Top 10 most Famous 80s and 90s Rock bands

“Pop music often tells you everything is OK, while rock music tells you that it’s not OK, but you can change it.”

― Bono, On the Move

Before the pop culture took over the beat in the trap, a better genre was ruling the music industry. The rock music of the 80s and 90s was not just a hippie centric, drug promoting fad that went on for more than 2 decades. The 80s era Rock music has more depth in it. Whether it’s the intellectual lyricism of Pink Floyd or the guitar breaking stunts of the Nirvana, they were crazy, I’ll take that, but they were worth it, there is a method to their insanity. Insanity which today’s spotlight-craving, money hungry pop mongers can never match. Pop and the modern-day hip hop tells us how the Cali life is the only life there is, everything is else is pointless. Painting unrealistic images in the minds of its adorers is all the pop music does. 

Rock bands were above and beyond the number of copies they sold or what was the net-worth of their band members. Rock permeated innumerable lives. It changed the way many lived and perceived life.

Want to get out of the pop frenzy and explore some real music? Here are 10 best rock bands of our choice. However, before you listen to us let us disclaim you these are the very best and not even these 10 of the best rock bands can do justice to the entire genre. Nevertheless, we are giving you a list to start with.

10. Red Hot Chilli Peppers

This is, probably the only list where you will see this name in the top 10. They may not have hit heights that the other bands in the list did, in terms of fan base or selling their albums. But can you name one rock fan who does not like a song of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers? Through their spotless amalgamation of funk, psychedelic, punk and hard rock, The RHCP not only entertained us, their deeply reflective and introspective lyricism taught us a thing or two.

9. Iron Maiden

The band’s discography includes 38. Despite little support from television or radio, the band has etched its name permanently in the hard rock scene. As of October 2013, the band had performed over 2000 live shows and this speaks highly of their achievement. Accolades and numbers apart. Iron Maiden’s concerts, to put in one word, are magic. The band members are all well over 50 but their concerts are still a spectacle. When Iron Maiden performs, you shout with the crowd, you shout in unison, you cry and when their giant mascot Eddie comes up with its glowing red eyes you are left shocked. This is the magic of Iron Maiden.

8. Guns and Roses

“Guns n’ Roses are still an example of how a band can move rock forward. Sometimes you think, “How can you top anything by The Yardbirds, or Zeppelin, or the Stones?” And then you hear Guns n’ Roses, and it’s inspiring. You can think that it’s all been written, but it hasn’t.”

—Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry.

Guns and Roses were inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame in 2012, the first year of its eligibility and boy, if you happen to visit Cleveland, Ohio, do visit the place. There is no better way to know what it’s like to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Guns and Roses’ band members’ bad boy image only contributed to their reputation as rebels. Many critics tried to give them a one-dimensional image of notorious drug abusers and alcohol addicts, but you cannot deny that their oeuvre stands out in the rock and roll scene. It symbolises something no one else did, an epitome of soft-rock at a time when heavy metal was ruling the world.

7. Nirvana

Nirvana’s existence was short. In only its seven years as a band, Nirvana produced three studio albums. Nevertheless, when you listen to their albums, you will know when it comes to producing good music, they are no less than the very best. Kurt Cobain, the band’s lead singer’s death lead to the disintegration in 1994. The band’s second album ‘Nevermind’ was their claim to fame. However, Nirvana challenged the mainstream rock music and their own audiences’ taste with the third album ‘In Utero’. ‘In Utero’ their third and last album was a critical acclaim and anchored their name in the Rock scene of the 90s.

6. The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are known as much for their internal feuds as for their record-breaking music. Since its formation in 1962, the band has survived numerous feuds and has managed to release 30 studio albums, 13 live albums and 109 singles. The Rolling Stones not only contributed to the rock and roll genre, it also got the American youth interested in the work of blues’ musicians. Their top-selling “I can’t get no satisfaction” is considered is regarded by many as the classic example rock and roll.

5. AC/DC

In a genre dominated by the American and English bands, AC/DC stood out. This Australian band was formed by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young. They have been called a blue/hard rock band and heavy metal by some but the call themselves a “rock and roll band, nothing more, nothing less”. Although the band rose to prominence in the 70s, they were a major force well into the 80s and are adorned by their loyal fans to this day. AC/DC’s rock was minimalist, no matter how huge and bludgeoning their cords were, there was a clear sense of space and restraint in their music.

4. Metallica

Metallica opened my world. Metallica opened my eyes. Metallica opened my ears.

Metallica released my soul. Metallica is the best metal band that will be playing in the whole universe. Great performers!

In fact… nothing else matters now!

 – A fan

The band started when the Danish born-drummer Lar Ulrich advertised in a Los Angeles newspaper the Recycler, which read “Drummer looking for other metal musicians to jam with Tygers of Pan Tang, Diamond Head and Iron Maiden.” Who knew that the newspaper ad would turn into something so great? Something as great as the band that would go on to sell 110 million copies of its albums worldwide and become one of the most influential bands of all times. 

3. Queen

To this day we can hear “We will rock you” and “We are champions” as anthems at sporting events. In 2005, 14 years after their most famous member Freddie Mercury’s death, Queen was declared the most loved band by the Brits. The hold the Guinness record for most no of weeks on top of British singles chart. Bohemian Rhapsody, arguably Queen’s best single, is the 3rd best-selling UK single of all times. It spent a great deal of time o the top of US, Australia and Netherlands charts too. However, I do not want to make it all about the numbers. The records only show the number of fans that felt a connection with the song. Bohemian Rhapsody is a ubiquitous song that seems to become relevant as it ages. 

2. Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin neither had the swagger of The Rolling Stone nor does it have the hit signals like the Beatles. There is something else that makes Led Zeppelin special. It’s the force, the power, the mystery. Something you don’t have a word for and you keep listening to their music until you realise it. Led Zeppelin symbolised the departure of rock music from psychedelic to sexually driven. Led Zeppelin was symbolic of more than just rock music. They were the sex symbols of the 80s and oozed out machismo.

1. Pink Floyd

Most people with disagree with our number one choice but Pink Floyd were something like no one else. Their experimental music, philosophical lyrics and extended music distinguished them from everyone else. They inspired an entire generation to break the stereotype and think outside the acceptable sphere. In spite of not trying to fit in the generic rock and roll scene, they were a commercial success. Pink Floyd can make you cry, it can break your heart, make you bleed but at the same time, they will let you know you are not alone. Pink Floyd’s music has everything for almost everyone. No matter what your mood there will be that one Pink Floyd song for you. Feeling upset? Listen to Learning to fly. Missing someone? Then “wish you were here” is for you. When in a school going rebel mood turn on Another brick in the wall. Pink Floyd will never fail you.


No amount of words can be enough to appreciate what these bands have given us. When talking about Rock music’s influence on us, words are even scarcer. But here are our 10 best bands, enjoy and arouse the rebel within you.