A discussion around the best bands of all time is unlikely to reach a consensus, since music tastes and preferences are largely subjective.
The average person may not be able to explain much about music theory, but they know when they love a piece of music. This means that, a lot of skilled bands may not make the cut because of a lack of mass appeal.
So, without further ado, let us get down to our list of the most popular bands in history.
The Most Popular Bands of All Time
1) The Beatles
With certified sales of close to $300 million, the Beatles are the first name on this list. Although the Beatles only lasted from 1960 to 1970, that was enough to make it the best-selling band of all time. If you throw in the artists’ side groups and individual albums, it will be impossible to yank this record away from them. The Beatles introduced the British rock and pop culture to the US, and, since the band started quite young, the members grew up at about the same time as their fans.
These guys won every imaginable award, produced and starred in a number of movies, and even held a number of records (such as having the most covered song in history – Yesterday). The band had rock and pop appeal, and was able to evolve through the hippy era.
It is Queen’s mystifying versatility that always leaves listeners wanting and coming back for more.
Headed by the late Freddy Mercury, the band’s music covered rock, pop, and everything in between. The song lyrics are touching, and have resonated with audiences ever since the band made its debut in 1970. Thrilling, exciting, and theatrical are all adjectives you could use to describe a typical Queen performance.
3) The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones is quite a big deal – so much so that even the members – particularly Keith Richards and Mick Jagger – went on to have illustrious solo careers. The band debuted in 1962, and was central to the rock and pop British Invasion of the mid-1960s. On the list of the five highest-grossing tours, four spots belong to the Rolling Stones.
One reason for the band’s success is that it never deviated from the ‘safer’ foundational genres like rock, soul, and R&B. Six decades later, the band is still going strong and even recently won a Grammy for the Best Traditional Blues Album. Where pop music changes and evolves so quickly, it is the Rolling Stones’ consistency that has allowed it to stay on top of its game for almost two generations.
4) Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd was founded in 1965, and made waves across the rock scene of that era. This English group is known as one of the first psychedelic bands – a music genre inspired by mind-altering images.
Characterized by its long compositions, Pink Floyd albums tend to be trippy, unusual, and generally philosophical. ‘The Wall’, unarguably the band’s most popular album, portrays images of a doleful rock star and is believed to be an autobiography.
Selling almost 300 million records globally, Pink Floyd has proven to be an unstoppable force.
To sum up, we would like to reiterate that the most popular does not automatically equate to the best (since there is no best and worst in music – it is all about differing tastes and preferences).
This is why conversations surrounding art are so much fun –there is no right and wrong, just your opinion v/s theirs.
If you found this blog interesting, we suggest checking out some of the others on our website.
Eric Dalius is The Executive Chairman of MuzicSwipe, a music and content discovery platform designed to maximize artist discovery and optimize fan relationships.Along with his work at MuzicSwipe, he also conducts in-depth interviews with prominent entrepreneurs on his weekly podcast “FULLSPEED.” Eric also dedicates himself to educational initiatives through the “Eric Dalius Foundation,” which provides four scholarships to US-based students. Keep track of Eric’s endeavors on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn,YouTube, Instagram, and Entrepreneur.com.