Top 200 Classic Rock Bands and Artists of All Time

top 200 Classic Rock Bands

Photo Credits at end of article.

Our Top 200 Classic Rock Bands and Artists list attempts to rank classic rock artists based on two factors. The first factor centers on impact an artist had on culture and future generations of musicians. Two example of bands that played such a significant role in change would be The Beatles and Nirvana. Our second factor takes a look at body of work. If we look at The Beatles and Nirvana. it’s obvious that The Beatles delivered a massive amount of material when compared to Nirvana’s limited output. We really tried to balance the two factors in our rankings of bands.

Some may say Nirvana should be ranked higher based on impact, which we would agree on if that was the only factor. However, their limited output of material because of the tragic loss of Kurt Cobain plays a significant role in our rankings when compared to artists like Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Bob Dylan and others who have continued to release music over a long stretch of time. Another challenge we face, is considering bands who have been together a long time but rarely release new material. Groups like The Who and Rolling Stones come to mind. Of course there are also artists still alive and performing, but just stopped releasing material all together over the last twenty five years. Can anyone say Billy Joel?

The Beatles were a challenge not because of their brilliance, but because of the solo careers the fab four carried on after the break up. John Lennon and George Harrison’s solo careers were tragically cut short. Nonetheless, the wonderful albums both released when they were alive are treasures. Ringo is well, Ringo. Then there is Paul McCartney. At first we wanted to anoint him the number one artist of all time. When you look at Paul McCartney’s‘ body of work as a solo artist and Beatle, there is no question that no other artist can compare to him in history Yes, we know, many fans loved the solo work of John Lennon and George Harrison far more than the solo material of McCartney. However, how does a rock site anoint Paul McCartney ahead of The Beatles? Readers would go nuts if we did that. More importantly we could not ignore the work The Beatles did together and the solo careers of the other three fab four members. They are all connected together forever. So that’s what we did; we listed The Beatles and all four members solo careers as one entity. That’s the way it should be.

As far as the rest of the list goes, some will agree with us and most definitely others will not. When we published our Top 100 Progressive Rocks Bands of All Time article, we received some pretty vicious emails from fans. But hey that’s rock and roll.

We hope you enjoy this list. Almost all the bands featured here have links tied to deeper articles on those individual bands and artists with top 10 songs list and more. We decided to keep the list simple and let the links lead you to deeper articles. In the end, our opinion means no more than any one single person reading this article. We just like to start the conversation. We love rock and roll, and we love these bands.

