Rock and roll is a genre that originated in Southern America during the 1950s. It quickly spread throughout the country and then the globe. Later, it evolved into various sub-genres now known as “rock.”
In honor of this genre, we have listed down the top ten most influential rock bands. This list includes all categories of rock and roll, including southern rock, hard rock, metal, and punk, as well as any other music that evolved from 50’s Rock and Roll.
AC/DC, an Australian hard rock band was formed by brothers Malcolm Young and Angus Young in November 1973. They remained members until Malcolm died in 2014. Bon Scott was their frontman until his death from alcohol poisoning in 1979. After that, Brian Johnson took over the band’s front. People also refer to them as a hard rock or blues band.
- Their live performances are well-known, with Angus doing his trademark rock ‘n roll moves like ‘The Duck Walk.’ This involved shuffles across the stage. The Dying Bug is another where the performer had to fall to the ground and gyrate like a dying insect.
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones took rise in London in 1962. The original lineup included Mick Jagger (lead singers), Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica), Ian Stewart [piano], Keith Richards (“guitar”), Charlie Watts (“drums”), and Bill Wyman (bass).
Some of their best songs include Sympathy for the Devil, Paint it Black and Satisfication.
In 1989, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted the genre’s Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame in the year 2004. In addition, the band celebrated its 50th birthday in 2012.
- The band’s music is a force in itself, but their loose lifestyle garnered them more reputation. They are well known for their drugs and rockstar lifestyle.
- Their 1971 monumental album ‘Sticky Fingers’ has 22 million copies sold, a massive volume.
Guns ‘n’ Roses
The American hard rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1985. Geffen Records signed the classic lineup in 1986. It included vocalist Axl, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, lead guitarist Slash, drummer Steven Adler and bassist Duff McKagan. They are often associated with heavy metal, as well as hard rock.
The album Appetite for Destruction and songs such as ‘Sweet Children O’ Mine’ is their most well-known credits. In addition, guns’ n’ ‘Roses has been credited for bringing back mainstream rock music popularity in a time when it was still dominated by glam metal and dance music.
- The group’s early 1980s and 90s years are described as when they brought forth a “hedonistic rebelliousness” reminiscent of the early Rolling Stones. As a result, their reputation earned them the title “the most dangerous band” in the world.
- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame welcomed the band’s original lineup along with drummer Matt Sorum and later members Reed in 2012.
Queen was founded in 1970 in London. Brian May (guitar, vocals), Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), John Deacon (bass guitar, vocals), and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals) were the original members.
In 1975, they achieved international success by releasing their album “A Night at the Opera.” They broke through with the album’s lead single, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which stayed at number one in the UK for nine weeks. Their 1977 album, News of the World, included the songs “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You,” both of which have become sports anthems.
Queen had become one of the world’s most popular stadium rock bands by the early 1980s. Various music publications rank their performance at Live Aid in 1985 as one of the greatest in rock history, with a 2005 industry poll ranking it as the best. Queen has a Hollywood star and has won an award for “Best Band of the 1980s.” They had more than 16 number-one hits and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Queen is still on tour with Adam Lambert as of 2021.
- Brian May and Roger Taylor had previously worked together in a band called Smile before forming Queen.
- Smile was a fan of Freddie Mercury, who encouraged them to try more elaborate stage and recording techniques. In 1970, he joined the band, suggested “Queen” as a new band name, and adopted his well-known stage name.
- Mercury died of bronchopneumonia, an AIDS-related disease, in 1991 while celebrating their success and fans.
- Deacon retired and left the band in 1997. After that, Brian May and Roger Taylor rejoined the Smile band, though they retained the “Queen” moniker.
Led Zeppelin was founded in London as the New Yardbirds in 1968. Robert Plant (Vocal), John Paul Jones (Bass and Keyboard), Jimmy Page (Guitar), and John Bonham (drums) were the original members of the group. Jimmy Page even funded the first tour himself. He knew many big names o the indusrty and had previously enjoyed some success with The [original] Yardbirds. Their heavy, guitar-driven sound, rooted in psychedelia, blues, and early albums, gave made them pioneers of heavy metal.
1969’s Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin II, 1970’s Led Zeppelin III, 1971’s Led Zeppelin IV, 1973’s Houses of the Holy, & 1975’s Physical Graffiti were some of their most successful albums. Their song “Stairway to Heaven” is a rock music classic and was the subject of a lawsuit in 2014.
The band’s career was ended in 1980 by John Bonham’s passing. However, they reunited with John Bonham’s son Jason in 1985 and 1988, 1995, and 2007. They also put forth Deluxe Editions of the albums from 2014-2015.
Led Zeppelin is one of history’s most influential, innovative, and successful rock bands. In 1995, they were inducted into The Rock Hall of Fame. This band is one of the most popular in musical history with songs like “Stairway to Heaven,” “Kashmir,” and “Whole Lotta Love.”
- Spirit claims that the famous intro to “Stairway to Heaven” was inspired by their instrumental “Taurus.” In 2016, the United States federal court ruled that “Stairway to Heaven” met the standard of similarity, not plagiarizing, which has since been upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result, this song can be considered a Led Zeppelin original.
- Page claims that Keith Moon (The Who) reflected that the band could only go up like a lead balloon, giving rise to the legendary name Led Zeppelin.
Pink Floyd, an English progressive rock group was formed in London in 1965. Their psychedelic and progressive won them global fame. The group consisted of five members, including Syd Barrett (Vocals, Guitar), Richard Wright (Vocals, Keyboard), Nick Mason (Drums), and Roger Waters (Vocals and Bass). In 1968, Gilmour replaced Barrett.
The Dark Side of the Moon, Animals, Wish You Are Here,The Wall, and The Final Cut were their commercially and critically successful albums. A Saucerful of Secrets, Ummagumma, Obscured by Clouds, and their debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn were also recorded as popular albums.
In 1996, Pink Floyd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Dark Side of the Moon sold more than 50 million copies worldwide, and The Wall sold more than 30 million.
- Waters was kicked out of the band in the late 1980s. Still, the others continued to record new albums, including A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1988). (1994).
- Their most recent album, The Endless River, was released in 2014 and featured previously unreleased compositions by Wright, who sadly died in 2008. Unfortunately, Barrett had died two years before.
Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, and Peter Criss formed this American Band in New York City in 1973. Even if KISS isn’t your favorite band, chances are you have seen one of their live performances. KISS is known for wearing elaborate makeup and wearing extravagant costumes. They also put on spectacular live shows that include some of the most extreme pyrotechnics. It’s a visually stimulating experience of glitter, lights, and Gene Simmons’s long tongue.
The band is a pop/glam rock band. Many people credit the band’s stage performances and visual aesthetic as precursors to heavy metal music. However, heavy metal has always been grounded in rock.
- These American rock icons have been inducted into the prestigious halls of fame and sold over 75 million albums worldwide.
- KISS is also the primary influence on many of the most prominent heavy metal and rock bands.
The Beatles came into being in Liverpool in 1960. The founding members were John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney. They soon became the most important and influential rock band of all time. The band was rooted in 1950s rock and roll, beat, and skiffle. Later, they experimented with various genres, including Indian music and pop songs, as well as psychedelic and hard rock. In addition, they often used classical elements in new ways.
From 1965 to today, the Beatles produced some of their best material. These included the groundbreaking and influential albums Rubber Soul (revolver), The Beatles/White, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band & Album are among the Beatles’ best materials.
They have been awarded ten Grammy Awards, an Academy Award in Best Original Song Score, and fifteen Ivor Novello Awards. In 1988, they entered the Rock and Roll and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Beatles are among the best-selling music artists in the United States, according to the RIAA, with 178 million certified units.
Although half of the group has died, John Lennon’s assassination in 1980 and George Harrison’s cancer-induced death in 2001 came under frenzied discussion among fans.
It is one of the most iconic American rock bands of the 1970s. Aerosmith took rock music’s foundation and made it their own with unmatched excellence.
Seeing them switch between rock ‘n roll songs and power ballads was amazing. Steven Tyler’s incredible vocal performances and songwriting skills were key to the band’s success.
Although technically still active today, Aerosmith has undoubtedly carved its legacy and been a top-selling American rock band for decades.
They also entered into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.
- They experienced many ups and downs. They were affected by drug abuse in the late 1970s. However, they returned to work in the mid- 1980s.
Metallica, the American Heavy/Thrash Metal band, was formed in 1981. The original lineup includes James Hetfield (Vocalist, Rhythm guitarist), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar), and Ron McGovney (Bassist). Their Self-Titled album along with the hit single “Enter Sandman” brought them into the mainstream.
Their first two albums, Ride The Lightning and Kill ‘Em All became underground successes. The third one, Master of Puppets has since been one of the most important albums in heavy metal. It also became the first thrash music album to be certified platinum. Since then, the title track has been the most popular song in live performances.
In 1989, Metallica released its first video. The song was in their 1988 album, And Justice for All. This song was a huge hit and is now their most-listened song. Jason Newsted, a new bassist, was also introduced to the band.
Metallica, or the Black Album, was their fifth album. It took a more mainstream approach and is now one of America’s best-selling albums, having been certified 16x platinum.
Metallica’s ninth studio album Death Magnetic was critically acclaimed as the band returned to their 80s thrash roots. It has been called the best Metallica album for 20 years by critics. In addition, Metallica became the first band to debut five consecutive albums at the top of the Billboard 200.
- On September 27, 1986, bass player Cliff Burton was killed after being crushed by Metallica’s tour bus.
- After Load, ReLoad, Jason left the band, and the heavily criticized St. Anger featured longtime producer Bob Rock on bass. However, Robert Trujillo would later be handed the job of a permanent bass player.
- Metallica is currently on a “WorldWired Tour” with Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat.