Rock The Greatest American Rock Bands  

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1.2M votes 48k voters 1M views 369 items

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

Ranker Video Greatest American Rock Bands Ever

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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list ordered by
1
12,570 9,182
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
The Doors, L.A. Woman, Strange Days
The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger. The band took its ...more
2
14,625 8,400
Eagles is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Hotel California, Eagles Greatest Hits, Volume 2
The Eagles are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner. With five number-one singles, six Grammy Awards, five American ...more
3
13,026 7,778
Creedence Clearwater Revival is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Green River, Cosmo's Factory, Willy and the Poor Boys
Creedence Clearwater Revival was an American rock band active in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The band consisted of lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter John Fogerty, rhythm ...more
4
13,164 7,023
Aerosmith is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Toys in the Attic, Pump, Permanent Vacation
Aerosmith is an American rock band, sometimes referred to as "the Bad Boys from Boston" and "America's Greatest Rock and Roll Band." Their style, which is rooted in ...more
5
12,006 6,993
Lynyrd Skynyrd is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
(pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd), Second Helping, Gold
Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band best known for popularizing the southern hard-rock genre during the 1970s. Originally formed in 1966 as The Pretty Ones in Jacksonville, Florida, they ...more
6
10,584 7,353
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Van Halen, 1984, Diver Down
Van Halen is an American rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1974. From 1975 until 1985, the band comprised guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen, ...more
7
11,523 5,325
Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
The Last DJ, Damn the Torpedoes, Into the Great Wide Open
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is an American rock band from Gainesville, Florida. In 1976, the band's original lineup was Tom Petty as the primary vocalist and guitar player, Mike Campbell as ...more
8
10,522 7,026
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Pet Sounds, Surfin' USA, Ultimate Christmas
The Beach Boys are an American rock and roll band. Formed in 1961, they gained popularity for their close vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting a California youth culture of surfing, girls, and ...more
9
10,716 7,571
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, Metallica
Metallica is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California. Metallica was formed in 1981 when vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield responded to an advertisement posted by drummer ...more
10
10,856 6,454
Nirvana is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Nevermind, In Utero, MTV Unplugged in New York
Nirvana was an American grunge band that was formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, ...more
11
10,425 6,234
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Appetite for Destruction, G N' R Lies, Use Your Illusion I
Guns N' Roses is an American hard rock band formed in Los Angeles, in 1985. The classic lineup as signed to Geffen Records in 1986 consisted of vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm ...more
12
10,542 3,812
Fleetwood Mac is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
BobbieJoReedKey added Rumours, Fleetwood Mac, Tango in the Night
Fleetwood Mac are a British-American rock band formed in July 1967, in London. The band have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time. ...more
13
8,449 6,036
ZZ Top is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Tres Hombres, Eliminator, Rio Grande Mud
ZZ Top is an American rock band that formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band comprises guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons, bassist and co-lead vocalist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank ...more
14
8,859 6,046
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Ten, Vs., Vitalogy
Pearl Jam is an American rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1990. Since its inception, the band's line-up has comprised Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. The ...more
15
7,039 6,045
Boston is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Boston, Greatest Hits, Third Stage
Boston is an American rock band from Boston, Massachusetts, that achieved their most notable successes during the 1970s and 1980s. Centered on guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter, and producer ...more
16
9,325 4,873
Journey is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Escape, Frontiers, Evolution
Journey is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1973, composed of former members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch. The band has gone through several phases; its strongest ...more
17
9,059 2,396
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
First Rays of the New Rising Sun, Band of Gypsys, Voodoo Child: The Jimi Hendrix Collection

The greatest rock star of them all.

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most ...more
18
7,212 5,231
Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
'Live' Bullet, Against the Wind, Stranger in Town
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band are an American rock band led by Bob Seger.
19
8,159 5,850
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Californication, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Stadium Arcadium
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1983. The group's musical style primarily consists of rock with an emphasis on funk, as well as elements from other ...more
20
6,024 4,701
Steve Miller Band is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Fly Like an Eagle, Book of Dreams, Young Hearts
The Steve Miller Band is an American rock band formed in 1966 in San Francisco, California. The band is managed by Steve Miller on guitar and lead vocals, and is best known today for a string of ...more
21
6,913 5,649
The Allman Brothers Band is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
At Fillmore East, Beginnings, Eat a Peach
The Allman Brothers Band was an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman and Gregg Allman, as well as Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, and Jai ...more
22
7,147 4,967
Heart is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen, Heart
Heart is an American rock band that first found success in Canada and later in the United States and worldwide. Over the group's four-decade history, the band has had three primary lineups, with ...more
23
7,236 4,995
Santana is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Abraxas, Supernatural, Legacy Edition
Santana is a Latin rock band, founded in San Francisco during the late 1960s by Carlos Santana as a vehicle for his compositions and guitar style. The band first came to widespread public ...more
24
5,844 6,373
R.E.M. is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Murmur, Green, Automatic for the People
R.E.M. was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry. One of the first popular ...more
25
7,871 2,602
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Jailhouse Rock, The Sun Sessions, From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential '60s Masters
Elvis Aaron Presley was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as "the King of Rock and ...more