Top 10 Best 3 Man Rock Bands

Most bands have a total of four of five members. However, there is that rare instance where only 3 people get together and are able to create some amazing tunes. These are what voters consider to be some of the best bands that only have three members.
The Top Ten
1 Rush Rush was a Canadian progressive rock band that was formed in 1968. The band has had an iconic lineup since 1975, which included Neil Peart (Drums, Percussion), Geddy Lee (Vocals, Bass, Keyboards), and the guitarist, Alex Lifeson. Peart passed away after a 3 year battle with brain cancer in January of... read more

One of the most amazing things about Rush was their continual progression of skill and cohesion. Watching them play so incredibly well and so unified into their sixties is something that no other band (including the timeless Rolling Stones) could ever match. They will go down in history as so much more respected than they ever were in their prime. RIP to the god of skins, Mr. Peart.

Great band, great memorable riffs. 2112 concept album. Morphed from classic hard rock to progressive metal. Neil Peart, one of the all-time drummers, Alex Lifeson, a very underrated guitarist, and Geddy Lee holding it down on bass while singing, and can also play keyboards. On this list, saw Rush in '82 and Police on their last 10 concerts before they quit the first time. No comparison, Rush rules!

2 Nirvana Nirvana was an American grunge band that was formed in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. Nirvana disbanded after Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994. The drummer of the band, David Grohl, went on to start the Foo-Fighters, an alternative rock band... read more

The Nevermind album is widely considered to be a gem by many music fans and critics. They followed it up with In Utero, which challenged poser Nirvana fans and identified true supporters. It's a shame Cobain had to kill himself, or who knows what kind of music Nirvana would be releasing nowadays.

A band that defined a generation and changed the direction of music overnight. No one had more of an impact on a generation since the Beatles. Nirvana influenced musicians across all genres and connected with a disconnected youth looking for a voice. NIRVANA.

3 The Police The Police were an English rock band formed in London in 1977. For the majority of their history, the band consisted of Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland. They are most known for their songs "Message In A Bottle", "Don't Stand So Close To Me", "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic", "Roxanne",... read more

All Police songs do not sound the same, and if you dig deeper and take the time to listen to their stuff that is not heard on the radio, then you would have to give them more credit than you do. My definition of a classic album is one that you play the entire side, then flip it over and listen to the other side also. Very rare indeed, but I think all the Police albums qualify.

One of New Wave's most iconic groups, Sting is an example of a singer who also plays bass. Stewart Copeland doesn't get enough credit as a drummer. All five of their albums produced hit singles (Roxanne, Message in a Bottle, Don't Stand So Close to Me, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Every Breath You Take). They recently did a reunion tour a few years ago.

4 The Jimi Hendrix Experience The Jimi Hendrix Experience was an English-American rock band that formed in Westminster, London, in September 1966. Composed of singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jimi Hendrix, bassist and backing vocalist Noel Redding, and drummer Mitch Mitchell, the band was active until June 1969. During this time... read more

One of the earliest three-man bands, The Jimi Hendrix Experience was well known for their technical skill, as well as the way that Jimi would set his guitar on fire or play it with his teeth. It's a shame that Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell don't get any credit for their contributions to music.

The essential power trio! In fact, Hendrix should count as three persons himself. Drumming out of this world, the bass is sometimes the only solid and stable part. Somebody had to keep it together. But if Jack Bruce would have been in a band with Hendrix and Mitchell...

5 Cream Cream were a 1960s British rock supergroup power trio consisting of bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker, and guitarist/vocalist Eric Clapton.

The best rock trio in history! Jack Bruce was an extraordinary vocalist and the master of the bass guitar. Ginger Baker is a phenomenal, innovative drummer. Eric Clapton is a guitar legend now and was a legend when he began his music career back in the 1960s. It is a shame that kids these days are not aware of the supergroup powerhouse that was Cream.

If it weren't for ego and a lack of teamwork, I think Cream would still be around today. But Bruce and Baker had a serious rivalry which, in the end, destroyed the band. Sad but true. I could listen to them for hours and be hypnotized by Clapton's voice and the floaty sound of the music.

6 ZZ Top ZZ Top is an American rock band that formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band is composed of bassist and lead vocalist Dusty Hill, guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons, and drummer Frank Beard.

Blues rock and hard rock never sounded finer. Recognizable for their long beards, Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill's guitar tones are some of the smoothest, yet roughest in rock. Their drummer, Frank Beard (who ironically has no beard), is technically strong and able to produce beats that people want to get up and dance to.

Before Eliminator, these guys maintained a sex- and alcohol-induced blues-rock empire. They have so many riffs used in heavy metal today, and their groove is unlike anything anyone has ever heard. Dusty and Billy have some of the best voices.

