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The 10 greatest English rock bands of all time.

It’s time to honor some of the great rock bands from England. The YARDBARKER has selected the 25 greatest English rock bands from which we have picked ten for our audience to be aware.

The following bands are considered English by prominent membership or classic lineups featuring English musicians.  

Here’s a ranking of the top 10 English rock bands of all time.

10. The Cure
The Cure when they were an early 2000s indie rock band. Source: @hungryiancurtis

The melodic, often melancholy tunes of Robert Smith and the boys have been displayed and praised for over 40 years. When it comes to the alternative and goth or post-punk rock sound of England, The Cure is the trendsetter. Hits like “Just Like Heaven,” Lullaby and “A Letter to Elise” are just a few of the Hall of Famers’ beloved efforts.

9. Radiohead
Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/GettyImages

From roughly 1995 to about 2002, there was arguably no hotter band on the planet than Radiohead.

It got to the point that fans worldwide could not wait to hear what was next from Thom Yorke and Co. Radiohead went from a true rock outfit to excelling within the alternative and art rock scenes while also not being afraid to throw in some electronica.

There is not a better run of albums with The Bends (1995), OK Computer (1997), Kid A (2000), and Amnesiac (2001) in alternative rock history. Even today, Radiohead still has a major influence on the music scene.

8. The Clash
English rock band formed in London 1976. Sources: @TEXASROCKFEED

While the Sex Pistols exuded the punk image, The Clash was also a major player in that overall scene in the U.K.

However, The Clash also defined its music with elements of new wave and ska that ushered in the post-punk sound, which was taking off on both sides of the Atlantic.

Though singer Joe Strummer was born in Turkey, he was schooled in England from age 9, thus qualifying him enough for this list.

7. The Kinks
The Kinks, 1965. Sources:@crockpics

Formed by brothers Ray and Dave Davies in North London, The Kinks were a major rock influence in the 1960s throughout England, the U.K., and America. The band meshed the pop-rock feel of the British invasion with a bluesy tint that offered a unique sound that turned on the likes of the Ramones, The Doors, Van Halen, and Oasis.

6. Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath, 1973. Photo by GAB Archive. Source: @crockpics

Under the blanket of rock ‘n’ roll music lies heavy metal. It’s generally acknowledged that the first true heavy metal band was Black Sabbath.

Though influenced heavily by the blues, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward played hard, often faced. Iommi’s memorable riffs and Osbourne’s distinctive voice spewing generally dark lyrics made Sabbath turn the rock world in its ears — and we’re still grateful for it all.

5. Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd, Piccadilly Circus, London 1967. Source: @crockpics

The influence that Floyd has had on bands that have come after is truly incredible. Whether psychedelic rock, progressive rock, alternative rock, and even some aspects of metal, Pink Floyd has been able to leave its mark with bands like Queensryche, Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters, and Pearl Jam. The band’s 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon has spent more than 900 weeks on the Billboard 200.

4. The Who

4The Who and Jimi Hendrix 1967. Source: @crockpics

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are still consistently playing under The Who’s name and not just doing the classics. Songs like “Baba O’Riley” and “My Generation” still stand up well and have become loved by a whole new generation of fans. The Who is also known as one of the great conceptional bands of all time, thanks to operatic rock gems Tommy and Quadrophenia.

3. Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin, Madison Square Garden 1975. Source: @crockpics

While Black Sabbath and Deep Purple also influenced a hard, guitar-driven sound that opened the door for the heavy metal movement, Zeppelin did it better than anybody. Paced by Robert Plant’s incredible range, Jimmy Page’s innovative guitar work, and John Bonham’s hard-working style behind the drum kit, Zeppelin’s blues-tinged hard rock has that time-tested classic sound that remains a staple.

2. Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones. Source: Britannica

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Stones is the band’s ridiculous longevity. Mick, Keith, Charlie, and Ronnie, all well into their 70s, packed stadiums playing the hits that have influenced generations of musicians. The band still went on the road after the death of Charlie Watts in August 2021.

1. The Beatles
The Beatles. Source: Twitter

The Beatles are more than just John, Paul, George, and Ringo. The foursome is a musical institution that changed the landscape of the times and influenced countless other bands and artists. Seriously, too many to count. The Beatles’ aura still has not waned, and surviving members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr continue to make music and tour, playing the songs millions fell in love with more than 50 years ago.

 

 

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