Classic rock is a fundamental part of American history. Many of today’s leading bands can trace their styles back to the influence of certain musicians. While every song made available to the world has had an impact on the music industry, there are certain performers who will eternally stand at the forefront of music. From folk rock to psychedelic rock, there have been many groundbreaking sounds and voices. Here are the top ten most influential classic rock bands in history.
Dylan has one of the most easily recognizable voices in the world. Raspy and full of passion, Bob Dylan’s sound is distinctive. His songs are amazing and defined a generation obsessed with the themes of social unrest, an anti-war stance, and encouragement for the civil rights movement. A traditional folk singer, Dylan’s works transcended all genres and appealed to countless young Americans. His sincere lyrics spoke to many and made it possible to empathize with his many causes.
Easily considered the greatest band of all time, Pink Floyd’s unique style and showmanship defined psychedelic rock. Their concept albums were thematic masterpieces that appealed to countless audiences. The Dark Side Of The Moon, Animals, and The Wall each still stand out today as great Rockmasterpieces.
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones have easily maintained their position as one of the longest lasting bands in recording history. Like most popular rock bands of the age, they were an England-based band that was more than happy to take on America—especially in places like California and Delray Beach, Florida. Their grungy unkempt image became so popular; many artists are still attempting to master it. Their unique sound and high quality lyrics have kept them at the top of the charts for almost 40 years.
The road to heavy metal was paved by Led Zeppelin. Their first album was pivotal in its inclusion of distorted amplification techniques. Over the years, their experimentation included mixing acoustic and electric sounds, with the addition of synthesized melodies. The success of Led Zeppelin helped establish a strong base for the development of metal music.
Few people of their generation or the current generation realize that like Elvis, Led Zeppelin took most of their inspiration from African-American performers. As a lifelong fan of Led Zeppelin, it is was oddly fascinating to listen to some of the not-so-famous African-American rhythm-and-blues performers of the 1930’s, and to be able to hear the Led Zeppelin songs we have loved for years in a whole new way.
Also known for their thematic records, The Who pioneered the idea of rock opera. Most famous for their collaborative efforts with every major musical figure of their time, Tommy The Rock Opera ensured the longevity of the band into the future. Their success and fame were not limited to their unique approach to concept albums. Their musical skills are still highly regarded in both mainstream circles and in the entertainment industry. Their music is currently being used as the theme song for at least three of the most popular show on TV on the air today.