7 Green Day Green Day are an American pop punk/punk rock band formed in East Bay, California in 1987. The members include Billie Joe Armstrong (vocals and guitar), Mike Dirnt (bass), Tré Cool (drums) and Jason White (guitar). Green Day are associated with punk rock, pop punk and alternative rock. Some of their... read more

Well, the early stuff was just flat-out fun and didn't care to impress anyone. I think that after Nimrod, they declined a bit, but Warning had two good singles. Then they took a chance with American Idiot. I think they proved how complex a three-man group can be. There's some amazing writing on that album. Although not as popular, 21st Century Breakdown was the most complex thing they did yet, and some of the songs that weren't popular were actually some of their best.

While Rush is by far the best trio, Green Day created some very good songs. Most of the big hits in the 2000s and '90s were Green Day's, thanks to Dookie and American Idiot. All due respect to Cream, but come on, that band originally lasted what? Three years? Green Day has been around for 30 years and relevant since 1994.

8 Motörhead Motörhead were an English heavy metal band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister, who was the sole constant member; guitarist and songwriter Larry Wallis; and drummer Lucas Fox. The band's harsh vocals and fast paced tempos helped inspire speed metal and... read more

Motörhead might not be complex, but their consistency and badass live shows make them number one for me. They released over 20 studio albums, and every single one of them is good. Plus, they were active for 40 years.

Jack Daniels and cigarettes personified by Lemmy. Fast and loud.

Can't believe there aren't any comments on this band! They seriously stand out, above and beyond any of the other bands listed. Except of course the mellower groups (i.e., Cream, G.T.R., ZZ Top - they can roll harsh, but can be more pop or bluesy - Rush, who play fairly harshly also, and a few other bands from my era).

9 Muse Muse are an English alternative rock band from Teignmouth, Devon, formed in 1994. The members are Matt Bellamy (lead vocal, lead guitar, piano, keyboard), Dom Howard (drums, percussion) and Chris Wolstenholme (bass, backing vocals). They've won several awards including 5 MTV Awards, 8 NME Awards, 2... read more

Compared to the other bands on this list, they had more great songs per album than any other besides Cream and Nirvana. I think Muse should be in the top three simply because they have put out more good music in 18 years than Rush did in 40.

They are AMAZING. Never before have I become so hooked on a particular band or group. Absolutely love their music. Wish there were more like them. And their live performances exceed anything I have EVER seen before.

The way they perform and the way their music can be soft and cool... they can get very heavy. With this good variety of songs, they should be at the top.

10 Emerson, Lake & Palmer Emerson, Lake & Palmer were an English progressive rock supergroup formed in London in 1970. The band consisted of keyboardist Keith Emerson, singer, bassist, and producer Greg Lake, and drummer and percussionist Carl Palmer.

I put them ahead of Rush for one reason: they set the standard for rock of this type. The orchestral, sweeping melodies, the showmanship, and ability to change from rock to classical to jazz and back to rock is unparalleled. This is not to discredit Rush in any way, or the boundaries crossed by the brilliant Police, but this is the pinnacle of trios. If only they were still playing, but they're all doing different stuff now.

Prog rock legends Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, and Carl Palmer became famous due to the song "Lucky Man". However, the album that most people associate them with is "Brain Salad Surgery", which features the almost 30-minute epic "Karn Evil 9".

The Contenders
11 Genesis Genesis are an English rock band formed at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey in 1967. The most commercially successful and long-lasting line-up includes keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford and drummer/singer Phil Collins.

If Queen and Black Sabbath never formed, Genesis would be my number one favorite band. I don't care what anyone says, Phil Collins' Genesis beats Peter Gabriel's Genesis by a long shot. Land Of Confusion, Misunderstanding, That's All, Invisible Touch, and Follow You, Follow Me are a few of my favorites out of their playlist of great songs.

I know Genesis originally had five members, but when Phil Collins fronted the band, he helped make Genesis a household name. While that may be a bad thing in some people's eyes, he still managed to make some great progressive rock-style songs with Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks.

12 Triumph Triumph was a Canadian hard rock band formed in 1975. They were popular in the late 1970s and the 1980s, building on their reputation and success as a live band. Between their 16 albums and DVDs, the band received 18 gold and nine platinum awards in Canada and the United States. They were nominated... read more

It's a shame that not a lot of people know about this band. Very similar to Rush, except their lead singer is the drummer! Notable songs include Magic Power, Hold On, and Lay It On the Line. I heard of this band from a concert my dad showed me that U2 and Judas Priest played. I forget what it was called.

Rush: Neil Peart (drummer), Geddy Lee (bass, lead vocals).
Triumph: Rik Emmett (lead guitarist and lead vocals), Gil Moore (drummer).

Both are hard rock bands. We did not call bands in the 1980s "hair bands" or "glam bands." They were rock, hard rock, or heavy metal. Rush and Triumph are both Canadian bands and both awesome. I miss the 1980s - we had real music.

