Metal The Best Classic Metal Bands  

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12.2k votes 1.4k voters 26.1k views 100 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
546 107
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

2
561 121
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
448 99
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
374 105
Dio is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal

5
279 116
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
191 64
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
manofoccasionalthought added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

7
329 186
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock

8
267 147
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

9
354 288
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

10
269 206
Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
tpengitore added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

11
237 173
Manowar is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Power metal, Heavy metal, True metal

12
172 176
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

13
153 152
Pantera is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
harry-pittman added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Groove metal

14
102 83
Accept is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

15
85 67
Slayer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Burak Alanyalı added Thrash metal, Groove metal, Rock music

16
87 76
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Scott Kerr added Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

17
91 82
Savatage is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
mohamed-said added Melodic Rock, Progressive metal, Power metal

18
75 68
Doro is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added

19
69 64
Aria is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Heavy metal

20
97 117
Warlock is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

21
38 26
Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 21 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?!

22
26 12
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
79 110
Diamond Head is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Heavy metal

24
119 183
Skid Row is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

25
84 121
Quiet Riot is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal