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 2020. Because of this, Lee says there are no plans to keep the band going, so Rush is most likely defunct. The band has become one of the most well-known progressive rock bands in the world, with such albums as "2112", "Hemispheres" and "Moving Pictures". More than half of their albums have gone gold or platinum, as certified by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association Of America).

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 under rated guitarists 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!

Alex, full of life and what a writer, arranger, manager. Geddy Lee, so much talent, such energy and personality... A front man adored by all. Neil, unmatched with the sticks and his words are the missing element other bands long for... Please come down from the razor's edge and know that they are waiting for you where the streets have no name.

It was obvious that Rush would be on this list. Geddy Lee's ability to play bass, keyboards, AND sing is widely recognized. Neil Peart's drumming is widely recognized amongst the greatest styles of drumming, and Alex Lifeson takes his hard style of guitar playing and contributes to the prog rock sound of this Canadian trio.

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.

The band was comprised of Kurt Cobain (Vocals, Guitar), Dave Grohl (Drums) and Krist Novoselic (Bass). 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 with 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..

COME ON PEOPLE! I guarantee you that most have not heard of any of the above aside from rush and Jimi Hendrix. Like rush and Hendrix they created a whole new genre and yet they are still underneath triumph! VOTE NOW!

Nirvana is one! None of these bands are really my generation but Green Day isn't that good so top 3 obviously nirvana rush and Jimi Hendrix experience. I feel compelled to look up these other bands ahead of nirvana but chevelle should be on this list as well above police and Green Day because there music sounds so similar to each other meaning all police songs sound the same and all Green Day songs sound the same.

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", 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 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 singers who also play the bass. Stewart Copeland doesn't get enough credit as a drummer. All 5 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), and they recently did a reunion tour a few years ago.

Love the Nirvana's guy comment on how all Police songs sound the same. Clearly he's only heard the hits of 83, never bothering to dig into the Synchronicity album itself, nor any other album, save perhaps a Greatest Hits collection.

Now if he can explain how Nirvana songs sound more varied, I'd buy that person a drink!

Personal favorite trio band is rush, but I had to vote the police up just because they are way too low.

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 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, but in fact Hendrix should count as 3 persons himself! Drumming out of this world, bass is sometimes the only solid a stable part, somebody had to keep it together :-) But if Jack Bruce would have been in a band with Hendrix and Mitchell...

Hendrix is everything. Mitchell is one of the great drummers! Redding didn't seem too interested in the project at all, he was the dragalong. Hendrix makes up for him, even playing bass for him a lot on Electric Ladyland

I sadly admit I did not know this was a trio. Great band.

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 when he began his music career back in the 1960s. It is a shame that kids these days are not aware of the super group power house that was Cream.

If it weren't for ego and a lack of team work. 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.

One of the earliest supergroups in rock history, Cream's album Disraeli Gears is widely regarded as their best album. Launching Eric Clapton into the mainstream world of rock helps your cause. Hearing them at their best live is possible on the double album Wheels of Fire.

Although Rush is one of my favorites, I had to vote for Cream; they, along with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, helped pioneer psychedelic rock.

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's ever heard. Dusty and Billy have some of the best voices

Definitely one of the best bands! My children are 17, 20, 26, 28 and they are still listening, dancing and enjoying ZZ Top! Makes me proud.

Not MY favorite band...but they are very good and should be on this list.

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 influences include The Ramones, Sex Pistols, NOFX, and Bad Religion. They are best known for their songs like ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’, ‘Basket Case’ and their ‘American Idiot’ & ‘Dookie’ albums. American Idiot sold 6 million copies in the U.S. and won a Grammy Award for "Best Rock Album". Green Day have sold over 75 million records worldwide and have won 5 Grammy Awards. They 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 and then they took a chance with American idiot and I think 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 werent popular were actually some of their best

While Rush by far is the best trio, Green Day created some very good songs. Most of the big hits in the 2000's and 90's were green day thanks to Dookie and American Idiot. All do respect to Cream but come on that band originally lasted what? 3 years? Green Day has been around for 30 years and relevant since 1994.

Green Day is the best, Although nirvana is awesome, Green Day forever will be the greatest!

Green Day are amazing, most bands try to make their songs complex and build too much on the structure, but Green Day don't and their music is some of the worlds best

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 more.

Motörhead might not be complex, but their consistency & badass live shows make them Nr. 1 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, ie: Cream, G.T.R., ZZ Top (they can roll harsh, but can be more pop or bluesy), Rush, (they play fairly harshly also), and a few other bands from my era.

