shout, Yesterday
The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential act of the rock era. Rooted in skiffle, beat, and 1950s rock and roll, the group was integral to pop music’s evolution into an art form and to the development of the counterculture of the 1960s. They often incorporated classical elements, older pop forms, and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways; led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, they also drew on a range of influences, including Boyce and Hart, Big Bill Broonzy and traditional English ballads, Indian music, the impact of drugs and the healing power of laughter to craft remarkably creative songs which often incorporated or referenced lyrics by other artists.
1. The Eagles | Peak Popularity: 1976 – 1982 | Greatest Songs: Hotel California, Take It Easy
The Eagles are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner. With five number-one singles, six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and six number one albums, the Eagles were one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and Hotel California, ranked among the 20 best-selling albums in the United States. Hotel California is ranked 37th in Rolling Stone’s list of ” The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time ” and the band was ranked number 75 on the magazine’s 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
The Eagles are one of the world’s best-selling bands in history, having sold more than 150 million records—100 million in the U.S. alone—and released eight consecutive No. 1 singles. Additionally, they have had six number-one singles on the Adult Contemporary chart. They are the fifth highest-selling music act and highest-grossing American band in U.S. history with combined sales of more than 150 million albums worldwide. The band released their debut album, Eagles, in 1972, which spawned three top 40 singles: “Take It Easy”, “Witchy Woman”, and “Peaceful Easy Feeling”. Their next album, Desperado (1973), was less successful than the first, only reaching number 41 on the charts; neither of its singles reached the top 40. However, the album does contain what would go on to be two of the band’s most popular tracks: “Desperado” and “Tequila Sunrise”. Their 1975 album One of These Nights included three top 10 singles: “One of These Nights”, “Lyin’ Eyes”,” and “Take It to the Limit”, the first hitting the top spot on the charts. The Eagles continued that success and hit their commercial peak in late 1976 with the release of Hotel California, which would go on to sell over 16 million copies in the U.S. alone and more than 32 million copies worldwide.