Metal The Best Classic Metal Bands  

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10.2k votes 1.1k voters 23.1k views 57 items

List Rules Only bands that play classic metal style; no nu metal or extreme metal of any sort

When heavy metal first emerged at the beginning of the 1970s, naysayers would have never suspected that the bands from those early years would be considered some of the classic metal bands. These outfits are widely considered among the top heavy metal bands of all time, and with good reason. They are recognizable and their songs are some of the greatest songs in metal history. 

So, who are the best classic heavy metal bands? Every lists must have Black Sabbath at or near the top. The Birmingham, UK natives pretty much invented the genre, and all of heavy metal. Between Ozzy Osbourne's vocals and Tony Iommi's guitar, the entire foundation for all heavy metal bands was laid. If not for Sabbath, bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden or even Metallica may not have existed. Even the best classic metal bands owe a debt of gratitude to Black Sabbath. No matter which edition of Black Sabbath you like - Ozzy or Dio edition - they are easily the most influential classic metal band. 

What band should be at the top of the list of classic metal bands? If you're a heavy metal fan and know everything there is to know about the top classic metal bands, then you should have your voice heard. This list answers the questions "who are the best classic metal bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest classic metal musician ever?" if you notice that a popular classic metal band isn't on this list, feel free to add them. 

list ordered by

1
468 95
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

2
482 106
Iron Maiden is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

3
388 79
Judas Priest is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

4
315 84
Dio is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal

5
280 133
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock

6
234 102
Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

7
236 122
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

8
301 240
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

9
95 35
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
manofoccasionalthought added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

10
213 163
Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
tpengitore added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

11
191 149
Manowar is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Power metal, Heavy metal, True metal

12
153 157
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

13
83 67
Accept is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

14
53 32
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Scott Kerr added Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

15
108 114
Pantera is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
harry-pittman added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Groove metal

16
75 69
Savatage is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
mohamed-said added Melodic Rock, Progressive metal, Power metal

17
46 26
Slayer is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Burak Alanyalı added Thrash metal, Groove metal, Rock music

18
53 51
Doro is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added

19
80 102
Warlock is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

20
107 161
Skid Row is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

21
67 93
Ratt is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

22
42 49
Aria is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Heavy metal

23
70 103
Quiet Riot is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

24
63 96
Dokken is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Melodic Rock, Glam metal, Rock music

25
15 7
Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
thatperson added

Motley Crue: absolute metal LEGENDS 
Mötley Crüe was an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California
-was ranked tenth on MTV's list "Top 10 Heavy Metal Bands of All-Time" and ninth on "VH1's All Time Top Ten Metal Bands">>INVENTED hair metal >>HOW COULD ANYONE FORGET?!

26
63 98
Overkill is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
RobertPhelps added Thrash metal, Groove metal, Heavy metal

27
37 49
Krokus is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Trey Guyton added Heavy metal, Hard rock

28
88 149
Rob Zombie is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Horror punk, Noise rock, Nu metal

29
64 104
Diamond Head is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Heavy metal

30
39 59
U.D.O. is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added Power metal, Heavy metal, Speed metal

31
76 132
White Zombie is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Horror punk, Noise rock, Industrial metal

32
8 2
W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LivinYourFantasy added Shock Rock, Glam Metal, Heavy Metal -

W.A.S.P. is an American heavy metal band formed in 1982. They emerged from the early 1980s Los Angeles heavy metal scene. The band's popularity peaked that decade, yet they continue to record and tour, making them one of the most enduring of the West Coast heavy metal bands. W.A.S.P. gained notoriety for their shock rock-themed image, lyrics and live performances. They have sold over 12 million albums.

33
29 46
Blind Guardian is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Power metal

34
9 13
Venom is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Κατερίνα added New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Black metal

35
54 113
Disturbed is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
NicholasChabiram added Nu metal, Rock music, Metalcore

36
28 56
Stryper is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MattSchwarck added Glam metal, Nu metal, Rock music

37
40 90
LOUDNESS is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Progressive metal, Rock music

38
2 4
Nitro is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LivinYourFantasy added Glam metal, Power metal, Heavy metal -

Nitro is an American heavy metal band from Hollywood, California. Formed in 1988. Nitro released its debut album O.F.R. in 1989, which reached number 140 on the US Billboard 200.

39
1 5
Hawk is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LivinYourFantasy added Glam Metal, Heavy Metal

40
54 130
Godsmack is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Nu metal, Groove metal, Rock music

41
18 49
Trouble is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
strangeways added Psalm 9, The Skull, Trouble, Manic Frustration, Plastic Green Head, Distortion Field

42
0 5
Impellitteri is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LivinYourFantasy added Heavy metal, Neo-classical metal, Speed metal

43
26 94
X Japan is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Thrash metal, Progressive metal

44
34 123
Stone Sour is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Nu metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

45
12 55
Ezo is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Heavy metal

46
16 76
Doomsword is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doom metal, Viking metal, Power metal

47
15 82
Angra is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Progressive metal, Power metal, Heavy metal

48
10 86
Gorky Park is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Progressive rock

49
7 72
Cauldron is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Thrash metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

50
9 88
Stage Dolls is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal