45 Most Famous Alternative Rock Bands

We are going to explore the world of rock and roll and rank the best among the best of alternative rock bands.

45. Linkin Park

Linkin Park was formed in 1996. The band gained international fame after their debut album Hybrid Theory was released in 2000. The album was certified Diamond by the RIAA in 2005 and multi-platinum in other countries. Their second album Meteora made the band even more famous than they already are which made MTV name them as the 6th Greatest Band of the Music Video Era. "Crawling" and "One Step Closer" became staples among alternative rock radio play lists during the year the singles were released.

44. Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine was formed in 1991. The group was composed of rapper and vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist and backing vocalist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk. They derive their inspiration from early heavy metal instrumentation as well as hiphop. They are wildly known for their political views expressed in their songs. And as of 2010, the band has sold over 16 million records worldwide.

43. The Jesus and Mary Chain

The Jesus and Mary Chain was formed in 1983. The current band members are Jim Reid (vocals, guitars), William Reid (guitar, vocals), Phil King (bass), Brian Young (drums) and Mark Crozer (guitar). During their early days they are infamous for their short sets and violence during live shows.

42. The Replacements

The Replacements was formed in 1979. The band was composed of the guitarist and vocalist Paul Westerberg, guitarist Bob Stinson, bass guitarist Tommy Stinson and drummer Chris Mars for most of its career. Although the band was considered a pioneer of alternative rock they never really experienced commercial success except for their single "I'll Be You" which became number one in the Alt Rock Billboard listing.

41. New Order

New Order was formed in 1980. The current band members are Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Phil Cunningham and Tom Chapman. They were one of the most influential bands during the 80s because of their musical style which was combining post-punk and EDM. The band's hit single "Blue Monday" was one of the most best selling single of all time.

40. Stone Temple Pilots

Stone Temple Pilots consists of brothers Robert DeLeo (bass, backing vocals) and Dean DeLeo (guitar), Eric Kretz (drums, percussion) and Scott Weiland (lead vocals). In 2013, Scott Weiland was replaced by Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington. The band became wildly known after the release of their debut album Core.

39. Breaking Benjamin

Breaking Benjamin was founded in 1999 by lead singer and guitarist Benjamin Burnley and drummer Jeremy Hummel. Other two founding members were guitarist Aaron Fink and bassist Mark Klepaski. Chad Szeliga replaced Hummel as the band's drummer in 2005. The band went on hiatus in 2010 due to Burnley's illness and regrouped in 2014. During their hiatus, Shallow Bay: The Best of Breaking Benjamin was released without Burnley's authorization that led to the dismissal of Fink and Klepaski. Although there were a lot of changes in the band members the band's style was still consistent.

38. Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy was formed in 2001. The band was composed of vocalist and guitarist Patrick Stump, bassist Pete Wentz, guitarist Joe Trohman, and drummer Andy Hurley. The band was formed as a side project by Wentz and Trohman. Their album From Under the Cork Tree produced two chart topping singles "Sugar, We're Going Down" and "Dance, Dance". It went platinum making them superstars and Pete Wentz a celebrity.

37. Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie was formed in 1997. The band was composed of Ben Gibbard (vocals, guitar, piano), Nick Harmer (bass) and Jason McGerr (drums). Their chart topping single "A Movie Script Ending" came from the band's third album "The Photo Album". The single also was featured on the television show The O.C.

36. Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth was formed in 1981. Original members are Thurston Moore (guitar, vocals), Kim Gordon (bass guitar, vocals, guitar) and Lee Ranaldo (guitar, vocals). They remained together for the entire history of the band while drummer Steve Shelley followed several drummer before becoming part of the core line-up. The band went on a hiatus back in 2011 after vocalist Thurston Moore and bassist Kim Gordon split up.

35. Blink-182

Blink-182 was formed in 1992. The band consists of bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus, drummer Travis Barker, and guitarist and vocalist Matt Skiba. The band is considered a key in the formation of pop punk. Their album Enema of the State that was released in 1999 carried the hit singles What's My Age Again, Adam's Song and All the Small Things. These singles became MTV staples.

34. Three Days Grace

Three Days Grace was formed in 1992 which was originally known as Groundswell. The band broke up in 1995 and regrouped in 1997 as Three Days Grace with a line-up that consists of lead vocalist Adam Gontier, drummer and backing vocalist Neil Sanderson, and bassist Brad Walst. In 2003, Barry Stock joined as the band's lead guitarist. Their single I Hate Everything About You was nominated for Best Rock Video and People's Choice.

33. Jane's Addiction

Jane's Addiction was formed in 1985. The band is composed of Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Stephen Perkins (drums) and Chris Chaney (bass). The band's farewell tour started the Lollapalooza which has since become a famous rock festival.

32. Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode was formed in 1980. The originally consisted of Dave Gahan (lead vocals, occasional songwriter since 2005), Martin Gore (keyboards, guitar, vocals, chief songwriter after 1981), Andy Fletcher (keyboards), and Vince Clarke (keyboards, chief songwriter from 1980 until 1981). One of the highlights of this band's history was their concert at Pasadena Rose Bowl where around 60000 people flocked to witness their performance.

31. 30 Seconds to Mars

Thirty Seconds to Mars was formed in 1998. The band is composed of Jared Leto (lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards), Shannon Leto (drums, percussion) and Tomo Miličević (lead guitar, bass, violin, keyboards, other instruments).The band came to fame after the release of their second album A Beautiful Lie in 2006 and was awarded platinum in the United States.

30. My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance or MCR was formed in 2001. The band consists of lead vocalist Gerard Way, guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero, bassist Mikey Way and keyboardist James Dewees. The band offered free music download using MySpace where they created their first fan base. Welcome To The Black Parade which was released in 2006 became the band's first number one on the UK Singles Chart.

29. Blur

Blur was formed in 1988. The band consists of Damon Albarn (singer/keyboardist ), Graham Coxon (guitarist/singer ), Alex James (bassist ) and Dave Rowntree (drummer). The band helped to form the Britpop genre and rose to fame in the UK partially because of their rivalry with Oasis in the charts. Their hit song, Song 2, made them popular in the US.

28. Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains was formed in 1987 by guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell and original lead vocalist Layne Staley. The band was considered grunge but they also incorporated heavy metal elements in their music. They rose to fame as part of the grunge movement along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. They sold over 20 million albums worldwide and over 14 million in the US alone.

27. The Cure

The Cure was formed in 1976. Like most bands, they experienced several line-up changes, with vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert Smith being the only constant member. Boys Don't Cry is one of the bands biggest hits and the reason they were considered part of the punk rock revolution.

26. U2

U2 was formed in 1976 and consisted of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards, and vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen, Jr. (drums and percussion). They are among the best-selling music artists in history having sold 150 million records as of 2010.

25. The Offspring

The Offspring was formed in 1984.The band members are lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Dexter Holland, lead guitarist Kevin Wasserman, bassist Greg K. and drummer Pete Parada. The Kids Aren't Alright is one of the bands greatest hits.

24. Oasis

Oasis was formed in 1991. The original band members were Liam Gallagher (vocals and tambourine), Paul Arthurs (guitar), Paul McGuigan (bass guitar) and Tony McCarroll (drums, percussion). Liam's older brother Noel Gallagher (lead guitar and vocals) joined in later as a fifth member. One of the band's chart-topping single, Wonderwall, sold over 1.2 million copies.

23. The Smiths

The Smiths was formed in 1982. The band is composed of vocalist Morrissey, guitarist Johnny Marr, bassist Andy Rourke and drummer Mike Joyce. The band had several singles who reached the UK Top 20 and all four albums were in the UK top five with one album topping the chart. The band broke up in 1987. They received offers to reunite but denied them all.

22. Queens of the Stone Age

Queens of the Stone Age was formed in 1996. The band consists of Josh Homme (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Troy Van Leeuwen (guitar, lap steel, keyboard, percussion, backing vocals), Michael Shuman (bass guitar, keyboard, backing vocals), Dean Fertita (keyboards, guitar, percussion, backing vocals) and Jon Theodore (drums, percussion).

21. Gorillaz

Gorillaz is a virtual band created in 1998 by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. The band members are 2D (lead vocals, keyboard), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Noodle (guitar, keyboard, and backing vocals) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion). The band members are purely fictional and does not represent any of the real life musicians who are part of the project. The virtual band released their debut album Gorillaz in 2001 and sold over 7 million copies.

20. The Killers

The Killers was formed in 2001. The band is composed of Brandon Flowers (lead vocals, keyboards), Dave Keuning (guitar, backing vocals), Mark Stoermer (bass, backing vocals) and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. (drums, percussion). The band has already sold about 22 million albums worldwide.

19. Pixies

Pixies was formed in 1986. The current band members are founders Black Francis (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), and David Lovering (drums). The band was more popular in the UK rather their home country. However, despite the little commercial success, the band was an influence to these big names: Nirvana, Radiohead, The Strokes, Bush, Blur and Weezer.

18. Soundgarden

Soundgarden was formed in 1984. The band consists of singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Matt Cameron joined the band in 1986 as their drummer. Yamamoto was replaced by bassist Ben Shepherd in 1990. The achieved success after releasing Superunknown in 1994. The album produced two Grammy Award-winning singles: "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman".

17. Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys was formed in 2002. The band is composed of Alex Turner (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitar), Jamie Cook (lead guitar, rhythm guitar), Nick O'Malley (bass, backing vocals), and Matt Helders (drums, backing vocals). After releasing their debut album, Andy Nicholson (bass guitar, backing vocals) left the band. Their debut album ranked 30th on the Greatest Debut Album of all Time by the Rolling Stone.

16. The Strokes

The Strokes was formed in 1998. The band consists of Julian Casablancas (lead vocals), Nick Valensi (lead guitar, keyboard, backing vocals), Albert Hammond, Jr. (rhythm guitar, keyboard, backing vocals), Nikolai Fraiture (bass) and Fabrizio Moretti (drums, percussion). Their debut album was released in 2001 and received a positive response from the listeners. The album ranked #2 on Rolling Stone's 100 Best Albums of the 2000s.

15. Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters was formed in 1994 by drummer Dave Grohl of Nirvana after the demise of Kurt Cobain. One of their biggest hits is "Everlong" which gained praise from Bob Dylan himself.

14. Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails was formed in 1988 by Trent Reznor. They are widely known to use visual elements particularly light shows during performances. One of their biggest hits is "Head Like a Hole" from the album Pretty Hate Machine released in 1989.

13. The Black Keys

The Black Keys was formed in 2001. The band is composed of Dan Auerbach (guitar, vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums). The duo was widely recognized in 2010 after the release of "Brothers". Their popular single "Tighten Up" won three Grammys.

12. Coldplay

Coldplay was formed in 1996 by lead vocalist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland. They became worldclass rockstars after the release of Yellow in 2000. The band also received numerous music awards including 8 Brit Awards.

11. The White Stripes

The White Stripes was formed in 1997 and is composed of Jack White (songwriter, vocals, guitar, bass and keyboards) and Meg White (drums and occasional vocals). The duo became popular in 2002. Their single "Seven Nation Army" is a huge hit.

10. R.E.M.

R.E.M. was formed in 1980 by singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry. They released their first single in "Radio Free Europe", in 1981. The band was recognized because of Buck's guitar style and Stipe's vocals. Their fifth album "Document" was their first album to sell millions.

9. Sublime

Sublime was formed in 1988 and is composed of Bradley Nowell (vocals and guitar), Eric Wilson (bass) and Bud Gaugh (drums). Although their first two albums, 40oz. to Freedom (1992) and Robbin' the Hood (1994), were received well by their US listeners they weren't a commercial success until the release of their self-titled third album which was released a few months after Nowell's death in 1996.

8. Weezer

Weezer was formed in 1994. The band consists of Rivers Cuomo (lead vocals, lead guitar), Patrick Wilson (drums), Brian Bell (rhythm guitar, backing vocals, keyboards), and Scott Shriner (bass, backing vocals). They released their first album, The Blue Album, in 1994 and was received well by the listeners. Three of the hit singles from the album are "Buddy Holly", "Undone – The Sweater Song" and "Say It Ain't So".

7. Muse

Muse was formed in 1994. The band is composed of Matthew Bellamy (lead vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), Christopher Wolstenholme (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Dominic Howard (drums, percussion, synthesisers).

6. Red Hot Chili Pepper

RHCP was formed in 1983 by vocalist Anthony Kiedis, guitarist Hillel Slovak, bassist Michael "Flea" Balzary, and drummer Jack Irons. The band broke through the mainstream after the release of Blood Sugar Sex Magik in 1991. Their single “Under the Bridge” reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was known as one of the defining alternative rock songs of the 90s.

5. Green Day

Green Day was formed in 1986 by vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt. They were joined by Tre Cool in 1990 replacing John Kiffmeyer. Their success came after the release of Dookie in 1994. Three of their singles "Longview", "Basket Case", and "When I Come Around" reached #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks charts.

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4. Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam was formed in 1990 and is composed of Eddie Vedder (lead vocals), Mike McCready (lead guitar), Stone Gossard (rhythm guitar) and Jeff Ament (bass). The band was joined by its fifth member Matt Cameron (drummer) in 1998. Their first album "Ten" was released in 1991 with three of their hit singles: "Alive", "Even Flow", and "Jeremy".

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3. The Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins was formed by frontman Billy Corgan (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and James Iha (lead guitar) in 1988. Other band members were Jimmy Chamberlin (drums) and D'arcy Wretzky (bass guitar). They broke the mainstream back in 1993 after the release of their second album, Siamese Dream.

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2. Radiohead

Radiohead was formed in 1985. The band is composed of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards), Colin Greenwood (bass), Phil Selway (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Ed O'Brien (guitar, backing vocals). Their debut single "Creep" became a worldwide hit after its release in 1992.

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1. Nirvana

Nirvana was formed in 1987 led by Kurt Cobain (vocal, guitar) and Krist Novoselic (bassist). They had several drummers before Dave Grohl joined them in 1990. The band became popular after the release of Smells Like Teen Spirit from their second album Nevermind (1991).

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