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Top 10 Trio Bands in Rock

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Richard Bush. When it comes music, is it true that two is company, but three is a crowd? Not necessarily. For this list, we’ve chosen groups that were most famously known as a three-piece throughout their defining years on the rock scene. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 band trios in rock. Special thanks to our users jacksonstewart, Jeremy Kingsley, Maverick2571 and CaptinSwagMcFab for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Richard Bush.

Two is company, three is a crowd? Not necessarily. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 band trios in rock.

For this list, we’ve chosen groups that were most famously known as a three-piece throughout their defining years on the rock scene.

#10: Motörhead

Although his lyrics are a little inaudible at times, there’s no denying Ian Fraser Kilmister was born to rock. What really makes Motörhead great is the way they can briefly pause in a song to spit out lyrics and then kick straight back into it with a combination of riffing, heavy bass and drum loops. Why have just three in the band? ‘Cause that is all they need.

#9: Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Looking for some atmospheric prog rock with a hint of jazz-fusion and symphonic elements? Then, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, with their practically unparalleled musical style, are your guys. Along with their use of drums, bass and guitar, the supergroup added keyboards and percussion to create a sound full of interludes and instrumental delights. While Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer are known for making their instruments the stars of their tracks, they’ve also got quite the knack for including quotable lyrics from time to time.

#8: ZZ Top

This bearded trio is as famous for its country and blues rock riffs as it is for the members’ funky attire, red Eliminator coupe and admiration for the “female form.” With expert instrumental ability on all platforms, ZZ Top bounce off one another and throw snappy chord progressions and riffs all over the place. In “Gimme All Your Lovin’” and “Sharp Dressed Man,” we also hear how effective the seductive vocals of Billy Gibbons can really be.

#7: Green Day

This band’s aura is perfectly encapsulated in their music videos: they’re loud, rebellious and animated. By incorporating a classic three-chord formula, Green Day ensured their punk songs had a familiar and catchy feel that just makes you wanna sing along. And by expanding their sound to include elements of pop and alt rock, the threesome is still going strong today.

#6: Muse

On your first listen, you’d probably bet Muse’s complex and layered sound would have to be produced by at least five band members. But thanks to Matthew Bellamy’s catchy riffs, Christopher Wolstenholme’s bass and keyboard work and Dominic Howard’s unique percussion interludes, Muse proves they can deliver a totally surreal feel with only 3 talented musicians. In addition to their mix of alt rock, new prog, and symphonic rock, Muse has also showcased incredible storytelling ability.

#5: Cream

With the ability to jump from one electrifying extreme to another, Cream played a massive part in the development of riff-based blues rock songs. Made up of guitarist extraordinaire Eric Clapton, bassist/singer Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker, the power trio’s badass sound could almost numb you into euphoria. With masterfully executed tracks like “Sunshine of Your Love,” Cream gave us some of the most essential classic rock mantras of all time.

#4: Nirvana

This band brought grunge and garage music into the limelight. With the eclectic Kurt Cobain on vocals and lead guitar, we witnessed an expressive, struggling and sometimes-disturbed mind turn his creativity into musical gold. Throw in Dave Grohl’s catchy drum patterns and Krist Novoselic’s no-nonsense bass riffs, and you get pure musical Nirvana. The commercial success of their second album “Nevermind” didn’t only make them one of the hottest bands of the ‘90s but in alternative rock too.

#3: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Does this legendary rock band really need an introduction? Fronted by the late Jimi Hendrix, the trio gave us some of the most influential tracks ever. Case in point: “Purple Haze” and its cocktail of psychedelic, acid rock and heavy metal. Although the ensemble is brilliant as a whole, it’s Jimi's skills and outrageous antics on the guitar that really made them stand out.

#2: The Police

With their fusion of rock, new wave, post-punk and reggae rock, The Police crafted an intoxicating sound that some would call hypnotic. Although many of their songs were simply structured, it’s this very framework that made each of them so recognizable and unforgettable. Meanwhile, Sting’s soulful voice added to the band’s mellow feel and helped them sell over 75 million records around the world.

Honorable Mentions

- Primus
- Sublime
- King’s X
- Blink-182
- Them Crooked Vultures

#1: Rush

Prog rock, hard rock or heavy metal? It’s not easy to categorize Rush, but that doesn’t really matter. With Geddy Lee’s unique vocals and bass playing, this Canadian rock band is instantly recognizable. And by throwing space-age riffs into songs like “Tom Sawyer,” Rush showed they were well ahead of their time. Add Alex Lifeson’s guitar and the thick beat layering of Neil Peart’s drums, and you’ve got one of music’s most technically proficient bands and the ultimate power trio.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite Rock trio? For more entertaining Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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