The Best Symphonic Rock Bands

Over 4.1K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Symphonic Rock Bands

Symphonic rock is often times confused with progressive rock, and with good reason. Many of the best symphonic rock overlap with prog. rock, but what sets them apart is that unlike other progressive rock bands, symphonic rockers use traditional progressive and hard rock elements - like classical music infused in their sound, for example, as opposed to the psychedelic and experimental nature of prog. rock. Sometimes, the best symphonic rock bands use orchestras or synthesizers that give their music the feel of having an orchestral and symphony-esque nature. Either way, the genre that shot to popularity in the 1970s remains a strong influence today.

So, what are the best symphonic rock bands? Any list of symphonic rock bands has to include the names Pink Floyd, the Moody Blues, Yes, Genesis, Electric Light Orchestra and Jethro Tull. These groups are some of the best symphonic rock bands of all time and have played countless sold out concerts worldwide. In fact, some of these symphonic rockers are even considered the greatest rock bands of all time. Thus, as a genre, it's no surprise that symphonic rock is well respected and well represented in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.

That said, it's up to you to decide what the best symphonic rock bands are. This list answers the questions "who are the best symphonic rockers of all time?" and "who is the greatest symphonic rock musician ever?"

If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's songs and albums instead of just voting for the most popular symphonic rock bands that you might've heard playing on the radio somewhere.

Most divisive: Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Ranked by
  • Yes
    914 votes

    Renowned for their intricate musicianship and complex harmonies, this English band pioneered the progressive rock movement of the 1970s with their innovative fusion of classical music elements and rock instrumentation. With over 50 years in the business, they've amassed a dedicated fan base and have influenced countless bands that followed in their footsteps. Their staggering array of studio albums showcases not only their longevity but also their ability to evolve while maintaining a distinctive sound that has made them one of the most important acts in the history of symphonic rock.

  • Genesis
    876 votes

    This iconic British band's early work is often considered some of the finest examples of symphonic rock, blending ambitious compositions with lush arrangements and intricate musicianship. They achieved commercial success in both the UK and US throughout their career, garnering numerous awards and accolades along the way, including induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Despite lineup changes over the years, they've maintained a remarkably consistent output that has solidified their status as key contributors to the genre.

  • Pink Floyd
    848 votes

    Widely regarded as one of the most influential bands in rock history, this English group's groundbreaking blend of psychedelic rock and symphonic elements helped pave the way for countless artists who would follow in their footsteps. Their concept albums are celebrated for their thematic cohesion and innovative use of orchestral arrangements, cementing them as pioneers within the genre. With worldwide album sales exceeding 250 million copies, they're not only one of the best-selling music acts of all time but also undisputed titans within symphonic rock.

  • As one of the first supergroups to emerge from the progressive rock scene, ELP quickly made a name for themselves with their virtuosic musicianship and ambitious compositions that pushed the boundaries of what was possible within the genre. Their incorporation of classical themes and symphonic arrangements set them apart from their contemporaries, solidifying their status as pioneers in symphonic rock. With numerous gold and platinum albums under their belt, they've left an indelible mark on music history.

  • Known for their grandiose soundscapes and lush string arrangements, ELO quickly became one of the biggest names in symphonic rock during the 1970s. The band's masterful fusion of classical influences with contemporary pop sensibilities has resulted in numerous chart-topping hits and multi-platinum albums, earning them a well-deserved place in the annals of rock history. Their enduring popularity is evident in their recent resurgence, with new generations of fans discovering their timeless music.

  • The Moody Blues

    This English band's unique fusion of rock and roll with classical music elements helped define the burgeoning progressive rock movement in the late 1960s. Throughout their career, they've released numerous groundbreaking albums that showcase their innovative approach to songwriting and arranging, garnering critical acclaim along the way. As one of the earliest bands to embrace symphonic rock, they've paved the way for countless artists who would follow in their footsteps.