alternative music The Best College Rock Bands/Artists  

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4.1k votes 391 voters 39.3k views 93 items Embed

Popular in the 1980s and 1990s, college rock bands were some of the first alternative rock bands before the genre shot to prominence. College radio programmers who eschewed the mainstream rock of that time often leaned on these quirky bands that didn't quite squeeze into the mainstream. College rock bands primarily consisted of bands whose music had traces of post-punk rock, new wave with traces of catchy indie pop. Yet, they were underground rock bands. Thus, due to their popularity on campuses, these were called college rock bands. Over the years, college rock has expanded and the genre includes all bands who are played on college radio. But, many college rock bands graduated from college rock and became more mainstream. For that, they can thank their friends and champions who support them from those lean early years when commercial radio wouldn't play their music.

So, what are the best college rock bands? No list of college rock would be complete without the inclusion of R.E.M., the Pixies, Sonic Youth and the Replacements. All of these great rock bands owe a slice of their success to college radio. Without being labeled as college rock, it's unlikely that these alternative bands would have been able to build a fanbase on their own. Thus the best college rock bands are well known among music fans. Even today, with satellite radio, college rock is more easily accessible than it was when it first became an important, tastemaking genre.

Ultimately it's up to you to decide what are good college rock bands. By nature, college rock is exactly what it is described as. But, if you notice a college rock band that isn't on here, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best college rock bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest college rock musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular college rock bands that you might've heard of. (93 items)

1
139 45
R.E.M. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
R.E.M. Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

2
121 47
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Pixies Experimental rock, Grunge, Noise

3
65 24
The Cure is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Cure New Wave, Gothic rock, Rock music

4
84 40
The Replacements is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Replacements Jangle pop, Pop punk, Heartland rock

5
82 42
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Sonic Youth Noise rock, Rock music, No wave

6
75 38
The Smiths is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
muzziac added The Smiths Jangle pop, Indie pop, Alternative rock

7
43 19
The Jesus and Mary Chain is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
JacobHuneycutt added The Jesus and Mary Chain Indie pop, Shoegazing, Alternative rock

8
57 36
Hüsker Dü is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
muzziac added Hüsker Dü Alternative rock, Punk rock, Post-hardcore

9
54 34
Dinosaur Jr is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
muzziac added Dinosaur Jr Noise rock, Grunge, Alternative rock

10
43 29
Echo & the Bunnymen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
muzziac added Echo & the Bunnymen New Wave, Neo-psychedelia, Alternative rock

11
46 32
Guided by Voices is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
tommythettones added Guided by Voices Indie pop, Alternative rock, Indie rock

12
38 25
The Lemonheads is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Lemonheads Alternative rock, Punk rock, Indie rock

13
59 46
Violent Femmes is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Violent Femmes Alternative rock, Punk rock, Folk punk

14
31 20
XTC is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
XTC Indie pop, New Wave, Psychedelic pop

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15
54 44
They Might Be Giants is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
They Might Be Giants Experimental rock, Children's music, Alternative rock

16
32 22
Camper Van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Camper Van Beethoven Pop music, Ska, World music

17
43 34
The Smithereens is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Smithereens Jangle pop, Rock music, Pop rock

18
25 19
Minutemen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Minutemen Dance-punk, Experimental music, Alternative rock

19
25 20
Midnight Oil is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Midnight Oil Rock music, Alternative rock, Progressive rock

20
33 29
Superchunk is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
slackMFr added Superchunk Pop punk, Emo, Alternative rock

21
29 25
Love and Rockets is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Love and Rockets Gothic rock, Alternative rock, College rock

The Best Rock Vocalists

22
42 40
10,000 Maniacs is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
10,000 Maniacs Jangle pop, Rock music, Folk rock

23
35 33
Sebadoh is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
slackMFr added Sebadoh Indie rock, Lo-fi music

24
27 24
Siouxsie & the Banshees is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Siouxsie & the Banshees New Wave, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

25
25 22
Descendents is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Descendents Pop punk, Melodic hardcore, Skate punk

26
27 25
Tom Waits is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
stepbystep added Tom Waits Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

27
25 23
Hoodoo Gurus is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Hoodoo Gurus New Wave, Rock music, College rock

28
28 27
Dead Milkmen is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Dead Milkmen Pop punk, Alternative rock, Punk rock

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29
26 25
Butthole Surfers is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Butthole Surfers Noise rock, Rock music, Neo-psychedelia

30
31 31
U2 is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
stepbystep added U2 Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

31
25 24
Mazzy Star is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
tommythettones added Mazzy Star Indie, Psychedelic folk, Shoegazing

32
29 30
Yo La Tengo is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
CoryRodgers added Yo La Tengo Noise rock, Shoegazing, Experimental rock

33
24 26
Blake Babies is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
muzziac added Blake Babies Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock

34
26 29
The Connells is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Connells Jangle pop, Rock music, Power pop

35
20 22
Rilo Kiley is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
slackMFr added Rilo Kiley Indie pop, Alternative rock, Indie rock

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36
20 22
Throwing Muses is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
slackMFr added Throwing Muses Alternative rock, Post-punk

37
22 25
Ween is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Ween Rock music, Experimental rock, Neo-psychedelia

38
20 23
Concrete Blonde is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
tommythettones added Concrete Blonde Alternative rock

39
20 24
The Fall is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
muzziac added The Fall Alternative rock, Punk rock, Avant-garde

40
23 28
The Pogues is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Pogues Celtic punk, Celtic fusion, Folk rock

41
22 27
PJ Harvey is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
tommythettones added PJ Harvey Punk blues, Grunge, Electronica

42
18 22
Buffalo Tom is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
CarloMarinello added Buffalo Tom Rock music, Alternative rock

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43
19 24
Bryan Ferry is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Bryan Ferry New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

44
21 27
The Feelies is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Feelies New Wave, Rock music, College rock

45
23 30
The Mighty Lemon Drops is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Mighty Lemon Drops Jangle pop, Indie, Alternative rock

46
18 24
The Housemartins is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
The Housemartins Jangle pop, Pop music, Alternative rock

47
27 37
Cake is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
Cake Country rock, Post-grunge, Alternative rock

48
8 12
Jason & The Scorchers is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
ShawnM.Knox added Jason & The Scorchers Rock music, Country rock, Alternative country

49
6 10
The Jim Carroll Band is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
BadMel added The Jim Carroll Band college, alternative

50
14 21
Old 97's is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best College Rock Bands/Artists
slackMFr added Old 97's Country rock, Alternative country, Country