Special Report

The Most Famous Band Formed the Year You Were Born

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

About seven decades ago, a rock and roll group called The Beatles was formed in Liverpool, England. They would go on to make 27 separate No. 1 singles and become the top selling band of all time.

Musical ensembles have been around since there was music. But it was not until amplifiers were introduced and recording technology rapidly improved in the early to mid-20th century that rock and pop bands became the cultural touchstones they are today. Solo artists like Elvis Presley paved the way in the 1950s, but The Beatles truly kicked off a global obsession with rock and roll and pop music.

Every year since The Beatles were formed in 1957, at least one massively popular band — and usually many — came together. Based on measures of popularity, including records sales, Wikipedia page views, billboard charts, and more, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the most famous band formed every year from 1957 through 2010.

Click here to see the most popular bands of all time.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: Giancarlo Liguori / Shutterstock.com

> Artist: The Beatles
> U.S. certified album sales: 178 million
> Top charting track: Hey Jude
> Active: 1950s – 1960s


Source: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

> Artist: Bee Gees
> U.S. certified album sales: 27 million
> Top charting track: How Deep Is Your Love
> Active: 1960s – 2000s

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
> U.S. certified album sales: 28 million
> Top charting track: Bad Moon Rising
> Active: 1960s – 1970s

Source: Zoran Veselinovic / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: The Temptations
> U.S. certified album sales: 12.5 million
> Top charting track: I Can’t Get Next to You
> Active: 1960s – 2010s


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: The Beach Boys
> U.S. certified album sales: 22.5 million
> Top charting track: Kokomo
> Active: 1960s – 2010s

Source: Øderud / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: The Rolling Stones
> U.S. certified album sales: 66.5 million
> Top charting track: Miss You
> Active: 1960s – 2010s


Source: Nationaal Archief

> Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
> U.S. certified album sales: 38.5 million
> Top charting track: Bridge Over Troubled Water
> Active: 1960s – 2000s

Source: Andrew King / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd
> U.S. certified album sales: 28.5 million
> Top charting track: Sweet Home Alabama
> Active: 1960s – 2010s

Source: Dave Bushe / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Pink Floyd
> U.S. certified album sales: 75 million
> Top charting track: Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)
> Active: 1960s – 2010s


Source: Entertainment International / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: The Monkees
> U.S. certified album sales: 18 million
> Top charting track: I’m a Believer
> Active: 1960s – 2000s

Source: Joe Bielawa / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Fleetwood Mac
> U.S. certified album sales: 49.5 million
> Top charting track: Dreams
> Active: 1960s – 2000s


Source: Heinrich Klaffs / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Led Zeppelin
> U.S. certified album sales: 111.5 million
> Top charting track: Whole Lotta Love
> Active: 1960s – 2000s

Source: Craig ONeal / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: ZZ Top
> U.S. certified album sales: 25 million
> Top charting track: Legs
> Active: 1970s – 2010s

Source: daigooliva / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Aerosmith
> U.S. certified album sales: 66.5 million
> Top charting track: I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
> Active: 1970s – 2010s


Source: Rachel Kramer / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Eagles
> U.S. certified album sales: 101 million
> Top charting track: Best of My Love
> Active: 1970s – 2010s

Source: bella lago / Best of Both Worlds

> Artist: Van Halen
> U.S. certified album sales: 56.5 million
> Top charting track: Jump
> Active: 1970s – 2010s


Source: Egghead06 / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: AC/DC
> U.S. certified album sales: 72 million
> Top charting track: Moneytalks
> Active: 1970s – 2010s

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
> U.S. certified album sales: 44.5 million
> Top charting track: Shame on the Moon
> Active: 1970s

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Boston
> U.S. certified album sales: 31 million
> Top charting track: Amanda
> Active: 1970s – 2010s


Source: Helge Øverås / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: U2
> U.S. certified album sales: 52 million
> Top charting track: With or Without You
> Active: 1970s – 2010s

Source: Weatherman90 / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Def Leppard
> U.S. certified album sales: 35 million
> Top charting track: Love Bites
> Active: 1970s – 2010s


Source: Jelena Ivanović, EXIT Photo Team / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Duran Duran
> U.S. certified album sales: 12 million
> Top charting track: The Reflex
> Active: 1970s – 2010s

Source: Nicholastbroussard / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Beastie Boys
> U.S. certified album sales: 23 million
> Top charting track: (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)
> Active: 1980s – 2010s

Source: Yves Lorson / Flickr

> Artist: R.E.M.
> U.S. certified album sales: 20 million
> Top charting track: Losing My Religion
> Active: 1980s – 2010s


Source: Kreepin Deth / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Metallica
> U.S. certified album sales: 63 million
> Top charting track: Until It Sleeps
> Active: 1980s – 2010s

Source: mrmatt / Flickr

> Artist: The Smiths
> U.S. certified album sales: 1.5 million
> Top charting track: Strangeways, Here We Come
> Active: 1980s


Source: Rosana Prada / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Bon Jovi
> U.S. certified album sales: 34.5 million
> Top charting track: You Give Love a Bad Name
> Active: 1980s – 2010s

Source: Alan Light / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: New Kids on the Block
> U.S. certified album sales: 16.5 million
> Top charting track: I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)
> Active: 1980s – 2010s

Source: Ed Vill / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Guns N’ Roses
> U.S. certified album sales: 44.5 million
> Top charting track: Sweet Child O’ Mine
> Active: 1980s – 2010s


Source: Lorie Shaull / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: No Doubt
> U.S. certified album sales: 15 million
> Top charting track: Underneath It All
> Active: 1980s – 2010s

Source: Rex Aran Emrick / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Alice in Chains
> U.S. certified album sales: 12.5 million
> Top charting track: Check My Brain
> Active: 1980s – 2010s


Source: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Brooks & Dunn
> U.S. certified album sales: 27.5 million
> Top charting track: Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You
> Active: 1980s – 2010s

Source: Wasted Time R/ Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Dixie Chicks
> U.S. certified album sales: 30.5 million
> Top charting track: Not Ready to Make Nice
> Active: 1980s – 2010s

Source: perfectrx / Flickr

> Artist: Pearl Jam
> U.S. certified album sales: 31.5 million
> Top charting track: Last Kiss
> Active: 1990s – 2010s


Source: Moses / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Dave Matthews Band
> U.S. certified album sales: 33.5 million
> Top charting track: American Baby
> Active: 1990s – 2010s

Source: Kerry Key / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: blink-182
> U.S. certified album sales: 9.5 million
> Top charting track: All the Small Things
> Active: 1990s – 2010s


Source: Joel Telling / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Backstreet Boys
> U.S. certified album sales: 37 million
> Top charting track: Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)
> Active: 1990s-2010s

Source: Carlos Varela / Flickr

> Artist: Limp Bizkit
> U.S. certified album sales: 16.5 million
> Top charting track: Rollin’
> Active: 1990s-2010s

Source: Joe Shlabotnik - Flickr

> Artist: *NSYNC
> U.S. certified album sales: 28 million
> Top charting track: It’s Gonna Be Me
> Active: 1990s-2010s


Source: Sry85 / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Matchbox Twenty
> U.S. certified album sales: 19 million
> Top charting track: Bent
> Active: 1990s-2010s

Source: savagegarden.com

> Artist: Savage Garden
> U.S. certified album sales: 10 million
> Top charting track: Truly Madly Deeply
> Active: 1990s-2000s


Source: Roger Woolman / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: The Strokes
> U.S. certified album sales: 1.5 million
> Top charting track: Juicebox
> Active: 1990s-2010s

Source: Bob James / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Rascal Flatts
> U.S. certified album sales: 18.5 million
> Top charting track: Hero
> Active: 1990s-2010s

Source: Jim Baldwin / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
> U.S. certified album sales: 500,000
> Top charting track: Maps
> Active: 2000s-2010s


Source: hsaudreylynne / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Fall Out Boy
> U.S. certified album sales: 6 million
> Top charting track: This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race
> Active: 2000s-2010s

Source: Bertrand / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: MGMT
> U.S. certified album sales: 500,000
> Top charting track: Kids
> Active: 2000s-2010s


Source: ruiwen / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Pussycat Dolls
> U.S. certified album sales: 2 million
> Top charting track: Don’t Cha
> Active: 2000s-2010s

Source: Sarah Zucca / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Panic! at the Disco
> U.S. certified album sales: 4 million
> Top charting track: I Write Sins Not Tragedies
> Active: 2000s-2010s

Source: Christopher Simon / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Jonas Brothers
> U.S. certified album sales: 2 million
> Top charting track: Burnin’ Up
> Active: 2000s-2010s


Source: danieljordahl / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Bon Iver
> U.S. certified album sales: 1 million
> Top charting track: Skinny Love
> Active: 2000s-2010s

Source: Andrea Sartorati / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Mumford & Sons
> U.S. certified album sales: 5.5 million
> Top charting track: I Will Wait
> Active: 2000s – 2010s


Source: Sachyn Mital / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: The Lumineers
> U.S. certified album sales: 1.5 million
> Top charting track: Ho Hey
> Active: 2000s-2010s

Source: digboston / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: Twenty One Pilots
> U.S. certified album sales: 4 million
> Top charting track: Stressed Out
> Active: 2000s -2010s

Source: Fiona McKinlay / Wikimedia Commons

> Artist: One Direction
> U.S. certified album sales: 7 million
> Top charting track: Best Song Ever
> Active: 2010s

Some bands on this list were formed long before their years of fame. It can take time a long time for bands to make a name for themselves. Fleetwood Mac is an extreme case, but the band in its original form started in 1967. It would take roughly a decade and substantial personnel changes before the band would release Rumors and become a multi-platinum selling rock icon.

In the 1960s and 70s, rock and roll exploded worldwide. As a result, there is an abundance of bands formed at that time that didn’t make the list because they were pushed out by even bigger bands. Besides Fleetwood Mac, Chicago, Genesis, and Steve Miller Band were formed in 1967. Queen, The Doobie Brothers, and Bob Marley & The Wailers all got their start in 1970, but in our index Aerosmith is rated most famous.

More recently, the truly famous bands thin out somewhat. The 2000s include bands that have lots of records, such as the Pussycat Dolls (2003), the Jonas Brothers (2005), and The Lumineers (2008). But just as it took Fleetwood Mac a decade to find greatness, it may be a long time before we know which of these newer bands should be slotted in for those years.

To determine the most famous band formed the year you were born, 24/7 Wall St. created an index, using such measures as RIAA certified album sales, Wikipedia page views, awards, and other ranked list of popular bands. The year a band is formed can be difficult to pinpoint for a number of reasons, so to be consistent, we used the band formation years listed by MusicBrainz, an extensive music database created and curated by industry experts. The top charting album listed with each band is based on the song that charted the highest, with ties broken based on the number of weeks a song spent on the charts. Certified album sales is based on the Recording Industry Association of America’s list of certified gold and platinum albums. Counts included only album sales, and not singles. Years active figures are from music database Allmusic, and includes the start and end decade a band performed or recorded together, even if the band was broken up or on hiatus for some portion of that range.

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