Best US Band of 20th Century

Posted: April 9, 2010 by Paul H in Tips & Tricks

This is a little off topic, but last night we were talking and trying to come up with the greatest US rock bands of the 20th century. Everyone knows the great British bands, the Beatles, Led Zepplin, The Who, Cream, etc. So, we were trying to decide the best US bands.

These are the top 3 that we came up with:

  1. Jimi Hendrix Experience
  2. Van Halen
  3. Aerosmith

What do you think??? We considered AC/DC, but they’re from Australia.

  1. JimDouglas says:

    They (obviously) had a short stint, but I think Nirvana was one of the most influential bands of all time.

  2. Hanson says:

    Yeah Man! Kurt Cobain was incredible and David Grohl continues to be one of the most influential people in modern music. Whoa, you are absolutely right, they deserve somewhere in the top 5.

  3. JimDouglas says:

    Yep. Kurt was absolutely brilliant…as simple musically as his songs were on paper, it was incredible stuff! Just learning about how he crafted lyrics and melodies was interesting to say the least. There was a quote from someone saying that whenever Kurt bought a (cheap) guitar at a pawn shop; BAM – 10 new songs right there! And you’re right, Dave Grohl…incredible drummer and musician.

    • Hanson says:

      Here’s a freaky bit of trivia, Jim Hendrix and Kurt Cobain were both left handed, died at the age of 27 and were both from the Seattle area. Also, they changed the world of guitar forever.

  4. Hanson says:

    We forgot about Elvis! Talk about an icon. This came to me while I was watching American Idol last week. Duh! I know many of you don’t think of Elvis as a rock icon, but he really was the originator of good old Rock N Roll.

    • lapinmort says:

      If you are talking about the attitude of rock n roll perhaps, but when it comes to being an actual icon, the title in my opinion should go to Chuck Berry. Buddy Holly could have contested, but like Elvis, he’s pushing daisies from 6′ under. Chuck is still alive and kicking. And unlike the other two he was a real bad boy, not just attitude.

      • phanson says:

        I have an old friend Ron Benson. He was my boss at GIT in the 80s. The only guy I know who has played at the White House! Ron was around the scene when Chuck was breaking the new ground and he told me a lot of other guys were doing the same thing as Chuck.
        I don’t care if this is true, Chuck was the man who led Rock and Roll guitar, and showed us all how to do it!!
        Btw, until Chuck most songs were in horn keys, F, Bb, Eb… after Chuck most songs were in guitar keys, G, A, E…
        That’s a pretty huge impact, after Chuck the all band leaders became guitar players!

  5. fusion58 says:

    Don’t forget the Allman Brothers Band.

    • phanson says:

      Allman Brothers get my vote as the best Jam Band! I interviewed Jon Gutwllig, the guitarist for the new jam band: Disco Biscuits, Boss Tone Radio-22.
      The Biscuits are the latest incarnation of what a jam band is, each guy plays but also has a computer on stage with him…. you never know what they’ll do!
      Anyway Jon mentioned, of course, Grateful Dead and Phish as influences, but also the Allman Brothers. They jammed and improvised long solos!! Dicky and Duane, my fav is live at the Fillmore!!!

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  8. lapinmort says:

    I think Metallica, Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Guns n Roses have made a pretty strong impact by keeping rock screaming at a time when electronic music like techno and eurodance were all the rage. That’s when my dad became old: “In my days we had music, not his boom boom boom boom cr@p”

    • phanson says:

      Those are the top recent bands from 90s on!! Great post lapinmort!
      I just did amp and pedal settings for Guitar World May ’13 issue. One of the tunes is “Would” by Alice in Chains. What a great song and performance, also the “Rooster”, and “Man in a Box”…. great songs!!!
      Jerry Cantrell used Marshalls modified by my old friend Reinhold Bogner, later also Bogner’s legendary Fish amp, what killer tone!! Jerry doesn’t play lead like Schenker but man he rocks!!
      On “Man in a Box,” Jerry played a two note chord with the open low E, along with a D on the 5th fret, A string. What a great sound. Alice in Chains holds up 15-20 years later!!

  9. Sloflo says:

    I’m thinking Dream Theater???

  10. Hitlist says:

    Its too bad about ACDC. They would be a great American band. Grand Funk Railroad certainly was/is.

    If I had to pick 3 it would be (not necessarily in this order):

    Van Halen

    There is so much in each of these catalogs to choose from; the DLR and Van Hagar eras of VH (but not the Gary Cherone era), the Makeup/no Makeup for Kiss. Destroyer, Alive, Rock n Roll Over, Creatures, and Lick it up are great albums, and I don’t care what everyone else says, but so is The Elder. The Drug Addicted/Drug Free Aerosmith. They could have quit after Draw the Line and that would have been a career for most bands, but Night in Ruts is a great album too. Even the stuff with all the co-writers (although it does’t have the same edge) is fantastic.

    Lots of other great American bands, (GNR, Metallicats, James Gang, Hendrix) but I think these 3 got it.

    Great music has no expiration date.

    • phanson says:

      10-4 on the no expiration date! On the topic of Grand Funk I was a huge Mark Farner fan as a young guitarist! “Ice cold water running’ through my veins…” Here’s a story:
      Mark’s post Grand Funk solo band was a warm up band for us when I was in Vanilla Fudge. Just one gig, I think somewhere on the east coast, or maybe midwest.
      I knocked on their dressing room door, and tried to meet Mark but the security wouldn’t let me close enough to tell him I was a fan. Dang and I was the lead guitarist for the headlining band! Well that’s okay.
      Before we went on stage I watched Mark’s whole set, Omg, it was amazing, he played Heartbreaker, American band, Some Kind of Wonderful… he was such a great showman and his songs are burned into my soul!

      • Hitlist says:

        That is a very cool story. Sounds like his security was treating him like the rock ‘n roll nature boy of the early 1970′s I think people forget how big of band they were, they were huge. Inside Looking Out is a great song!

        I remember getting Closer to Home for Christmas when I was about 8 years old and them quickly becoming one of my favorite bands at the time.

        It must be really cool to play with a guy like Carmine Appice.

  11. classic says:

    You forgot ZZ Top, way better than Aerosmith in the long run who turned into a pop band abandoning their hard rock sound.

  12. Hitlist says:

    ZZ Top is from Texas, that’s a whole different country. They are a great band. I seem to recall them getting a little “poppy” during the MTV hey day too.

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