Music

The Greatest American Rock Bands  

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Originally by Ranker Community
1.3M votes 51.7k voters 1M views 363 items

List Rules Bands must have formed in the United States and have mostly American band members

Some of the greatest bands in rock history are from the United States. While the merits of their musical prowess can be fairly disputed between fans, these famous rock bands bring a certain American flair and bravado that other bands from different countries don't have. Almost all of the American bands on this list should be household names among rock fans and there should be few, if any surprises on this list.

A range of American cities are represented here. Bands from Los Angeles are the most populous here with classic rock bands like The Doors and Van Halen, as well as Guns N' Roses, The Beach Boys, Rage Against the Machine, and The Eagles. Due to the popularity of grunge in the early '90s, Seattle is well represented. Famous bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains are included on this list. There are metal bands (Metallica), hard rockers (Aerosmith, Alice Cooper), psych bands (Grateful Dead, Phish), punk outfits (The Ramones, Green Day) and even funk bands (Sly and the Family Stone, Prince) that are on this list. If a band is from America and awesome, it should be here.

Vote for the top American rock bands that you think are the best to come from the 50 states. Pick the band who you consider to be the greatest American rock band of all time. There are plenty of great choices to choose from so you can't really go wrong.

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51
The Temptations is listed (or ranked) 51 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
The Temptations Christmas Card, The Very Best of Christmas, The Temptations Sing Smokey
The Temptations are an American vocal group known for their success with Motown Records during the 1960s and 1970s. Known for their choreography, distinct harmonies, and flashy wardrobe, the ...more
52
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 52 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
American Idiot, Dookie, 21st Century Breakdown
Green Day is an American rock band formed in 1986. Green Day's members include Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool. Green Day was originally part of the punk scene at the DIY ...more
53
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Stop Making Sense, Remain in Light, Fear of Music
Talking Heads were an American rock band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until 1991. The band comprised David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison. Other musicians ...more
54
Styx is listed (or ranked) 54 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
The Grand Illusion, Paradise Theatre, Pieces of Eight
Styx is an American rock band from Chicago that became famous for its albums from the mid-1970s and early 1980s. They are best known for melding the style of pop rock with the power of hard-rock ...more
55
Blue Öyster Cult is listed (or ranked) 55 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
RBJFinGrp added Agents of Fortune, Tyranny and Mutation, Fire of Unknown Origin
Blue Öyster Cult is an American rock band from Long Island, New York, whose most successful work includes the hard rock and heavy metal songs " The Reaper", "Godzilla" ...more
56
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 56 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
That's the Way of the World, Spirit, All 'n All
Earth, Wind & Fire is an American band that has spanned the musical genres of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, disco, pop, rock, Latin, African and gospel. They are one of the most successful and ...more
57
The Velvet Underground is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
The Velvet Underground & Nico, Loaded, The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground was an American rock band, active between 1964 and 1973, formed in New York City by Lou Reed and John Cale. Although they had little commercial success at the time, the ...more
58
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 58 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Siamese Dream, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Oceania
The Smashing Pumpkins are an American alternative rock band from Chicago, Illinois, formed in 1988. Formed by frontman Billy Corgan and James Iha, the band included Jimmy Chamberlin and D'arcy ...more
59
The Mamas & the Papas is listed (or ranked) 59 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, Deliver, The Mamas & the Papas
The Mamas & the Papas was an American folk rock vocal group that recorded and performed from 1965 to 1968, reuniting briefly in 1971. They released five studio albums and seventeen singles, ...more
60
Neil Young & Crazy Horse is listed (or ranked) 60 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Rust Never Sleeps, Live Rust
Neil Young & Crazy Horse is an association of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Neil Young and the American rock band Crazy Horse.
61
Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 61 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Slippery When Wet, New Jersey, Cross Road
Bon Jovi is an American rock band from Sayreville, New Jersey. Formed in 1983, Bon Jovi consists of lead singer and namesake Jon Bon Jovi, pianist and keyboard player David Bryan, and drummer ...more
62
Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Girls Girls Girls, Shout at the Devil, Dr. Feelgood
Mötley Crüe is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1981. The group was founded by bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee, who were later joined by ...more
63
Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 63 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Buddy, 20 Golden Greats, What You Been A-Missin': What You've Been A-Missin'

Peggy Sue, etc.

Charles Hardin Holley, known as Buddy Holly, was an American musician and singer-songwriter, often considered one of the main figures of the rock and roll genre in the mid-1950s. Born in ...more
64
Three Dog Night is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
AlessandroAlarcio added Naturally, Seven Separate Fools, Hard Labor
Three Dog Night is an American rock band. They formed in 1967 with a line-up consisting of vocalists Danny Hutton, Cory Wells, and Chuck Negron. This lineup was soon augmented by Jimmy ...more
65
Grand Funk Railroad is listed (or ranked) 65 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
smellsrank added Closer to Home, On Time, Survival
Grand Funk Railroad is an American blues rock band that was highly popular during the 1970s, touring extensively and playing to packed arenas worldwide. David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine ...more
66
Buffalo Springfield is listed (or ranked) 66 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Last Time Around, Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield, Buffalo Springfield Again
Buffalo Springfield was an American-Canadian rock band formed in 1966 whose members included Richie Furay, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Dewey Martin, Bruce Palmer, Jim Messina, Ken Koblun, and ...more
67
The Monkees is listed (or ranked) 67 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Then & Now...The Best of the Monkees, Headquarters, Daydream Believer / Goin' Down
The Monkees are an American pop/rock band that released music in their original incarnation between 1966 and 1970, with subsequent reunion albums and tours in the decades that followed. Formed ...more
68
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 68 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
but chickens double d added Pinkerton, Weezer, Weezer
Weezer is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1992 consisting of Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson, Brian Bell, and Scott Shriner. The line-up has changed three times since its formation ...more
69
The B-52's is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Superpayasadas added The B-52’s, Wild Planet, Planet Claire
The B-52s are an American new wave band, formed in Athens, Georgia in 1976. The original line-up consisted of Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson, and Keith Strickland. ...more
70
The White Stripes is listed (or ranked) 70 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
but chickens double d added White Blood Cells, Elephant, De Stijl
The White Stripes were an American rock duo, formed in 1997 in Detroit, Michigan. The group consisted of Jack White and Meg White. After releasing several singles and three albums within the ...more
71
America is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Homecoming, The Complete Greatest Hits, A Horse With No Name
America is an American rock band, formed in 1970 by multi-instrumentalists Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley. The trio first met in London, where they began performing live. America ...more
72
Prince is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Purple Rain, Sign 'O' the Times, 1999
Prince Roger Nelson, known by his mononym Prince, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor. A major figure in popular music for over three decades, Prince is renowned ...more
73
Stone Temple Pilots is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Purple, Core, Tiny Music… Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop
Stone Temple Pilots is an American rock band from San Diego, California, that consists of brothers Robert and Dean DeLeo, Eric Kretz, and Chester Bennington. Since the band's formation in 1985, ...more
74
Four Tops is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Reach Out, Christmas Here With You, The Return of the Magnificent Seven
The Four Tops are an American vocal quartet from Detroit, Michigan who helped to define the city's Motown sound of the 1960s. The group's repertoire has included soul music, R&B, disco, ...more
75
REO Speedwagon is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Live: You Get What You Play For, Good Trouble, Can't Fight This Feeling
REO Speedwagon is an American rock band. Formed in 1967, the band cultivated a following during the 1970s and achieved significant commercial success throughout the 1980s. Hi Infidelity ...more