The Best Bands of All Time (Ranked by Sales)

Photo of author
Written By Tanya

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur pulvinar ligula augue quis venenatis. 

Although opinions are a major factor in the discussion about the top bands of all time, we have reduced it to a minimum of the opinions of many millions. This information can be crowdsourced based on sales, tours and awards.

Although there may be some consensus, it is not possible to explain music theory to the average person. However, they will know what they like when hearing it. This means that even the most talented bands won’t be on the list, simply because they aren’t popular enough. That’s part of the equation.

It’s fun to compare this list with other lists, such as the wealthiest rock stars or the greatest guitarists. See if you can find a pattern. Are skill and money in the music business compatible? Or are they really driven by vocals or guitar playing? To find out more, open the links in the background. But let’s first jump into the list of the greatest bands of all-time .

#10 – Queen

CERTIFIED SALES: 170.5MILLION

Although Queen has already been on the list, they are gaining more popularity. They have been touring since 1970 and continuing to create new music. However, they now have new vocalists. Although their name is Queen, they are the kings and queens of pop rock and arena rock. Many of us have grown to be sick of their songs.

You’ve probably heard the anthems of those who were there to intimidate opposing teams at sporting events. Their soundtracks for Flash Gordon and Highlander are some of the best music ever. A biographical movie was made recently about the band. This is a huge deal.

Trivia Facts Queen has been on the road since 2004 with new tours under the “Queen+” name, with singers Adam Lambert (vocalist) and Paul Rodgers (vocalist). Freddy Mercury was replaced by Freddy Mercury. A musical is based on their songs. They have 15 albums, but 21 tours supported them.

#9 – The Doors

CERTIFIED SALES 50.4 MILLION

The Doors were active between 1965 and 1973. This was a brief eight-year period. However, they quickly rose to prominence as one of the most influential counter-culture bands. Jim Morrison’s unpredictable behavior made them a controversial band. Each decade has seen a revival of interest in the band, and new fans have been added due to popular cover songs, use of their songs in hit movies about them, and so on.

Their first album, The Doors, re-entered Billboard’s charts 14 years later than its original release. It seems that their legacy will continue to live on forever. In 2012, Skrillex even recorded a new song called “Breakn’ a Sweat”.

Trivia Facts The Doors were named after Aldous Huxley in his book The Doors of Perception. They were the first American group to achieve eight consecutive gold records. Morrison was the first musician to be taken off-stage during a live performance. He is also a leader of the accursed 27 Club.

#8 – Nirvana

CERTIFIED SALES 55.7 MILLION

Kurt Cobain was Nirvana’s breakout artist. Since his death in 1994 and the dissolution of the band, Dave Grohl, who played drums and bass and sang vocals for many bands and collaborations, has been a musical legend. In 1991, it was “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, which launched them to stardom.

They won all the music awards quickly and were even inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the first year of eligibility in 2014. Their Nevermind album was enough to knock Michael Jackson’s Dangerous off the top spot of the Billboard charts.

Trivia Facts Nirvana’s founding members, Cobain & Novoselic, formed the Creedence Clearwater Renival band, before transforming into the band that we love and know today. Courtney Love sold 25 percent of her stake in the catalog to them for $50 million in 2006.

#7 – The Who

CERTIFIED SALES: 27.8MILLION

You may be wondering “why, but?” if you are like me. With their pop art and mod subculture influences, The Who have a huge appeal. This is made even more evident by their rock opera Tom. Their concept albums are great. They had huge and thrilling tours, which only added to the excitement.

Their music is not the only thing that matters. They were instrumental in the creation of the Marshall stack, rock’s use of synthesizers, large PA systems and power chords. They are more appreciated by musicians than their fans, who cite them frequently as a top influence. Fans should also respect the opinions of their favorite artists.

Trivia Facts The Who really established their dominance at Woodstock. Pete Townsend is the one who invents the windmill strum, and other forms of guitar showmanship. Their non-musical feedback was also introduced, which is now a common practice.

#6 – U2

CERTIFIED SALES: 114.5MILLION

U2 was formed by a group of friends at secondary school in Dublin, Ireland. Before any of them had any musical experience, U2 was just a bunch of friends. They signed a record contract within four years. They became a worldwide sensation with their fifth album. They have won 22 Grammy Awards to date, more than any other group.

Their success lies in the fact that they constantly reinvent their sound when they come across controversy or boredom from their fans. They are huge experimenters and The Edge is a great example of this with his guitar pedal collection.

Trivia Facts The U2 360 Degree Tour from 2009 to 2011 set new records as the most attended and highest-grossing concert tour ever. Apple agreed to allow everyone to download their album once. It was very annoying.

#5 – Led Zeppelin

CERTIFIED SALES: 14.2.2 MILLION

A wide appeal is a key part of reaching a broad audience. Led Zeppelin was a pioneer of heavy metal and blues-rock music. Their single Stepway to Heaven is perhaps the most popular and influential song in rock history. They did it all.

For those who were there, the concerts set new records. Their albums are among the best-selling. Their nine albums all reached the top 10, and six of them reached the number one spot on the charts. They have won all the music awards. They are a legacy that will be remembered by fans and musicians alike.

Trivia Facts – Led Zeppelin’s history occurred before the internet and although it’s almost 40 years since their last album, their fan base continues to grow. Internet’s combined manpower has revealed how many songs they were heavily influenced by, even if they didn’t plagiarize, songs from other times.

#4 – The Beach Boys

CERTIFIED SALES 32.5 MILLION

The Beach Boys rode on the California Sound of surfing rock, and then developed into more personal themes as they grew older. The music’s arrangements and orchestrations became so complicated that they could not perform it live on stage, much like the Moody Blues.

They achieved perfection in their vocal harmonies, which they recorded in one take. They were one of few bands to find success before and after the British Invasion. They were very spiritual, and you can see it in their lyrics if you pay attention.

Trivia Facts Dennis Wilson met Charles Manson through his Beach Boys spirituality. He began recording music at Wilson’s studio. You can find it if you search for it. Manson’s followers eventually invaded Wilson’s home, and then the big moment occurred. During that time, the Beach Boys were subject to a lot of negative media scrutiny.

#3 – Pink Floyd

CERTIFIED SALES 123.4 MILLION

Pink Floyd had already made a mark in the British rock scene with their first releases, led by Syd Barrett. They gained international recognition later when David Gilmour joined them and assumed the creative direction. Their albums reached the top of the charts in the US and UK, but only two singles made it to the top 10 in any of these countries.

They have released 15 albums over a six-decade period and toured to promote each one. Some lesser-known films featured their film scores. Their albums The Wall, and The Dark Side of the Moon both make it to the top of the most-sold albums. Although they won’t be considered pop music, dark music like theirs has just as many fans and a longer-lasting popularity.

Trivia Facts – Pink Floyd’s name derives from Syd Barrett’s two favorite blues musicians, Pink Anderson (and Floyd Council). They were big fans of Monty Python’s comedy group and contributed to the funding for Monty Python’s Holy Grail in 1975.

#2 – The Rolling Stones

CERTIFIED SALES: 102.4MILLION

Rolling Stones is so big that even their solo careers like Keith Richards and Mick Jagger are equally important. They were the pioneers of the British Invasion and got their start in 1962. Four of the five highest-grossing tours are from this group.

Their success can be attributed to their commitment to safe foundational genres such as R&B, soul and rock. Recently, they won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. They’re still at the top of pop music after almost 60 years. This is because they have remained consistent in their musical evolutions.

Trivia Facts The Rolling Stones have thankfully survived many feuds with other bands. They have released 30 studio albums, 23 live albums and 25 compilations. 120 singles were also released.

#1 – The Beatles

CERTIFIED SALES 289.3 MILLION

Although they only lasted 10 years, the Beatles are still the most-sold artists of all time. They’ll still hold the record if you add their solo albums and other side groups. They were young when they started and led the British Invasion into pop and rock in the USA. Their fans grew up with them and began to purchase each album.

They won every award, starred in and produced movies, as well as holding records such the most-covered song. The Lennon/McCartney songwriting duo is one of the most successful. They were pop-friendly and rock-friendly, and they grew through the passions of the hippy era. They are some of the greatest musicians to ever live. They are so great that hipsters find it cool to hate them.

Trivia Facts January 16th is World Beatles Day. Eric Clapton was almost proclaimed the fifth Beatle. The asteroid is named after each member of the band, as well as the band. Paul McCartney continues to release music and receives millions of views on YouTube.

Runners up: Who’s almost the best band of all time?

It’s not fun to stick with a top 10, when you can add 5 more bands that all deserve mention. There are many great bands out there. If you don’t see your favourite, you can see them in the honorable mentions or next to them.

Rush

CERTIFIED SALES 40 MILLION

Rush is a progressive rock legend, and they have a large fan base worldwide, despite being referred to as “weird”. Geddy Lee is regarded as one of the greatest bassists, while Neil Peart, according to many, is the top drummer of all times. It is amazing to hear the sound of three men.

Peart was well-known for using electronic drums as a one-man band. Lee could sing, play the synthesizer and play the bass all at once. Guitarists around the world respect Lifeson. Lifeson’s unique science fiction and fantasy-based songs make them stand out, but it was their musicianship that truly set them apart.

Trivia Facts They’re the recipients of all music awards, a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star, and documentaries about them. They are Officers of Canada. They even have a Canadian postal stamp. Although people love and hate them, their fans still love and hate some of the 19 studio albums.

Bob Marley and The Wailers

CERTIFIED SALES 45.2 MILLION

It is hard to imagine a Jamaican/Reggae group that would have more impact than Bob Marley’s Wailers. The Wailers, a vocal ska band, went through many lineups before Marley’s backing group. There were more changes after that.

Marley would be the star of the show, and you’d be correct. But it was the Wailers who wrote the greatest hits, like “Stir It Up” or “Get Up, Stand Up.” The Roots Reggae Library attempted to compile a complete list of their material, but it isn’t yet complete.

Trivia Facts Bob Marley and The Wailers had 19 members in total, two touring members, 18 session musicians, and 18 session players over their 18-year period of activity. Bunny Wailer, one of its founders, gave the band its name.

Jimi Hendrix Experience

CERTIFIED SALES: $30 MILLION

Only three years of activity spanned 1966-1969 for the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but that was enough time to make a lasting impact on rock music with their three studio albums as well as tours. Hendrix’s charisma and skill were admired by everyone, but their performance at Woodstock Festival was what made history.

The Experience, following the example of Cream, helped popularize the power trio and opened the doors for Rush. Hendrix’s death in the middle of a tour ended the band. It is impossible to imagine what the music industry and rock music would look like today without Hendrix’s passing.

Trivia Facts All three albums were included in the top 100 most-listened albums. They were inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. They broke up after three years, but they were reunited thanks to good relations.

Yes

CERTIFIED SALES: 13.5MILLION

Yes is an incredible band with some of the most outrageous egos you will ever see. They kept getting apart, getting back together and having two versions at once, merging them, etc. They have incredible music, which is a huge loss for fans and the entire industry.

They are a huge deal with older people, so they organize an annual cruise called Cruise To the Edge. Although their music touches on very spiritual topics, it has not been well received by the majority of their fans. However, those who do love it are passionate about it.

Trivia Facts There have been 19 members of the group over the period they were actually making music, not being on hiatus. The keyboard player had left and the band chose to fill in his spots with a small symphony orchestra.

The Eagles

CERTIFIED SALES: $150 MILLION

The Eagles enjoyed a nine-year run that began in 1971. They are back, however, recently! They made a lasting impression during that period. Their singles did not do well, like Pink Floyd’s, but they were consistently great and now hold the 1st & 3rd positions on the most-sold albums ever lists, with the winner being their greatest hits album.

The band reunited in 1994 and released an album with new material, a documentary and went on an extended tour. This will increase their fan base and sales. Their blend of bluegrass, soul, rock, and R&B is a favorite among fans.

Trivia Facts Once fired from The Eagles. Although the group had a 5-way split of profits, this member demanded a higher percentage. He was told where to put it. After inventing reasons to sue the group, he was quickly dismissed by the judge.

Honorable Mentions for The Best Bands of All Time

There are so many great bands that it is impossible to list them all, even with runners-up. There are many more great bands that we can easily list, so why not? These bands are still producing new music and many of them are still performing, so there is a chance they can climb the ranks.

  • Kiss sold 28.6 millions records (way more than uncertified), and it is their tours and merchandise that demonstrate just how much of an impact they had on their many fans.
  • Van Halen sold over 65.2 millions records by making hard rock the most popular genre and meeting endless fan needs.
  • The popularity of Def Leppard was partly due to the fact that they were among the first bands to be featured on MTV at its peak.
  • Guns N’ Roses have sold 80 million units, almost all of them from one album featuring extremely successful singles.
  • Deep Purple is a pioneer in heavy metal and hard rock. It has been active since 1968. They have a long history of fans and continue to attract new ones. Their longevity is remarkable.
  • Aerosmith is a multi-millionaire with 104.6 million in sales. But did you know that they have made even more through their work with Guitar Hero?
  • Iron Maiden claims to have sold more than 100 million albums around the world, though this has not been verified.
  • Metallica, a heavy metal and founding thrash band, has sold 105.3 million units. They have won numerous awards for their incredible tours.
  • Black Sabbath was the first heavy metal group. They are so powerful, they started several solo careers that were equally successful.
  • AC/DC is a giant in heavy metal, with 128.3 millions of certified sales. They are praised by all the professionals in the music business for their music and performances.
  • The Dave Matthews Band has taken over the jam-band touring scene. Since the release of their debut album, they have been at number one on the charts and won all the awards.
  • The Pat Metheny Group is constantly on the road and employs the best vocalists and instrumentalists from all over the globe. They don’t have to be the best.

It’s possible to go on for hours. The entire list could be rearranged or changed if you changed the variables that were used to rate each band. These conversations are great fun. It’s great to see your favorite band appear and to see people react when theirs doesn’t. It’s not right, but it feels so right.

This list contains the wealthiest musicians in the world. If you enjoy this, you will probably have lots of fun looking through it. You’d be surprised at the extent of crossover. You might not expect it. We’d love to hear from you if your favorite band didn’t make it on this list of the best bands ever.

Top 10 Greatest Bands of All Time

This table lists the top 10 most influential bands of all-time. It includes their names as well as certified sales.

RankBandCertified Sales
1The Beatles289.3 million
2The Rolling Stones102.4 Million
3Pink Floyd123.4 Million
4Beach Boys32.5 Million
5Led Zeppelin142.2 Million
6U2114.5 Million
7The Who27.8 million
8Nirvana55.7 Million
9The Doors50.4 Million
10Queen170.5 Million

Leave a Comment