Bands/Musicians The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists  

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7.3k votes 1k voters 43k views 120 items

Similarly to avant-garde rock and avant-garde rock bands, experimental rock takes rock music and takes it to places where many mainstream bands are afraid to go. Experimental rock bands are among the most interesting bands with extremely rabid, loyal fanbases. Usually, experimental rock bands will tinker with things like song structure, and showcases a different side of a rock band. Technical prowess is crucial for experimental rock bands to challenge the status quo. Beginning in the 1960s, experimental rock used elements from free jazz, classical music and even psychedelic rock to create a sound people had never heard before. Experimental rock has also called post-rock.

So, who are considered experimental rock bands? You can't think of experimental rock without bringing up Frank Zappa, Brian Eno and even Neil Young. These guys took traditional rock music and decide to create their own subtexture to their sound. How else can you accurately explain what Zappa and the Mothers of Invention did? They took traditional music and made it their own, hence the experimental rock label. Elements of Krautrock, ambient music and underground music were embraced by experimental rock bands.

This list of experimental rock bands should be a guide to the genre. Experimental rock This list answers the questions "who are the best experimental rock bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest experimental rock musician ever?"(120 items)
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list ordered by

1
250 84
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
King Crimson are a progressive rock band. Formed in London in 1968, the band are widely recognised as a foundational progressive rock group. The band have incorporated diverse influences and ...more

2
97 31
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Kassie Lanzarotta added
Alice Cooper is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and occasional actor whose career spans five decades. With a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, boa ...more

3
115 50
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
RayFracalossy added
Talking Heads were an American rock band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until 1991. The band comprised David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison. Other musicians ...more

4
170 94
The Velvet Underground is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
The Velvet Underground was an American rock band, active between 1964 and 1973, formed in New York City by Lou Reed and John Cale. Although they had little commercial success at the time, the ...more

5
228 142
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive music. Distinguished by their use of philosophical lyrics, sonic ...more

6
116 61
The Mothers of Invention is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
The Mothers of Invention were an American rock band from California that served as the backing musicians for Frank Zappa. Their work is marked by the use of sonic experimentation, innovative ...more

7
112 59
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Sonic Youth was an American rock band from New York City, formed in 1981. Their most recent lineup consisted of Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley and Mark Ibold. In their ...more

8
164 102
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Frank Vincent Zappa was an American musician, bandleader, songwriter, composer, recording engineer, record producer, and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed ...more

9
229 161
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Phil Selway and Ed O'Brien. Radiohead released ...more

10
21 2
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Kassie Lanzarotta added
David Bowie is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, and actor. He is also a painter and collector of fine art. Bowie has been a major figure in the ...more

11
9 0
Pixies is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Kassie Lanzarotta added
The Pixies are an American rock band formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1986. The group currently consists of founders Black Francis, Joey Santiago, and David Lovering. Co-founder Kim Deal left ...more

12
60 36
Kraftwerk is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
TCUhimself added
Kraftwerk are a German electronic music band formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1970 in Düsseldorf, and fronted by them until Schneider's departure in 2008. The signature ...more

13
72 48
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett was an English musician, composer, singer, songwriter, and painter. Best known as a founder member of the band Pink Floyd, Barrett was the lead vocalist, ...more

14
23 4
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Kassie Lanzarotta added
The Beatles were an English rock band that formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the greatest and ...more

15
74 51
Brian Eno is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, RDI, professionally known as Brian Eno or simply Eno, is an English musician, composer, record producer, singer, and visual artist, known ...more

16
63 43
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. After serving as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground, his solo career ...more

17
42 26
Mr. Bungle is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
JackSalvucci added
Mr. Bungle was an American experimental band from Eureka, California. The band was formed in 1985 while the members were still in high school, and was named after a 1950s children's educational ...more

18
51 35
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
AdamBell added
An interesting mix of metal, psychedelia, hard rock, punk, and eastern music that became iconic of one of the big four of the Seattle scene. Soundgarden is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984 by singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Matt Cameron ...more

19
58 42
CAN is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
carl-taylor added
Can was a German experimental rock band formed in Cologne, West Germany, in 1968. Later labeled as one of the first krautrock groups, they transcended mainstream influences and incorporated ...more

20
47 32
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
George Harrison, MBE was an English musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. ...more

21
41 27
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
RayFracalossy added
The Residents are an American art collective best known for avant-garde music and multimedia works. Since their first official release, Meet The Residents, the group has released over sixty ...more

22
62 50
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Neil Young is a singer-songwriter, Musician,film score composer, film producer, film director, actor and screenwriter.

23
41 29
Robert Fripp is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
passionsears added
Robert Fripp is an English guitarist, composer and record producer. As a guitarist for the progressive rock band King Crimson, Fripp has been the only member to have played in all of King ...more

24
23 11
Tangerine Dream is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Kassie Lanzarotta added
Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music group founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The band underwent many personnel changes over the years, with Froese being the only continuous member. ...more

25
20 8
Neu! is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
shacharhbr added
Neu! was a German krautrock band formed by Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother after their split from Kraftwerk in the early 1970s. Though Neu! had minimal commercial success during its existence, ...more