VOICE OVER: Matt Campbell
Script Written by Q.V. Hough.
You know their singles, but do you know how they influenced music? Join http://www.WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Underrated Rock Bands. For this list, we are looking at bands in the rock genre that may not get as much love as they deserve. While we know how much you Mojoholics love bands like Rise Against and Muse, we will be excluding them based on their large and devoted fan bases and critical and commercial success.
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Top 10 Underrated Rock Bands
You know their singles, but do you know how they influenced music? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Underrated Rock Bands.
For this list, we are looking at bands in the rock genre that may not get as much love as they deserve. While we know how much you Mojoholics love bands like Rise Against and Muse, we will be excluding them based on their large and devoted fan bases and critical and commercial success.
Named after a 1965 Russ Meyer film, this Seattle band might not have the fame of Soundgarden or Pearl Jam, but they were responsible for kicking off the grunge movement of the early 90s. With their debut EP Superfuzz Bigmuff, Mudhoney unknowingly shaped the mind of Kurt Cobain and the sound of Nirvana, while inspiring countless musicians of the Pacific Northwest. You might recognize them from the 1996 Chris Farley film “Black Sheep,” but chances are you probably can’t name more than one Mudhoney song under pressure.
#9: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Together only five years, the sound of these swamp rockers defined the Vietnam era of rock and roll. While the most popular Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes have become karaoke classics, and although they are considered one of the great musical acts of the late 60’s to early 70’s, they are often overshadowed by other bands of the era. In fact, Creedence holds the record for the most singles to reach #2 on the charts without ever achieving a #1 single. An underrated rock band indeed.
#8: The Stone Roses
Inspired by The Clash and unafraid of their public image, this influential Madchester band toured for years before the 1989 release of the acclaimed debut album. With a touch of acid house and garagerock, The Stone Roses created one of the definitive British albums, and followed it up with the equally successful Second Coming. Unfortunately, a freak injury and musical detachment caused guitarist John Squire to quit in 1996, and The Stone Roses never again released a studio album. And so, Oasis stepped into the spotlight and seemingly took on their disenchanted persona.
#7: Deep Purple
As part of the “unholy trinity” of 70s British rock, these heavy metal pioneers are the less-appreciated siblings of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. While Deep Purple is highly regarded amongst musicians, the casual music fan probably knows David Coverdale as the guy with the hair from Whitesnake. Not only have most of the key members of the “loudest band in the world” managed to stay together over the decades, but they still continue to innovate their sound long after the release of their 1968 debut Shades of Deep Purple.
#6: Electric Light Orchestra
Straight outta Birmingham, England, these progressive rockers torched the charts in the mid-70s, but it’s not often that you hear someone say, “I HAVE to hear Electric Light Orchestra” now. Armed with violins and numerous woodwinds, Jeff Lynne and company gave the world poppy, feel-good numbers that are simply hard to ignore. Maybe it’s the passing of time or perhaps their enormous afros, but the pure craftsmanship of Electric Light Orchestra has lost its thunder in this crazy, modern world of diluted music. Do yourself a favor and allow yourself to be moved by the eclectic sound of ELO.
#5: Tears for Fears
With a name inspired by primal therapy and John Lennon’s personal shrink Arthur Janov, this insightful band offered more than your usual synth-pop acts. Lyrically, Tears for Fears were genius prophets of the early MTV era and continued to explore new sounds into the 90s. Although a different lineup would release three albums post-1991, it was the trilogy of conceptual 80s albums that stand the test of time. While many 80s bands failed to innovate their style, Tears for Fears were natural poets of their day and inherently thought-provoking musicians. Take a listen to Songs from the Big Chair, and tell us they’re not underrated.
#4: Violent Femmes
Who doesn’t love the 80s hit “Blister in the Sun?” Well, not many. Despite the popularity of that track, the full discography of these Milwaukee musicians has managed to elude the playlists of rock fans worldwide. They were discovered playing on a street corner by James Honeyman-Scott of The Pretenders who went on to produce their critically acclaimed debut in 1983. With remarkable musicianship and the unforgettable voice of Gordan Gano, it’s a crime not to experience the immaculate 80s albums of Violent Femmes at least once in your life.
#3: ZZ Top
The amazing musicianship of this blues-rock trio often gets lost behind their awesome beards. With an expanse discography that begins in 1971, ZZ Top has been creating some of the best blues rock jams ever since. These guys really shred on stage and have a knack for writing suggestive numbers while building on various musical styles. Whether you like the raw, southern style of their older work, or the groove of albums like Eliminator, ZZ Top has something for everyone.
Formed in Massachusetts, these indie rockers went relatively unnoticed in America during their early years, but their experimental sound led to immense popularity abroad. With bizarre lyrics and an explosive sound that would transform 90s rock, Pixies disbanded in 1993 after four classic records. While larger budgets ultimately led to a polished sound, the raw intensity of their 1988 debut Surfer Rosa challenged the average listener while inspiring countless musicians. The rock world was recently graced with a new release from the band, and although it received less than favorable reviews, it’s great to see the indie legends back where they belong.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
Blue Oyster Cult
Jimmy Eat World
#1: The Kinks
With all due respect to The Beatles, these British musicians were not only part of the British invasion but consistently released immaculate productions over the course of their 30-year career. Some of their early hits became pop sensations, but their artistry evolved into the 70s and 80s led by the astounding writing skills of Ray Davies. By incorporating world travels into their content along with observations of their native England, The Kinks changed the face of music, and some may argue that their enduring legacy stands up alongside their friends from Liverpool. Regardless, The Kinks can never be praised enough.
So, do you agree with our selections? Who is your favorite underrated rock band? For more mind-blowing Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.