# 200 – Free

# 199 – John Miles

# 198 – Soft Machine

# 197 – Carl Perkins

# 196 – Cat Stevens

# 195 – Gino Vannelli

# 194 – The Troggs

# 193 – Boston

# 192 – Jay And The Americans

# 191 – Duane Eddy

# 190 – Three Dog Night

# 188 – Gary Wright

# 187 – Bryan Adams

# 186 – Foo Fighters

# 185 – Manfred Mann

# 184 – Red Hot Chili Peppers

# 183 – Asia

# 182 – UFO

# 181 – Bon Jovi

# 180 – MC5

# 179 – The James Gang

# 178 – George Thorogood

# 177 – J Geils Band

# 176 – Blue Cheer

# 175 – Dave Mason

# 174 – Oasis

# 173 – Chubby Checker

# 172 – Uriah Heep

# 171 – Bonnie Raitt

# 170 – Melissa Etheridge

# 169 – Cheap Trick

# 168 – Ruth Brown

# 167 – Tommy James and the Shondells

# 166 – John Mellencamp

# 165 – Gong

# 164 – The Dixie Dregs

# 163 – Steve Vai

# 162 – U.K.

# 161 – Leonard Cohen

# 160 – Mavis Staples

# 159 – Lou Reed

# 158 – Johnny Winter

# 157 – Toto

# 156 – Brian Setzer

# 155 – Buddy Holly

# 154 – Pat Benatar

# 153 – Robert Johnson

# 152 – Sly & The Family Stone

# 151 – Supertramp

# 150 – The Beastie Boys

# 149 – Green Day

# 148 – Queensryche

# 147 – Bo Diddley

# 146 – Kansas

# 145 – Roxy Music

# 144 – Robin Trower

# 143 – Fats Domino

# 142 – Steppenwolf

# 141 – The Black Crowes

# 140 – Bachman Turner Overdrive

# 139 – Alan Parsons

# 138 – Kate Bush

# 137 – Dion

# 136 – Soundgarden

# 135 – Ben E. King

# 134 – Wilson Pickett

# 133 – Rage Against The Machine

# 132 – Traffic

# 131 – Jim Croce

# 130 – Dire Straits

# 129 – Dave Matthews Band

# 128 – The Hollies

# 127 – Alice In Chains

# 126 – Bill Haley and the Comets

# 125 – Iron Butterfly

# 124 – Jeff Beck

# 123 – Thin Lizzy

# 122 – The Cars

# 121 – Humble Pie

# 120 – Charlie Daniels Band

# 119 – Judas Priest

# 118 – Maria Mckee

# 117 – Love

# 116 – The Spencer Davis Group

# 115 – The Yardbirds

# 114 – Ted Nugent

# 113 – James Taylor

# 112 – Joan Jett

# 111 – The Animals

# 110 – The Sex Pistols

# 109 – Allan Holdsworth

# 108 – Chris Cornell 

# 107 – Janis Joplin

# 106 – The Guess Who

# 105 – The Band

# 104 – The Tragically Hip

# 103 – Warren Zevon

# 102 – Edgar Winter

# 101 – Joni Mitchell

# 100 – Roy Orbison

# 99 – Tom Waits

# 98 – The Rascals / Young Rascals

# 97 – Journey

# 96 – The Byrds

# 95 – Paul Simon

# 94 – Marshall Tucker Band

# 93 – Sammy Hagar

# 92 – Electric Light Orchestra

# 91 – Johnny Cash

# 89 – The Pretenders

# 88 – Todd Rundgren

# 87 – Iggy Pop and The Stooges

# 86 – Talking Heads

# 85 – Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree

# 84 – Jackson Browne

# 83 – Meat Loaf

# 82 – Grand Funk Railroad

# 81 – ZZ Top

# 80 – Linda Ronstadt

# 79 – Van Morrison

# 78 – Iron Maiden

# 77 – Pearl Jam

# 76 – Peter Frampton

# 75 – Mott The Hoople

# 74 – Sam Cooke

# 73 – Blue Oyster Cult

# 72 – Foghat

# 71 – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – including solo careers

# 70 – Elvis Costello

# 69 – Aretha Franklin

# 68 – Santana

# 67 – Steve Miller Band

# 66 – Foreigner

# 65 – Carole King

# 64 – The Kinks

# 63 – Little Richard

# 62 – Fleetwood Mac

# 61 – Ray Charles

# 60 – Deep Purple

# 59 – Kiss

# 58 – Cream

# 57 – Blood Sweat & Tears

# 56 – Stevie Ray Vaughan

# 55 – Alice Cooper

# 54 – Bad Company

# 53 – Jefferson Airplane

# 52 – Jerry Lee Lewis

# 51 – Def Leppard

# 50 – Rush

# 49 – Chicago

# 48 – King Crimson

# 47 – James Brown

# 46 – Billy Joel

# 45 – The Beach Boys

# 44 – Rod Stewart

# 43 – Heart

# 42 – Bob Seger

# 41 – The Doobie Brothers

# 39 – Genesis – including all solo careers

# 38 – Sting / The Police

# 37 – Guns N’ Roses

# 36 – The Moody Blues

# 35 – Steely Dan

# 34 – Tom Petty

# 33 – The Eagles

# 32 – Emerson Lake & Palmer

# 31 – Jethro Tull

# 30 – Creedence Clearwater Revival

# 29 – Lynyrd Skynyrd

# 28 – Black Sabbath & Ozzy Osbourne Solo Career

# 27 – AC/DC

# 26 – Nirvana

# 25 – The Doors

# 24 – Prince

# 23 – Aerosmith

# 22 – Chuck Berry

# 21 – U2

# 20 – Eric Clapton

# 19 – Yes

# 18 – Queen

# 17 – Metallica

# 16 – The Ramones

# 15 – The Grateful Dead

# 14 – David Bowie

# 13 – The Allman Brothers Band

# 12 – Van Halen

# 11 – Jimi Hendrix

# 10 – Bruce Springsteen

# 9 – The Who

# 8 – Pink Floyd

# 7 – Frank Zappa

# 6 – Led Zeppelin

# 5 – Elton John

# 4 – Bob Dylan

# 3 – The Rolling Stones

# 2 – Elvis Presley

# 1 – “The Beatles” Including solo careers of Paul, John, George and Ringo.

Featured Photo Credits:

Jimmy Page Photo: Dana Wullenwaber [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Chuck Berry Photo: Pickwick Records Public Domain

Paul McCartney Photo: Oli Gill [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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