100 Most Popular Rock Bands of All Time

April 6, 2018 by Steven M. Peters

Source: Davies / Getty Images
Rock and roll has been a huge cultural force since it burst upon the musical scene in the 1950s. Not only has it dramatically altered the evolution of popular music, it has influenced fashion, human behavior, and cultural norms in general.

Traditionally, rock music has been especially popular among younger adults and teenagers. The music was associated with rebellion and youth. In 2017, however, for the first time, R&B and hip-hop became the most dominant genre in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music, surpassing rock music. Yet while many have turned their backs on the genre, and the list contains relatively fewer recent acts compared with the more established, classic rock bands, rock and roll is still alive and well.

Using a number of different metrics, 24/7 Wall St. has identified the 100 most popular rock bands of all time. The selection of these artists is based on measures such as record sales, Billboard performance, Wikipedia page views, and popularity on the online streaming platform Spotify.

Click here to see the 100 most popular rock bands of all time.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images for Rebel Waltz

100. No Doubt
> Formed in: Anaheim, California in 1986
> All time U.S. album sales: 15.0 million
> Most popular album: Tragic Kingdom
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,333,544

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Source: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

99. Avenged Sevenfold
> Formed in: Huntington Beach, California in 1999
> All time U.S. album sales: 3.0 million
> Most popular album: City of Evil
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,623,803

Source: Chris Stone / Wikimedia Commons

98. Grateful Dead
> Formed in: Palo Alto, California in 1965
> All time U.S. album sales: 18.5 million
> Most popular album: Skeletons From the Closet
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,265,794

Source: JStone / Shutterstock.com

97. Kings of Leon
> Formed in: Nashville, Tennessee in 2000
> All time U.S. album sales: 2.5 million
> Most popular album: Only by the Night
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,786,703

Source: Rex Aran Emrick / Wikimedia Commons

96. Alice in Chains
> Formed in: Seattle, Washington in 1987
> All time U.S. album sales: 12.5 million
> Most popular album: Dirt
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,259,561

Source: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com

95. The Script
> Formed in: Dublin, Republic of Ireland in 2001
> All time U.S. album sales: 0.0 million
> Most popular album: Hall of Fame featuring will.i.am (single)
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 782,695

Source: Sven Mandel / Wikimedia Commons

94. Five Finger Death Punch
> Formed in: Los Angeles, California in 2005
> All time U.S. album sales: 4.5 million
> Most popular album: Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Volume 1
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,758,210

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Source: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com

93. Muse
> Formed in: Teignmouth, United Kingdom in 1994
> All time U.S. album sales: 3.5 million
> Most popular album: Resistance
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,158,961

Source: Penner / Wikimedia Commons

92. Rage Against the Machine
> Formed in: Los Angeles, California in 1991
> All time U.S. album sales: 9.0 million
> Most popular album: Evil Empire
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,808,944

Source: Lunchbox LP / Wikimedia Commons

91. The Fray
> Formed in: Denver, Colorado in 2002
> All time U.S. album sales: 3.0 million
> Most popular album: How to Save a Life
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 538,036

Source: Kotivalo / Wikimedia Commons

90. Steely Dan
> Formed in: Annandale-on-Hudson, New York in 1972
> All time U.S. album sales: 11.0 million
> Most popular album: Aja
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,134,340

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Source: Justin Higuchi / Wikimedia Commons

89. Evanescence
> Formed in: Little Rock, Arkansas in 1998
> All time U.S. album sales: 9.5 million
> Most popular album: Fallen
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,212,173

Source: momento mori from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia / Wikimedia Commons

88. The Cure
> Formed in: Crawley, United Kingdom in 1976
> All time U.S. album sales: 8.5 million
> Most popular album: Disintegration
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,061,281

Source: George Rose / Getty Images

87. Huey Lewis & the News
> Formed in: San Francisco, California in 1979
> All time U.S. album sales: 12.0 million
> Most popular album: Sports
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 540,051

Source: Pablo BM from Plymouth, England / Wikimedia Commons

86. Scorpions
> Formed in: Hanover, Germany in 1965
> All time U.S. album sales: 10.5 million
> Most popular album: Love at First Sting
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,784,677

