Inspired by Alice Cooper and the glam hard rock of the New York Dolls, Kiss was the idea of Gene Simmons (bass and vocals) and Paul Stanley (rhythm guitar and vocals). Well known for its members’ face paints and stage outfits, which mimicked the personae of comic book characters, the band went on to perform insane live feats like breathing fire, spitting blood, floating drum kits in the air, and all sorts of pyrotechnics.
The band went through different periods of more serious performances without masks vs. returns to masks and calls for nostalgia from fans. Kiss is currently touring what is considered to be their last tour ever. The band was ranked 9th by MTV in its “Greatest Metal Bands of All Time” list and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.
Recommended Listening: Our favorite Kiss song is, without a doubt, “Detroit Rock City.” The band’s timeless ode to rock and roll is widely considered to be their best. Despite originally coming from New York, Kiss found their fame in Detroit and paid the city its due with this brilliant song.
As one of the pioneering bands of the psychedelic rock genre, Jefferson Airplane headlined the Monterey, Woodstock, Altamont, and Isle of Wight festivals and went on to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. The band's lineup consisted of Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, and Jorma Kaukonen, who all contributed to the vocals, Jack Casady on the bass, and Spencer Dryden manning the drums.
After 1972, the band fell apart and was split into two separate bands, Hot Tuna, and Jefferson Starship, with the latter achieving great commercial success and releasing ten gold and platinum-selling albums.
Recommended Listening: The band’s highest-rated and most popular song, "Somebody to Love," is, in our opinion, the absolute pinnacle of the band's musical lineup, with a more aggressive, catchy, and potent melody and lyrics than any of their other songs.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
It's hard to pinpoint what the Red Hot Chili Peppers are exactly. The group's musical style has its foundation in rock but delves into other genres as well, such as funk, punk, psychedelic, and even hip-hop. They've won numerous awards, including several Grammys, and have sold over 80 million records worldwide. They have won numerous Grammys and other awards. Perhaps the best alternative rock band of all time, the group continues to make noise all around the world to this day.
The band's legendary song collection spans from the heavy "Otherside" to the popular "Californication" and all the way to many, many other great hits, such as “Dani California,” “Can't Stop,” “Snow (Hey Oh)” and even their recent 2016 single, “Dark Necessities.” Some of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' original founding members are still active today and include Anthony Kiedis as lead vocals and guitar and Flea with bass, backing vocals, trumpet, and piano.
Recommended Listening: Trying to recommend a Red Hot Chili Pepper song is like trying to choose just one dish at an all-you-can-eat buffet. The band has countless hits and legendary singles that cover every emotion and style you can think of. We'd recommend listening to "Under the Bridge" if you're a newcomer to the band and want to get a feel for their unique musical style.
Soundgarden was an American Rock band formed by the late singer Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. The band was one of the original creators of the grunge genre, along with Kurt Cobain's Nirvana. Soundgarden went on to become the first-ever grunge band to sign to a major label and achieved commercial success along with other grunge contemporaries, such as Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana. The band's two most successful songs to date are "Spoonman" and "Black Hole Sun," which both debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and awarded the band a Grammy.
Despite their strong identification with grunge, the band’s bassist objects to that label, saying, "That's just marketing. It's called rock and roll, or it's called punk rock, or whatever. We never were Grunge; we were just a band from Seattle." In 2017, the band was disbanded due to the death of Chris Cornell, who took his own life. In mid-2019, Thayil said in an interview with Music Radar that the band's remaining members are trying to finish and release the album they were working on prior to Cornell's passing but that the late singer's family is withholding his vocal recordings and denying their use in the album.
Recommended Listening: Arguably, the band's signature track, "Black Hole Sun," is the band's most recognized and psychedelic song and played a huge part in the band's commercial success. We’d recommend every would-be Soundgarden fan to start with this masterpiece and explore the band’s diverse song list from there.
From the uplifting rock ballad of "Livin' on a Prayer" to the romantic "Bed of Roses" and even the rebellious, "It's My Life," Bon Jovi has been consistently dominating the billboards from the early '80s, when the band was initially formed in New Jersey, up to today, with the band still touring strong. Bon Jovi’s songs regularly appear in everything from films to video games, making them a household name.
The band has released a total of 14 studio albums, five compilations, and three live albums to this date - selling over 100 million records worldwide. Bon Jovi is one of the world's most active and long-running superbands and has performed in over 2,700 concerts for over 34 million fans. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 and announced its plans to release a new album in late 2019 or early 2020.
Recommended Listening: It’s hard to recommend any specific song with such a long list of incredible hits and musical styles. We’d recommend “It’s My Life” for the heavy metal lovers out there, “Bed of Roses” to the more romantically inclined, and “Livin' on a Prayer” for just about anyone who likes music.