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Throughout the world there are so many alternative rock bands that have graced the world with their amazing music. Great Britain has contributed a lot to the amount of brilliant rock bands out there bringing so many different musicians into the spotlight. We have created a list of the best rock bands from the United Kingdom as we’ll discuss their members, the history, and origins of the band as well as their successes. The ranking is in order starting with the most influential, this list is personal preference so depending on what you think and whose music you like, you may disagree. The information collected to make this ranking has been well-researched and should be looked at as fair and equal. We have used the best rock bands throughout history and some of these bands may not be actively creating music but popularity and researchers have claimed their the best ever.

The 10 Best Rock Bands of All Time that Originated in United Kingdom

Rock Band
1 The Beatles Thought to be one of the best rock bands in the world and possibly all of history, the band formed in Liverpool started in 1960 with four members; Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison. As a band they experimented with a lot of different styles including beat, rock and roll, then later pop ballads and hard rock. After being together for 10 years, the band decided to split in 1970 with many of the members going off and making their own music. The Liverpool men were enormous all over the world during their peak, creating over 12 albums with hits such as ‘Yellow Submarine’, ‘Let it Be’ and ‘Hey Jude’. Statistically, The Beatles are the best-selling band in history as it estimated that they sold over 800 million albums (physically and digitally) worldwide. Over their popularity, they received 7 Grammy awards, 15 Ivor Novello Awards, and an Academy award. They have also been featured on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1988. The music The Beatles produced has been some of the most influential ever and many people say they enabled artists to have the freedom to create music as they do now. Essentially, they moulded and shaped current pop culture and music to become what it is today through being musically creative and not worrying about money, doing it for the music. The Beatles started making a name for themselves through performing small concerts across Liverpool in the United Kingdom and Hamburg in Germany, after the bands success took off, they were performing concerts for thousands of people at a time. The original ‘birthplace’ of the band is a performance venue and pub in Liverpool called the Cavern, and it is still available to go and see today.

Tour of The Beatles most memorable places in Liverpool with the Magical Mystery Tour:
2 The Rolling Stones Formed in London during the 1960’s, the Rolling Stones is a rock band consisting of 5 original members but 4 living ones. The original line up consisted of Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Keith Richards, and Ian Stewart. However, Ian Stewart was removed from the line-up but continued to tour with the band until his death. After the death of Brian Jones, the band replaced him with Mick Taylor then shortly after he was replaced with Ronnie Wood. The 4 members (including Ronnie Wood and replacement bassist Darryl Jones) have toured all over the world including huge cities like Prague, New York City, Warsaw and Berlin. They have been in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1989 and their album sales are estimated at around 250 million. Throughout their career they have released 30 studio albums and 109 singles, including their classic single ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ thought to be the best piece of rock and roll ever created. Since 1962 (when they formed as a band), it thought that The Rolling Stones have performed over 2,000 concerts with some of them being the world’s most popular live performances. Their tours have been some of the highest engrossing in the world with over 48 tours done. Both individually and as a group, the band has been thought to change music completely. They have inspired so many new bands and musicians to create rock music and their various documentaries have been watched millions of times by people throughout the world. Popular songs by The Rolling Stones are ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, and ‘Wild Horses’.

Visit the Rolling Stones official website with their current tour dates:
3 Pink Floyd One of the most commercially successful rock bands of all time was Pink Floyd. Formed in 1965 with 4 members, the band is thought to have brought a new era to music with their creative progressive and psychedelic music taste. The members all played different instruments and specialised in their rock sound; Syd Barrett (lead vocals and guitar), Roger Waters (bass), Nick Mason (drums), Richard Wright (keyboard), and late joiner David Gilmour (guitar). After Syd Barrett left in 1968, Roger Waters became the bands lead vocals and inevitable leader. Despite tension in the band making certain members leave, the band has ventured on 12 tours all over the world, including countries like Germany, the US, Italy, Belgium and Canada. The band has released 14 studio albums starting in 1967 and their last one was released in 2014 just before the band spilt for good. They are particularly known for being one of the biggest rocks bands to originate in the United Kingdom ever, with smash hits and number ones all around the world. It is thought that by 2013 they had sold 250 million records worldwide, they have sold so many records that they were introduced to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Not only has their music changed people’s outlook on creative song writing, but it has changed the course of music’s history.

See the official Pink Floyd website as well as the Exhibition website:
4 Oasis Starting as a four-man brit pop and rock group, Oasis consisted of members Liam Gallagher, Paul McGuigan, Paul Arthurs, and Tony McCarroll. After starting in 1991 in the suburbs of Manchester, the group eventually added a fifth member, Liam Gallagher’s brother, Noel. Throughout their time in the spotlight, the groups members changed a lot with various members leaving after certain contracts were signed and others not getting along with band members. The final line-up consisted of the Gallagher brothers, Gem Archer, and Zak Starkey. The band performance many concerts, festivals, and even official events, they are thought to have shaped British pop as well as the rock scene. The Manchester group was well known for their singing (as they sung in their Manchester accent), as well as references to culture in Britain. After their split, the Gallagher brothers decided to become solo artists and release their own hits, they have both become big rock names within the music industry and are thought to be some of the best rock artists in the United Kingdom. Throughout their career, Oasis had 8 UK number one singles and won 17 NME awards, they also hold the Guinness World Record for the most successful act from the years of 1995 to 2005 within the UK. Some of their influential songs include, ‘Wonderwall’, ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’, and ‘Champagne Supernova’.

For more information on Oasis and their albums:
5 Led Zeppelin Driven by heavy, rock sounding guitar riffs and creative song styles, Led Zeppelin formed as a 4-member band in 1968 with members; Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Bonham. Although they weren’t thought of as classic soft rock, they look influences from the likes of blues bands as well as folk music. After originally signing to Atlantic Records, the band wasn’t very popular with critics however, after the release of their albums they received a lot of success in the public eye. Led Zeppelin are often thought of are one of the most innovative, influential, and successful bands in the whole of history, as they’re one of the best-selling music artists to ever exist. Likewise, to many other successful rock bands they were placed on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during 1995, they were also described as one of the most enduring bands in all of rocks history by Rolling Stone magazine. The band had 9 albums which was estimated to have been sold around 300 million units worldwide. They certainly shaped heavy and hard rock, creating a space for musicians to come forward with their creative styles and make music that isn’t the typical radio-friendly pop music. Although their style of music was very controversial when they started in the music industry, they were soon loved by many and their music is now known all over the world by millions of people.

The official Led Zepplin website has more information on it:
6 Queen One of the most well-known and influential rock bands of history is that of Queen, with an original line up of 4 members; Freddie Mercury (vocals), Roger Taylor (drums), Brian May (guitar), and John Deacon (bass). The 1970 formed band has changed drastically over the past few years with some members leaving, the current band now only has 2 members after the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991. Freddie Mercury was essentially Queen in one person, and it has been thought by many that he would have done better on his own (he eventually pursued his solo career), however, the hits created by Queen will live on throughout the world and through the rest of history for being culture changing. Hit songs such as; ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Killer Queen’, and ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, are just a few songs which Queen graced the world with. They have been on 19 tours (with the last 6 concert tours without Freddie Mercury), and released 15 albums (with only one being created without Freddie Mercury!). Music produced and created by Queen has been on films and nominated for various music awards including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (presented to Queen in 2018). They are featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as of 2001), and the Songwriters Hall of Fame (as of 2003). It is estimated the band has sold around 200 million records worldwide, which would make them one of the world’s best-selling rock bands in history.

For updated tour information and more history on Queen:
7 Radio Head After forming in 1985, Radiohead quickly became one of the most famous and reputable bands in the UK. Their band consists of 5 members including Thom Yorke, Colin Greenwood, Philip Selway, Johnny Greenwood, and Ed O’Brien. They originally signed with EMI records who debuted several of their singles and started their career into stardom. Following the release of their album ‘Pablo Honey’ in 1993, they became known world-wide for their sound and music creation. Despite being alternative, their music is regularly in the top charts and on the radio too. Radiohead is often seen as one of ther best rock bands in the world, never mind just the UK.
Their style of music is often compared to Queen and Elvis Costello who they claim are influences in their creations. Other similarities and influences include the Pixies and Sonic Youth. This has led the band to accept many awards and nominations. Their award collection includes 3 Grammy awards, 4 Q awards, and 9 NME awards. They have also had over 20 Grammy nominations and 12 MTV Video Music award nominations. Radiohead’s most popular and famous album is arguably either ‘OK Computer’ released in 1998, or ‘In Rainbows’ released in 2009.

Visit their official website for all things related to Radiohead, including their current and upcoming events/shows, or their newest music releases:
8 Black Sabbath Known for creating one of the biggest rock legends of all time, Black Sabbath formed in Birmingham during the 1960’s with vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, bassist and lead singer Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and guitarist Tony Iommi. The heavy metal band were one of the first ever pioneers of British heavy metal to exist, despite splitting for a brief period between 2006 and 2011, the group have been around since 1968 right up until their big break up in 2017. There have been many changes to the band over the years, including the dismissal of Ozzy Osbourne in 1979 due to use of drugs and alcohol. As well as the constant departure of drummer Bill Ward, it became apparent that the members weren’t always getting along. Likewise, to many other rock and metal bands, they were placed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2006) and have been labelled one of the best metal bands of all time, ranking above many other famous musicians and bands of their time. It is estimated that worldwide they have sold around 70 million records, after releasing 19 studio albums. Their popular songs include ‘Paranoid’, ‘Never Say Die!’, and ‘TV Crimes’, and these have been released all around the world. Black Sabbath left a big legacy in the world of heavy metal music, they changed the pathway for new bands who wanted to have a creative difference and allowed for more musicians to create a sound that reflected what they wanted rather than what was played on the radio. They’re one of the most influential bands of all time, and because of them a lot of other bands have became successful.

For more information and history on Black Sabbath see their website:
9 The Kinks Known as being apart of the influential music movement ‘Merseybeat’, The Kinks were a London formed band consisting of 4 members including brothers Dave and Ray Davies, Pete Quaife, and Mick Avory. Their popularity came at the same time as many other rock bands, during the rocking 60’s age. They emerged with a lot of popular songs and ended up making over 30 live and studio albums, some of their loved songs include hits like ‘You Really Got Me’, ‘Sunny Afternoon’, and ‘Dead End Street’. One of their songs became an international hit topping charts all over the world including the UK, US, and many countries in Europe. Influenced by blues, folk and country music, the bands creative music was a fresh take on rock that the public seemed to love. Despite the group changing during their time in the fame spotlight, in 1990 the original four members were displayed on the much loved and anticipated Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in America. This was not only due to their popularity in the music and rock industry but their commitment to creating music that everyone enjoyed. The time in which The Kinks came about, music was changing for the better, all of the bands involved in the creative change have shaped music for the better.

The Kinks official website has more information on their popular music and albums:
10 The Who One of the only active rock bands that originated in the 1960’s, The Who is thought to be one of the most influential rock bands ever. Their music has reached millions of people all throughout the world, selling over 100 million records and releasing 11 albums. The classic line-up consisted of members; Pete Townsend (guitarist), Keith Moon (drummer), Roger Daltrey (singer), and John Entwistle (bassist). In later years, Keith Moon’s death in the late 1970’s meant that Kenney Jones replaced him then after John Entwistle’s death in 2002, the group put their music on hold, including delaying a tour and their album. Two of the original members still actively play concerts and festivals as The Who and are regularly joined by guest musicians during their performances. Some of their smash hit singles include ‘I Can’t Explain’, ‘Happy Jack’, and ‘I Can See for Miles’. Due to their success they have been able to play at many popular festivals through the US and UK including Live at Leeds and Woodstock. They are thought to be influential in rock culture, and many say they paved the way for other bands to become more rock and roll within their style.

For tour dates, regular updates, and more information on The Who:

History of Rock and Roll

Essentially, the 1960’s and 70’s was the place to be if you love rock. Great Britain produced some of the best rock bands in history and created one of the biggest musical movements of all time. Rock bands were able to show their true identity and make a name for themselves in the United Kingdom and everywhere else in the world through music that reflected their views and opinions. Many public critics didn’t think that these rock bands would succeed in the public eye, but they were proved wrong after many of the rock bands became some of the best in the world. There had been many musicians before the popularity of those in the 60’s however, nothing compared to their success. We’ve put together a history of rock and roll, just so you can get more of an impression of how it has changed over the last few decades.

1930’s – despite some origin before it, it is thought that rock and roll originated during the late 1930’s with a Pete Johnson song ‘Roll ‘Em Pete’ which is thought to be the predominant founder of rock and roll. During this time the popular style of music was more towards the wing and jazz music industry.

1940’s – after the ward ended in 1945, jazz and swing banded became less popular as they were less sustainable (due to the lack of fuel and limited audiences) and the bass, drums and guitar therefore came the forefront of music creation. During this period, the rise of jump blues (often compared to soft rock) emerged with various bands on the West Coast of America. It is also thought that Chuck Berry introduced the aggressive guitar due to the influence of jump blues.

1950’s – Chuck Berry is thought to be the founding father of rock and roll, bringing the electric guitar to the centre of attention during the 50’s. He adapted his creative style to suit the guitar, added some other similar sounding instruments (such as the bass and drums), then produced musical sounds that would change music forever. Despite no label being able to singularly recognise a track that started rock and roll, the song that impacted the world the most was ‘Rock Around the Clock’ by Bill Haley in 1955. Later in the 1950’s came rock and roll singers such as Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash who ultimately changed the whole rock and roll era and made it become successful.

1960’s – the 60’s brought the rise of rock bands in the United Kingdom and all over the world, after being influenced by blues, jazz, and rock and roll; these rock bands started their careers not expecting the amount of success they essentially got. Bands such as The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and The Kinks changed the course of rock and allowed more many other rock bands to start their success. Both Great Britain and America are thought to play key roles in the development of rock and roll, especially during this period. Rock and roll became so popular it was all over mainstream radio, rock bands were the biggest form of musicians during this time which meant over the next few decades, the rock industry just kept growing.