Most Influential Rock Bands

The 10 most influential rock groups of the rock era.
The Top Ten
1 The Beatles The Beatles were an English pop rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The members consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. They were soon known as the foremost and most influential act of rock era. Rooted in skiffle, beat, and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented with several genres, ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard... read more

Having created several musical genres no normally associated with the Beatles, most notably Heavy Metal, and introducing music video's and the use as an album as a collective unit rather than songs added to promote the single. I can't truly say how great their impact was as I was not alive when the Beatles exploded, but from what I can tell, they changed not only the world of music, but the world in general.

Sorry, I'm not saying that The Beatles were not talented ( they were enormous talented ) but when I read the first comment " before The Beatles the world was about old people, after The Beatles, the world was about young people ", I have to say that this is all wrong. Learn the history of Rock and Roll before saying something like that. Teenage rebellion began in the fifties with Elvis Presley. I dare even say that without Elvis there would be no Beatles. John Lennon said it with his famous words " Before Elvis there was nothing " and Paul McCartney said recent in an interview that the first time he heard Elvis on the radio singing " Heartbreak Hotel " he heard something that till this day he still find amazing " His phrasing, his use of echo, it's all so beautiful as if he's singing it from the dephts of hell " [ quote from Paul McCartney ]. The Beatles were without a doubt influential but they were influenced themselves of the rebellious music from the fifties.

2 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin was an English hard rock band formed in London in 1968 as the New Yardbirds. The group consisted of Robert Plant (Vocal), Jimmy Page (Guitar), John Paul Jones (Bass, Keyboard) and John Bonham (Drums) and was very much the child of Jimmy Page who even financed their first tour. He had tasted some previous success with The [original] Yardbirds and was friendly with some big names in rock... read more

Biggest band of the 70's, and (in my opinion), the best band when it comes to raw musical talent. Their influence is simply incomparable, plus creating a whole new genre of music is not something every band can brag about. Even though The Beatles had a wider impact on music as a whole, I firmly believe that Led Zeppelin made the most noise in the Rock industry.

Each member of Led Zeppelin is an idol to everyone in their particular musical field in addition to the band essentially creating hard rock, or at least pushing it into the mainstream.

Two bands are head & shoulders above everybody. Along with being revered as the most influential bands most people still maintain that Rock music reached its pinnacle in either or both of these titans. LED ZEPPELIN & THE BEATLES. I consider Led Zeppelin to be the superior outfit & the zenith of rock music. Nobody before or since has equaled their eerie mystique or commanded their level of power. Though every detail of Zeppelin's superficial qualities were (& are) endlessly studied, copied, emulated etc., there's ultimately only one reason that they are still so revered, because all the other elements will fade with the passage of time, and that is the music! Simply the music. They delivered the goods. A few more decades will pass & the unique magic & mystique will never again be truly understood...the people who experienced it will be gone & all will be reduced to subjective interpretation. They call that history & beyond cold unchanging facts & figures most of what actually existed & occurred is grossly distorted or lost.

3 Black Sabbath Black Sabbath were a Heavy Metal band formed in Birmingham, England in 1968 by guitarist and songwriter Tony Iommi, singer John "Ozzy" Osbourne, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward.

The band became mainstream after improving after their debut album got panned. In 1978, Osbourne was fired and replaced with former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Who went to release... read more

Just how in the hell are Sabbath below ACDC, Bon Jovi and Nirvana if Sabbath not only influenced these 3 bands but much more. Sabbath influenced every band after them : hard-rock, heavy metal, punk, then glam metal and thrash metal, then grunge, alternative rock and other subgenres of metal like death, black, groove.

Black Sabbath created the genre of Metal, simply put there isn't a metal band that hasn't been influenced by Sabbath in some way or form. They're especially influential to Doom Metal and Stoner Metal.

Black Sabbath are the Led Zeppelin of Metal.

Bon Jovi #1?!?! Anyone who has any real knowledge of rock (sorry teeny-boppers) knows that two bands made the most impact: Black Sabbath and Zeppelin.

4 Bon Jovi Bon Jovi is a hard rock/pop rock band formed in 1983, which had a streak of successful albums in the late 1980s. The band originally consisted of lead vocalist Jon Bon Jovi, guitarist Ritchie Sambora (left in 2013), bassist Alec John Such (left in 1994), keyboard David Bryan, and drummer Tico Torres. The band's most famous album is Slippery When Wet, released in 1986, and had multiple hit singles... read more

Huge Jovi fan here, These Days is one of the best 2-3 albums ever recorded and Sambora is one of the most versatile players that America has ever produced, however, not even I would put Bon Jovi anywhere near the top 10. Maybe somewhere 15-20th but even there, only because Slippery When Wet really opened a lot of doors for hard and heavy music and changed people's perspective (especially people who were outside the genre). So many metalheads I know are into rock/metal because of a Bon Jovi song they heard or because their parents were playing Jovi in their youth... that has to count for something. Direct influence on other bands though...rather limited.

I think in some way the sub genre Rock/ Pop exists because of them.

They have influenced if I'm not mistaken the sound of Maroon 5, my chemical romance and many rock bands which also appeal to pop fans.

Bon jovi rock, classic songs and a varied sound - fantastic live! One of the bands that stopped the stereotype of drugs and rock with RAD which I think is a really great thing to do as it gives a more positive roll model for kids to follow. Hair bands born of bands like bon jovi who were brave enough to play what they liked instead of what radio liked.

5 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).

Nirvana is most well-known for their... read more

Nirvana changed it all, and they didn't care. They grew up from nothing but divorced families and being picked on in school. Kurt Cobain AKA the Riff Master became the voice of the voiceless, the grunge city saint. Also giving a middle finger to glam rock

I remember hearing teen spirit for the first time, at that moment I knew glam rock was over, and guns and roses would lose title of biggest band on the planet.

Nirvana brought a previously unknown genre, I.E. grunge into the mainstream; and they rocked.
They were truly the "Beatles" of the 90s - yeah, yeah, yeah!

6 Queen Queen are an English rock band formed in London in 1970. The original lineup was Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, 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... read more

Most influential rock band of all time. This band was way ahead of their time and definitely sits higher than 7 on this list. They popularized rock music with doses of funk and disco. They ARE rock music and have set the bar for bands after them to follow. No one can do what Queen has done.

Is there anyone who has not listen to Queen. They influenced so many because their music is imprinted in DNA now and they played in most genres than any other by miles. Their musical is successfully played in many countries for many years. They started the video era. And on and on...

Not saying they're bad or anything, but how exactly were they influential? They didn't have a very unique sound, and even something like Bohemian Rhapsody follows a structure that had already been discovered a decade earlier by The Beach Boys and The Beatles.

7 AC/DC AC/DC are a Australian hard rock band, formed in November 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who continued as members until Malcolm's illness and departure in 2014 . They were fronted by Bon Scott until his untimely death due to alcohol poisoning in 1979, after which they hired Brian Johnson to front the band. Commonly referred to as a hard rock or blues rock band.

Largest rock group of all time! And the best!

8 Pink Floyd Pink Floyd are an English progressive rock band formed in 1965 in London, England. 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 Guitar), Nick Mason (Drums), Roger Waters (Vocals and Bass), and Richard Wright (Vocals and Keyboard). Barrett was replaced by Gilmour in 1968... read more

Bearing in mind this is a list of the most influential rock groups, not necessarily the best, it's pretty shocking that Pink Floyd isn't in the top 5 at least, let alone the top 10. Not only did they lay the ground work for an enormous portion of all music to follow, but they dared to go places that most others wouldn't, and do things that people wouldn't try, and music benefitted greatly, as a result. They took their music to a level that transcended what we consider as 'music', and as a result of this, cemented their position in the history books as one of the forefathers of, not only modern rock, but modern music in general. Maybe they're not one of the best rock groups, personally I believe they are, but they sure as hell are one of the most influential. The idea that some people actually think Green Day are more influential than Pink Floyd is a truly demoralising thought.

When I was a kid. I grew up listening to the Beatles, the doors, the band, the clash, the Ramones, Black Sabbath and many big bands I have learned from my mother. I heard the band Pink Floyd but never really had the chance to listen and be influenced by their music when I was a teenager. Until I've watched "echoes" on YouTube. From that day onwards I was astonished, amazed how great this band is. Wouldn't be able to explain further how I praise them. Love them so much.

