It would be a gross oversimplification of terms to call ‘rock music’ a genre. If rock music is a genre, what defines it? A few guitars? A powerful drummer? An ostentatious drug habit?
Well, sometimes yes. But we’ve been throwing the word ‘rock’ around pretty loosely for the last 50 years. After more than half a century of experimentation, commoditisation, integration, deconstruction, evolution, and devolution, a few guitars and a drummer hardly seems to cover it. So what is rock?
Originally, the term rock was at once a reduction of rock and roll and a sign of its evolution. Nowadays 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. Here are the greatest rock bands of all times:
AC/DC are arguably the greatest hard rock band in history, with an estimated 200 mil-lion albums sold over the course of a four-decade career and counting. Founded in late 1973, in Sydney, Australia, by brothers Malcolm (rhythm guitar) and Angus Young (lead), and later completed by singer Bon Scott, drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Mark Evans, AC/DC developed a simple but powerful heavy rock sound, steeped largely in the blues and rock & roll, then fueled with incredible energy and power.
Queen are a British rock group formed in 1970. Members were Freddie Mercury (Vocals and Piano), Brian May (Guitar, Vocals), Roger Taylor (Drums, Vocals), and John Deacon (Bass Guitar, Vocals). Before forming into Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had played together in a band named Smile. Freddie Mercury was a fan of Smile and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques. He then joined the band in 1970, suggested “Queen” as a new band name, and adopted his familiar stage name. John Deacon was also recruited to complete the line-up.
By the early 1980s, Queen were one of the biggest stadium rock bands in the world. Their performance at 1985’s Live Aid is ranked among the greatest in rock history by various music publications, with a 2005 industry poll ranking it the best. Queen has won an award for “Best Band of the 80s” and has a star in Hollywood. They released more then 16 number one hits and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 .
The Beatles were a legendary rock group that formed in Liverpool, England, in 1960, and went on to transform popular music as a creative, highly commercial art form over the next decade. The Beatles were one of the most popular bands of all time, producing songs like “Yesterday, “Hey Jude,” “Penny Lane, “With A Little Help From My Friends,” “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” “Day Tripper” and “Come Together.” Learn more about the “Fab Four”—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr—by exploring our Beatles collection.
Arcade Fire are a Canadian indie rock band based in Montreal, Quebec consisting of husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne who invented a unique sounds and are successful big band.
Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. The band consisted of 5 members – David Gilmour (Vocals and Guitar), Syd Barrett (Vocals and Guitarist), Nick Mason (Drums), Roger Waters (Vocals and Bass), and Richard Wright (Vocals and Keyboard).
Their critically and commercially successful albums are The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), The Wall (1979), and The Final Cut (1983) . The Dark Side of the Moon is also considered as one of the greatest albums of all time. Pink Floyd were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are 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).
Their best works include songs like Paint it Black, Sympathy for the Devil, Satisfication (Which ranked no. 2 in The Rolling Stones Magazine’s best songs of all time list).
The Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2012, the band celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Arctic Monkeys are an indie rock band formed in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England in 2002 after meeting at Stocksbridge High School and is probably the best British band of the Milennium.
They’re holding the world captive with their oft-shirtless, lush sounding rock. Over their long career they’ve stacked up a mammoth tower of formidable hits and claim the only selling-out they’d consider would be a theme song for their beloved Irn-Bru. Biffy Clyro have become the best band in the UK and promise that there are many more twists and turns to come for team Biffy.
A four-piece indie rock band from London and its surrounding areas, Bloc Party gained success with their debut album , and have continued to have enduring popularity throughout the 00’s.
Blur are an English rock/pop band formed in 1988 under the name of Seymour. They were one of the most significant bands of the 1990s in Britain and the important part of the so-called Britpop movement. Many remember Blur from the infamous Britpop battle against Oasis.
Coldplay are a UK alternative rock band who formed in 1996 and have released six studio albums.Despite being initially influenced by bands including Radiohead and U2, they have embraced a more pop-orienated direction in recent years and have collaborated with artists including Timbaland, Avicci and Rihanna.
“No one will ever replace us,” goes one of the more memorable choruses on The Courteeners’ fifth album – and after eight years as Britain’s “biggest underground band” it might even be true. For much of their career, The Courteeners have been scorned by critics, spurned by radio and derided as lad-rock knuckle-draggers who couldn’t get arrested outside of Manchester. Yet they’ve kept releasing albums, filled ever-larger venues and swollen the ranks of devotees who hang on Liam Fray’s every double entendre.
On a break since 2010, Doves used to be a naff 1990s dance band…and even then they were brilliant.The band have released four studio albums, two of which have reached Number One on the UK album charts.
Metallica is an American Thrash Metal band formed in 1981 . The original lineup was James Hetfield (Vocalist and Rhythm guitarist), Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Ron McGovney (Bassist). The group came into mainstream from their Self-Titled album and the hit single “Enter Sandman”.
With their first two albums, Kill ‘Em All and Ride The Lightning reaching underground success, their third effort, Master of Puppets has since become one of the most important heavy metal albums ever, as it became the first thrash metal album to be certified platinum. The title track has since become the band’s most played song live.
Formed in 2003, Editors became one of the leading bands in the post-punk revival that swept America and England in the early 21st century. Originally dubbed Snowfield, the group comprised four music technology students from Stafford University.
The heartfelt lyrics of Guy Garvey rightfully made Elbow the nation’s favourite band in the Noughties.
English rock band from Oxford, England, formed in 2005. They are signed with Transgressive Records in Europe, and Sub-pop in the USA. Foals regularly perform DJ gigs (Edwin is the main DJ in the band) and as well as playing V Festivals and nights such as Field Day After Party at The End; they also launched new club night Vice Versa at Last Days of Decadence in East London.
The Foo Fighters emerged from the ashes of Nirvana, but the band’s true roots lay in the years of personal recordings made by leader Dave Grohl. The former Nirvana drummer had played guitar and written songs since he was a Washington, D.C., teenager, while also playing drums in several hardcore bands.
Green Day was part of the California punk scene. Childhood friends Billie Joe Armstrong (guitar, vocals) and Mike Dirnt (bass; born Mike Pritchard) formed their first band, Sweet Children, in Rodeo, California when they were 14 years old. By 1989, the group had added drummer Al Sobrante and changed their name to Green Day. That year, the band independently released their first EP, 1,000 Hours, which was well-received in the punk scene.
Guns N’ Roses
Guns N’ Roses is an American hard rock band from Los Angeles formed in 1985 .Guns N’ Roses shot to stardom with Appetite for Destruction, the biggest-selling debut in rock history. The album combined Seventies-derived hard rock and a hedonistic rebelliousness that simultaneously recalled the early Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Aerosmith, and the Sex Pistols; it also showed off the band’s virtuoso technique and destroy-passersby attitude, as well as rock’s funkiest rhythm section since before disco scared drummers and bassists straight.
What the Beatles were to the ’60s, Led Zeppelin were to the ’70s: a band so successful and innovative they wound up creating the prism through which their entire epoch was seen. Zeppelin ushered in the era of album rock — they refused to release singles off their albums, even when they were garnering massive radio play — and of arena rock, playing ever-larger stadiums as their ticket sales skyrocketed.
The cult of Kurt lives on but it’s the amazing music that makes Nirvana so legendary.