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Top 10 Rock Bands of All Time



Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin were an English rock band. Formed in 1968 in London, the group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, drummer John Bonham and bassist John Paul Jones. With their heavy, guitar-driven blues-rock sound, Led Zeppelin are regularly cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal and hard rock, even though the band’s individualistic style drew from many sources and transcends any one music genre. Led Zeppelin did not release songs from their albums as singles in the United Kingdom, as they preferred to develop the concept of “album-oriented rock”.

More than thirty years after disbanding following Bonham’s death in 1980, Led Zeppelin continue to be held in high regard for their artistic achievements, commercial success, and broad influence. The band have sold over 300 million albums worldwide,including 111.5 million certified units in the United States, making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists of all time, as well as the second best selling band of all time in the United States, only behind The Beatles. They have had all of their original studio albums reach the top 10 of the Billboard album chart in the US, with six reaching the number one spot. Rolling Stone magazine has described Led Zeppelin as “the heaviest band of all time”, “the biggest band of the ’70s” and “unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history.” Similarly, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame described the band as being “as influential in that decade as The Beatles were in the prior one.”

In 2007, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reunited (along with John Bonham’s son, Jason) for the Ahmet Ertegün Tribute Concert at The O2 Arena in London. The band was honoured with the “Best Live Act” prize for their one-off reunion at MOJO Awards 2008, where they were declared the “greatest rock and roll band of all time.”


The Beatles

The Beatles were an English rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1960, who are often recognized as the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed act in popular music. From 1962, the group consisted of John Lennon (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul McCartney (bass guitar, vocals), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals) and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals). Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the group later worked in many genres ranging from folk rock to psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical and other elements in innovative ways. The nature of their enormous popularity, which first emerged as the “Beatlemania” fad, transformed as their songwriting grew in sophistication. The group came to be perceived as the embodiment of progressive ideals, seeing their influence extend into the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s.

Initially with a five-piece line-up of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe (bass) and Pete Best (drums), The Beatles built their reputation in Liverpool and Hamburg clubs over a three-year period from 1960. Sutcliffe left the group in 1961, and Best was replaced by Starr the following year. Moulded into a professional outfit by music store owner Brian Epstein after he offered to act as the group’s manager, and with their musical potential enhanced by the creativity of producer George Martin, The Beatles achieved mainstream success in the United Kingdom in late 1962 with their first single, “Love Me Do”. Gaining international popularity over the course of the next year, they toured extensively until 1966, and then retreated to the recording studio until their break-up in 1970. Each then found success in an independent musical career. Lennon was murdered outside his home in New York City in 1980, and Harrison died of cancer in 2001. McCartney and Starr remain active.

During their studio years, The Beatles produced what critics consider some of their finest material including the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), widely regarded as a masterpiece. Four decades after their break-up, The Beatles’ music continues to be popular. The Beatles have had more number one albums on the UK charts, and held down the top spot longer, than any other musical act. According to the RIAA, they have sold more albums in the United States than any other artist.In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the all-time top-selling Hot 100 artists to celebrate the US singles chart’s fiftieth anniversary, with The Beatles at number one. They have been honoured with 7 Grammy Awards, and they have received 15 Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. The Beatles were collectively included in Time magazine’s compilation of the 20th century’s 100 most influential people.


Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd were an English rock band who achieved worldwide success with their psychedelic and progressive rock music. Their work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. Pink Floyd are one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful rock music groups of all time. It is estimated that they have sold over 200 million albums worldwide, including 74.5 million certified units in the United States.

The band originally consisted of university students Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Richard Wright and Syd Barrett. Founded in 1965, they first became popular playing in London’s underground music scene in the late 1960s. Under Barrett’s leadership they released two charting singles, “Arnold Layne” and “See Emily Play”, and a successful début album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967). Guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour joined Pink Floyd several months prior to Barrett’s departure from the group due to deteriorating mental health in 1968. Following the loss of their principal songwriter, Pink Floyd bassist and vocalist Roger Waters became the band’s lyricist and conceptual leader, with Gilmour assuming lead guitar and sharing lead vocals. With this lineup Pink Floyd achieved worldwide critical and commercial success with The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall.

Wright left the group in 1979, and Waters in 1985, but Gilmour and Mason (joined by Wright) continued to record and tour. Waters resorted to legal means to try to keep them from performing as Pink Floyd, but the dispute was resolved with an out-of-court settlement which allowed Gilmour and Mason to continue, and which also released Waters from his contractual obligations to the band. Two further albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell followed. Following almost two decades of acrimony, the band reunited in 2005 for a single performance, at the charity concert Live .


