Music

The Best Alternative Bands/Artists  

Reference
Originally by
191.9k votes 16.1k voters 399.2k views 672 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 current 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
Nirvana is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
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
2
Red Hot Chili Peppers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
CilasLee added
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
3
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added
Radiohead are an English rock band formed in Abingdon-on-Thames in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), brothers Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, ...more
4
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
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
5
Green Day is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added
Green Day is an American rock band formed in 1986 by lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt. For much of the band's career, they have been a trio with drummer ...more
6
The Killers is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
ryanjjjj8 added
The Killers are an American rock band formed in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2001 by members Brandon Flowers (lead vocals, keyboards, bass) and Dave Keuning (lead guitar, backing vocals). Mark Stoermer ...more
7
Foo Fighters is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
FabianMariani added
Foo Fighters is an American rock band, formed in Seattle in 1994. It was founded by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl as a one-man project following the death of Kurt Cobain and the resulting ...more
8
Weezer is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added
Weezer is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1992. Since 2001, the band has consisted of Rivers Cuomo (lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards), Patrick Wilson (drums), Brian ...more
9
R.E.M. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
R.E.M. was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by drummer Bill Berry, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist/backing vocalist Mike Mills, and lead vocalist Michael Stipe. One of ...more
10
The Smiths is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added
The Smiths were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1982. The group consisted of vocalist Morrissey, guitarist Johnny Marr, bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce. Critics have ...more
11
Coldplay is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Coldplay are a British rock band formed in London in 1996. The four members – which include lead vocalist/pianist Chris Martin, lead guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman and drummer ...more
12
Arctic Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
RobDiLorenzo added
Arctic Monkeys is an English rock band formed in Sheffield in 2002. The group consists of Alex Turner (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Matt Helders (drums, vocals), Jamie Cook (guitar, keyboards) ...more
13
The Cure is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
FabianMariani added
The Cure are an English rock band formed in Crawley in 1976. The group has experienced continuous line-up changes over its lifespan, with vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert ...more
14
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
The Smashing Pumpkins (or Smashing Pumpkins) are an American alternative rock band from Chicago, Illinois. Formed in 1988 by frontman Billy Corgan (lead vocals, guitar), D'arcy Wretzky (bass), ...more
15
The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
16
The White Stripes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
muzziac added
The White Stripes were an American rock duo formed in 1997 in Detroit, Michigan. The group consisted of Jack White (songwriter, vocals, guitar, piano, and mandolin) and Meg White (drums and ...more
17
Sublime is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added
Sublime was an American ska punk band from Long Beach, California, formed in 1988. The band's line-up, unchanged until their breakup, consisted of Bradley Nowell (vocals and guitar), Eric Wilson ...more
18
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
The Pixies are an American rock band formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1986. The group currently consists of founders Black Francis, Joey Santiago, and David Lovering. Co-founder Kim Deal left ...more
19
Oasis is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Oasis were an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1991. Developed from an earlier group, the Rain, the band originally consisted of Liam Gallagher (lead vocals, tambourine), Paul ...more
20
Linkin Park is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
BayzidAnando added
Linkin Park is an American rock band from Agoura Hills, California. The band's current lineup comprises vocalist/keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Mike Shinoda, lead guitarist Brad Delson, bassist ...more
21
Muse is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
RobDiLorenzo added
Muse are an English rock band from Teignmouth, Devon, formed in 1994. The band consists of Matt Bellamy (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), Chris Wolstenholme (bass guitar, backing vocals), and ...more
22
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
Soundgarden was an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984 by singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil (both of whom are the only members to appear ...more
23
The Black Keys is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added
The Black Keys is an American rock band formed in Akron, Ohio, in 2001. The group consists of Dan Auerbach (guitar, vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums). The duo began as an independent act, ...more
24
The Offspring is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added
The Offspring is an American rock band from Garden Grove, California, formed in 1984. Originally formed under the name Manic Subsidal, the band has consisted of lead vocalist and guitarist Bryan ...more
25
U2 is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Alternative Bands/Artists
but chickens double d added
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin, formed in 1976. The group consists of Bono (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), the Edge (lead guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals), Adam Clayton (bass ...more