Connect with us


The Greatest Bands of All Time – Ranked



The idea of touring the world playing music to thousands of adoring fans is what gets many people into playing in a band in the first place. Not everyone is fortunate enough to live out their dreams of headlining a Woodstock, but some do.
The best bands in the world have been touring for years, making hit record after hit record, and have millions of fans from every corner of the planet. Whether it be selling out arenas all over the world, inspiring future generations of musicians, or simply recording hit records, these bands are simply the best of all time.

40. Mötley Crüe

If you’re going to be an amazing rock band, then you need to have a live show that gets people talking. Glam rockers Mötley Crüe made sure that nobody left their shows without having a good time by making its shows bigger and better each night. The Sunset Strip-loving stars weren’t shy in indulging in the activities of rockers, but the band also made sure to bring the energy when the lights went up. Rock is all about the energy, and Mötley Crüe made sure it went down as one of the most entertaining live bands of all time.

39. Coldplay

The British rock band Coldplay has grown to become one of the biggest music acts on the planet in the near 25 years it has been performing. After gaining worldwide attention after the single ‘Yellow,’ Coldplay has grown from strength to strength to become one of the world’s most important bands. Every studio album the band has released reached number one in the UK music charts. Not only has Coldplay been an important act for British music, but the band has also been one of the most active in raising money for charities and social issues.

38. Def Leppard

The 1980s was an era filled with heavy metal bands, and it’s hard to argue that Def Leppard doesn’t belong right at the top. With two diamond albums under its belt, Def Leppard is one of the biggest names in the metal scene of the 1980s. In the hair metal stakes, Def Leppard didn’t disappoint, and when the band polished its routine by its third album, they were here to stay in the metal mainstream. Even losing an arm didn’t stop drummer Rick Allen, because that’s just how hard this band rocks.

37. Red Hot Chili Peppers

Although they formed in 1983, it wasn’t until 1990 that the Red Hot Chili Peppers really hit its stride thanks to the addition of John Frusciante as guitarist. Frusciante left following the band’s big breakthrough, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers only found success once more when he rejoined in 1998. The guitarist’s return coincided with ‘Californication,’ arguably the Chili Peppers’ biggest hit to date. Since then, the Red Hot Chili Peppers has found success touring around the world and hitting the Billboard 200 top spot with 2006’s ‘Stadium Arcadium.’

36. Slipknot

Slipknot’s dark lyrics might not hit home with everybody, but there is no denying the band’s impact over the last 25 years. The band is still going strong, and the performers behind the masks have proven they are talented songwriters for over two decades. Slipknot was recently voted the ‘Best Band in the World’ by NME in 2020, and the appeal of the band continues to grow. The last three albums released by Slipknot reached number one in the US Billboard Top 200 charts, while Slipknot’s live performances have also reached legendary status for production and energy.

35. Van Halen

Before the 1980s, the idea of bringing keyboards and synthesizers to heavy rock music was completely out of the question. Rockers were meant to be tough, so they had to shred their guitars, wail into their mics, and smash their drum kits. Van Halen changed all that by introducing electronic sounds to hard rock in the early 1980s, gaining tons of fans while innovating the ‘rock’ sound. The California band brought high energy and world-class technical skills to the stage, meaning fans always had an amazing time at their gigs.

34. Rush

When it comes to versatility, there are few bands able to successfully change its sound like the Canadian rock group Rush. The band was formed back in the 1960s and decided to go out with a bang by wrapping things up on its 40th-anniversary tour in 2016. Rush started as a bluesy rock band but moved into progressive rock and hard rock. Rush’s musical diversity earns the band a place on the list of best bands ever. The Canadian rockers are known influences on bands such as Rage Against the Machine, Foo Fighters, Metallica, and No Doubt.

33. Kraftwerk

Although much of electronic and dance music might be made on laptops these days, before technology moved forward there was Kraftwerk. The German band is largely considered to be the pioneers of electronic dance music, and Kraftwerk has been doing its thing since 1970. Kraftwerk has been in the music industry for a long time, collecting its fair share of Grammy Awards along the way. One of the most intriguing things about the band is how elusive its members are, with mannequins often used as stand-ins during Kraftwerk photoshoots.

32. Foo Fighters

Legendary rocker Dave Grohl has been in not one, but two of the biggest bands of all time. Grohl formed the Foo Fighters when Nirvana broke up, and he cemented his place as one of the most talented musicians of his generation. The rocker went from playing drums in Nirvana to frontman and guitarist for the Foos. That transition was a smart move for Grohl as he led the Foo Fighters to become one of the biggest modern rock acts on the planet. Today the Foo Fighters can be seen headlining music festivals in all corners of the globe.

31. Blondie

In a world of male-led rock bands, Blondie sought to bring something fresh to the charts thanks to its new wave sounds and frontwoman Debbie Harry. Punk was reigning supreme in the charts in the 1970s, but new wave was just around the corner, and Blondie helped push it into the mainstream. With iconic songs such as ‘Call Me,’ ‘Heart of Glass,’ and ‘One Way or Another,’ Blondie brought a mixture of everything to its sound. By the time Blondie’s third studio album came out in 1978, there were clear sounds of disco, punk, pop, and experimental in their music.

30. Pearl Jam

There aren’t many surviving bands from the grunge era, but one that endures is Pearl Jam. The band was first formed in 1990 and quickly became one of the powerhouses of the Seattle grunge scene, alongside Nirvana and Alice in Chains. Pearl Jam has sold more than 85 million albums worldwide, with the band’s album ‘Ten’ at the forefront of the grunge explosion in the early ‘90s. Pearl Jam has since become known for during its impressive history are the legendary live performances the band members put on for audiences.

29. Fleetwood Mac

Although Fleetwood Mac began life as a UK blues band, things changed once Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined the band. With the addition of the two Americans, Fleetwood Mac became a big deal on both sides of the Atlantic. The radio waves were filled with Fleetwood Mac during the 1970s thanks to hits like ‘Go Your Own Way,’ ‘The Chain,’ and ‘Dreams.’ It was all about the music for Fleetwood Mac, and the 1977 album ‘Rumours’ launched the band into the stratosphere. Fleetwood Mac continues to tour, giving fans the chance to see this iconic band in the flesh.

28. Journey

Although they might seem like a one-hit-wonder thanks to the success of ‘Don’t Stop Believing,’ Journey is actually one of the biggest bands of all time. Of course, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ is a go-to karaoke tune for many, but the group is also known for its amazing vocals and catchy riffs. Journey has sold over 75 million albums during its lifetime, which shows the band is about more than just one song. Steve Perry’s strong vocals earned Journey millions of fans around the world, and while the lineup looks a little different now, the band is still touring.

27. Bon Jovi

Rock fans want their bands to be non-conformists, but sometimes bands are just too popular for that to be possible. The rock group Bon Jovi became one of the most commercially successful rock bands of the 1980s and then returned to dominate the ‘90s too. Led by Jon Bon Jovi, the rock band filled arenas all over the world during its tours and recorded number one albums throughout its history. Even after 30 years of rocking out, Bon Jovi is still making hit records, and the band’s longevity makes it one of the most successful in history.

26. ABBA

Alright, ABBA might not be a band in the sense of many others, but there is no denying the impact the Swedish pop group has had on the world. The band produced a ton of hits during its heyday in the 1970s and became known for its happy tunes and great live shows. Although the band split in the 1980s, interest in its songs has never waned, and in 2010 ABBA entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With hits like ‘Waterloo,’ ‘Dancing Queen,’ and ‘Fernando,’ ABBA will be remembered as one of the most iconic bands ever.

25. Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden is one of the pioneering heavy metal bands of the 1970s, and it is still going strong. The lineups may have changed, but the music has always been heavy, and fans have lined up for days to get their hands on tickets to see the British band. Not only is Iron Maiden one of the top bands of all time thanks to its back catalog of hits and successful live shows, but also its influence in the industry. Iron Maiden has influenced many rock bands that followed them, including Metallica, Slipknot, and Avenged Sevenfold.

24. Deep Purple

One thing that Deep Purple became known for by anyone who went to the band’s shows was volume. The band was considered the loudest in the world, and it makes sense that Deep Purple became a hugely influential band for many heavy metal acts. Huge acts like Queen, Metallica, and Aerosmith have all indicated that they were in some way influenced by Deep Purple before they formed. Anyone who has ever tried learning to play the guitar will be familiar with Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water,’ which has one of the most recognizable riffs ever made.

23. R.E.M.

Melodic rock band R.E.M. has become one of the world’s best thanks to years of hard work and dedication. Led by Michael Stipe, the band’s approach to alternative rock made them stand out from the crowd with hits like ‘Losing My Religion’ and ‘Everybody Hurts.’ R.E.M. didn’t take the ‘tough’ approach to rock music, rather focusing on deep and meaningful lyrics that not every band does. The band formed in 1980 but decided in 2011 it was time to break up for good, leaving fans of R.E.M. hoping for new material in vain.

22. Guns N’ Roses

Guns N’ Roses rose to stardom thanks largely to its two larger-than-life performers Slash and Axl Rose. The band’s fame grew thanks to its member’s fondness for violence and debauchery, something that only led to more and more fans around the world. Guns N’ Roses became known as the world’s most dangerous band during the 1980s, and by the 1990s they were bonafide superstars. The band’s volatile nature led to a split, but when the mood is right, the members come together to bring the fans exactly what they want; pure entertainment.

21. Santana

Santana is one of the most enduring bands of all time, led by the legendary guitarist Carlos Santana. In fact, Carlos Santana has been the only consistent member of the group throughout its history, stretching all the way back to 1966. Santana is considered to be one of the best-selling bands of all time, with an estimated 100 million albums sold worldwide. With over 25 albums under its belt, tickets to a Santana concert sell like hot cakes well beyond the band’s 50th anniversary.

20. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers earned its place among the top bands of all time thanks largely to its longevity. The Florida band frequently toured after making its debut in the 1970s, earning fans with every new generation to hear its sound. Sadly frontman Tom Petty passed away in 2017, signaling the end for one of the most-loved bands across the United States. Petty was considered one of the finest musicians to live, and he, along with the band, channeled the sounds of blues, Southern rock, and country during the group’s lifetime.

19. Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath is considered to be the father of heavy metal, and the Ozzy Osbourne-led band has had a huge influence on rock music. Of course, Sabbath didn’t do it alone, but the group remains one of the most-listened-to across all metal music. While Osbourne was making headlines for biting the head off of a bat, the tone of the band remained the same thanks to Tony Iommi’s legendary skills. Iommi lost two fingers in a factory accident but rose to be part of the biggest band in heavy metal history. It doesn’t get more metal than that.

18. The Eagles

If you were alive during the 1970s, then there’s a good chance you have heard of The Eagles, especially as their tunes were played over and over again on the radio. This rock band was one of the most successful during the ‘70s with six number one albums under its belt. The Eagles’ biggest song, ‘Hotel California’ is a platinum-selling record and one that remains a big hit today. Although the band debuted in the mid-1970s, the Eagles are still touring and bringing live entertainment to fans of the band all over the world.

17. Radiohead

While you won’t leave their gigs drenched in sweat from moshing out, it’s impossible to ignore Radiohead. Although the band isn’t exactly a mainstream sound, that’s kind of the point, and the last six records released by Radiohead have reached 3rd or higher on the Billboard 200. Radiohead may be the closest thing we have to a modern-day Beatles, and the band has millions of passionate listeners around the world. The group has pushed boundaries in the modern age of music thanks to its unconventional album releases, pioneering people to stream and listen to music on the internet.

16. AC/DC

Australian hard rock band AC/DC has been entertaining fans around the world since the 1970s. The band proved to be so popular it even managed to survive losing its frontman, Bon Scott, in 1980 and still came back fighting. The rowdy group always has an entertaining live show and has toured the world more than most bands. Although the line up may occasionally change, the energy that AC/DC brings to the stage never does, and it’s always a sold-out show wherever the Australians perform.

15. Cream

Music fans have gotten used to the term ‘supergroup’ over the years, but perhaps the first band to represent that term was Cream. The band was composed of legendary guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Jack Bruce, and drummer Ginger Baker. Cream was a band for music purists, and it created some of the most iconic riffs in history, including ‘Sunshine of Your Love.’ The band influenced a ton of other musical acts as Cream helped to bring bluesy rock into the mainstream.

14. Metallica

Metallica first hit the music scene back in the 1980s as a thrash metal band. The music the band played was fast and loud, and in some ways, not much has changed for Metallica. Any Metallica song sounds distinctly unlike any other band, and the metal band has become one of the biggest bands of any music genre. Whether they are creating number one studio albums or selling out worldwide tours, everything Metallica does, it does well. The group has gone through its ups and downs but remains one of the biggest attractions in heavy metal music to this day.

13. Aerosmith

Aerosmith is led by the legendary frontman Steven Tyler, a man who has had as much of an influence on rock as Mick Jagger. The band toured relentlessly during its peak, and it embodied everything you would expect from a rock and roll band. There was partying, there were plenty of girls, but most of all, there was a lot of great music during Aerosmith’s journey. The band went on one last tour in 2017 after selling over 150 million albums in a rollercoaster ride that began in the 1970s.

12. Queen

Queen is one of those rock bands that seems to be relevant no matter how much time passes. The band was at its peak during the 1970s and ‘80s, but it remains popular today. Led by iconic frontman Freddie Mercury, Queen could easily have claimed to be the biggest band in the world during its peak. Sadly Mercury passed away in 1991, and the band’s bassist, John Deacon, later passed in 1997. The future looked bleak for Queen, but the rock band continues to tour with Adam Lambert stepping into the shoes of Mercury as the band’s charismatic frontman.

11. The Doors

Some bands are great for their longevity, while others only last a short time but pack a lot in. Although The Doors didn’t have the longest career in rock history, there is no denying how big of an impact the band had on the music scene. A large part of the band’s success lies with frontman Jim Morrison thanks to his poetic lyrics and mesmeric stage presence. The Doors pushed the boundaries of what being a rock band meant during the 1960s thanks to hits like ‘Break on Through to the Other Side’ and ‘Light My Fire.’

10. Nirvana

Although Nirvana wasn’t around for long, there is no denying how much of an impact this grunge band had. Led by legendary frontman Kurt Cobain, Nirvana was able to speak for the youth of a generation, and almost 30 years later, the band is still finding new fans. Rock was still under the influence of hair metal bands by the late 1980s, but Nirvana changed all that with its raw and stripped back sound. Nirvana may have only released three studio albums, but with tunes like ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ the band will never be forgotten.

9. The Who

When you think of a rock band performing on stage, you might think of the finale when they all destroy their instruments. The band that pioneered that move is The Who, as Pete Townsend and co. took enthusiasm for music to another level. Keith Moon and Roger Daltrey weren’t shy in showing off on stage either as the band began making its name during the swinging ‘60s in the UK. Live performances are what made this band legendary, and there was no better example of this than The Who’s Woodstock ‘69 performance.

8. The Clash

During the 1970s, punk music was a way for musicians to break away from the progressive rock that had dominated the charts. Instead of convoluted songs lasting ten minutes at a time, punk brought short, sharp, and punchy songs with aggression into the spotlight. Punk was about attitude, not playing perfect music. The Clash was one of the pioneering punk bands of the 1970s as it brought high energy and fearlessness to the masses. Never afraid to experiment, The Clash took inspiration from reggae and rockabilly while injecting its own sound to appeal to punks everywhere.

7. The Beatles

It’s hard to imagine a world without The Beatles in it. The band from Liverpool in the United Kingdom was ‘the’ musical act of the 1960s, with the quartet delivering a string of hit albums and singles. Although the band was only together for ten years, it was a hugely influential decade which bands and music acts are still taking inspiration from today. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Star all recorded hit records on their own, but combined, they formed arguably the greatest band in music history.

6. The Ramones

New York punk rockers The Ramones helped bring the genre into the mainstream with its short and concise hits. Although they aren’t related, each member of the band took on the fictional ‘Ramone’ surname to make it seem like they were brothers. Dressing in ripped drainpipe jeans, white tees, and leather jackets, the Ramones were the defining look of the punk movement. Their hits were based upon simple chords and punchy lyrics, with songs like ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ being the Ramones’ best-known songs.

5. Led Zeppelin

There weren’t many bigger bands in the 1970s than English rockers Led Zeppelin. Individually the members of Led Zeppelin were outstanding musical performers but put them together, and it created something extra special. The band was even signed by Atlantic Records without anyone from the record company having seen them play live. One thing that stands Led Zeppelin apart from the crowd is the fact the band refused to release singles, instead only delivering its songs in album form. This ideology helped the band sell over 300 million records and to create album-oriented rock.

4. The Beach Boys

When you just want some music to make you feel good, then you could do worse than listening to The Beach Boys. The band’s feel-good California sound took off during the 1960s, and you know almost immediately when you are listening to a Beach Boys tune. Hits like ‘Surfin’ U.S.A,’ and ‘I Get Around’ crashed into the music scene like a tidal wave, making The Beach Boys one of the most commercially successful bands in history. The Beach Boys helped create the California sound, and the band has released over 80 songs since the 1960s.

3. Bob Marley and the Wailers

Iconic reggae star Bob Marley joined forces with the Wailers to create one of Jamaica’s most iconic music acts. The group brought reggae music to the masses thanks to hits like ‘No Woman, No Cry’ and ‘I Shot the Sheriff.’ Although the group enjoyed success touring the world, the reason why Bob Marley and the Wailers is one of the top bands of all time is because of its enduring quality. Even today, the band’s songs remain hugely popular around the world, despite the band’s relative lack of commercial success when Marley was still alive.

2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Although Jimi Hendrix had been making music earlier in his career, it wasn’t until he formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience that he became a superstar. The Jimi Hendrix Experience showed the world what sounds were possible to make with a guitar, and its influence cannot be understated. The band was, of course, fronted by Jimi Hendrix, and his untimely passing at the age of 27 in 1970 cut this band’s time on stage short. Even though it was only making records for three years, the Jimi Hendrix Experience set the scene for progressive rock to flourish.

1. Rolling Stones

There aren’t many more iconic bands in history than the Rolling Stones. The British band has been going strong since the 1960s, and it seems as though each band member has made a deal with the devil to keep rocking forever. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are the most recognizable stars from the band, with Jagger still jumping around on stage despite having heart surgery. The Rolling Stones has certainly made its mark on the music industry and can count no fewer than 30 studio albums among its back catalog.


Auto Overload provides our community with the latest trending automotive entertainment news and insight from around the world. We explore insider tips on the newest cars debuting, the best performance parts and the hottest racing events to visit when traveling the globe. We're inspired by exploring new automotive experiences and can't wait to share all of our exciting deals, guides and reviews to help you live your auto life to the fullest.