13 The Beastie Boys The Beastie Boys were an American Rap/Rock group that was formed in 1981 by its three original members, Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, and Adam "MCA" Yauch.

One of the best three-member bands ever. Really, they are one of a kind.

14 Blink 182 Blink-182 is a pop-punk band formed in 1992. The original lineup consisted of Mark Hoppus on bass guitar and vocals, Tom DeLonge on guitar and vocals, and Scott Raynor on drums. Raynor was fired from the band in 1998 and replaced by drummer Travis Barker. They gained mainstream popularity after the... read more

Because they're the greatest band ever? Duh.

Why the hell did I find these guys at 17? COME ON, they took the pop-punk genre to heights that have only been challenged by Green Day. Even so, many more people still love Blink-182.

Blink, of course! Who else? By the way, Green Day is technically a 4-man band.

15 Crosby, Stills, and Nash

Even though they are sometimes joined by Neil Young, this group's first album was a classic in every meaning of the word. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes may not sound familiar to you at first, but you'll eventually realize it. They were able to get Neil Young to join them and create the well-received Deja Vu album. Plus, all the members were already members of great rock bands (The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Hollies).

Several great musicians and lead vocalists were in other groups, but these three voices combined created incredible harmonies that none of these other bands could equal. So many great hits, but I believe that Suite: Judy Blue Eyes was one of the greatest rock songs of all time! I think they should be rated much higher, in my humble opinion.

16 Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

SRV is a guitarist who helped to revive blues in the 1980s with the Texas Flood album. After a string of solid albums, he died in a plane crash, thus ending the trend that Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble helped develop. They have slowly developed a stronger fan following among younger classic rock fans.

17 King's X

Great vocals. Live, they're incredible.

18 Primus Primus is an American funk metal band based in San Francisco, California, currently composed of bassist Les Claypool, guitarist Larry LaLonde and drummer Tim Alexander. Les Claypool is regarded as one of the best bassists of all time for his slap-bass ability in notable songs like "My Name Is Mud",... read more

This list makes me laugh. Claypool, Larry LaLonde, and Tim Alexander are all in the top 50 of their instruments. Les's vocals and songwriting are one of a kind, not to mention his incredible bass skills. Tim Alexander rivals people like Danny Carey and Gavin Harrison as the greatest drummer of all time. Larry LaLonde is essentially Eddie Van Halen and John Frusciante put together.

It's a shame you don't hear them more on the radio. If you've ever been to a Primus concert, you'd leave with respect for their sound. "To Defy the Laws of Tradition" is one of my favorite songs I've ever heard in concert.

19 Grand Funk Railroad Grand Funk Railroad, sometimes shortened as Grand Funk, is an American rock band popular during the 1970s, when they toured extensively and played to packed arenas worldwide.

When I was thinking of the top three, the first three bands that came to mind were Grand Funk Railroad (Mark, Don, and Mel), ZZ Top, and Rush. Seeing how low Grand Funk Railroad is listed, I had to vote for them. I figure most of it has to do with generational voting. People who know Green Day probably don't know Grand Funk Railroad.

I don't think they're the best 3-man band ever, but I had to vote for them because they're way too low on this list. They should be top ten easily.

They should definitely be in the top 10. Very underrated.

20 Sublime Sublime was an American ska punk band from Long Beach, California, formed in 1988. The band's line-up, unchanged until their breakup, consisted of Bradley Nowell, Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh.
21 Chevelle Chevelle is an American alternative metal band that formed in 1995 in the Chicago suburb of Grayslake, Illinois. The band was originally composed of brothers: Pete Loeffler, Sam Loeffler and Joe Loeffler.

Pete sings in a way that he doesn't need the words to rhyme to be catchy. He has to do it in other ways. You can notice it in the way his vocals often use alliteration and dynamic contrast. Their riffs are often catchy, though simple. Sam is a pretty good drummer, and the songs tend to start off simple with him, but slowly he adds in more complicated fills and other drumming mechanics. Dean's bass part always complements the guitar part, and in cases like I Get It, it works perfectly with the drum part to create a unique experience. They keep getting better with every album.

22 Venom Venom are an English extreme metal band formed in 1979 in Newcastle upon Tyne. Coming to prominence towards the end of the new wave of British heavy metal, Venom's first two albums—Welcome to Hell and Black Metal—are considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general.
23 The Melvins The Melvins are an American band that formed in 1983. They usually perform as a trio, but in recent years have performed as a four piece with two drummers.
24 Coroner Coroner is a Swiss thrash metal band from Zürich, formed in the early 80s. They have been called "the Rush of thrash metal" for their increasingly complex style of progressive rock-infused thrash. They garnered relatively little attention outside Europe .

A very obscure band, but they are called "the Rush of thrash metal" because they play progressive/technical thrash metal.

25 R.E.M. R.E.M. was an American alternative rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by lead singer Michael Stipe, lead guitarist Peter Buck, bassist/backing vocalist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry.
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