Music

The Greatest American Rock Bands  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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.

list ordered by
1
Eagles is listed (or ranked) 1 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
2
Creedence Clearwater Revival is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Green River, Cosmo's Factory, Willy and the Poor Boys
Creedence Clearwater Revival (often referred to as Creedence or CCR) was an American rock band active in the late 1960s and early 1970s which consisted of lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and ...more
3
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
Fleetwood Mac is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
Aerosmith is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Toys in the Attic, Pump, Permanent Vacation
Aerosmith is an American rock band formed in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1970. The group consists of Steven Tyler (vocals, keyboards), Joe Perry (guitar), Tom Hamilton (bass), Joey Kramer (drums), ...more
7
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Van Halen, 1984, Diver Down
Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Credited with "restoring hard rock to the forefront of the music scene", Van Halen is known for its ...more
8
Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
The Last DJ, Damn the Torpedoes, Into the Great Wide Open
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (alternately Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) were an American rock band from Gainesville, Florida. Formed in 1976, the band originally comprised Tom Petty ...more
9
Lynyrd Skynyrd is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
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
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, Metallica
Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, and has been based in San Francisco for most ...more
12
Journey is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 13 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 (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His mainstream career lasted ...more
14
ZZ Top is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Tres Hombres, Eliminator, Rio Grande Mud
ZZ Top is an American rock band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band has, since 1970, consisted of vocalist/guitarist Billy Gibbons (the band's leader, main lyricist and musical arranger), ...more
15
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet ... is listed (or ranked) 16 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.
17
Steve Miller Band is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
Santana is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
Heart is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen, Heart
Heart is a rock band that first found success in Canada and later in the United States and worldwide. Over the group's history, it has had three primary lineups, with the constant center of the ...more
20
The Allman Brothers Band is listed (or ranked) 20 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 Macon, Georgia, in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman (founder, slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards, ...more
21
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Jailhouse Rock, The Sun Sessions, From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential '60s Masters
Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known mononymously as Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th ...more
23
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Californication, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Stadium Arcadium
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
24
Boston is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
Boston, Greatest Hits, Third Stage
Boston is an American rock band from Boston, Massachusetts, which had its most notable successes during the 1970s and 1980s. Centered on multi-instrumentalist founder and leader Tom Scholz, who ...more
25
Grateful Dead is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Rock Bands
American Beauty, Europe '72 (disc 1), Aoxomoxoa
The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The band is known for its eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, country, jazz, bluegrass, ...more