They're down here?! Get them to top five!

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 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 preform 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

Every instrument has their moment to shine, their music is art expression through music at its finest.

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".

ELP is second only to Rush for being a musically accomplished band. Musically talented, deep lyrics, classical training. Only youth and ignorance of voters accounts for their poor showing on this poll.

I love Progress. music and love most of all the bands in it or were in it. Hands down, without a doubt, no question its ELP. Yes they had some bad albums in the end but during their rise thru the 70;s They ruled in every way and no one who saw them during this time period would say different Thanks fellas You H "ELP" ed my life. Laugh out loud

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 #1 favorite band. I don't care what anyone says, Phil Collins Genesis beats Peter Gabriel Genesis by a long shot. Land Of Confusion, Misunderstanding, That's All, Invisible Touch, & Follow You, Follow Me are a few of my favorites out of their playlist of great songs.

I know Genesis originally had 5 members, but when Phil Collins fronted Genesis, 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.

Rush, Nirvana, ZZ Top and Genesis... they changed music and inspired others, including the police.

I voted for this one because I absolutely love genesis. That's all

12 Triumph Triumph is a Canadian hard rock power trio that was popular in the late 1970s through the 1980s. Between the band's 16 albums and DVDs, Triumph has received 18 gold and 9 platinum awards in Canada and the United States.

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. Heard of this band from a concert my dad showed me that U2 and Judas Priest played it, I forget what it was called.

Rush= Neil Peart Drummer Geddy Lee Bass lead vocals
Triumph Rick Emmett lead guitarist and lead vocals Gil Moore Drummer
Both are Hard Rock we did not call band in the 80's "Hair Bands" or "Glammer Bands" they were Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal. Rush and Triumph both Canadian Bands and both awesome. I miss the 80's we had real music.

Greatest 3 man band ever and even better than rush. The lead guitarist and drummer took turns doing lead vocals. Either one was genuine singer. Drumming very good and rik Emmett awesome on guitar. Check out riks guitar solo in never surrender. Hard to believe the rock video is 32 years old!

Saw them 3 times. They were awesome every. It's a badass concert, especially with Golden Earring.

13 The Beastie Boys The Beastie Boys are 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 bands of three members ever. Really, they are one of a kind

14 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 in these other groups, but these 3 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! Think they should be rated much higher, in my humble opinion.

15 Blink 182 Blink-182 are a pop-punk band formed in 1992. Original lineup were Mark Hoppus (Bass Guitar, Vocals) Tom DeLonge (Guitar, vocals) Scott Raynor (Drums). Raynor was fired from the band in 1998 and replaced by drummer Travis Barker. They got into mainstream after the album "Enema of the State" Tom DeLonge left the band in 2015 and was replaced by Matt Skiba. Tom DeLonge returned in October 2022, bringing the classic line-up back

Because they're the greatest band ever? Duh

Number one on this list

Why the hell do I found 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 couse who else? By the way green day is technically a 4 man band.

16 Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

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

Technically, they were four if you count Reese Wynans, the keyboardist.

Best guitarist ever. Period.

17 King's X

Great vocals. Live they're incredible.

Love king's X, only 2nd to Rush.

Much better than Nirvana

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", 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 is one of kind, not to mention his incredible bass skills. Tim Alexander rivals people like Danny Carey & 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 a respect for their sound. "To defy the laws of tradition" is one of my favorite songs I've ever heard in concert.

Their songs a weird but they are awesome they should definitely be in the top ten, if not top 5. They are amazing Les Claypool is an alien, his bass skills are amazing, there is no other bass player like him.

Primus is not just a 3 man band. Is a 3 man band whose singer/bassist is the best bassist in the world (or one of those) and can sing while playing pretty difficult lines.

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 top 3, the first three bands that came to my mind to start with were Grand Funk (Mark, Don & Mel), ZZ Top, and Rush. Seeing how low GFR 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 to low on this list. They should be top ten easily.

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

Caught in the Act. Second or Third best live album ever.

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.

The greatest band... Ever...

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 compliments the guitar part and in cases of I Get It, it works perfectly with the drum part to create a unique experience. They keep getting better with every album

Pete's vocals, melodic riffs and insanely well written lyrics are unmatched by any band out there. It's a shame they're not as popular as sissy bands like nickelback.

Chevelle is just a bad ass three man band, that makes bad ass heavy American music!

There is no way that Chevelle should be out of the top 10.

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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