Metal The Best Classic Metal Bands  

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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
458 95
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

2
472 104
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
380 77
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
309 82
Dio is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Rock music, Power metal, Heavy metal

5
274 126
Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock

6
229 99
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
233 117
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

8
296 234
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

9
208 158
Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
tpengitore added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

10
187 145
Manowar is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Power metal, Heavy metal, True metal

11
80 30
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
manofoccasionalthought added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock

12
151 154
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

13
78 65
Accept is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

14
106 108
Pantera is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
harry-pittman added Glam metal, Thrash metal, Groove metal

15
48 25
AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Scott Kerr added Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

16
43 19
Slayer is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Burak Alanyalı added Thrash metal, Groove metal, Rock music

17
72 67
Savatage is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
mohamed-said added Melodic Rock, Progressive metal, Power metal

18
47 48
Doro is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added

19
76 98
Warlock is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

20
105 154
Skid Row is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Thrash metal, Rock music

21
65 86
Ratt is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

22
69 96
Quiet Riot is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

23
38 46
Aria is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Heavy metal

24
61 91
Dokken is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Melodic Rock, Glam metal, Rock music

25
88 146
Rob Zombie is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Horror punk, Noise rock, Nu metal

26
61 96
Overkill is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
RobertPhelps added Thrash metal, Groove metal, Heavy metal

27
63 101
Diamond Head is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Heavy metal

28
38 56
U.D.O. is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
udoudo added Power metal, Heavy metal, Speed metal

29
75 130
White Zombie is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Horror punk, Noise rock, Industrial metal

30
33 48
Krokus is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Trey Guyton added Heavy metal, Hard rock

31
29 43
Blind Guardian is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Alex Gaginsky added Thrash metal, Progressive metal, Power metal

32
10 5
Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 32 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 ...

33
5 0
W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 33 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 ...

34
9 10
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
27 52
Stryper is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MattSchwarck added Glam metal, Nu metal, Rock music

36
53 111
Disturbed is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
NicholasChabiram added Nu metal, Rock music, Metalcore

37
2 1
Nitro is listed (or ranked) 37 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.

38
40 87
LOUDNESS is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Progressive metal, Rock music

39
1 2
Hawk is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LivinYourFantasy added Glam Metal, Heavy Metal

40
0 2
Impellitteri is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
LivinYourFantasy added Heavy metal, Neo-classical metal, Speed metal

41
53 128
Godsmack is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Nu metal, Groove metal, Rock music

42
17 47
Trouble is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
strangeways added Psalm 9, The Skull, Trouble, Manic Frustration, Plastic Green Head, Distortion Field

43
26 92
X Japan is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Thrash metal, Progressive metal

44
34 121
Stone Sour is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Nu metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

45
12 53
Ezo is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
MarkLuscombe added Glam metal, Heavy metal

46
15 74
Doomsword is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Doom metal, Viking metal, Power metal

47
14 81
Angra is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Progressive metal, Power metal, Heavy metal

48
10 84
Gorky Park is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Heavy metal, Progressive rock

49
7 70
Cauldron is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Thrash metal, Heavy metal, Traditional heavy metal

50
9 86
Stage Dolls is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal