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Top 10 Classic Rock Bands

VO: Rebecca Brayton
After The Beatles set the blueprint for what rock and roll could be, many bands emerged and expanded what is now considered the Classic Rock sound. Evolving from what's known as the AOR, or album-oriented rock radio format, classic rock usually encompasses music from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, though this definition is fairly loose. For this list, we’ve chosen artists we feel represent that sound best, and that have left a lasting influence on music and pop culture. In this WatchMojo.com video, we count down our picks for the top 10 classic rock bands.
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They made timeless rock and roll. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 classic rock bands.

After The Beatles set the blueprint for what rock and roll could be, many bands emerged and expanded what is now considered the Classic Rock sound. For this list, we’ve chosen artists we feel represent that sound best, and that have left a lasting influence on music and pop culture.

#10 – Creedence Clearwater Revival

They may not have originated in the American south, but their music’s Southern rock-inspired imagery will definitely make you think they did. With main man John Fogerty, CCR remained faithful to rock ‘n’ roll’s origins by integrating R&B and country with rockabilly, swamp pop and roots rock. Few classic rock radio stations would be complete without their hard-hitting and memorable tunes.

#9 – Lynyrd Skynyrd


With their mix of blues, hard rock and country, these Southern rockers defined the genre. But it was their remarkable guitar solos and defiant rock ‘n’ roll swagger that made them fixtures of the scene. While climbing the charts with hits like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird,” they kept crowds pumped up with their live jams. Despite three tragic deaths, Lynyrd Skynyrd kept on truckin’ as the frontrunners of redneck rock.

#8 – Eagles


The Eagles turned their early top forty success into a series of chart-topping records, starting with One of These Nights. This set the country and folk-influenced rockers on pace to live “life in the fast lane,” and become one of the ‘70s’ most commercially successful bands. While the Eagles never forgot their rock ‘n’ roll roots, radio stations will never let us forget one of the most popular contributions to album-oriented rock ever.

#7 – Fleetwood Mac


Evolving from a blues-rock sound to a more polished pop rock vibe, Fleetwood Mac achieved the pinnacle of its success with Rumours. The chart-topping and Grammy-winning album was praised for its acoustic and electric mix and the vocal interaction between the group’s three singers. With its poignant and emotional soft rock and massive commercial success, it also ensured the British-American rockers had long-lasting careers.

#6 – The Doors


Led by the magnetic and impulsive Jim Morrison, The Doors lit the fire of controversy wherever they went. Even without a bass player, the band fashioned a provocative and cutting-edge sound based on Morrison’s deep voice and Ray Manzarek’s keyboard playing. By fusing blues, pop, rock and Eastern influences, these “riders on the storm” also became some of the period’s most popular psychedelic rockers.

#5 – The Who


These Brits cemented their reputation as a destructive but entertaining live act thanks to Pete Townshend’s loud and fast guitars, Keith Moon’s wild and sensational drumming and Roger Daltrey’s adaptable vocals. After setting the blueprint for the rock opera with Tommy, they took over the airwaves and found a spot within the Billboard top 10 with every subsequent album because of their rebellious yet ambitious rock ‘n’ roll.

#4 – Queen


By incorporating opera, heavy metal, progressive and hard rock, Queen created some of the greatest classic rock melodies ever. With Freddie Mercury’s theatrical vocals and lively stage presence and Brian May’s virtuoso guitar abilities, the Brits scored big overseas with “Bohemian Rhapsody.” But it was the catchy and anthemic “We Will Rock You and “We Are the Champions” that made them radio favorites and helped them sell out stadiums worldwide.

#3 – The Rolling Stones


For an explosive combination of rock and roll, put Keith Richards’ unforgettable guitar beside Mick Jagger’s expressive vocals and uninhibited showmanship. After the incomparable riffs of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” The Stones took their place as the “world’s greatest rock and roll band” with the bluesy hard rock of Sticky Fingers, the raw Exile on Main St. and the energetic and hook-laden Some Girls. They’re still going strong today.

#2 – Pink Floyd


With their introspective lyrics, studio experimentation, and effects-heavy, extravagant shows, Pink Floyd made sure listeners weren’t “comfortably numb” to their music. These progressive and psychedelic rockers used their many talents, especially David Gilmour’s evocative, blues-inspired guitar, to attract millions of fans and win multiple Grammys. Concept albums like The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall also revealed the band’s unique artistic vision, and solidified their popularity and success.

#1 – Led Zeppelin


What would classic rock radio be without Jimmy Page’s guitar solos and Robert Plant’s bluesy vocals on “Stairway to Heaven?” Add John Bonham’s thunderous bass drum and John Paul Jones’ timeless bass lines and you’ve got an innovative and unmatched sound that blends blues, hard rock and folk. With over 200 million albums sold and multiple accolades, these heavy metal forerunners have an influence that reaches far and wide.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite classic rock band? Be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com for more entertaining top 10s.
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