At the end of the 1980s, at the peak of glam rock and hair metal, a new genre began to emerge from the underground. Since it served as an option to the bloated sound of those genres that was all over the airwaves and MTV, it was aptly titled alternative rock. Over the years, alternative rock has become part of mainstream rock. But at its beginning, alt rock and all of the alternative artists were on the cutting edge of what was going on in response to those more commercial genres. The origins of the best alternative bands are in cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and various college towns around the country.
So, who can be considered one of the top alternative bands, or even a good current alternative band? Any list isn't complete without Husker Du and R.E.M., who represent the best college rock musicians. These alternative music bands had a huge impact on the alternative scene and influenced many, if not all alternative rock bands. Jane's Addiction can also be lumped into that category. Other popular alternative artists include Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Oasis, Blur and Smashing Pumpkins. These groups' legacy and impact on alternative music is indisputable and they continue to crank out the hits.
Who is on your top 100 alternative bands list? We know this list isn't 100 bands/artists long. . . we did that on purpose because we're alternative.
Ultimately, it's up to you to decide what is the best alternative band. If you think an alternative artist or band isn't on here and should, feel free to add them to this list. This list answers the questions "who are the best alternative bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest alternative musician ever?"
- 1Nirvana was an American grunge band that was formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and... more on Wikipedia3,8002,116
- 2The Cure is an English rock band formed in Crawley, West Sussex in 1976. The band members have... more on Wikipedia1,8541,055
- 3The Smashing Pumpkins (or Smashing Pumpkins) are an American alternative rock band from... more on Wikipedia2,1241,328
- 4Soundgarden was an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984 by singer and... more on Wikipedia1,5991,001
- 5Red Hot Chili Peppers are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1983. The group's... more on Wikipedia3,0992,096
- 6The Clash were an English rock band formed in London in 1976 as a key player in the original... more on Wikipedia1,019591
- 7Green Day is an American rock band formed in 1986 by lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe... more on Wikipedia2,9631,985
- 8Foo Fighters is an American rock band, formed in Seattle in 1994. It was founded by Nirvana... more on Wikipedia2,4071,601
- 9Talking Heads were an American rock band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until... more on Wikipedia1,010665
- 10Alice in Chains (often abbreviated as AIC) is an American rock band from Seattle, Washington,... more on Wikipedia1,367906
- 11Radiohead are an English rock band formed in Abingdon-on-Thames in 1985. The band consists of... more on Wikipedia3,0322,160
- 12The Cranberries were an Irish rock band formed in Limerick, Ireland in 1989 by lead singer... more on Wikipedia714442
- 13The White Stripes were an American rock duo formed in 1997 in Detroit, Michigan. The group... more on Wikipedia1,7201,166
- 14Depeche Mode () are an English electronic band formed in Basildon, Essex, in 1980. The group... more on Wikipedia1,091734
- 15David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie (,... more on Wikipedia1,300519
- 16The Pixies are an American rock band formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1986. The group... more on Wikipedia1,5251,103
- 17Rage Against the Machine is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in... more on Wikipedia1,375979
- 18Arctic Monkeys is an English rock band formed in Sheffield in 2002. The group consists of Alex... more on Wikipedia2,2761,642
- 19R.E.M. was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by drummer Bill Berry,... more on Wikipedia1,9181,429
- 20Joy Division were an English rock band formed in Salford in 1976. The group consisted of... more on Wikipedia735423
- 21Linkin Park is an American rock band from Agoura Hills, California. The band's current lineup... more on Wikipedia2,1821,167
- 22Pearl Jam is an American rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1990. Since its... more on Wikipedia2,1621,671
- 23The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of... more on Wikipedia673380
- 24Cage the Elephant is an American rock band from Bowling Green, Kentucky, that formed in 2006.... more on Wikipedia1,165774
- 25The Beastie Boys were an American hip hop group from New York City formed in 1981. The group... more on Wikipedia879618