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55 Best British Bands Of All Time

The UK may be responsible for more bands that found worldwide success than any other nation on the planet. From the 1960s onward, consistently legendary groups from this nation have pushed the envelope, pioneered genres, and inspired music crazes around the world. In this article, we’ll take a look at the 55 best British bands of all time.

1. The Beatles

The Beatles - Don't Let Me Down

With as many legendary and iconic bands that have come from Britain, a lot of this list ends up being subjective and debatable, but the top spot is something objective. We can’t start this list off by talking about any band other than The Beatles. They formed in Liverpool in 1960 and consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, with Ringo Starr joining in 1962. What came next for them was a journey to becoming one of the most influential bands of all time and the best-selling music artists in history.

They were innovators, pushing forward the counterculture movement, spearheading the British Invasion, and pioneering new styles in music and production. They became the most successful act in history in terms of the Billboard charts and have sold over 600 million records worldwide. They own countless awards and records and each member has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame both as part of the band and as an individual.

And while there are plenty of other incredible groups that we’ll talk about throughout this article, none have the resume or as objectively amazing as The Beatles were. We can’t even list out their best albums or songs, simply because it would take too long and the entirety of their discography holds special merits.

2. The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones got started around the same time as The Beatles did, forming in London in 1962 and consisting of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts. From 1963 onward, they wrote all of their own material, with the partnership between Jagger and Richards becoming one of the most respected songwriting duos in music history.

They would prove to be one of the most enduring bands of all time, actively releasing music or touring for nearly seven decades now. As part of the British Invasion, their covers gave them a solid basis before their material caught fire with songs like I Can’t Get No Satisfaction and Paint It Black. Their estimated 200 million worldwide record sales place them among the best-selling artists in history, and they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and UK Music Hall of Fame in 1989.

3. Queen

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (Official Video Remastered)

Queen was founded in London in 1970 by Freddie Mercury, Brian May, and Roger Taylor, with John Deacon later joining the lineup. Their elaborate stage and recording techniques made them icons in the progressive and hard rock genres, but they eventually worked their way into arena and pop rock as well. From 1975 onward, they were an international success. Their album A Night At The Opera featured many of their most famous singles, including Bohemian Rhapsody.

By the 1980s, they had become one of the biggest stadium rock acts in the world, with hits like Another One Bites The Dust, We Will Rock You, and We Are The Champions being major interactive crowd pleasers. They have been a major pop icon for nearly 50 years now and are among the best-selling music artists of all time with an estimated 300 million worldwide record sales. Each member has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

4. Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love (Official Music Video)

Led Zeppelin was also formed in London, though they got their start in 1968. Their first lineup consisted of Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. They drew heavily on folk and blues music to create a distinctive sound in an already impressive era of music, eventually being recognized as pioneers in album rock, stadium rock, hard rock, and heavy metal music. Their untitled fourth album, commonly referred to as Led Zeppelin IV, is one of the best-selling albums of all time with over 37 million worldwide record sales, and they sold an estimated 200 to 300 million records by the end of their career.

Their discography is a stunning amalgam of styles and experimental works, with major hits coming in the form of tracks like Immigrant Song, Stairway To Heaven, Kashmir, and Ramble On. Their career was tragically cut short when Bonham passed in 1980, and they disbanded. However, this didn’t stop their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the museum biography for them states that they were as influential during the 1970s as The Beatles were during the 1960s. 

5. The Clash

The Clash - Should I Stay or Should I Go (Official Audio)

The Clash were formed in London in 1976, and they were one of the fundamental bands of the original British punk rock scene. They were major contributors to the post-punk and new-wave movements as well, and were often billed as “The Only Band That Matters.” It wasn’t just a classic punk sound that made them icons though, they incorporated elements of reggae, funk, ska, and other genres to produce their own distinct style.

For most of their recording career, the group consisted of Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Nicky Headon. Their debut eponymous album brought them widespread acclaim, but it would be their third album London Calling that lived on forever. They are frequently listed among the greatest artists of all time, let alone British bands of all time, and were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. 

6. Radiohead

Radiohead was formed in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in 1985 and was composed of Tom Yorke, Johnny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, and Philip Selway. They were one of the most important figures in alternative rock, always pushing the genre forward with their experimental approach to music. After working their way up to a record deal with EMI, their debut single Creep became an international phenomenon and is remembered as one of the greatest debut singles of all time.

