Music
16.9k voters

The Best Hard Rock Bands/Artists

Updated April 29, 2021 179.2k votes 16.9k voters 399.0k views155 items

List RulesOnly hard rock artists. Pure metal bands like Sabbath, Maiden, Priest or punk bands like Pistols, Ramones belong on other lists

Hard rock is a genre that started with bands like Cream, Mountain, Steppenwolf, and Grand Funk in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and filled stadiums in the 1970s and into the 1980s. Hard rock bands are rooted in garage rock, blues rock and psychedelic rock and over time, hard rock has come to include elements of post-punk. That said, some of the greatest bands of all time are hard rock bands. Featuring iconic guitar solos, aggressive music and heavy drumming, top hard rock bands remain some of the most beloved bands in history and their songs continue to be played on radio today.

So, what are the best hard rock bands? Any top 100 list of hard rock bands has to include the likes of Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, AC/DC, Queen, Aerosmith, Deep Purple and Guns N Roses. These bands are considered among the best in hard rock and with good reason. They continue to endure and their songs hold up - even as new hard rock songs fight for space on radio waves. In the cases of the hard rock bands that have retired or long broken up, they continue to have fans, which is a testament to their staying power.

That said, it's up to you to determine what are the best hard rock bands. If you like hard rock and noticed that someone is missing from this list of hard rock bands, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best hard rock bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest hard rock musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular hard rock bands that you might've heard of.

...more
  • 1
    4,294
    1,916

    More AC/DC 

    The Best AC/DC Songs of All Time#2 of 101 The Best Musical Groups Featuring Brothers, Ranked

  • 2
    3,932
    1,906

    More Led Zeppelin 

    Infamous Stories From Led Zeppelin's Heyday Most Fans Don't Talk AboutThe Best Led Zeppelin Songs

  • 3
    2,442
    1,564

    More Van Halen 

    12 Awesome Stories About Eddie Van Halen That Sound Made Up - But Aren't#144 of 221 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album

  • 4
    3,359
    1,696

    More Guns N' Roses 

    The Best Guns N' Roses Songs of All TimeAt Their Peaks, Guns N' Roses And Nirvana Hated Each Other - But They Found Common Ground In Rock

  • 5
    2,362
    1,550

    More Aerosmith 

    The Best Aerosmith Songs of All Time#15 of 263 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

  • 6
    2,897
    2,004

    More Queen 

    What Freddie Mercury's Relationship With His Bandmates Was Really LikeThe Best Queen Songs of All Time

  • 7
    1,760
    1,286

    More Scorpions 

    #6 of 36 The Best Bands Named After Bugs#47 of 106 Which Bands Or Musicians Do You Most Want To See Before They (Or You) Kick The Bucket?

  • 8
    2,544
    1,896

    More Deep Purple 

    The Best Deep Purple Songs of All Time#13 of 392 The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands Of All Time

  • 9
    1,561
    1,172

    More Motörhead 

    #106 of 541 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time#3 of 14 Rock Bands With The Coolest Custom Beers

  • 10
    1,462
    1,061

    More ZZ Top 

    The Best ZZ Top Songs of All Time#16 of 31 The Best Old Man Bushy Beards in Pop Culture

  • 11
    1,957
    1,153

    More Jimi Hendrix 

    Wild Stories From The Guitar-Shredding Life Of Jimi Hendrix#3 of 29 Members of The 27 Club

  • 12

    More Ozzy Osbourne 

    Inside Ozzy Osbourne's Rough-And-Tumble Youth#1677 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time

  • 13
    1,329
    1,029

    More Rainbow 

    #28 of 259 The Best Power Metal Bands#127 of 222 The Best British Rock Bands/Artists

  • 14
  • 15

    More Bad Company 

    The Best Bad Company Songs of All Time#82 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

  • 16
    1,621
    1,378

    More Alice Cooper 

    The Best Alice Cooper Albums of All Time#68 of 227 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

  • 17

    More Mötley Crüe 

    The Best Mötley Crüe Albums, Ranked#39 of 218 The Best Musical Artists From California

  • 18
    1,847
    1,196

    More Kiss 

    The Best KISS Songs of All Time#38 of 66 The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

  • 19
    1,048
    792

    More Megadeth 

    #181 of 359 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame#92 of 383 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

  • 20
    1,217
    894

    More Whitesnake 

    #14 of 156 The Best Hair Metal Bands Of All Time#244 of 279 The Greatest American Rock Bands

  • 21
    1,333
    1,187

    More Alice in Chains 

    The Best Alice In Chains Songs of All Time#13 of 47 The Greatest Artists Who Have Never Won a Grammy

  • 22

    More Blue Öyster Cult 

    The Best Blue Öyster Cult Albums, Ranked#5 of 179 The Best Bands That Are Named After Foods

  • 23
    1,069
    884

    More Cream 

    The Best Cream Albums of All-Time#3 of 109 The Best Musical Trios Of All-Time

  • 24
    1,129
    858

    More Soundgarden 

    #30 of 86 '90s Greats Making the Best Music Today#16 of 93 The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen

  • 25
    1,590
    1,447

    More Rush 

    #1 of 14 14 Nerdy Bands That Actually Rock#1 of 58 The Best Rock Trios Of All Time