bands/musicians The Best Classic Metal Bands  

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List Rules Only bands that play classic metal style; no nu metal or extreme metal of any sort

When heavy metal first emerged at the beginning of the 1970s, naysayers would have never suspected that the bands from those early years would be considered some of the classic metal bands. These outfits are widely considered among the top heavy metal bands of all time, and with good reason. They are recognizable and their songs are some of the greatest songs in metal history. 

So, who are the best classic heavy metal bands? Every lists must have Black Sabbath at or near the top. The Birmingham, UK natives pretty much invented the genre, and all of heavy metal. Between Ozzy Osbourne's vocals and Tony Iommi's guitar, the entire foundation for all heavy metal bands was laid. If not for Sabbath, bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden or even Metallica may not have existed. Even the best classic metal bands owe a debt of gratitude to Black Sabbath. No matter which edition of Black Sabbath you like - Ozzy or Dio edition - they are easily the most influential classic metal band. 

What band should be at the top of the list of classic metal bands? If you're a heavy metal fan and know everything there is to know about the top classic metal bands, then you should have your voice heard. This list answers the questions "who are the best classic metal bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest classic metal musician ever?" if you notice that a popular classic metal band isn't on this list, feel free to add them. (54 items)
list ordered by

1
+ - 303 63
Iron Maiden is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Iron Maiden New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

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2
+ - 273 56
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Black Sabbath Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

3
+ - 238 52
Judas Priest is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Judas Priest New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

4
+ - 194 47
Dio is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Dio Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal

5
+ - 175 70
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Ozzy Osbourne Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock

6
+ - 155 70
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Scorpions Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

7
+ - 144 67
Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Motörhead New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

8
+ - 183 104
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Metallica Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

9
+ - 109 56
Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Megadeth Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

10
+ - 112 75
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Queensrÿche Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

11
+ - 40 19
Accept is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Accept Glam metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

12
+ - 78 91
Manowar is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Manowar Power metal, Heavy metal, True metal

13
+ - 40 37
Quiet Riot is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Quiet Riot Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

14
+ - 34 31
Savatage is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Savatage Melodic Rock, Progressive metal, Power metal

15
+ - 34 35
Dokken is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Dokken Melodic Rock, Glam metal, Rock music

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16
+ - 73 99
Skid Row is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Skid Row Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

17
+ - 37 42
Pantera is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Pantera Glam metal, Thrash metal, Groove metal

18
+ - 45 66
Diamond Head is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Diamond Head New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Heavy metal

19
+ - 30 40
Ratt is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Ratt Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

20
+ - 57 95
Rob Zombie is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Rob Zombie Horror punk, Noise rock, Nu metal

21
+ - 19 25
U.D.O. is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
U.D.O. Power metal, Heavy metal, Speed metal

22
+ - 49 85
White Zombie is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
White Zombie Horror punk, Noise rock, Industrial metal

23
+ - 38 64
Warlock is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Warlock Glam metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

24
+ - 32 54
Overkill is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Overkill Thrash metal, Groove metal, Heavy metal

25
+ - 11 15
Blind Guardian is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Blind Guardian Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Power metal

26
+ - 8 12
Krokus is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Krokus Heavy metal, Hard rock

27
+ - 11 19
Stryper is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Stryper Glam metal, Nu metal, Rock music

28
+ - 28 55
Disturbed is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Disturbed Nu metal, Rock music, Metalcore

29
+ - 9 16
Trouble is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Trouble Psalm 9, The Skull, Trouble, Manic Frustration, Plastic Green Head, Distortion Field

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30
+ - 26 60
LOUDNESS is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LOUDNESS Glam metal, Progressive metal, Rock music

31
+ - 5 15
Doro is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands

32
+ - 33 81
Godsmack is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Godsmack Nu metal, Groove metal, Rock music

33
+ - 2 13
Aria is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Aria Heavy metal

34
+ - 22 80
Stone Sour is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Stone Sour Nu metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

35
+ - 16 68
X Japan is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
X Japan Glam metal, Thrash metal, Progressive metal

36
+ - 11 60
Angra is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Angra Progressive metal, Power metal, Heavy metal

37
+ - 8 58
Gorky Park is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Gorky Park Glam metal, Heavy metal, Progressive rock

38
+ - 3 30
Ezo is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Ezo Glam metal, Heavy metal

39
+ - 7 62
the GazettE is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
the GazettE Nu metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

40
+ - 6 60
Sacred Warrior is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Sacred Warrior Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal, Christian metal

41
+ - 5 55
White Wizzard is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
White Wizzard Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

42
+ - 6 66
Stage Dolls is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Stage Dolls Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

43
+ - 4 53
Railway is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Railway Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

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44
+ - 4 55
Cauldron is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Cauldron Thrash metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

45
+ - 3 45
Brother Firetribe is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands

46
+ - 4 58
Cauldron Born is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Cauldron Born Power metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

47
+ - 3 55
Doomsword is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doomsword Doom metal, Viking metal, Power metal

48
+ - 3 58
Uruha is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Uruha Nu metal, Heavy metal, Glam rock

49
+ - 3 58
Darkseed is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Darkseed Death-doom, Gothic metal, Heavy metal

50
+ - 3 68
Banda Calypso is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Banda Calypso Glam metal, Power metal, Heavy metal