9 The Beach Boys The Beach Boys are an American pop rock band formed in Hawthorne, California in 1961. The group's original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and their friend Al Jardine.

Punk took influence by vocal surf, so no punk without early Beach Boys, and don't get me started on late Beach Boys, they first catalyzed the Progressive movement with Pet Sounds, attempted to push Experimental into the mainstream with SMiLE and then released a trilogy of albums that would be the first recorded Lo-Fi music.

The Beach Boys not being number one on this list discredits the list and makes it a joke. I mean seriously none of the other bands before them on here are worth a damn. I have a sense of humor like anyone but I don't get it. Summerkat called it, longevity, vocal styling #1 all the way!

The Beatles and The Beach Boys are #1 and #2. I listened to Pet Sounds off and on for three years before I heard it's magic sounds. There is not a better album.

10 Deep Purple Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of... read more

The best hard rock band that has innovated a lot and influenced very important bands, especially their influence was on an individual level, be it keyboards, guitar, drums or vocals.

For me influential is different from popular. Influential is when a band influences next generations of musicians. Very often the most influential bands are not the most popular bands.
Deep Purple get my vote because they were the most influential in the music genres I like the most: heavy metal and hard rock.

The best band in the world that influenced the bands that are higher on this list - in addition to the general sound, they influenced on an individual level and brought many innovations that became the basis for subsequent groups in the rock genre.

The Contenders
11 Metallica Metallica is an American Heavy/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"... read more

Easily the #1 most influential band in metal and a wide reach outside of metal. The Beatles did more in rock, but everybody else is at most equal in influence.

These guys literally shaped the image of rock through out the 80s and 90s, and the fact that they still kick ass to this day, while everyone else mentioned on this list,... Well you know

Their live concerts are unbelievably awesome! Even better than recorded ones and that's amazing. And he really has the sound!

12 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... read more

Shaped rock and roll

Enduring and yet remained the same, really took blues to the masses

13 The Ramones The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. They are often cited as the first band to define the punk rock sound.

The Ramones should be at least in the top five. They made "punk" clothes (such as leather jackets, ripped jeans, etc.) popular and released the first pure punk rock album. The Ramones and the Beatles are the reasons why simple and vigorous rock songs are so popular. If only they weren't so horribly underrated.

The Ramones inspired bands like the Clash who are in the top ten to play. They are the most influential punk band for no doubt, by the way they are in the Rock 'n' Roll hall of fame not many bands in this list are.

#13? You people are nuts. There's no way the Ramones aren't within the top five at a minimum.

14 The Who The Who is an English rock band formed in London, England in 1964. The most recognizable lineup was Roger Daltrey (lead vocals), Pete Townshend (guitar), John Entwistle (bass guitar), and Keith Moon (drums). They are best known for their live performances and hit songs Baba O'Riley, My Generation, and Won't Get Fooled Again. Some noted achievements were their rock operas, Tommy (album), Quadrophenia... read more

How is the Who not in the top 10? The fact that Journey, KISS Queen, and the Scorpians are in front of them if laughable. I understand this is all subjective but really?

Half the bands that came after these guys copied some element of them and countless guitarists credit Townshend as why they play guitar. These guys were the first great "live" band. Moon was arguably the best drummer ever, Entwistle was the real bass player, and Townshend is a great innovator (key boards on "Baba O'Reilly", "Won't Get Fooled Again"; he essentially invented the rock opera, "My Generation" was what Punk Rock was all about). Daltry is one of the better front men as well.

They were the first to wreck their instruments. First to invent the rock opera. First to use lasers. Invented the marshle stack... Invented the power cord... Made the first rock movie(TOMMY). Showed us what punk, heavy metal, and rock was all about ( visually). First to unbent the synthesizer. Even the Beatles wish they had what the who had. Zeppelin based themselves on the who. No one knows the facts. All you guys care about is your own opinions.

15 The Allman Brothers Band The Allman Brothers Band was an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman and Gregg Allman, as well as Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, and Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson.
16 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 they released three successful studio albums.

