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The Best Classic Metal Bands

Updated April 14, 2020 26.3k votes 2.2k voters 34.9k views100 items

List RulesOnly 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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    Iron Maiden is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Judas Priest is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Dio is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Ozzy Osbourne is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Kiss is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Saxon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    W.A.S.P. is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    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.

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    Megadeth is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Mötley Crüe is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands

    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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    Accept is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Metallica is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Running Wild is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Krokus is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Pantera is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Metal Church is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Impellitteri is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Savatage is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Riot is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Blind Guardian is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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    Venom is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Metal Bands
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