60.8k voters

The Greatest American Rock Bands

Updated July 15, 2020 1.5m votes 60.8k voters 1.2m views279 items

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

Update: Follow Ranker's official New Rock 2020 playlist on Spotify!

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.

  • Creedence Clearwater Revival1

    Creedence Clearwater Revival

    Green River, Cosmo's Factory

    Genres (Music)Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Swamp pop, Rock music, Garage rock

    Creedence Clearwater Revival (often referred to as Creedence or CCR) was an American rock band...  more
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  • Elvis Presley2

    Elvis Presley

    Jailhouse Rock, The Sun Sessions

    Genres (Music)Christian music, Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly, Country rock

    Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known mononymously as Elvis, was...  more
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  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers3

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

    The Last DJ, Damn the Torpedoes

    Genres (Music)Blues-rock, New Wave, Classic rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (alternately Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) were an American...  more
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  • Aerosmith4


    Toys in the Attic, Pump

    Genres (Music)Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal, Rock and roll

    Aerosmith is an American rock band formed in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1970. The group...  more
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  • Eagles5


    Hotel California, Eagles Greatest Hits

    Genres (Music)Country pop, Rock music, Folk rock, Country rock, Soft rock

    The Eagles are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley,...  more
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  • Johnny Cash6

    Johnny Cash

    American V: A Hundred Highways, American IV: The Man Comes Around

    Genres (Music)Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana, Rock music, Rockabilly

    John R. "Johnny" Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American...  more
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  • Jimi Hendrix7

    Jimi Hendrix

    First Rays of the New Rising Sun, Band of Gypsys

    Genres (Music)Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock, Psychedelia, Heavy metal

    The greatest rock star of them all.

    James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18,...  more
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  • Lynyrd Skynyrd8

    Lynyrd Skynyrd

    (pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd), Second Helping

    Genres (Music)Outlaw country, Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music, Country rock

    Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band best known for popularizing the southern hard-rock...  more
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  • The Beach Boys9

    The Beach Boys

    Pet Sounds, Surfin' USA

    Genres (Music)Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Traditional pop music, Country rock

    The Beach Boys are an American rock and roll band. Formed in 1961, they gained popularity for...  more
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  • Nirvana10


    Nevermind, In Utero

    Genres (Music)Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock, Punk rock, Hardcore punk

    Nirvana was an American grunge band that was formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and...  more
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  • Chuck Berry11

    Chuck Berry

    The Great Twenty-Eight, Maybellene

    Genres (Music)Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll, Blues

    Charles Edward Anderson Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) was an American singer and...  more
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  • Guns N' Roses12

    Guns N' Roses

    Appetite for Destruction, G N' R Lies

    Genres (Music)Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal, Rock and roll

    Guns N' Roses is an American hard rock band formed in Los Angeles, in 1985. The classic lineup...  more
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  • Journey13


    Escape, Frontiers

    Genres (Music)Rock music, Jazz fusion, Pop rock, Soft rock, Progressive rock

    Journey is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1973, composed of former...  more
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  • Van Halen14

    Van Halen

    Van Halen, 1984

    Genres (Music)Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal, Hard rock

    Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Credited with...  more
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  • The Doors15

    The Doors

    The Doors, L.A. Woman

    Genres (Music)Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk, Heavy metal, Jazz fusion

    The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, with vocalist Jim...  more
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  • Prince and the Revolution16

    Prince and the Revolution

    Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day

    Genres (Music)Rock music, Heavy metal, Rhythm and blues, Pop rock, Experimental music

    The Revolution was an American rock band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1979 by Prince....  more
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  • Simon and Garfunkel17

    Simon and Garfunkel

    Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sounds of Silence

    Genres (Music)Pop music, Worldbeat, Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

    I Am a Rock, etc.

    Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon...  more
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  • Santana18


    Abraxas, Supernatural

    Genres (Music)Blues-rock, Chicano rock, Rock music, Rock en Español, Jazz fusion

    Santana is a Latin rock band, founded in San Francisco during the late 1960s by Carlos Santana...  more
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  • Metallica19


    Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning

    Genres (Music)Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal, Speed metal, Hard rock

    Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by...  more
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  • Pearl Jam20

    Pearl Jam

    Ten, Vs.

    Genres (Music)Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge, Alternative rock, Hard rock

    Pearl Jam is an American rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1990. Since its...  more
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  • ZZ Top21

    ZZ Top

    Tres Hombres, Eliminator

    Genres (Music)Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music, Electric blues, Heavy metal

    ZZ Top is an American rock band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band has, since 1970,...  more
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  • Foo Fighters22

    Foo Fighters

    Wasting Light, The Colour and the Shape

    Genres (Music)Alternative rock, Post-grunge

    Foo Fighters is an American rock band, formed in Seattle in 1994. It was founded by Nirvana...  more
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  • Buddy Holly and the Crickets23

    Buddy Holly and the Crickets

    Buddy, 20 Golden Greats

    Genres (Music)Lubbock sound, Rock music, Rockabilly, Pop rock, Rock and roll

    Peggy Sue, etc.

    Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), known professionally as Buddy...  more
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  • Heart24


    Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen

    Genres (Music)Pop music, Rock music, Folk rock, Heavy metal, Pop rock

    Heart is a rock band that first found success in Canada and later in the United States and...  more
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  • Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band25

    Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band

    'Live' Bullet, Against the Wind

    Genres (Music)Rock music

    Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band are an American rock band led by Bob Seger....  more
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