Top 10 List Of Rock Bands Of The 70s 80s 90s

Nirvana were perhaps the last of the big Rock bands ever
Nirvana were perhaps the last of the big Rock bands ever( Source : facebook )

Rock and Roll burst into public consciousness in the early 60s. Through acts like The Beatles and The Beach Boys, it matured by the end of that decade.

It then started to be seen as a serious art form rather than just teenage dalliance. As such, moving into the 70s and onwards, bands had a lot more weight on their shoulders to continually evolve and create amazing music while one-upping those that came before them.

Each of the three decades listed above saw more and more of that moving into the new millennium.

Our List of Rock Bands of the 70s, 80s, and 90s includes 1. Pink Floyd 2. Talking Heads 3. Nirvana respectively. These three decades saw Rock evolve.

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Top 10 List Of Rock Bands Of The 70s

PInk Floyd are perhaps the greatest Prog Rock band in the history of the genre
PInk Floyd are perhaps the greatest Prog Rock band in the history of the genre( Source : facebook )

List Of Rock Bands Of The 70s includes 1. Pink Floyd 2. Black Sabbath 3. Joy Division and more. Any list of Top 10 70s bands should consist of:

Rock groups of the 70s sought to get out of the shadow of the great bands of the preceding decade. Broadly speaking, bands found three ways to differentiate themselves from the pioneers of the genre like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones:

The first method was to continue on the experimental trajectory that later Beatles were famous for. This resulted in a subgenre called Progressive Rock which favored concept albums and song cycles.

The second method was by going harder on the instrumentation, which resulted first in Hard Rock, and then even ventured into an entirely new genre called Metal. Metal would evolve further away in subsequent decades.

Lastly, as an antithesis to Prog Rock, we saw the rise of simplistic music with a new generation's youthful energy in a genre called Punk. This genre was more political and catered entirely to the youth.

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd is the perfect representation of the Prog route that Rock took in the 70s. They are also one of the best-selling Rock bands of all time.

Starting out as a Psychedelic band for their first two albums, the group started experimenting more in the 70s, and released six albums in the decade, two of which (The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall) are seen as landmarks in their career and the genre as a whole.

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath is one of the pioneers of heavy metal music. From the get-go, their music was harder than many bands of their ilk.

They saw a fruitfulness unheard of in the first half of the decade and released six of the most well-regarded early Metal albums of the genre. The mix of singer Ozzy Osbourne's demonic voice and their hard riffs have cemented them as one of the best bands of all time.

Joy Division

Joy Division is seen as one of the pioneers of Punk and Post-Punk. Though they only released one album in the 70s, their influence looms large.

The group took the bare-bone riffs of The Clash and The Pistols and added a new dimension of atmosphere and dourness that only elevated the genre. The sole album they released in the 70s, Unknown Pleasures, is widely regarded as one of the most important albums in not only Punk but popular music as a whole.

Top 10 List Of Rock Bands Of The 80s

The members of the Talking Heads may have looked non-descript but they made some wild music
The members of the Talking Heads may have looked non-descript but they made some wild music( Source : facebook )

Our List of Rock Bands of The 80s includes 1. Talking Heads 2. The Cure 3. The Smiths. Any Top 10 80s bands list should include:

The 80s saw Rock bands take a whole host of many diverse and previously unthought-of influences to create a distinct sound. In fact, of all the decades on this list, the 80s are the ones with the most homogenous sound.

In mainstream Rock music, all the Punk bands of the previous decade turned into a new amalgamation of Punk, Pop, and the nascent rise of Electronic music to become a new genre called New Wave. Though prog was still around, they fell out of favor from the mainstream.

Plus, towards the mid-point of the decade, a new sort of Metal called Hair Metal would also rise and become the dominant genre.

Talking Heads

Talking Heads may have been active since 1977 but their commercial peak was in the 1980s. In fact, they ushered a new age of Rock in the decade.

Though they retained the Punk ethos of their beginnings, they were one of the first groups to add different influences into the mix like Soul, R&B, Electronic, and even Afrobeats. From their landmark 1980 album Remain in Light onward, the group turned the landscape of popular Rock into something weirder and zanier for much of the early-to-mid 80s.

The Cure

The Cure is one of the biggest British Bands of the 80s. They were among the first Alternative Rock bands to have hits and sell millions.

Led by the enigmatic Robert Smith, The Cure did it all. Starting out as a normal Post-Punk band with their first album to pioneering Goth Rock and the subculture surrounding it with their following three releases to returning to Pop but elevating it with each release after, Smith and his revolving list of band-mates took the genre to heights hitherto unknown.

Van Halen

Van Halen is the biggest Rock band of the 80s and 90s. The sub-genre they championed, Glam, or Hair, Metal is what the era is now known for.

To clarify, bands like Talking Heads and The Cure took Punk and Pop Rock to as far as they could in the early half of the decade, but from the mid-80s onwards, the sort of Glam Metal championed by Halen became the face of what many thought as Rock. Halen continued to champion their style of Rock through to the decade after despite changing singers, that too thrice.

Top 10 List Of Rock Bands Of The 90s

Oasis were led by the Gallagher brothers Liam (Left) and Noel (Right)
Oasis were led by the Gallagher brothers Liam (Left) and Noel (Right)( Source : facebook )

List Of Rock Bands Of The 90s includes 1. Nirvana 2. Pearl Jam 3. Oasis. A respectable Top 10 bands from the decade list should include:

Rock in the 90s had a dominant sound, at least for the first half of the decade. Known as Grunge, this subgenre was a mix of Punk that began in the Pacific Northwest city of Seattle, Washington.

The bands that stemmed from this area became some of the biggest groups of the decade and held a cultural power in America not seen since The Beatles. However, that cultural moment lasted less than a year.

The latter half of the decade saw Rock lose its relevancy as Hip-Hop and boy bands started taking over. Sadly, the genre would never regain the power it held for much of the 20th century.


Nirvana ended Rock Bands of the 70s 80s 90s. Chiefly because Nirvana's rise and swift end also killed the Rock star mythos.

Led by the charismatic Kurt Cobain, the group's Punk ethos, DIY style, and surreal lyrics made them instant Rock stars. But while at the top, they were also quick to point out the hypocrisies of the media and Rock itself.

Sadly the band would end in 1994 when Cobain ended his life and joined the fabled 27 Club.

Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam is an influential American Rock band from the 90s. In fact, Pearl Jam may be more influential than Nirvana itself.

The reason why is that lead singer Eddie Vedder possessed a very unique timber to his voice that went on to be copied by every Post-Grunge band that came after. It got to the point where many Rock fans started disliking Vedder and Pearl Jam because of the blight his influence had left on the Rock world.


Oasis is the greatest Rock and Roll band of all time if you believe them. While much of 90s Rock was doom and gloom in the US, the UK was different.

To combat the pessimism of Grunge, the Brits developed their own genre called Britpop and Oasis were kings of the scene. Led by the combative but charismatic Gallagher brothers, Oasis took on what Nirvana left off and ruled Rock right into the new millennium.

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