The Greatest Must-Listen Rock Bands of All Time

Soon to evolve into a List of The Best Rock Songs of All Time

I wanted to make a list of all the songs I want to own, so I could go out and buy them. I do, of course already own some of them. I have bought them on Audio Cassette and CD/DVDs.   I began purchasing on iTunes too, but somehow my buying there was too haphazard. Hence the list.

Incidentally, I have listened to many on this list first on a Record Player (most of you don’t remember that gadget, do you?).

I also wanted to share them with my two boys (and perhaps their friends) so that they would have a list to refer to when want to explore really great music that has stood the test of time. And who knows, listening to these might keep them away from that Heavy/Death Metal crap (Not Music in my book). Of course, they already listen to a lot of what’s on this list so I know they have good taste. But to me it’s important that I tell them what I loved – whether they end up liking it or not.

I do want to share with my friends, so they can give me suggestions and fill out the list. This is a work-in-progress (I may have forgotten some obvious ones) so feel free.

Of course the most important part of making this list is pursuing a labor of love. Looking for, and then listening to the music brought back some great memories and is an unimaginably enjoyable task. The joy of rediscovering the Moody Blues for example was a skin-tingling rush that left me with a s**t-faced grin for at least a couple of days!

The criteria I have used to select these and also to rank them are pretty tight, but at the same time very personal.   I didn’t include breakaways like George Harrison and Neil Young explicitly; I think listing their band will be enough to remind me to include their best work.

Now, the criteria. First, I decided I was going to only include those songs I had listened to – or at least remembered listening to. (The 70s and 8os are a little hazy). I have ranked them by how much I loved at least one of their songs – that’s why Kansas and Robert Palmer are so high up in the list (Dust in the Wind and Addicted to Love). Some are just one hit/one album wonders (Natalie Cole/Don McLean) but still worth including. Some, like Dylan (can you find him?) just barely made it to the list – I like a couple of his songs now, but pretty much disliked him when I was in college (sorry Nikki). Same goes for Michael Jackson.

I plan to make separate lists for other genres I like including Blues, Classical and Gospel, and even Hindi Music. But this list is about Rock ‘N Roll, consistently my favorite genre. I connect to Rock ‘N Roll at a deep, emotional place and so this is my Ventus Album or Dilectus Album (Favorite List or Beloved List in Latin). Ultimately, I will also list the songs I liked against each band, but this is a start.

Anyway, take a look and let me know what you think. Love to hear from you! If you suggest a band, please make sure to say which song would help add them to this list. If you can, please send links to where I can listen (legally) to that song/band.

  1. Beatles
  2. Led Zeppelin
  3. Traveling Wilburys
  4. Robert Palmer
  5. Jefferson Airplane
  6. The Moody Blues
  7. Police
  8. Simon & Garfunkel
  9. Eric Clapton
  10. Cream
  11. Bread
  12. Blind Faith
  13. Credence Clearwater Revival
  14. Fleetwood Mac
  15. America
  16. Eagles
  17. Country Joe and the Fish
  18. Muddy Waters
  19. Kansas
  20. Reginald Dwight ()
  21. Pink Floyd
  22. Paul Simon
  23. The Alan Parsons Project
  24. Rolling Stones
  25. Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  26. Supertramp
  27. Joe Cocker
  28. Don McLean
  29. Jackson Browne
  30. Buddy Holly
  31. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  32. Crosby, Stills Nash & Young
  33. Steppenwolf
  34. The Who
  35. The Guess Who
  36. Traffic
  37. John Mellencamp
  38. Natalie Cole
  39. Foreigner
  40. Chicago
  41. ZZ Top
  42. Dire Straits
  43. The Allman Brothers
  44. Deep Purple
  45. The Doors
  46. Sugarloaf
  47. War
  48. Loggins & Messina
  49. John Denver
  50. The Drifters
  51. Steve Winwood
  52. B. King
  53. Ray Charles
  54. David Bowie
  55. Talking Heads
  56. Lynyrd Skynyrd
  57. Iron Butterfly
  58. The Beach Boys
  59. Phil Collins
  60. U2
  61. Uriah Heep
  62. Jimi Hendrix
  63. Bob Seger
  64. Boy George
  65. BeeGees
  66. Robert Allen Zimmerman ()
  67. Jethro Tull
  68. Santana
  69. ABBA
  70. Billy Joel
  71. <—Bryan Adams
  72. Carole King
  73. Cindi Lauper
  74. Elvis Presley
  75. Michael Jackson
  76. Eurythmics
  77. Three Dog Night
  78. Bruce Springsteen
  79. Kenny G

Here are some I definitely will not include, even though people call them “important” (meaning they owe then a mention even though they are crappy) or “well-known” (yeah, for their tattoos, not their music): Depeche Mode (their name was their best creation), Def Leppard, Metallica, Prince, Kiss and a lot of the 80s bands that are barely musical.

Update: How could I forget Clapton and Bread!  Thanx for the reminder…

Update 2: Also remembered Cream (White Room, Strange Brew, Sunshine of your Love) and Blind Faith.  Removed Nat King Cole – he belongs in Blues.  Still conflicted about Ray Charles.

Update 3: Thanx to friends who reminded me of Steppenwolf and Joe Cocker.  Also suggested were REM and Aerosmith, but I was never a fan – still  I am considering them.  Also under consideration, and more likely are the Kinks and the Monkees, but a little too Teenybopperish, na?

Update 4: Bryan Adams for Summer of ’69! The Guess Who! And Sugarloaf.  And who can forget Country Joe and the Fish (and by the way, if you don’t have the Woodstock Album, you got nothing baby!)

Update 5: Iron Butterfly is in! And the long forgotten Loggins & Messina.  I am trying hard to keep out the Grateful Dead, despite pressure from friends! 🙂

= Messing with people…who don’t know these greats!

One Response to The Greatest Must-Listen Rock Bands of All Time

  1. Retroqueen says:

    This is a great list! It would be great if you could make a curated playlist (which doesn’t loop!) and flows into one another melodically. The perfect New Years Eve party soundtrack for our generation! With video as an added bonus. I would pay for this!
    You missed Bread! Everything I Own, Make it With You, Baby I’m a Want You…

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