Bands/Musicians The Best Classic Metal Bands  

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13.4k votes 1.5k voters 27.9k views 101 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. 

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list ordered by
1
595 115
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal
2
600 139
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
483 116
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
409 118
Dio is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal
5
300 133
Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Rock music
6
363 198
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock
7
216 83
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
manofoccasionalthought added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock
8
285 161
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock
9
383 301
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal
10
296 220
Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
tpengitore added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music
11
244 192
Manowar is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Power metal, Heavy metal, True metal
12
104 78
Slayer is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Burak Alanyalı added Thrash metal, Groove metal, Rock music
13
111 88
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Scott Kerr added Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music
14
169 167
Pantera is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
harry-pittman added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Groove metal
15
180 193
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal
16
111 97
Accept is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Power metal
17
97 94
Savatage is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
mohamed-said added Melodic Rock, Progressive metal, Power metal
18
57 38
Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 18 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?!

19
71 76
Aria is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Heavy metal
20
75 83
Doro is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added
21
99 126
Warlock is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal
22
31 21
W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 22 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.

23
90 129
Quiet Riot is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal
24
52 62
Krokus is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Trey Guyton added Heavy metal, Hard rock
25
124 193
Skid Row is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music