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

85. INXS
> Formed in: Sydney, Australia in 1977
> All time U.S. album sales: 15.0 million
> Most popular album: Kick
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,184,898

Source: Hackstar18 / Wikimedia Commons

84. Three Days Grace
> Formed in: Ontario, Canada in early 1990s in 1995
> All time U.S. album sales: 6.0 million
> Most popular album: One-X
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,087,722

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Source: bill from jersey city / Wikimedia Commons

83. Slipknot
> Formed in: Des Moines, Iowa in 1995
> All time U.S. album sales: 6.0 million
> Most popular album: Slipknot
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 3,092,570

Source: Matt Becker / Wikimedia Commons

82. Styx
> Formed in: Chicago, Illinois in 1972
> All time U.S. album sales: 17.5 million
> Most popular album: Paradise Theater
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,618,717

Source: Fr. Jeff Lorig / Wikimedia Commons

81. Goo Goo Dolls
> Formed in: Buffalo, New York in 1985
> All time U.S. album sales: 6.5 million
> Most popular album: A Boy Named Goo
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,080,299

Source: wonker / Wikimedia Commons

80. The Offspring
> Formed in: Garden Grove, California in 1984
> All time U.S. album sales: 14.5 million
> Most popular album: Smash
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,492,360

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Source: Ted Van Pelt from Mechanicsburg, PA, USA / Wikimedia Commons

79. Disturbed
> Formed in: Chicago, Illinois in 1994
> All time U.S. album sales: 9.5 million
> Most popular album: The Sickness
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,125,848

Source: W. Veenmanderivative / Wikimedia Commons

78. The Kinks
> Formed in: London, United Kingdom in 1963
> All time U.S. album sales: 2.0 million
> Most popular album: Give the People What They Want
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,340,021

Source: Northfoto / Shutterstock.com

77. Korn
> Formed in: Bakersfield, California in 1993
> All time U.S. album sales: 16.5 million
> Most popular album: Follow the Leader
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,448,655

Source: Antje Naumann (AllSystemsRed) / Wikimedia Commons

76. Limp Bizkit
> Formed in: Jacksonville, Florida in 1994
> All time U.S. album sales: 16.5 million
> Most popular album: Significant Other
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,723,481

Source: Spoco2 / Wikimedia Commons

75. Dave Matthews Band
> Formed in: Charlottesville, Virginia in 1991
> All time U.S. album sales: 33.5 million
> Most popular album: Crash
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 957,832

Source: Soundslikewill / Wikimedia Commons

74. Steve Miller Band
> Formed in: San Francisco, California in 1966
> All time U.S. album sales: 25.5 million
> Most popular album: Greatest Hits 1974-1978
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 800,871

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Source: http://www.thetroubadoursroad.com / Wikimedia Commons

73. Mumford & Sons
> Formed in: London, United Kingdom in 2007
> All time U.S. album sales: 5.5 million
> Most popular album: Sigh No More
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,659,932

Source: Bill Ebbesen / Wikimedia Commons

72. Arctic Monkeys
> Formed in: Sheffield, United Kingdom in 2001
> All time U.S. album sales: 1.5 million
> Most popular album: AM/Do I Wanna Know
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,294,280

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

71. Creed
> Formed in: Tallahassee, Florida in 1995
> All time U.S. album sales: 25.0 million
> Most popular album: Human Clay
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,139,685

Source: The Dark Lord of Wiki / Wikimedia Commons

70. System of a Down
> Formed in: Glendale, California in 1994
> All time U.S. album sales: 7.0 million
> Most popular album: Toxicity
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,727,377

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Source: Matthew F from GA / Wikimedia Commons

69. The Smashing Pumpkins
> Formed in: Chicago, Illinois in 1988
> All time U.S. album sales: 19.8 million
> Most popular album: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,082,825

Source: Sry85 / Wikimedia Commons

68. Matchbox Twenty
> Formed in: Orlando, Florida in 1996
> All time U.S. album sales: 19.0 million
> Most popular album: Yourself or Someone Like You
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 759,951

Source: Kreepin Deth / Wikimedia Commons

67. Alice Cooper
> Formed in: Phoenix, Arizona in 1968
> All time U.S. album sales: 8.0 million
> Most popular album: Trash
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 4,075,536

Source: Larry Philpot / Wikimedia Commons

66. REO Speedwagon
> Formed in: Champaign, Illinois in 1968
> All time U.S. album sales: 24.5 million
> Most popular album: Hi Infidelity
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,292,627

Source: Rhino Entertainment Company / Elektra Records / Wikimedia Commons

65. The Cars
> Formed in: Boston, Massachusetts in 1976
> All time U.S. album sales: 23.5 million
> Most popular album: The Cars/The Cars Greatest Hits
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,065,189

Source: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

64. Toto
> Formed in: Los Angeles, California in 1978
> All time U.S. album sales: 7.5 million
> Most popular album: Toto IV
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,981,270

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

63. Deep Purple
> Formed in: Hertfordshire, United Kingdom in 1968
> All time U.S. album sales: 7.5 million
> Most popular album: Machine Head
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,558,433

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

62. 3 Doors Down
> Formed in: Escatawpa, Mississippi in 1994
> All time U.S. album sales: 12.0 million
> Most popular album: The Better Life
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,189,573

Source: Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images

61. Oasis
> Formed in: Manchester, United Kingdom in 1991
> All time U.S. album sales: 6.0 million
> Most popular album: What’s the Story Morning Glory?
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 3,459,995

Source: Francis from Groningen, Netherlands / Wikimedia Commons

60. Iron Maiden
> Formed in: Leyton, London, United Kingdom in 1975
> All time U.S. album sales: 6.5 million
> Most popular album: Somewhere in Time
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 3,300,102

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Source: Eva Rinaldi / Wikimedia Commons

59. The Cranberries
> Formed in: Limerick, Republic of Ireland in 1989
> All time U.S. album sales: 14.5 million
> Most popular album: No Need to Argue
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,836,684

Source: yakub88 / Shutterstock.com

58. Paramore
> Formed in: Franklin, Tennessee in 2003
> All time U.S. album sales: 4.5 million
> Most popular album: Riot!
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,494,015

Source: Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock.com

57. The Killers
> Formed in: Las Vegas, Nevada in 2002
> All time U.S. album sales: 4.5 million
> Most popular album: Hot Fuss
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,364,478

Source: Noam Wind / Shutterstock.com

56. Depeche Mode
> Formed in: Basildon, United Kingdom in 1980
> All time U.S. album sales: 10.5 million
> Most popular album: Violator
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,963,697

Source: David Gans / Wikimedia Commons

55. The Doobie Brothers
> Formed in: San Jose, California in 1970
> All time U.S. album sales: 22.0 million
> Most popular album: Best of the Doobies
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,432,612

Source: Wikimedia Commons

54. Boston
> Formed in: Boston, Massachusetts in 1970
> All time U.S. album sales: 31.0 million
> Most popular album: Boston
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,425,460

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Source: michell zappa / Wikimedia Commons

53. Radiohead
> Formed in: Abingdon, United Kingdom in 1985
> All time U.S. album sales: 6.5 million
> Most popular album: OK Computer
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 3,874,461

Source: Jack Fordyce / Shutterstock.com

52. Marilyn Manson
> Formed in: Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1989
> All time U.S. album sales: 4.5 million
> Most popular album: Mechanical Animals
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 6,463,758

Source: Malcolm Clarke / Keystone / Getty Images

51. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
> Formed in: Dearborn, Michigan in 1974
> All time U.S. album sales: 44.5 million
> Most popular album: Greatest Hits
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 8,245

Source: Victor Schifeli / Wikimedia Commons

50. Dire Straits
> Formed in: London, United Kingdom in 1977
> All time U.S. album sales: 15.5 million
> Most popular album: Brothers in Arms
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,742,360

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Source: yakub88 / Shutterstock.com

49. Blink-182
> Formed in: San Diego, California in 1991
> All time U.S. album sales: 10.0 million
> Most popular album: Enema of the State
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 4,349,981

