bands/musicians The Best College Rock Bands/Artists  

2.8k votes 255 voters 32k views 93 items Follow Embed
Popular in the 1980s and 1990s, college rock bands were some of the first alternative rock bands before the genre shot to prominence. College radio programmers who eschewed the mainstream rock of that time often leaned on these quirky bands that didn't quite squeeze into the mainstream. College rock bands primarily consisted of bands whose music had traces of post-punk rock, new wave with traces of catchy indie pop. Yet, they were underground rock bands. Thus, due to their popularity on campuses, these were called college rock bands. Over the years, college rock has expanded and the genre includes all bands who are played on college radio. But, many college rock bands graduated from college rock and became more mainstream. For that, they can thank their friends and champions who support them from those lean early years when commercial radio wouldn't play their music.

So, what are the best college rock bands? No list of college rock would be complete without the inclusion of R.E.M., the Pixies, Sonic Youth and the Replacements. All of these great rock bands owe a slice of their success to college radio. Without being labeled as college rock, it's unlikely that these alternative bands would have been able to build a fanbase on their own. Thus the best college rock bands are well known among music fans. Even today, with satellite radio, college rock is more easily accessible than it was when it first became an important, tastemaking genre.

Ultimately it's up to you to decide what are good college rock bands. By nature, college rock is exactly what it is described as. But, if you notice a college rock band that isn't on here, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best college rock bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest college rock musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular college rock bands that you might've heard of. (93 items)

1
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R.E.M. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
R.E.M. Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

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2
+ - 92 29
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Pixies Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise

3
+ - 64 26
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Sonic Youth Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

4
+ - 58 26
The Replacements is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Replacements Jangle pop, Pop punk, Heartland rock

5
+ - 37 11
The Cure is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Cure New Wave, Gothic rock, Rock music

6
+ - 47 26
The Smiths is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Smiths Jangle pop, Indie pop, Alternative rock

7
+ - 36 17
Guided by Voices is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Guided by Voices Indie pop, Alternative rock, Indie rock

8
+ - 35 22
Dinosaur Jr is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Dinosaur Jr Noise rock, Grunge, Alternative rock

9
+ - 37 25
Hüsker Dü is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Hüsker Dü Alternative rock, Punk rock, Post-hardcore

10
+ - 42 30
They Might Be Giants is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
They Might Be Giants Experimental rock, Children's music, Alternative rock

11
+ - 22 11
The Jesus and Mary Chain is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Jesus and Mary Chain Indie pop, Shoegazing, Alternative rock

12
+ - 24 13
The Lemonheads is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Lemonheads Alternative rock, Punk rock, Indie rock

13
+ - 44 33
Violent Femmes is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Violent Femmes Alternative rock, Punk rock, Folk punk

14
+ - 20 10
XTC is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
XTC Indie pop, New Wave, Psychedelic pop

15
+ - 20 10
Tom Waits is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Tom Waits Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

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16
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Sebadoh is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Sebadoh Indie rock, Lo-fi music

17
+ - 29 21
Echo & the Bunnymen is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Echo & the Bunnymen New Wave, Neo-psychedelia, Alternative rock

18
+ - 20 12
Camper Van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Camper Van Beethoven Pop music, Ska, World music

19
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Yo La Tengo is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Yo La Tengo Noise rock, Shoegazing, Experimental rock

20
+ - 18 12
Siouxsie & the Banshees is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Siouxsie & the Banshees New Wave, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

21
+ - 14 8
Midnight Oil is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Midnight Oil Rock music, Alternative rock, Progressive rock

22
+ - 17 12
Dead Milkmen is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Dead Milkmen Pop punk, Alternative rock, Punk rock

23
+ - 16 12
Descendents is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Descendents Pop punk, Melodic hardcore, Skate punk

24
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Minutemen is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Minutemen Dance-punk, Experimental music, Alternative rock

25
+ - 20 17
Blake Babies is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Blake Babies Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock

26
+ - 16 13
Ween is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Ween Rock music, Experimental rock, Neo-psychedelia

27
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The Smithereens is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Smithereens Jangle pop, Rock music, Pop rock

28
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10,000 Maniacs is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
10,000 Maniacs Jangle pop, Rock music, Folk rock

29
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U2 is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
U2 Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

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30
+ - 15 13
Butthole Surfers is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Butthole Surfers Noise rock, Rock music, Neo-psychedelia

31
+ - 20 19
Superchunk is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Superchunk Pop punk, Emo, Alternative rock

32
+ - 15 14
Throwing Muses is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Throwing Muses Alternative rock, Post-punk

33
+ - 19 19
Love and Rockets is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Love and Rockets Gothic rock, Alternative rock, College rock

34
+ - 17 17
PJ Harvey is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
PJ Harvey Punk blues, Grunge, Electronica

35
+ - 15 15
Mazzy Star is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Mazzy Star Indie, Psychedelic folk, Shoegazing

36
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Marc with a C is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Marc with a C Indie, Pop music, Lo-fi music

37
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The Connells is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Connells Jangle pop, Rock music, Power pop

38
+ - 16 18
The Pogues is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Pogues Celtic punk, Celtic fusion, Folk rock

39
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The Fall is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Fall Alternative rock, Punk rock, Avant-garde

40
+ - 13 15
Rilo Kiley is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Rilo Kiley Indie pop, Alternative rock, Indie rock

41
+ - 17 20
The Feelies is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Feelies New Wave, Rock music, College rock

42
+ - 15 18
Hoodoo Gurus is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Hoodoo Gurus New Wave, Rock music, College rock

43
+ - 2 3
The Jim Carroll Band is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Jim Carroll Band college, alternative

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Bush is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Bush Grunge, Post-grunge, Alternative rock

45
+ - 12 15
Buffalo Tom is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Buffalo Tom Rock music, Alternative rock

46
+ - 11 14
Concrete Blonde is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Concrete Blonde Alternative rock

47
+ - 13 17
The Housemartins is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Housemartins Jangle pop, Pop music, Alternative rock

48
+ - 4 7
Jason & The Scorchers is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Jason & The Scorchers Rock music, Country rock, Alternative country

49
+ - 17 23
The Mighty Lemon Drops is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Mighty Lemon Drops Jangle pop, Indie, Alternative rock

50
+ - 8 12
The Rugburns is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Rugburns Rock music, Pop rock, Post-grunge