Bands/Musicians The Best Alternative Bands/Artists  

Reference
Originally by
173.5k votes 14.9k voters 374.7k views 675 items

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?"
Ranker may collect a commission from links on this page.
list ordered by
1
3,399 1,747
Nirvana is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock
2
2,518 1,825
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog
3
2,753 1,685
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
CilasLee added Classic rock, Jazz-funk, Rock music
4
1,807 1,399
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Rock music, Grunge, Post-grunge
5
2,622 1,591
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Pop punk, Rock music, Alternative rock
6
2,052 1,247
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
FabianMariani added Rock music, Post-grunge, Alternative rock
7
1,569 1,243
R.E.M. is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock
8
1,431 1,327
The Smiths is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Jangle pop, Indie pop, Alternative rock
9
1,529 980
The Killers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
ryanjjjj8 added Pop punk, Synthpop, New Wave
10
1,572 1,046
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Pop punk, Rock music, Garage rock
11
1,804 1,009
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Alternative rock
12
1,950 1,842
Coldplay is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Rock music, Piano rock, Post-Britpop
13
1,213 893
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise
14
1,382 697
The Cure is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
FabianMariani added Gothic rock, Alternative rock, Post-punk
15
2,048 1,315
Arctic Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
RobDiLorenzo added Trip hop, Dance-punk, Garage rock
16
1,378 879
The White Stripes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
muzziac added Blues-rock, Punk blues, Rock music
17
1,171 790
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal
18
1,267 930
Oasis is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Rock music, Britpop, Alternative rock
19
1,090 764
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Crossover thrash, Nu metal, Political hip hop
20
875 931
The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Rock music, Pop music, Baroque pop/rock
21
853 788
Sublime is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music
22
1,735 1,099
Muse is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
RobDiLorenzo added Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music
23
1,184 747
Blink-182 is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
ryanjjjj8 added Pop punk, Rock music, Skate punk
24
966 743
The Black Keys is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added Blues-rock, Punk blues, Rock music
25
1,043 693
Alice in Chains is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
FabianMariani added Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock