10 Rock Music Groups You Need to Know

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Here are 10 rock music groups that you need to know. These bands have shaped the genre and continue to influence rock music today.

The Beatles

One of the most popular and influential rock bands of all time, the Beatles were originally comprised of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Hailing from Liverpool, England, the group rose to fame in the early 1960s with their string of hit singles and albums. The Beatles became a phenomenon both in Britain and America, where they introduced the now- ubiquitous “ Beatlemania “ . The band’s creative songwriting,innovative recordings, and charismatic performances won them many admirers, and their influence on music and culture was vast. The Beatles breakup in 1970 marked the end of an era, but their music continues to inspire new generations of fans.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band that was formed in 1962. The band is composed of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and Charlie Watts. The Rolling Stones have released 25 studio albums, 18 live albums, and numerous compilations. They are one of the best-selling music groups of all time, having sold more than 200 million records worldwide. The Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin was an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bass player and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. The band’s heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia, andfolk music.

The band did not release an album for almost five years after their formation, but they found success with their fourth album, Led Zeppelin IV (1971), which featured the song “Stairway to Heaven”, often cited as one of the greatest rock songs of all time.

Pink Floyd

Formed in 1965, Pink Floyd is one of the most iconic and influential rock bands of all time. With hits like “Another Brick in the Wall” and “Wish You Were Here,” the band has sold more than 250 million records worldwide and inspired generations of musicians. If you’re a fan of rock music, you need to know Pink Floyd.

The Who

The Who is an English rock band formed in 1964. The primary lineup consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, bass guitarist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide. The Who has had numerous lineup changes throughout their career, with only Daltrey and Townshend remaining as the constant members.


Queen is a British rock band that formed in London in 1970. Queen’s classic line-up was Freddie Mercury (lead vocals and piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), Roger Taylor (drums, vocals) and John Deacon (bass guitar). Queen’s earliest works were influenced by progressive rock, hard rock and heavy metal, but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works by incorporating further styles, such as arena rock and pop rock.

Queen reached the peak of their popularity in the early 1980s and are today one of the world’s best-selling music artists. They have released a total of 18 number-one albums, 18 number-one singles and 10 number-one DVDs. Estimates of their record sales generally range from 150 million to 300 million records, making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists.

The Doors

The Doors were an American rock band which formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore. The band got its name, at Morrison’s suggestion from the title of Aldous Huxley’s book The Doors of Perception, which itself was a reference to a line in William Blake’s poem The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. They were unique and among the most controversial and influential rock acts of the 1960s, mostly because of Morrison’s lyrics and charismatic but unpredictable stage persona. After Morrison’sdeath in 1971, the remaining members continued as a three-piece under the name The Doors of the 21st Century, until Manzarek’s death in 2013.

The Doors’ sound was rooted in blues-based hard rock and fused elements of jazz, classical music and world music with psychedelic rock; their songs incorporated goals set forth by four political ideologies: counterculture revolution, moral degeneration amid hedonism, civil rights progress and anti-colonialism. On stage to provoke their audiences which often resulted in riots; Morrison once said that he wanted to be the first person to put acid into Coca Cola so he could watch people´s eyes expand as they drank it.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix was an American singer, songwriter, and musician. Hendrix is considered one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of rock music, and one of the most important musicians of the 20th century. His style blended blues, rock, soul, and jazz into a unique sound that influenced generations of musicians. Hendrix was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys are an American rock band formed in Hawthorne, California, in 1961. The group’s original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson; their cousin Mike Love; and their friend Al Jardine. Distinguished by their vocal harmonies and early surf songs, they are one of the most influential acts of the rock era. The Beach Boys began as a garage band led by Brian Wilson with his brothers, Dennis and Carl. Vocalist Mike Love joined them shortly thereafter. The group gained popularity for their close vocal harmonies and lyrical focus on California lifestyle; they frequently referenced surfing culture, cars, and young love in their work.

The Beach Boys signed to Capitol Records in 1962. Their debut album Surfin’ Safari (1962) was a moderate success, reaching No. 14 in the US with its lead single “Surfin’ Safari” becoming a Top 40 hit. With follow-up album Surfin’ U.S.A. (1963), the group rose to national prominence with two Top 10 singles: “Surfin’ U.S.A.” at Number 3 and “Fun Fun Fun” at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; as well as three other charting singles: “Be True to Your School”, “Shut Down”, and “Little Deuce Coupe”. The album reached Number 2 in the US and became the first surf album to enter the Top 10 .


Nirvana was an American rock band that was formed in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. The band members were Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitar), Krist Novoselic (bass guitar), and Dave Grohl (drums). Nirvana is considered to be one of the most influential and important rock bands of all time. They popularized the “grunge” sound of the early 1990s and helped to make alternative rock a commercially successful genre. Nirvana’s breakthrough album, “Nevermind,” was released in 1991 and quickly became a global best-seller. The album’s lead single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” became an anthem for teenage rebellion. Cobain committed suicide in 1994 at the age of 27, which effectively ended the band. Nirvana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.

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