music The Best Alternative Bands/Artists  

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At the end of the 1980s, at the peak of glam rock and hair metal, a new genre began to emerge from the underground. Since it served as an option to the bloated sound of those genres that was all over the airwaves and MTV, it was aptly titled alternative rock. Over the years, alternative rock has become part of mainstream rock. But at its beginning, alt rock and all of the alternative artists were on the cutting edge of what was going on in response to those more commercial genres. The origins of the best alternative bands are in cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and various college towns around the country.

So, who can be considered one of the top alternative bands, or even a good alternative band? Any list isn't complete without Husker Du and R.E.M., who represent the best college rock musicians. These alternative music bands had a huge impact on the alternative scene and influenced many, if not all alternative rock bands. Jane's Addiction can also be lumped into that category. Other popular alternative artists include Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Oasis, Blur and Smashing Pumpkins. These groups' legacy and impact on alternative music is indisputable and they continue to crank out the hits.

Who is on your top 100 alternative bands list? We know this list isn't 100 bands/artists long. . . we did that on purpose because we're alternative.

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide what is the best alternative band. If you think an alternative artist or band isn't on here and should, feel free to add them to this list. This list answers the questions "who are the best alternative bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest alternative musician ever?"
list ordered by

1
2,187 1,029
Nirvana is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Nirvana Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock

The Best Grammy-Nominated Alternative Albums of the 2010s The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books

2
1,624 1,086
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

3
1,731 1,002
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
CilasLee added Red Hot Chili Peppers Classic rock, Jazz-funk, Rock music

4
1,656 981
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Green Day Pop punk, Rock music, Alternative rock

5
851 734
The Smiths is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added The Smiths Jangle pop, Indie pop, Alternative rock

6
1,113 817
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Pearl Jam Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge

7
926 769
R.E.M. is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
R.E.M. Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

8
1,258 734
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
FabianMariani added Foo Fighters Rock music, Post-grunge, Alternative rock

9
685 333
The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
The Arcana Rock music, Pop music, Baroque pop/rock

10
914 594
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Weezer Pop punk, Rock music, Garage rock

11
1,270 1,048
Coldplay is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Coldplay Rock music, Piano rock, Post-Britpop

12
1,089 643
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
The Smashing Pumpkins Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

13
1,383 815
Arctic Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
RobDiLorenzo added Arctic Monkeys Trip hop, Dance-punk, Garage rock

14
730 557
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Pixies Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise

15
603 444
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Rage Against the Machine Crossover thrash, Nu metal, Political hip hop

The Best Grammy-Nominated Alternative Albums of the 2000s The Greatest Songs by One-Hit Wonders

16
823 542
The White Stripes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
muzziac added The White Stripes Blues-rock, Punk blues, Rock music

17
637 517
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Soundgarden Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal

18
1,202 728
Muse is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
RobDiLorenzo added Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music

19
846 503
The Killers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
ryanjjjj8 added The Killers Pop punk, Synthpop, New Wave

20
586 516
The Offspring is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added The Offspring Pop punk, Ska punk, Rock music

21
759 569
Oasis is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Oasis Rock music, Britpop, Alternative rock

22
739 451
The Cure is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
FabianMariani added The Cure Gothic rock, Alternative rock, Post-punk

23
524 427
System of a Down is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Qanea added System of a Down Nu metal, Progressive metal, Rock music

24
853 481
My Chemical Romance is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
ryanjjjj8 added My Chemical Romance Pop punk, Pop music, Rock music

25
624 437
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
FabianMariani added Alice in Chains Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock

26
690 395
Blink-182 is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
ryanjjjj8 added Blink-182 Pop punk, Rock music, Skate punk

27
533 470
Sublime is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Sublime Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

28
503 462
Nine Inch Nails is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Nine Inch Nails Dark ambient, Industrial metal, Electronic music

29
623 623
U2 is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added U2 Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

The Greatest Alternative Rock Songs by One-Hit Wonders Experiences Every Person Who Wants To Be Outgoing But Has Social Anxiety Has Had

30
886 615
Fall Out Boy is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
ryanjjjj8 added Fall Out Boy Pop punk, Pop music, Rock music

31
952 540
Linkin Park is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
BayzidAnando added Linkin Park Hip hop music, Nu metal, Rock music

32
329 92
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
David Bowie Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

33
375 322
Stone Temple Pilots is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Stone Temple Pilots Rock music, Grunge, Neo-psychedelia

34
582 444
Gorillaz is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
ryanjjjj8 added Gorillaz Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Synthpop

35
601 467
The Strokes is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
RobDiLorenzo added The Strokes Garage rock, Power pop, Alternative rock

36
405 391
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Sonic Youth Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

37
459 380
Depeche Mode is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Depeche Mode Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

38
668 475
The Black Keys is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added The Black Keys Blues-rock, Punk blues, Rock music

39
263 144
The Clash is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added The Clash Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave

40
580 343
Cage the Elephant is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Cage the Elephant Punk blues, Garage rock, Garage punk

41
454 421
Queens of the Stone Age is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
rodrincubus added Queens of the Stone Age Rock music, Desert rock, Experimental rock

42
364 191
Imagine Dragons is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
cole-faraday added Imagine Dragons Indie pop, Pop music, Alternative rock

43
399 310
Beck Hansen is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
muzziac added Beck Alternative hip hop, Anti-folk, Country rap

The Best Dubstep Artists The Best Gothic Novelists

44
360 281
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
ryanjjjj8 added Talking Heads New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

45
343 338
Incubus is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
rodrincubus added Incubus Nu metal, Rock music, Experimental rock

46
273 105
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Pink Floyd Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

47
122 61
The Cranberries is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Lura Barden added The Cranberries Jangle pop, New Wave, Rock music

48
262 302
Jane's Addiction is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Jane's Addiction Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal

49
328 303
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
ryanjjjj8 added Beastie Boys Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop

50
184 99
The Velvet Underground is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
The Velvet Underground Noise rock, Blues-rock, Rock music