But the magic of it only let them get their foot in the door for mainstream audiences, as their later album OK Computer is largely seen as a landmark record and one of the greatest albums of all time. They even experimented with the music market as a whole, at one time releasing their seventh album as a download online that allowed customers to pay what they wanted for it, earning them success and sending major labels into a fearful rage. 

7. The Who

Won't Get Fooled Again

The Who formed in London in 1962 as The Detours, changing their name to the current one two years later in 1964. Their original lineup consisted of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon. Largely considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, they were innovators who pushed the rock genre to new heights with their experimental production approach.

They were one of the first to destroy guitars and drums on stage and their techniques were passed down to the limitless number of bands who drew inspiration from them. Some of their best songs included Baba O’Riley, My Generation, and I Can’t Explain. They even appeared at Woodstock in 1969 and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. 

8. Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac - Gypsy (Official Music Video)

Fleetwood Mac was formed by Peter Green in 1967 in London, though he would leave the band in 1970 before they reached their peak. The original lineup included Green, Mick Fleetwood, Jeremy Spencer, and Bob Brunning, though Brunning was replaced by John McVie a few weeks after their first public performance. In 1974, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were recruited, and what followed was legendary music history.

They released their fabled Rumours album in 1977, with most of the songs being inspired by their interpersonal relationships. It spent 31 weeks atop the US album charts and spawned four top-10 singles, including the likes of Dreams, Don’t Stop, and Go Your Own Way. They would go on to become one of the best-selling acts of all time with over 120 worldwide record sales, earn a spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

9. Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd was one of the first psychedelic groups, and their experimental approach would change music forever. Formed in London in 1965, the original lineup included Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright. David Gilmour joined the group in 1967. And though they found success in the 1960s, they became synonymous with the music of the 1970s thanks in large part to their albums like The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, and the rock opera The Wall.

In total, they have sold over 250 million records worldwide, and three of their albums—the ones mentioned above—were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. They released four albums that topped the Billboard 200 and five that reigned above the UK Singles Chart. They were also inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame. 

10. U2

Mary J. Blige, U2 - One (Official Music Video)

U2 is an Irish rock band that formed in Dublin in 1976. The original lineup consisted of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. They eventually became worldwide sensations, including an interesting development with the launch of the iTunes store that downloaded one of their albums to everyone’s device automatically—awkward as that was. But on a serious note, they are known for their ever-evolving musical style.

From their War album in 1983 to their Joshua Tree album in 1987, they continued to push the envelope and eventually put together albums like Achtung Baby in 1991 and No Line On The Horizon in 2009. Their 15 studio albums have earned them over 150 million worldwide record sales, 22 Grammy Awards, and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But beyond accolades, they are known for their humanitarian work and political songwriting. They actively campaign for human rights and social justice causes, working with groups like Amnesty International, Jubilee 2000, Product Red, and Music Rising. 

11. Oasis

Oasis - Wonderwall (Official Video)

Oasis was formed in Manchester in 1991 under the name Rain. The original lineup consisted of Liam Gallagher, Paul Arthurs, Paul McGuigan, and Tony McCarroll. Their debut album Definitely Maybe in 1993 set records and topped the UK Albums Chart, becoming the fastest-selling British album in history at the time.

They went through a very public rivalry with Blur on the charts, and the members were often featured in UK tabloids thanks to their nightly escapades. Outside of that though, they became one of the most successful UK groups in history. They released eight number-one UK singles and eight number-one UK albums during their career, also earning six Brit Awards.

Recommended: Top Oasis songs of all time

12. Black Sabbath

BLACK SABBATH - "Paranoid" (Official Video)

Black Sabbath was formed in Birmingham, England, in 1968 by Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward. All of those names should look familiar, but Iommi and Ward are frequently ranked among the best guitarists and drummers of all time, respectively. They were pioneers of the heavy metal genre, with their first three albums—Black Sabbath, Paranoid, and Master Of Reality—all being landmark entries to rock and roll. Those three albums are still cornerstones of metal music to this day.

Negative critical responses never kept them down, as they consistently found commercial success with fans. Ronnie James Dio eventually replaced Osbourne as the vocalist due to the latter’s substance abuse issues, and they changed sounds, pioneering a new direction in metal. Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple are often referred to as the unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the 1970s, cementing their immortality among the legendary. 

13. The Kinks

The Kinks - Lola (Official Audio)

The Kinks quickly became one of the most influential and iconic bands of the 1960s. Formed in London in 1963, the original lineup included Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Mick Avory, and Pete Quaife. They drew musical inspiration from all sorts of genres, including American rock and roll and R&B, folk, and country music.

They often reflected on English culture and lifestyle, painting historical portraits of their era through their music. They were a huge influence on groups like Oasis, Blur, Van Halen, and The Pretenders. They landed five singles in the top 10 of the US Hot 100 and had nine albums reach the top 40 of the album charts. In the UK, they produced 17 top-20 singles. In 1990, all four original members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

14. The Cure

The Cure - Boys Don't Cry

The Cure was formed in Crawley, West Sussex, in 1978. Robert Smith has been the only consistent part of their lineup throughout their career, though Simon Gallup was a member for all but three of those years. They emerged from the post-punk and new-wave movements in the UK, helping to essentially lay the foundation for gothic rock as we know it today and establishing the subculture of the genre in the process.

After their fourth album in 1982, they adopted more pop elements and gained a massive following, going on to release a total of 13 studio albums, two EPs, and 30 singles. In 2019, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

15. Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know? (Official Video)

Arctic Monkeys were formed in Sheffield in 2002, with an original lineup of Alex Turner, Matt Helders, Jamie Cook, and Nick O’Malley. They established themselves as one of the first bands to find fame via the internet rather than marketing by record labels. Their popularity fundamentally changed the music industry in regard to the way new bands are promoted.

Their debut album in 2006 became the fastest-selling album in British history and topped the UK Albums Chart along the way. Their fifth album brought them international glory on the back of singles like Do I Wanna Know? In the UK, they were the first independent band to debut at number one with their first five albums. In their careers, they’ve won seven Brit Awards and been nominated for nine Grammys.

16. The Smiths

The Smiths - This Charming Man (Official Music Video)

The Smiths were formed in Manchester in 1982 and originally were composed of Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke, and Mike Joyce. They’re widely regarded as one of the most important acts in the independent music scene of Britain during the 1980s, finding success through their legendary albums on independent music labels.

They were best known for fusing 1960s rock and roll with the post-punk era but broke up in 1987 due to internal tensions because of public lawsuits over royalties. They sadly never reunited, and the world was robbed of more of their work. 

17. Genesis

Genesis - Jesus He Knows Me (Official Music Video)

Genesis was formed at Charterhouse School in Godalming, Surrey, in 1967. Their longest-serving lineup consisted of Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, and Phil Collins. Formed by pupils at the school, they expanded during the 1970s to include Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett, cementing their place among the legends of progressive rock. Over time, their hits would stack up, earning an estimated 150 million worldwide record sales and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

18. Sex Pistols

Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen

The Sex Pistols were a punk band that formed in London in 1975. Their initial career was devastatingly short, lasting only two and a half years, but they were the ones to initiate the punk movement in the UK and influenced untold numbers of post-punk and alt-rock musicians of later years.

They were the ones who established the early aesthetic of punk rockers in the UK as well. One-off performances became the norm for them in the years following 1978, but the short career never stopped them from being one of the most influential bands of all time, earning them an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Of course, they refused to attend the honor in true punk fashion. 

19. The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses - I Wanna Be Adored (Official Video)

The Stone Roses formed in Manchester in 1983 and were one of the pioneering groups of the Manchester Movement of the 1980s. Their most prominent lineup consisted of Ian Brown, John Squire, and Reni. Their debut eponymous album was a major breakthrough, earning critical acclaim and a place on many critic’s lists of the best British albums of all time.

After a long legal battle to try to sign with a major record label, they eventually succeeded in 1991. In 2016, they released their first new material in over two decades and continued to tour through 2017. 

20. Blur

Blur - Song 2 (Official Music Video)

Blur got their start in London in 1988, and their original lineup consisted of Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James, and Dave Rowntree. Mixing the elements of Madchester and shoegaze, they made a name for themselves in the Britpop era and found massive popularity rivaling Genesis on the charts. They would later move into the art rock and electronic styles and have continued releasing music through 2023. 

21. The Animals

The House of the Rising Sun

The Animals were formed in Newcastle in the early 1960s and were known for their bluesy style of rock and roll. The best example of this came in their signature song House Of The Rising Sun, which is still considered among the best tracks of all time today.

As a major part of the British Invasion, they went through several personnel changes over the course of their careers and split on several occasions. Benefit concerts were able to reunite the original group a few times, but they never released new music again. In 1994, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

22. T. Rex

T. Rex - Bang A Gong (Get It On) (Official Vinyl Video)

T. Rex was formed in 1967 by Marc Bolan, who remained the only consistent member throughout their career. They got their start in the psychedelic folk genre but quickly moved towards electric rock. This in turn made them pioneers of the glam rock movement that gained incredible popularity during the 1970s and 1980s.

Inside the UK, they found fame on a level near The Beatles, releasing numerous rock albums inspired by genres like disco and R&B. Bolan tragically died in a car crash in 1977, effectively disbanding the band, but this didn’t stop them from being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020. 

23. The Police

The Police - Every Breath You Take (Official Music Video)

The Police formed in London in 1977 with Sting as the frontman surrounded by Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland. By the late 1970s, they had found international fame in the British new wave scene and supplemented their rock style with punk, reggae, and jazz. Their single Every Breath You Take was a US and UK number-one hit and helped them earn over 75 million worldwide record sales. 

24. Joy Division

Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Joy Division was formed in Salford in 1976 with an original lineup of Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris. They were formed shortly after Hook and Sumner attended a Sex Pistols concert, and their early sound was evocative of the punk movement.

They shifted into a sparser sound that helped found the post-punk era. Sadly, they would only release two albums, with the second coming after the tragic death of Ian Curtis. They later regrouped under the name New Order, who we’ll get to later. But Joy Division itself earned an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

25. Gorillaz

Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc. (Official Video)

Gorillaz is a virtual band that was formed in 1998 by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. They consist of four fictional characters: 2-D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle, and Russel Hobbs. After Albarn departed from Blur, he began exploring a menagerie of musical styles, from hip hop to electric. This led to the concept of Gorillaz and their fictional universe.

What might sound like an odd concept has been wildly successful, with them releasing worldwide hits like Clint Eastwood, Feel Good Inc, and Strange Timez. Their concerts have been done by hiding the members, projecting animations on stages, and live-touring as a fully visible group. In total, they’ve been nominated for 25 Brit Awards and won Best British Group in 2018. 

26. Iron Maiden

Fear of the Dark (2015 Remaster)

Iron Maiden is a heavy metal band that formed in Leyton in 1975. They quickly became one of the most important bands in the history of the heavy metal genre, covering topics like war, mythology, history, and religion. Their album The Number Of The Beast is one of the best-selling metal albums in history, earning over 20 million sales worldwide. One-hundred-thirty million total record sales and 600 certifications have placed them among the most influential bands of all time as well. 

27. Def Leppard

DEF LEPPARD - "Pour Some Sugar On Me" (Official Music Video)

Def Leppard formed in 1976 in Sheffield and was part of the new wave of heavy metal music in Britain during the 1980s. Songs like Rock Of Ages, Pour Some Sugar On Me, and Love Bites are staples of classic rock radio even today. With over 100 million worldwide record sales, they cemented themselves among the pantheon of the best-selling artists of all time, and they’re one of only five rock bands with two original albums selling more than 10 million copies in the US. 

28. Cream

Cream - White Room (Royal Albert Hall 2005) (17 of 22)

Cream is widely regarded as the first of what we now call a supergroup. They consisted of Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, and Ginger Baker, with each member being highly successful in other groups or as a solo artist. Their instrumental proficiency made their forays through the blues, hard rock, and psychedelia among the best in history. In 1993, they were inducted as a group into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

29. The Jam

The Jam - Town Called Malice

The Jam was another group formed at a school, finding their start in 1972 at the Sheerwater Secondary School in Woking, Surrey. Before their breakup in 1977, they released 19 consecutive top-40 singles in the UK, with four of those rising to the number-one spot. Punk, new wave, and beat music were all major influences for the band, with songs like That’s Entertainment and Just Who Is The 5 O’Clock Hero? remaining some of the best-selling singles in UK history. 

30. Super Furry Animals

Super Furry Animals - Golden Retriever (Video)

Super Furry Animals was formed in Cardiff in 1993. Major players in the Cool Cymru movement, they were the most dominant act in the faction and are the band with the most top-40 singles in UK history that never broke into the top 10. One of the most imaginative bands in history, their incredible and unique style has set them apart for years and pushed forward the techno genre in Britain as a whole. 

