Music

The Best Classic Metal Bands 

Reference
Updated April 14, 2020 22.2k votes 2.1k voters 33.5k 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. 

list ordered by
1
Iron Maiden is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
2
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
3
Judas Priest is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
4
Dio is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
5
Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
6
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
7
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
8
Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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Metallica is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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Accept is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
13
Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 13 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?!

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Pantera is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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Kiss is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LivinYourFantasy added

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.

More W.A.S.P. 

#436 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #36 of 454 The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands Of All Time #28 of 180 The Best Hair Metal Bands Of All Time

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Saxon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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Savatage is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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Krokus is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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Blind Guardian is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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Overkill is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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Slayer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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Dokken is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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Manowar is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands