Special Report

100 Most Popular Rock Bands of All Time

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

90. Bad Company
> Spotify followers: 0.6 million
> Facebook likes: 1.0 million
> Most popular album: Holy Water

Bad Company was a 1970s-era guitar-powered supergroup that included members from the bands Free, King Crimson, and Mott the Hoople. Their self-titled debut album was a big hit, and the single “Can’t Get Enough” rose to No. 5 and was their most successful single. Bad Company has had six albums go platinum and four have been certified multiplatinum.

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89. The Cranberries
> Spotify followers: 1.9 million
> Facebook likes: 4.0 million
> Most popular album: Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

Starting with “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We” — which contained the hit singles “Linger” and “Dreams” — Irish rock group The Cranberries released a string of albums from 1993 to 2001 that collectively sold over 14 million copies in the United States. After a 10-year hiatus, The Cranberries released “Roses” in 2012, followed by “Something Else” in 2017. Following lead singer Dolores O’Riordan’s untimely death in 2018, the group released “In the End,” which featured demo vocals recorded by O’Riordan, and announced their disbandment.

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88. REO Speedwagon
> Spotify followers: 1.1 million
> Facebook likes: 1.7 million
> Most popular album: Hi Infidelity

REO Speedwagon was founded by two University of Illinois students in the late 1960s, and the group would eventually evolve into one of the most successful arena bands of the 1980s. The band has had four Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and two singles — “Keep On Loving You,” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” — that reached No. 1.

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87. Steely Dan
> Spotify followers: 1.0 million
> Facebook likes: 1.0 million
> Most popular album: Aja

The jazz-rock act led by Donald Fagen and the late Walter Becker broke through with its unique blend of genres in 1972 with the album “Can’t Buy a Thrill.” The album contained the songs “Do It Again” and “Reelin’ In the Years,” which rose to No. 6 and No. 11, respectively, on the Billboard 100 and would be played often on FM radio in the succeeding years. Steely Dan has had eight albums reach platinum status on RIAA.

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86. Santana
> Spotify followers: 1.4 million
> Facebook likes: 6.3 million
> Most popular album: Santana

Santana, led by guitar virtuoso Carlos Santana, posted their first Top 10 single in 1970 (“Evil Ways”) and their most recent hit in 2008 (“Into the Night”). Two songs have climbed to the Billboard Hot 100 pinnacle — “Smooth” in 1999 and “Maria Maria” in 2000. Four Santana albums have gone to No.1 on the Billboard 200, including their most recent work “Shaman” in 2002. Santana’s 1971 album “Abraxas” is a five-time platinum record.

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85. Nine Inch Nails
> Spotify followers: 1.4 million
> Facebook likes: 3.4 million
> Most popular album: The Downward Spiral

Formed in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1989, Nine Inch Nails helped popularize industrial rock through critically and commercially successful albums such as “The Downward Spiral,” “The Fragile,” “With Teeth,” and “Year Zero.” In recent years, members Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have received acclaim for their work in film scoring, including original compositions for “The Social Network,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and “Gone Girl.”

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84. The Black Keys
> Spotify followers: 3.1 million
> Facebook likes: 4.2 million
> Most popular album: Brothers

Consisting of guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney, the Black Keys have sold over 5 million albums in the United States and have won four Grammy awards. After a hiatus beginning in 2015, during which Auerbach and Carney pursued solo projects and collaborated with other artists, the bluesy duo returned in 2019 with the release of “Let’s Rock,” which quickly became the band’s fourth album to reach the Top 10 on the Billboard 200.

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83. The Cars
> Spotify followers: 0.8 million
> Facebook likes: 1.2 million
> Most popular album: The Cars

The Boston-based band fronted by Ric Ocasek was the most successful American new wave group in the 1980s. Five of their albums were Top 10 successes. Their eponymous debut album is a six-time certified platinum record, one of five albums to go multi-platinum. Three of the band’s four Top 10 singles came from their album “Heartbeat City” — “Drive,” “You Might Think,” and “Magic.”

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82. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
> Spotify followers: 0.8 million
> Facebook likes: 2.3 million
> Most popular album: Icon: Greatest Hits

The raspy-voiced Detroit rocker and unofficial spokesman for the American heartland has recorded 13 platinum albums, seven of them consecutively. The Grammy winner had a big year in 1976 with the release of the albums “Live Bullet” and “Night Moves.” His tours with the Silver Bullet Band and songs about the ruggedness and solitude of the West as well as ballads about small-town America garnered critics’ and fan approval. The durable Seger has had seven Top 10 singles, including the chart-topper “Shakedown” in 1987.

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81. Talking Heads
> Spotify followers: 1.2 million
> Facebook likes: 0.6 million
> Most popular album: Stop Making Sense

The eclectic, art-school band emerged from the New York punk scene in the 1970s. It was helmed by singer-songwriter and frontman David Byrne, who was once hailed by Time magazine as rock’s renaissance man. The Talking Heads delved into indie, dance-punk, alternative, art-rock and had most of their success with albums. Three albums — “Stop Making Sense,” Little Creatures,” and “Speaking in Tongues” — have gone platinum.