Source: Tetris L / Wikimedia Commons

48. Panic! at the Disco
> Formed in: Las Vegas, Nevada in 2004
> All time U.S. album sales: 4.5 million
> Most popular album: A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 3,026,706

Source: Paul Carless / Wikimedia Commons

47. Electric Light Orchestra
> Formed in: Birmingham, United Kingdom in 1970
> All time U.S. album sales: 10.0 million
> Most popular album: ELO’s Greatest Hits
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,105,601

Source: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com

46. Gorillaz
> Formed in: Essex, United Kingdom in 1998
> All time U.S. album sales: 3.0 million
> Most popular album: Demon Days
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 5,583,853

Source: Craig ONeal / Wikimedia Commons

45. ZZ Top
> Formed in: Houston, Texas in 1969
> All time U.S. album sales: 25.0 million
> Most popular album: Eliminator
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,388,528

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

44. Rush
> Formed in: Toronto, Canada in 1968
> All time U.S. album sales: 25.0 million
> Most popular album: Moving Pictures
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,261,595

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Source: Fileri / Wikimedia Commons

43. Kiss
> Formed in: New York City, New York in 1973
> All time U.S. album sales: 21.0 million
> Most popular album: Destroyer
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 3,573,227

Source: JD554 / Wikimedia Commons

42. R.E.M.
> Formed in: Athens, Georgia in 1980
> All time U.S. album sales: 20.0 million
> Most popular album: Monster
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,140,361

Source: Graham Wood / Getty Images

41. Genesis
> Formed in: Godalming, United Kingdom in 1967
> All time U.S. album sales: 21.5 million
> Most popular album: Genesis
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,381,847

Source: Ian Gavan / Getty Images for MTV

40. OneRepublic
> Formed in: Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2004
> All time U.S. album sales: 2.0 million
> Most popular album: Native
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,533,646

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Source: Verhoeff, Bert / Anefo / Wikimedia Commons

39. ABBA
> Formed in: Stockholm, Sweden in early 1970s
> All time U.S. album sales: 10.5 million
> Most popular album: Gold – Greatest Hits
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 3,999,558

Source: Davidwbaker / Wikimedia Commons

38. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
> Formed in: Gainesville, Florida in 1976
> All time U.S. album sales: 31.5 million
> Most popular album: Greatest Hits
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,207,253

Source: Elvire.R. from Marseille, France / Wikimedia Commons

37. The Police
> Formed in: London, United Kingdom in 1977
> All time U.S. album sales: 22.0 million
> Most popular album: Synchronicity
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,542,604

Source: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

36. Fall Out Boy
> Formed in: Chicago, Illinois in 2001
> All time U.S. album sales: 6.0 million
> Most popular album: From Under the Cork Tree
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,343,798

Source: Epic / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

35. Heart
> Formed in: Seattle, Washington in early 1970s
> All time U.S. album sales: 22.5 million
> Most popular album: Heart
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,924,534

Source: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

34. Foo Fighters
> Formed in: Seattle, Washington in 1994
> All time U.S. album sales: 7.0 million
> Most popular album: Wasting Light
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 3,427,619

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Source: Mercury Records / Hulton Archive / Courtesy of Getty Images

33. Def Leppard
> Formed in: Sheffield, United Kingdom in 1977
> All time U.S. album sales: 35.0 million
> Most popular album: Hysteria
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,942,227

Source: Antonio Scorza / Shutterstock.com

32. Nickelback
> Formed in: Hanna, Canada in 1995
> All time U.S. album sales: 24.0 million
> Most popular album: All the Right Reasons
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,912,530

Source: Ga Fullner / Shutterstock.com

31. Black Sabbath
> Formed in: Aston, United Kingdom in 1968
> All time U.S. album sales: 15.0 million
> Most popular album: Paranoid
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 3,504,099

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

30. Foreigner
> Formed in: New York City, New York in 1976
> All time U.S. album sales: 37.5 million
> Most popular album: Double Vision
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,743,783

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Source: Anything! / Wikimedia Commons

29. Pearl Jam
> Formed in: Seattle, Washington in 1990
> All time U.S. album sales: 31.5 million
> Most popular album: Ten
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,604,292

Source: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

28. Green Day
> Formed in: Berkeley, California in late 1980s
> All time U.S. album sales: 24.0 million
> Most popular album: Dookie
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 3,876,314

Source: Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com

27. Lynyrd Skynyrd
> Formed in: Jacksonville, Florida in 1968
> All time U.S. album sales: 28.5 million
> Most popular album: Skynyrd’s Innyrds
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 4,145,421

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

26. The Doors
> Formed in: Los Angeles, California in 1965
> All time U.S. album sales: 33.0 million
> Most popular album: The Best of the Doors
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,176,482

Source: Yahoo! Blog / Wikimedia Commons

25. Coldplay
> Formed in: London, United Kingdom in 1996
> All time U.S. album sales: 14.5 million
> Most popular album: A Rush of Blood to the Head
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 4,894,538

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

24. The Beach Boys
> Formed in: Hawthorne, California in 1961
> All time U.S. album sales: 22.5 million
> Most popular album: Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of the Beach Boys
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 4,220,083

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

23. The Who
> Formed in: London, United Kingdom in 1964
> All time U.S. album sales: 21.0 million
> Most popular album: Who’s Next
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,459,278

Source: Maia Valenzuela / Flickr

22. Nirvana
> Formed in: Aberdeen, Washington in 1987
> All time U.S. album sales: 25.0 million
> Most popular album: Nevermind
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 3,725,343

Source: Ian Showell / Keystone / Getty Images

21. Chicago
> Formed in: Chicago, Illinois in 1967
> All time U.S. album sales: 38.5 million
> Most popular album: Chicago 17
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,409,940

Source: Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

20. Santana
> Formed in: San Francisco, California in 1967
> All time U.S. album sales: 43.5 million
> Most popular album: Supernatural
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 1,290,189

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

19. Creedence Clearwater Revival
> Formed in: El Cerrito, California in 1967
> All time U.S. album sales: 28.0 million
> Most popular album: Chronicle: 20 Greatest Hits
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,412,076

Source: Matt Becker / Wikimedia Commons

18. Journey
> Formed in: San Francisco, California in 1973
> All time U.S. album sales: 48.0 million
> Most popular album: Greatest Hits
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 3,349,832

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

17. Van Halen
> Formed in: Pasadena, California in 1974
> All time U.S. album sales: 56.5 million
> Most popular album: 1984 (MCMLXXXIV)
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,110,739

Source: Ian Gavan / Getty Images

16. U2
> Formed in: Dublin, Republic of Ireland in 1976
> All time U.S. album sales: 52.0 million
> Most popular album: The Joshua Tree
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 3,241,893

Source: Mike Coppola / Getty Images

15. Bon Jovi
> Formed in: Sayreville, New Jersey in 1983
> All time U.S. album sales: 34.5 million
> Most popular album: Slippery When Wet
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,994,792

Source: Timothy Tsui / Wikimedia Commons

14. Maroon 5
> Formed in: Los Angeles, California in 2001
> All time U.S. album sales: 10.0 million
> Most popular album: Songs About Jane
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,714,145

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Source: Aija Lehtonen / Shutterstock.com

13. Red Hot Chili Peppers
> Formed in: Los Angeles, California in 1983
> All time U.S. album sales: 25.0 million
> Most popular album: Blood Sugar Sex Magik
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 6,443,759

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

12. Linkin Park
> Formed in: Agoura Hills, California in 1996
> All time U.S. album sales: 27.0 million
> Most popular album: Hybrid Theory
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 8,429,414

Source: Noam Galai / Getty Images

11. Fleetwood Mac
> Formed in: London, United Kingdom in 1967
> All time U.S. album sales: 49.5 million
> Most popular album: Rumours
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 4,565,270

Source: Yulia Grigoryeva / Shutterstock.com

10. Aerosmith
> Formed in: Boston, Massachusetts in 1969
> All time U.S. album sales: 66.5 million
> Most popular album: Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 2,386,579

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Source: Raph_PH / Wikimedia Commons

9. Guns N’ Roses
> Formed in: Los Angeles, California in 1985
> All time U.S. album sales: 44.5 million
> Most popular album: Appetite for Destruction
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 5,004,935

