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The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists  

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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?"(119 items)
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1
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
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
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
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
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
The Mothers of Invention is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
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
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
Kraftwerk is listed (or ranked) 13 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
14
Brian Eno is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
CAN is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 18 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.
19
Mr. Bungle is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 20 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
21
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
John Winston Ono Lennon MBE was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the band the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of ...more
23
Neu! is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
Captain Beefheart & His Magic ... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Kassie Lanzarotta added
Don Van Vliet (/væn ˈvliːt/, born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and visual artist best known by the stage ...more
25
Swans is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
bigwackywilly added
Swans is an American experimental rock band originally active from 1982 to 1997, led by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michael Gira. The band was one of the few groups to emerge ...more