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Most Influential Heavy Metal Bands

10. AC/DC

AC/DC are a Australian hard rock band, formed in November 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who continued as members until Malcolm’s illness and departure in 2014 . They were fronted by Bon Scott until his untimely death due to alcohol poisoning in 1979, after which the hired Brian Johnson to front the band .

Commonly referred to as a hard rock or blues rock band, they are also considered pioneers of heavy metal.

09. Rainbow

Rainbow are a British rock band led by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore from 1975 to 1984 and 1993 to 1997. They were originally established with Ronnie James Dio as the lead singer and lyricist. Rainbow were ranked No. 90 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. The band has sold over 28 million albums worldwide. The band’s early work primarily featured mystical lyrics with a neoclassical metal style.

08. Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of Robert Plant (Vocal), Jimmy Page (Guitar), John Paul Jones (Bass, Keyboard) and John Bonham (Drums). The band’s heavy, guitar-driven sound, rooted in blues and psychedelia on their early albums, has earned them recognition as one of the progenitors of heavy metal. They achieved significant commercial success with albums such as Led Zeppelin (1969), Led Zeppelin II (1969), Led Zeppelin III (1970), Led Zeppelin IV (1971), Houses of the Holy (1973), and Physical Graffiti (1975). Their song ‘Stairway to Heaven’ is among the most popular and influential rock music of all time.

However in 1980, John Bonham’s death had put an end to the band’s career. However, they have played some reunions in 1985, 1988, 1995, and 2007. And from 2014-2015, they released Deluxe Editions of the albums.

Led Zeppelin are widely considered one of the most successful, innovative, and influential rock groups in history. They are one of the best-selling music artists in the history of audio recording; various sources estimate the group’s record sales at 200 to 300 million units worldwide. With RIAA-certified sales of 111.5 million units, they are the second-best-selling band in the United States. They were inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 1995. Songs like “Stairway to heaven”, “Kashmir” and “Whole Lotta Love” make this band one of the most successful bands.

07. Motörhead

Motörhead were an English heavy metal/Hard Rock band formed in June 1975 by bassist, singer, and songwriter Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister, who was the sole constant member; guitarist and songwriter Larry Wallis; and drummer Lucas Fox. The band’s harsh vocals and fast paced tempos helped inspire speed metal and thrash metal. They were possibly the most well known band from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Motörhead disbanded after the death of lead vocalist and bassist Lemmy Kilmister On December 28th, 2015.



06. Dio

Dio was an American heavy metal band formed in 1982 and led by vocalist Ronnie James Dio, after he left Black Sabbath with intentions to form a new band with fellow former Black Sabbath member, drummer Vinny Appice.

05. Metallica

Metallica is an American Thrash Metal band formed in 1981 . The original lineup was James Hetfield (Vocalist and Rhythm guitarist), Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Ron McGovney (Bassist). The group came into mainstream from their Self-Titled album and the hit single “Enter Sandman”.

With their first two albums, Kill ‘Em All and Ride The Lightning reaching underground success, their third effort, Master of Puppets has since become one of the most important heavy metal albums ever, as it became the first thrash metal album to be certified platinum. The title track has since become the band’s most played song live.

On September 27, 1986, bass player Cliff Burton was killed after he was thrown out of the window and crushed to death.

Metallica released their first music video in 1989. The song was One from their 1988 album, …And Justice For All. The song received heavy critical acclaim and has since become their most played song from the album. The album also saw the debut of new bassist, Jason Newsted.

Their fifth album, Metallica (also known as the Black Album), took more of a mainstream approach and has since become one of the best selling albums in America, certified 16x Platinum. The album spawned five singles, Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven, Nothing Else Matters, Wherever I May Roam and Sad But True.

After Load, ReLoad, Jason left the band and the heavily criticised St. Anger featured longtime producer Bob Rock play the bass, although Robert Trujillo would later be handed the job of permanent bass player.

Metallica’s ninth studio album, Death Magnetic received critical acclaim as the band return to their thrash roots from the 80s. Critics have called it the best Metallica album in 20 years. The album also made Metallica become the first band to ever receive five consecutive albums debut at number 1 in the Billboard 200. It was also Robert Trujillo’s debut on a Metallica album. The song, My Apocalypse, won Metallica a Grammy in 2009 for Best Metal Performance.

Metallica’s tenth studio album, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct, would be released worldwide on November 18, 2016 via their independent label, Blackened Recordings. They also unveiled the track listing, album artwork, and released a music video for the album’s first single, “Hardwired” . The album was released as scheduled and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.

04. Deep Purple

Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the “unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies”. They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as “the globe’s loudest band” for a 1972 concert at London’s Rainbow Theatre, and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

Although there have been many members in Deep Purple, among the most famous members are:

1. Ritchie Blackmore – Guitar (March 1968 – June 1975, April 1984 – November 1993)

2. Ian Gillan – vocals, harmonica, percussion (1969–1973, 1984–1989, 1992–present)

3. Ian Paice – drums, percussion (1968–1976, 1984–present)

4. Roger Glover – bass (1969–1973, 1984–present)

5. Jon Lord – organ, keyboards, backing vocals, string arrangements (March 1968 – March 1976, April 1984 – February 2002; died 2012)

03. Judas Priest

Judas Priest are a British heavy metal band formed in Birmingham, England, in 1969. The band has sold over 45 million albums to date. They received a lot of popularity due to their big hits Breaking The Law, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’, and Living after Midnight which were played on the radio a lot.




02. Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath were a Heavy Metal band formed in Birmingham, England in 1968 by guitarist and songwriter Tony Iommi, Singer Ozzy Osbourne, Bassist and Main Lyricist Geezer Butler and Drummer Bill Ward. The band got into mainstream after improving after their debut album got negative feedback. In 1978, Ozzy was fired and replaced with former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who went to release 2 albums before leaving in 1983, (Only to return in 1992) Black Sabbath are cited as the godfathers of Heavy Metal. Their final album, 13,was released in 2013. They were ranked by MTV as the “Greatest Metal Band” of all time, and placed second in VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock” list. Black Sabbath were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

On May 16, 2010. Ronnie James Dio died after losing battle with Stomach Cancer.

Black Sabbath would influence other acts such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Metallica.

01. Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The most critically acclaimed period for the band was from 1983-1989. With vocalist Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, lead guitarist Dave Murray, rhythm guitarist Adrian Smith, and drummer Nicko McBrain. Smith left the band in 1989 and was replaced by Janick Gers. But returned in 1999, and now the band has three guitar players.

The band is known for some big hits such as The Trooper, and The Number of the Beast, and have released 16 studio albums. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal Pioneers would gain success in the early 80s, releasing many platinum albums during the time, causing them to become one of the most successful metal bands in history. As of 2015, the band sold over 90 million albums.

Credit: TheTopTens

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