Source: Yulia Grigoryeva / Shutterstock.com

8. Metallica
> Formed in: Los Angeles, California in 1981
> All time U.S. album sales: 63.0 million
> Most popular album: Metallica
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 6,464,590

Source: Rick Diamond / Getty Images

7. Eagles
> Formed in: Los Angeles, California in 1971
> All time U.S. album sales: 101.0 million
> Most popular album: Eagles/Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 4,208,898

Source: Newsmakers / Getty Images

6. AC/DC
> Formed in: Sydney, Australia in 1973
> All time U.S. album sales: 72.0 million
> Most popular album: Back in Black
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 6,534,987

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

5. The Rolling Stones
> Formed in: London, United Kingdom in 1962
> All time U.S. album sales: 66.5 million
> Most popular album: Hot Rocks
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 4,891,805

Source: MJ Kim / Getty Images

4. Pink Floyd
> Formed in: London, United Kingdom in 1965
> All time U.S. album sales: 75.0 million
> Most popular album: The Wall
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 6,394,669

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Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

3. Queen
> Formed in: London, United Kingdom in 1970
> All time U.S. album sales: 34.5 million
> Most popular album: Greatest Hits
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 5,218,108

Source: Jim Summaria, http://www.jimsummariaphoto.com/ / Wikimedia Commons

2. Led Zeppelin
> Formed in: Birmingham, United Kingdom in 1968
> All time U.S. album sales: 111.5 million
> Most popular album: Led Zeppelin IV
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 5,353,031

Source: John Pratt / Keystone / Getty Images

1. The Beatles
> Formed in: Liverpool, United Kingdom in 1960
> All time U.S. album sales: 178.0 million
> Most popular album: The Beatles
> Annual Wikipedia page views: 9,168,431

Detailed Findings & Methodology

Rock music is unique in that the artists primarily work together and release music as bands, or ensembles with fairly consistent membership. While there are many great rock performers who are better known as solo artists – such as Prince, David Bowie, and Elvis Presley – 24/7 Wall St. looked only at bands for this article.

Rock bands do not all gain popularity in the same manner. Some, like Australian band AC/DC and many other bands from the previous century, toured, created, and sold many, many albums. In total, AC/DC has sold 72 million records in the United States alone, according to The Recording Industry Association of America. Others, generally more recent rock bands such as OneRepublic that was formed earlier this century, use the internet to gain popularity. That band has only sold 2 million records, but it is hugely popular online, with more than 1.5 million annual Wikipedia page views and over 4.2 million followers on Spotify.

Generally, newer artists have significantly better internet presence. The three bands with the most Spotify followers are Coldplay, Maroon 5, and Linkin Park, which were all formed in the late 1990s. Alternatively, those performers with the most albums sold, as measured by the RIAA, are the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and the Eagles, all of whom were started in the 60s and 70s.

The order of artists on the list also illustrates that there is more to being a popular rock band than simply musical ability. Fashion and attitude have always played a role in rock success, and the importance of image only increased with the advent of MTV in 1981. Bands that are highly skilled on a technical level – such as Steely Dan and Grateful Dead – therefore find themselves outranked by more pop-oriented groups such as Blink-182 in certain cases.

To determine the most popular rock bands of all time, 24/7 Wall St. generated an index based on album sales, popularity of singles, popularity of the band’s Wikipedia page, popularity on Spotify, and user votes. Each component of the index was given equal weight.

A band’s total certified U.S. album sales came from the Recording Industry Association of America. The RIAA tracks album sales released in the American market with a threshold of 500,000 units sold. How well a band’s singles performed was determined by awarding a band points for singles that spent time on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. A single was awarded points based on the number of weeks it was on the list and its rank for each week. Wikipedia page views were calculated for the past two years. Popularity on Spotify was based on Spotify’s popularity index. User votes came from a list on Ranker.com that ranked the best rock bands of all time.

A band’s most popular album is based on RIAA data for U.S. album sales. In cases where a band had multiple albums that sold the same number of copies, the most recent release was chosen. Data relating to the year that each band was formed comes from band websites and other media sources such as Rolling Stone.