I don't think you people understand that this is a list about influential bands. That being said, why are Bon Jovi at number 2? Why are Journey at number 15?!?! So many of these bands on this list did nothing in terms of influence. After the 60's, if you identified as a rock musician and you did not cite Hendrix as an influence, then you were a fraud. Every person that plays the guitar today, acoustic or electric, was influenced by this man and this band.

Way ahead of their time. All of the modern Indie, Blues Rock and Alt-rock bands would not have crafted trippy or psychedelic vibes if it wasn't for Hendrix.

They are second only to the Beatles when it comes to the influence of rock.

17 The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground was an American rock band, active between 1964 and 1973, formed in New York City.

This is the most influental band of all time, you can disagree all you want, but they shaped up punk rock the most, predicted the way for industrial, experimental rock and avant garde rock, and influenced greatly glam rock and art rock.

The most influential rock band of all time, they had greater impact on the music than the Beatles. Sorry for bad english.

These guys did modern rock before anyone else did it. Absolutely as influential and essential to rock canon.

18 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... read more

Absolutely unbelievable sound!
Powered by the greatest drummer the planet has ever known and a one of the most unique voices to flow through a mic, the music of Rush is unmistakably Rush!
Absolutely Awesome!

I have heard many musicians, even from this list, who have stated that Rush was a huge influence on them.

Geezus people! No group can match the musicianship these 3 have. masters they are. very hard to imitate! Everyone else is pretty easy to copy. The true rock peers/musicians know!

19 Scorpions Scorpions are a German rock band formed in 1965 in Hanover by Rudolf Schenker. Since the band's inception, its musical style has ranged from hard rock to heavy metal.

I could think of more than 100 artist inspired by Scorpions. Even Bon Jovi was inspired by Scorpions. And Nirvana? Really? How can anyone even for that garbage?

There are a lot of artists which have been influenced by Scorpions!
It's just impossible to not be influenced by them!
Scorpions rocks!

Best rock ballads, for every ages and tastes and great hard songs for every rocker!

20 Guns N' Roses Guns N' Roses is an American hard rock band from Los Angeles formed in 1985. The classic lineup, as signed to Geffen Records in 1986, consisted of vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler. Apart from hard rock they are also associated with heavy metal... read more

Guns N' Roses Arena and Hard Rock usually inspired tons of thrash and alt-rock bands to do the same stuff they were doing.

Rip Satan rip axel roads. Rip air

Why isn't this band higher up?

21 Celtic Frost Celtic Frost was a Swiss extreme metal band from Zürich. They are known for their strong influence on the development of extreme metal. Formed in 1981 as Hellhammer, the band became Celtic Frost in 1984 and was active until 1993.
22 U2 U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music. Throughout the group's musical pursuits, they have maintained a sound built on melodic instrumentals. Their lyrics, often embellished with spiritual imagery,... read more

35-40 years of spectacular music, distinctive timeless guitar sound, meaningful lyrics, powerful lead singer.

And the fact that they influenced many rock bands from the 90s onward. And when some new indie rock bands say "we want to be like U2," you know that's saying something.

Bon Jovi, Evanescence, def leopard, and three days grace above U2! What a joke! U2 is one of the most influential bands of all time and the band of a generation. Top 10 easily!

Very unique sound... And every Christian band guitarist on the planet now sounds like the edge!... That's got to be worth a boost on this chart...

23 Judas Priest Judas Priest are a British heavy metal band that formed in Birmingham, England, in 1969. They are often referred to as one of the greatest metal bands of all time, and are even commonly called “The Metal Gods”, after one of the songs on their 1980 album “British Steel”.

They are known for several of their hit songs, which include “Painkiller”, “Breaking The Law”, You’ve Got... read more
24 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.

Green Day have been a main influence to most, if not all, of the mainstream bands for the past 20 years.

One of the most influential and best groups of all time. They are awesome.

25 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 thrash metal.

Motorhead inspired Lars Ulrich, a founding member of Metallica as well as other groups such as Venom. No Motorhead - no Metallica. No Metallica, no thrash metal. No venom, no black/extreme metal. Motorhead should therefore be ranked ahead of both Metallica and Celtic Frost on this list...

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