100 Best American Rock Bands of All Time

When it comes to American rock bands, there are few that have made as big of an impact as the ones on this list.

While new bands come and go, these 100 groups mentioned below have stood the test of time, delivering classic tunes that will never grow old. 

So, if you are a true rock fan then go nowhere, because this list of the 100 best American rock bands of all time is sure to get you amped up.

Top Best American Rock Bands of All Time

Listing out the top American rock bands of all time is no easy task. With so many great groups out there, it is tough to narrow things down to just 10. So, this list is based on nothing but the highest album sales, chart performance, popularity, and awards received.

  1. Aerosmith
  2. Bon Jovi
  3. The Doors
  4. The Beach Boys
  5. Kiss
  6. Mötley Crüe
  7. Van Halen
  8. Guns N’ Roses
  9. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  10. ZZ Top

Honorable Mentions

  • Eagles
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Ramones

Native American Rock Bands

Native American rock bands blend traditional Native American music with modern rock styles, creating a unique and powerful sound.

One of the most popular Native American rock bands is Redbone, which was formed in the 1970s. Redbone’s music is a mix of Native American, funk, and rock, and their lyrics often address issues of Native American rights and identity.

Another popular Native American rock band is XIT, which was formed in the 1990s. XIT’s music is a mix of Native American, country, and rock, and they are known for their high-energy live performances.

Native American rock bands are making a significant contribution to the American music scene, and their popularity is sure to continue to grow.

  • Redbone
  • Xit
  • Testament
  • Blackfoot
  • Blackfire
  • Indigenous
  • Road Engine Dreams
  • Breach Of Trust
  • Smooth Reign
  • Coupstick

American Garage Rock Bands

American garage rock bands are typically defined by their raw, unpolished sound and their DIY approach to music-making.

Influenced by the British Invasion bands of the 1960s, garage rock bands embraced a stripped-down aesthetic, often recording their songs in makeshift home studios.

This rough-and-tumble approach suited the young, rebellious spirit of American teenagers in the 1960s, and garage rock soon became the soundtrack of a generation.

From The Stooges to The Velvet Underground, American garage rock bands left an indelible mark on popular music. And though they may not have achieved commercial success in their time, these pioneering bands laid the groundwork for future generations of rockers.

  • The White Stripes
  • The Sonics
  • The Strokes
  • The Seeds
  • Count Five
  • The Black Keys
  • Paul Revere and the Raiders
  • MC5
  • The Music Machine
  • The Troggs

American Rock Bands of the 70s

The 1970s was a golden era for American rock bands. This decade saw the rise of many legendary groups, including Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, and Van Halen.

These bands combined blues, country, and rock to create a new sound that was distinctly American. And their popularity was not limited to the United States—many of these bands achieved international success, selling millions of records around the world.

While the 1970s was a great time for American rock bands, it was also a decade marked by tragedy. One of the most famous events in rock history is the 1977 plane crash that killed three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. This tragic event put an end to one of the most successful American rock bands of all time.

Despite this, the 1970s remains a fondly remembered decade for many rock fans, and the bands of this era continue to influence musicians today.

  • Aerosmith
  • Eagles
  • The Cars
  • The Allman Brothers Band
  • The Doobie Brothers
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Journey
  • Boston
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Read MoreRock Bands of 70s

American Rock Bands of the 80s

The 1980s was a decade of change for American rock bands. This was the era of MTV, and music videos became an important part of promoting a band’s image.

Bands like Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, and Metallica became global superstars, thanks in part to their music videos being played on MTV.

These bands defined an era of music and culture that is still revered by many today. While they may have been considered rebels in their time, these bands helped to shape the sound of rock music for generations to come. American rock bands of the 80s will always be remembered as true pioneers of their craft.

  • Toto
  • Guns N’ Roses
  • R.E.M.
  • Blondie
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Huey Lewis and the News
  • Devo
  • The Pretenders
  • Twisted Sister
  • Talking Heads

African American Rock Bands

African American rock bands have been making waves since the genre’s inception.

One of the earliest and most influential African American rock bands was Jimi Hendrix’s The Jimi Hendrix Experience. With their psychedelic sound and Hendrix’s virtuosic guitar playing, The Jimi Hendrix Experience changed the face of rock ‘n’ roll forever.