The Jimi Hendrix Experience

The Jimi Hendrix Experience were a psychedelic rock band that formed in London in October 1966. Comprising eponymous singer-songwriter and guitarist Jimi Hendrix, bassist and backing vocalist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, the band was active until June 1969, in which time the group released three successful studio albums. After Redding left the band, Hendrix and Mitchell stayed together through other projects. The Experience ‘reunited’ in 1970 with Billy Cox dubbed “The Cry of Love”, until Hendrix’s death in September 1970. Redding died in 2003, and Mitchell became the last original member of the band to die, in November 2008.

Widely recognised as hugely influential on the development of hard rock and heavy metal in the 1970s and beyond, The Experience were best known for the skill, style and charisma of frontman Hendrix, who has been voted the greatest guitarists ever by various music publications and writers. All three of the band’s studio albums, Are You Experienced (1967), Axis: Bold as Love (1967) and Electric Ladyland (1968), were featured in the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, at positions 15, 82 and 54. In 1992, The Jimi Hendrix Experience were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Van Halen

Van Halen is an American rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1974. They have enjoyed success since the release of their debut album Van Halen (1978). As of 2007, Van Halen has sold 80 million albums worldwide and have had the most number-one hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. During the 1980s they also had more Billboard Hot 100 hits than any other hard rock or heavy metal band. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Van Halen is the 19th best-selling band/artist of all time with sales of over 56 million albums in the U.S. alone, and is one of five rock bands that have had two albums sell more than 10 million copies in the U.S. In 1999, the RIAA certified their debut album diamond for ten million in U.S. sales.

In addition to being recognized for success, the band is known for the drama surrounding the exits of former members. The multiple exits of both lead singers David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar were surrounded in controversy and mass press coverage with various contrasting press statements between the former singers and the band. Following their 2004 concert tour the band was on a hiatus from the public until September 2006, when new bassist Wolfgang Van Halen’s place was confirmed and Roth reunion rumors began to re-surface coinciding with the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction on March 12, 2007. After years of speculation, Van Halen began a tour with Roth in late 2007 across North America and continued into 2008. An album was proposed to follow. Along with this, a live tour DVD was announced at their May 13, 2008, concert at the Izod Center that would contain recordings from several performances on that tour. Since the band concluded the reunion tour in July 2008, no official news from the band has been forthcoming. In August 2010, Warner Bros. Records issued a press release indicating that a new studio album and tour are planned for 2011.


Queen

Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass guitar), and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals). Queen’s earliest works were heavily influenced by progressive rock; in the mid-1970s, the band ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works, bringing them greater commercial success. It also became something of a trademark to incorporate more diverse and innovative styles in their music, exploring the likes of vaudeville, gospel music, electronic music and funk.

Brian May and Roger Taylor had been playing together in a band named Smile. Freddie Mercury (then known by his birth name of Farrokh, or Freddie, Bulsara) was a fan of Smile, and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques. Mercury himself joined the band shortly thereafter, changed the name of the band to ‘Queen’ and adopted his familiar stage name. John Deacon was recruited prior to recording their first album. Queen enjoyed success in the UK during the early 1970s, but it was the release of Sheer Heart Attack (1974) and A Night at the Opera (1975) that gained the band international success. The latter featured “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which stayed at number one in the UK charts for nine weeks.] In 1991 Mercury died of bronchopneumonia, a complication of AIDS, and Deacon retired in 1997. Since then May and Taylor have infrequently performed together, including a collaboration with Paul Rodgers under the name Queen + Paul Rodgers.

The band has released a total of 18 number one albums, 18 number one singles and 10 number one DVDs, and have sold over 300 million albums worldwide,making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists. They have been honoured with seven Ivor Novello awards and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.


Eagles

The Eagles are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner.

With five number one singles, six Grammies, and six number one albums, the Eagles were one of the most successful recording artists of the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and Hotel California, ranked among the 20 best-selling albums in the U.S. according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Hotel California is ranked 37th in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and the band was ranked #75 on the magazine’s 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.They also have the best selling album in the U.S. with Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975), which sold more than 29 million copies. They have sold over 120 million albums worldwide and 100 million in the U.S. alone. They are the fifth highest selling music act in U.S. history and the highest selling American band in U.S. history. No other American band sold more than the Eagles during the 1970′s.

The Eagles broke up in July 1980, but reunited in 1994 for Hell Freezes Over, a mix of live and new studio tracks.They have toured intermittently since then, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2007, Eagles released Long Road out of Eden, their first full studio album in 28 years. The album would top the album charts, release five singles on the Adult Contemporary Charts and win the band two Grammies. The next year they launched The Long Road out of Eden Tour in support of the album.


Metallica

The band was founded when James Hetfield responded to an advertisement that drummer Lars Ulrich had posted in a local newspaper. Metallica’s line-up has primarily consisted of Ulrich, rhythm guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield, and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, while having had a number of bassists (Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton, and Jason Newsted). The bassist is currently Robert Trujillo. The band’s original lead guitarist, before Hammett, was current Megadeth guitarist and lead vocalist Dave Mustaine.

Metallica’s early releases included fast tempos, instrumentals, and aggressive musicianship that placed them as one of the “big four” of the thrash metal subgenre alongside Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, during the genre’s development into a popular style. The band earned a growing fan base in the underground music community and critical acclaim, with the 1986 release Master of Puppets described as one of the most influential and “heavy” thrash metal albums. The band achieved substantial commercial success with their eponymous fifth album (also known as The Black Album), which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. With this release the band expanded its musical direction resulting in an album that appealed to a more mainstream audience.

In 2000, Metallica was among several artists who filed a lawsuit against Napster for sharing the band’s copyright-protected material for free without any band member’s consent. A settlement was reached, and Napster became a pay-to-use service. Despite reaching number one on the Billboard 200, the release of St. Anger alienated many fans with the exclusion of guitar solos and the “steel-sounding” snare drum. A film titled Some Kind of Monster documented the recording process of St. Anger and the turmoil within the band during that time.


U2

U2 are an Irish rock band formed in Dublin in 1976. The group consists of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards and vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen, Jr. (drums and percussion). U2′s early sound was indebted to post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music. Throughout the group’s musical pursuits, they have maintained a recognisable sound built on melodic instrumentals, highlighted by The Edge’s textural guitar playing and Bono’s expressive vocals. Their lyrics, often embellished with spiritual imagery, focus on personal themes and sociopolitical concerns.

The band formed at Mount Temple Comprehensive School when the members were teenagers with limited musical proficiency. Within four years, they signed to Island Records and released their debut album Boy. By the mid-1980s, they became a top international act. They were more successful as live performers than they were at selling records, until their 1987 breakthrough album The Joshua Tree, which, according to Rolling Stone, elevated the band’s stature “from heroes to superstars”. Reacting to a sense of musical stagnation and a late-1980s critical backlash against their earnest image and musical direction, the group reinvented themselves with their 1991 hit album Achtung Baby and the accompanying Zoo TV Tour. U2 integrated dance, industrial, and alternative rock influences into their sound and performances, and embraced a more ironic and self-deprecating image. Similar experimentation continued for the remainder of the 1990s with reduced levels of success. U2 regained critical and commercial favour after their 2000 record All That You Can’t Leave Behind. On it and the group’s subsequent releases, they pursued a more conventional sound while maintaining influences from their earlier musical explorations.

U2 have released 12 studio albums and are among the best-selling groups in popular music. They have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band, and they have sold more than 150 million records. In 2005, the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone ranked U2 at number 22 in its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. Throughout their career, as a band and as individuals, they have campaigned for human rights and philanthropic causes, including Amnesty International, the ONE/DATA campaigns, Product Red, and The Edge’s Music Rising.


Bob Marley & The Wailers

Bob Marley & The Wailers was a reggae band created by Bob Marley in 1974, after Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer left the precursor band, The Wailers. The brothers Carlton (drums) and Aston “Family Man” Barrett (bass) – who had joined The Wailers four years earlier – chose to stay with Marley.

The Barret brothers originally played with the Wailers while still in Lee “Scratch” Perry’s studio band The Upsetters

Bob Marley & The Wailers consisted of Bob Marley himself as guitarist, songwriter and lead singer, the Wailers Band as the backing band, and the I Threes as backup vocalists. The Wailers Band included the brothers Carlton and Aston “Family Man” Barrett on drums and bass respectively, Junior Marvin and Al Anderson on lead guitar, Tyrone Downie and Earl “Wya” Lindo on keyboards, and Alvin “Seeco” Patterson on percussion. The I Threes, consisted of Bob Marley’s wife Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths.

Sometimes, usually for marketing purposes, recordings are indiscriminately attributed to either “Bob Marley”, “The Wailers”, or “Bob Marley & the Wailers


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