The Best Classic Metal Bands Bands/Musicians

The Best Classic Metal Bands

3,905 votes 425 voters 11,267 views 54 items tags f p @

List Criteria: 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)


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  1. 1
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    The Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden, Powerslave

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  2. 2
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    - 45

    Paranoid, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell

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  3. 3
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    - 44

    British Steel, Screaming for Vengeance, Hell Bent for Leather

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  4. 4
    + 134
    - 39

    Holy Diver, The Last in Line, Sacred Heart

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  5. 5
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    - 44

    Blizzard of Ozz, Diary of a Madman, The Ultimate Sin

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  6. 6
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    - 49

    Blackout, Love at First Sting, Animal Magnetism

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  7. 7
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    Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, Metallica

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  8. 8
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    Ace of Spades, 1916, No Remorse

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  9. 9
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    - 33

    added by tpengitore
    Rust in Peace, Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?, Youthanasia

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  10. 10
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    - 55

    Operation: Mindcrime, Empire, Promised Land

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  11. 11
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    - 65

    Skid Row, Slave to the Grind, Subhuman Race

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  12. 12
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    - 66

    The Absolute Power, Louder Than Hell, Sign of the Hammer

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  13. 13
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    - 19

    added by MarkLuscombe
    Metal Health, Condition Critical, QR III

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  14. 14
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    - 18

    added by MarkLuscombe
    Tooth and Nail, Breaking the Chains, Back for the Attack

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  15. 15
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    added by MarkLuscombe
    Invasion of Your Privacy, Out of the Cellar, Detonator

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  16. 16
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    - 10

    added by harry-pittman
    Vulgar Display of Power, Cowboys From Hell, Far Beyond Driven

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  17. 17
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    The Sinister Urge, Past, Present & Future

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  18. 18
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    La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1, Astro-Creep: 2000: Songs of Love

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  19. 19
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    - 46

    Lightning to the Nations, Rising Up, Canterbury

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  20. 20
    + 23
    - 35

    added by RobertPhelps
    Feel the Fire, Taking Over, W.F.O.

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  21. 21
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    - 11

    added by mohamed-said
    Streets: A Rock Opera, The Wake of Magellan, Edge of Thorns

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  22. 22
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    - 41

    Triumph and Agony, Burning the Witches, Hellbound

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  23. 23
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    Terror, Disillusion, Thunder in the East

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  24. 24
    + 1
    - 0

    added by Trey Guyton
    The Blitz, Headhunter, Alive and Screaming

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  25. 25
    + 1
    - 0

    added by udoudo
    Timebomb, Mastercutor, Rev-Raptor

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  26. 26
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    added by Alex Gaginsky

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  27. 27
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    new! & added by udoudo
    Balls to the Wall, Restless and Wild, Metal Heart

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  28. 28
    + 4
    - 7

    added by MattSchwarck
    To Hell With the Devil, Soldiers Under Command, Against the Law

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  29. 29
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    - 4

    added by strangeways
    Psalm 9, The Skull, Trouble, Manic Frustration, Plastic Green Head, Distortion Field

  30. 30
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    - 0

    added by Alex Gaginsky
    Baptism by Fire, Megalomania, Hero of Asphalt

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  31. 31
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    - 0

    added by Alex Gaginsky
    Imaginations From the Other Side, Nightfall in Middle-Earth, A Twist in ...

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  32. 32
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    - 31

    added by NicholasChabiram
    Ten Thousand Fists, Believe, The Sickness

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  33. 33
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    - 60

    Faceless, IV, Awake

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  34. 34
    + 3
    - 13

    added by MarkLuscombe
    EZO, Fire Fire, ESA

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  35. 35
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    - 59

    Come What(ever) May, Through Glass, House of Gold & Bones – Part 2

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  36. 36
    + 14
    - 52

    ART OF LIFE, Art of Life 1993.12.31 Tokyo Dome, Complete Singles

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  37. 37
    + 11
    - 48

    Temple of Shadows, Aqua, Holy Land

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  38. 38
    + 7
    - 42

    Gorky Park, Moscow Calling, Protivofazza

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  39. 39
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    - 47

    Hankou Seimeibun, Nil, Cockayne Soup

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  40. 40
    + 5
    - 46

    Master's Command, Obsessions, Wicked Generation

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  41. 41
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    - 53

    Soldiers Gun, Commandos, Stage Dolls

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  42. 42
    + 2
    - 30
    No image

    Heart Full of Fire, Live at Apollo, Diamond in the Firepit

  43. 43
    + 3
    - 44

    My Name Will Live On, Doomsword, Resound the Horn

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  44. 44
    + 3
    - 45

    Over the Top, The Devil's Cut, High Speed GTO

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  45. 45
    + 3
    - 48

    Banda Calypso, Volume 1, Banda Calypso

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  46. 46
    + 2
    - 44

    Tomorrow's Lost, Burning Fortune, Into the Cauldron

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  47. 47
    + 2
    - 45

    Ultimate Darkness, Astral Adventures, Give Me Light

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  48. 48
    + 2
    - 45

    ...and Rome Shall Fall, Born of the Cauldron, God of Metal

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  49. 49
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    - 45
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  50. 50
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55 +

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