Another groundbreaking African American rock band was Sly and the Family Stone. With their fusion of R&B, soul, and funk, Sly and the Family Stone created a new musical style that would come to be known as “funk.”

In the 1970s, African American rock bands like Parliament-Funkadelic and Earth, Wind & Fire continued to push boundaries and innovate within the genre.

Today, African American rock bands like Living Colour and Fishbone are keeping the spirit of innovation alive, and their contribution to the genre is sure to be felt for years to come.

  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Chuck Berry
  • Funkadelic
  • Prince
  • Gary Clark Jr.
  • Betty Davis
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Howlin’ Wolf
  • Parliament
  • Stone Raiders

American Psychedelic Rock Bands

Early Psychedelic Rock Bands of America represented a wide variety of musical styles, but they all shared a common interest in exploring the mind-expanding potential of dr*gs like L*D.

Groups like The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane were at the forefront of the American psychedelic rock scene in the 1960s.

Their trippy soundscapes and exploratory lyrics took listeners on a journey to another realm, and their live shows were often enhanced by the use of light shows and other visual effects.

The American psychedelic rock scene reached its peak in the late 1960s, with the formation of The Doors. With their dark and mysterious image, The Doors became one of the most iconic American rock bands of all time.

Though the psychedelic era came to an end in the early 1970s, many of these bands continued to enjoy success throughout the decade. And their influence can still be heard in the music of today.

  • The Velvet Underground
  • The Byrds
  • The Doors
  • The Beatles
  • The Flaming Lips
  • The Mamas and the Papas
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • The Monkees
  • Sly and the Family Stone
  • Steve Miller Band

American Rock Bands of 2010s

American rock bands of the 2010s have been influenced by a variety of musical styles and trends. In the early part of the decade, many groups drew inspiration from classic rock bands of the 1970s, while others developed a more punk-influenced sound.

In the latter half of the decade, indie rock began to gain in popularity, with several American bands achieving mainstream success. Among the most successful American rock bands of the 2010s are Shinedown, Imagine Dragons, and The Black Keys.

These groups have all helped to shape the sound of American rock music in the past decade and will likely continue to be influential in the years to come.

  • Foo Fighters
  • Fall Out Boy
  • Tool
  • Maroon 5
  • Queens of the Stone Age
  • Linkin Park
  • Against Me!
  • Deerhunter
  • Cage The Elephant
  • Vampire Weekend

American Classic Rock Bands

American classic rock bands are some of the most influential and significant musical acts of all time.

From the Beatles to the Beach Boys, these groups have shaped the sound and style of popular music for generations. Their music has stood the test of time and remains as fresh and relevant as ever. 

Even today, new bands are forming that cite these classic American rock bands as a major influence. Here are just a few of the most important and influential American classic rock bands:

Eagles
The Beach Boys
Pearl Jam
Lynyrd Skynyrd
The Allman Brothers Band
Cheap Trick
Steely Dan
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Fleetwood Mac
R.E.M.

Mexican American Rock Bands

Mexican Americans have been making their mark on the rock music scene for decades. One of the earliest and most influential Mexican American rock bands was Santana, formed in the late 1960s. Santana’s blend of Latin-infused rock, blues, and jazz quickly gained a following, and the band went on to have massive success with hits like “Evil Ways” and “Black Magic Woman.”

In the 1970s, another Mexican American rock band, Los Lobos, emerged. With their mix of traditional Mexican music and rock ‘n’ roll, Los Lobos created a unique sound that has influenced many other artists.

In recent years, Mexican American rock bands like Ozomatli and Los Lonely Boys have continued to break new ground, making music that is both culturally relevant and immensely popular.

That said, there are many other great Mexican American rock bands out there (mentioned below), and this is just a small sampling of the talent that exists in this vibrant community.

  • Santana
  • ? and the Mysterians
  • Aterciopelados
  • Cannibal & the Headhunters
  • Tito & Tarantula
  • Los Lonely Boys
  • Malo
  • The Iguanas
  • Mr. Loco
  • VKTMS

American Rock Bands of the 60s

There’s no denying that the 60s were a golden era for rock music. In a time of social and political upheaval, rock bands provided a much-needed outlet for youth to express themselves.

From The Beatles to The Byrds, American rock bands of the 6os dominated the charts and became household names. But it wasn’t just the music that made these bands so special.

They also personified the rebellious spirit of the 60s, inspiring young people across America to challenge authority and stand up for what they believe in.

In many ways, these bands shaped a generation and left a lasting legacy on popular culture. Although 60s rock bands may be gone, their music and message continue to resonate with people all over the world.

That said here are some of the best American rock bands of the 60s.

  • The Kinks
  • Simon and Garfunkel
  • Paul Revere and the Raiders
  • The Yardbirds
  • Buffalo Springfield
  • The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • Steppenwolf
  • The Rascals
  • MC5
  • Blue Cheer

American Glam Rock Bands

America has produced some of the most iconic glam rock bands of all time. From the early days of acts like Alice Cooper and Kiss to the more recent successful groups like Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue, glam rock has always been a popular genre in the States.

Glam rock is known for its outrageous fashion and makeup, as well as its heavy use of pyrotechnics and special effects. It’s a genre that is all about putting on a show and giving the audience a spectacle to remember.

While some American glam rock bands have toned down the theatrics in recent years, others have continued to embrace the over-the-top style that made them famous. No matter what their approach, these bands always put on a great show and always deliver the goods when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll.

  • New York Dolls
  • Kiss
  • Sparks
  • Bon Jovi
  • Twisted Sister
  • poison band
  • Quiet Riot
  • Aerosmith
  • Slaughter
  • Ratt

American Prog Rock Bands

When it comes to American prog-rock bands, there are four that stand above the rest: Kansas, Yes, Dream Theater, and Rush.

All four of these bands have pushed the boundaries of what is possible in rock music, and each has a unique sound that is essential for any fan of progressive rock.

Kansas is known for their sweeping anthemic ballads, while Yes is renowned for their complex musicianship and intricate compositions. Dream Theater is the reigning king of technical proficiency, and Rush continues to prove that they are one of the most innovative and creative bands in the world.

While all four of these bands are highly respected, Rush is arguably the most popular, selling over 40 million albums worldwide and having a dedicated following that spans generations.

Here are some more American Prog Rock bands that we think you should check out.

  • Dream Theater
  • Kansas
  • The Mars Volta
  • Tool
  • Transatlantic
  • Spock’s Beard
  • Queensrÿche
  • Happy the Man

American Female Fronted Rock Bands

The women of rock ‘n’ roll have always been a force to be reckoned with. From the early days of pioneers like The Pretenders and Blondie to the more recent successes of The Cranberries and Paramore, female-fronted bands have always made their mark on the music industry.

These bands are proving that women can rock just as hard as any man, and they’re inspiring a new generation of female musicians.

As more and more American female rock bands achieve success, it’s clear that this is a trend that is here to stay. So if you’re looking for some great new music, be sure to check out some of these amazing American female rock bands. You won’t be disappointed.

  • The Pretenders
  • Paramore
  • Evanescence
  • Blondie
  • Halestorm
  • Heart
  • Sleater-Kinney
  • No Doubt
  • Garbage
  • The Pretty Reckless

American Blues Rock Bands

Drawing from the rich traditions of blues and rock ‘n’ roll, American blues-rock bands have created a sound that is uniquely their own.

While the blues has always been a popular genre, it wasn’t until the 60s that artists began to experiment with fusing it with rock ‘n’ roll. The result was a new and exciting sound that quickly gained popularity with fans of both genres.

Since then, American blues-rock bands have continued to evolve and innovate, creating a sound that is truly original. From the rootsy sounds of The Allman Brothers Band to the hard-hitting riffs of Stevie Ray Vaughan, these bands have left a lasting impression on the world of rock music.

If you’re a fan of the blues, or if you’re just looking for something new to rock out to, be sure to check out some of these American blues-rock bands.

  • The Allman Brothers Band
  • ZZ Top
  • Canned Heat
  • The Black Keys
  • Joe Bonamassa
  • Eric Gales
  • Gov’t Mule
  • The White Stripes
  • Rival Sons
  • Booker T. & the M.G.’s

Conclusion

So, there its is folks! The 100 best American rock bands of all time. We hope you enjoyed reading this list as much as we enjoyed putting it together.