31. The Specials

The Specials - A Message To You Rudy (Official Music Video)

The Specials were a ska group that formed in Coventry in 1977. Hearkening back to the 1960s style garb, they combined the emerging punk genre with rocksteady and ska elements that gave them a special sound. Between 1979 and 1981, they scored seven consecutive UK top-10 singles. After a hiatus with some members leaving, they reformed in 1993 and have continued to perform with various lineups since. 

32. Dire Straits

Dire Straits - Sultans Of Swing (Official Music Video)

Dire Straits was formed in 1977 in London and had two stints together, from 1977 to 1988 and 1990 to 1995. Their first single, Sultans Of Swing, was massively influential and a huge hit on both the US and UK charts. Drawing on various genres like country, folk, and blues rock, the band eventually earned a spot as one of the best British groups of the 1980s. Their record sales total around 120 million worldwide, and they earned an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

33. Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons - I Will Wait (Official Music Video)

Mumford & Sons was formed in London in 2007 and has released four studio albums. Their debut album Sigh No More reached number two on both the US and the UK album charts, and they followed it up with two number-one albums. Babel in particular became the fastest-selling rock album of the decade in 2012 and won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. They’re one of the best modern British bands out there and great things will continue to come their way in the future. 

34. Roxy Music

Roxy Music - More Than This

Roxy Music was formed in 1971 and went through several lineup changes and intermittent reunions over the years. They were a major act in Europe and Australia during the 1970s, helping pioneer the foundational elements of glam rock and influencing English punk music during that time. Their glamorous fashion statements became a part of their identity, and they earned an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. 

35. Judas Priest

Judas Priest - Painkiller

Judas Priest is another one of the best metal bands of all time that hails from Britain. They were formed in Birmingham in 1969 and were major pioneers of the genre throughout the 1970s. Their mainstream breakthrough came in 1980 with the release of their album British Steel, forcing just about everyone to go back and listen to their impressive catalog of music from earlier years. They’re still active today, even taking home a Grammy Award in 2010 for Best Metal Performance and earning a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction in 2022. 

36. Massive Attack

Massive Attack - Teardrop (Official Video)

Massive Attack was formed in 1988 and is a trip-hop collective that found massive success in the UK. Their debut album in 1992 produced the hit single Unfinished Sympathy and their 2003 album 100th Window reached the top of the UK Album Charts. Their five studio albums have sold over 13 million copies and they have been activists for environmental, political, and human rights causes throughout their tenure together. 

37. Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode - Enjoy The Silence (Official Video)

Depeche Mode is an electronic music group that was formed in 1980. Their albums in 1986 and 1987 established them as a core group of the English electronic music scene and they continued to have a huge run of success on the UK charts. They have been named among the greatest dance club artists of all time and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide. 

38. The Libertines

The Libertines - Gunga Din

The Libertines were formed in 1997 and were partially responsible for spearheading the garage rock movement in the UK during the 1990s and 2000s. Their first full-length EP was produced by Mick Jones of The Clash, and they quickly found commercial and critical success. Sadly, they would split due to internal tensions and public issues, though they reunited on a couple of occasions to play one-off concerts. 

39. Muse

Muse - Uprising [Official Video]

Muse was formed in 1994 in Teignmouth and immediately found success with their melancholic alt-rock style. They often incorporate classical instrumentation, electronic, and pop influences into their music. This gave the world awesome singles like Supermassive Black Hole and Butterflies And Hurricanes. They have won two Grammys and two Brit Awards and sold over 30 million worldwide records. 

40. Coldplay

The Chainsmokers & Coldplay - Something Just Like This (Lyric)

Coldplay was formed in 1997, and the members initially met at the University College London before forming the band. They’ve been one of the most diverse musical groups of the last three decades, evolving their sound throughout the eras and always staying relevant. This has led to them selling over 100 million records worldwide and becoming one of the most influential acts in British history.

41. The 1975

The 1975 - Chocolate (Official Video)

The 1975 is a pop-rock band that was formed in 2002 in Wilmslow. The members all met in secondary school and played together before forming the group, releasing music professionally in 2012 for the first time under an independent label. All of their albums have reached the top of the UK Albums chart and made it onto the Billboard 200. When it comes to modern pop-rock, there is no band more ambitious, interesting, or successful. 

42. Electric Light Orchestra

Electric Light Orchestra - Last Train to London (Official Video)

Electric Light Orchestra was formed in 1970 by a group of multi-instrumentalists. Fusing pop and classical arrangements, they became a major influence on modern rock and pop acts around the world. Their initial 15-year run saw them sell over 50 million records and earned them the record of having the most Billboard Hot 100 top-40 hits without a number-one single. 

43. Yes

Roundabout (2008 Remaster)

Yes was one of the pioneering prog rock bands and was formed in 1968. Over the years, they’ve explored numerous musical styles but are mainly regarded as pioneers of the prog-rock genre. By the mid-1980s, they had moved towards mainstream rock, but they also moved mainstream rock towards their style during that time. 

44. The Moody Blues

The Moody Blues - Your Wildest Dreams

The Moody Blues was formed in 1964 and was initially part of the British beat and R&B music scenes. This changed quickly though, as they ventured into the burgeoning area of psychedelic rock. Over a 50-year career, they released landmark albums and influential singles like Nights In White Satin and Isn’t Life Strange

45. Deep Purple

Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers

Deep Purple was formed in 1968 and is among the pioneers of both heavy metal and modern hard rock. They evolved over the years, moving through psychedelia and prog-rock as well, but their heavier sound put them on par with the likes of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. In total, they have earned over 100 million worldwide record sales and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

46. Pulp

Pulp - Common People

Pulp was formed in 1978, but it wouldn’t be until the 1990s that they found major mainstream success. They headlined the Pyramid Stage of the Glastonbury Festival on two occasions and were part of the Britpop Big Four alongside Oasis, Blur, and Suede. Their disco-influenced pop-rock gave them a unique sound as well. 

47. New Order

New Order - Blue Monday (Official Lyric Video)

New Order was formed in 1980 after the disbandment of Joy Division after the death of Ian Curtis. They integrated post-punk with electronic and dance music, turning them into one of the best acts of the 1980s and continuing the legacy of Joy Division. That legacy loomed large though, overshadowing the group’s early music. 

48. Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull - Aqualung (Official Music Video)

Jethro Tull is a prog-rock group that was formed in 1967 and played a mixture of blues-rock and jazz fusion. They later incorporated elements of British folk music, hard rock, and classical arrangements. Described as one of the most eccentric bands of all time, their work was never overshadowed by those eccentricities. Though their recording career ended in 2000, they continued touring through 2011 and were revived in 2017.  

49. Buzzcocks

Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve?) (TOTP, 1978)

Buzzcocks was another punk band formed in 1976 and was one of the pioneers of the pop-punk movement we know about today. Though they broke up in 1981 after releasing only three albums, they reunited in 1989 and released six more albums between then and 2018. 

50. The Streets

The Streets - Blinded By The Lights (Official Video)

The Streets was founded in 1994 and was one of the most important acts in the UK when it came to hip hop, garage, and grime music. Their albums are considered landmarks of UK rap, and they became synonymous with the early 2000s era of British music. 

51. The Hollies

The Hollies - Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress) (Official Audio)

The Hollies were formed in 1962 and were one of Britain’s leading bands throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Their three-part vocal harmony gave the band a unique sound that gave them incredible longevity. They’re one of the few UK bands formed in the 1960s to never disband and continue to record and perform today.

52. My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine was formed in 1983 in Dublin. After releasing the incredible album Loveless in 1991, they remained mostly inactive, but their long-delayed third album was released to critical and fan acclaim in 2013. They were one of the pioneering bands of shoegaze, and their androgynous, unorthodox production techniques made them one of the most unique bands in UK history. 

53. Supertramp

Supertramp - It's Raining Again

Supertramp was formed in 1970 and found their biggest success in 1979 with the album Breakfast In America. They were known for blending progressive rock and pop together, as well as relying on the Wurlitzer electric piano for their distinctive sound. 

54. Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian - I Want The World To Stop (Official Video)

Belle & Sebastian is an indie pop group that was formed in Glasgow in 1996. They’ve released 12 studio albums and are often compared with the likes of The Smiths. Commercial success has mostly eluded them, though they find widespread acclaim among critics in the UK. 

55. Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out (Video)

Franz Ferdinand was formed in 2002 in Glasgow and is one of the most popular post-punk revival bands in the UK. Their first two singles made it to the top 50 of the UK Singles Chart, and they followed it up with several successful albums. Since then, they have shifted to dance-centric music.

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