Kansas began in 1973 and has had plenty of different members over the years. You almost certainly know Kansas from their song “Carry On Wayward Son,” but the band has achieved plenty more, including three multi-platinum albums.
Kansas combined hard rock, southern rock, and progressive rock and was inspired by Yes and Genesis, though Livgren also cited the 60’s band Touch as foundational. The classic era lasted until the mid-80s when the band reformed as a somewhat harder pop metal band.
Recommended listening: Kansas’s most popular album is Leftoverture, thanks to “Carry On Wayward Son.” Also, hear “Dust in the Wind,” the band’s only top-ten single.
This Canadian-American band was the shortest-lived on our list, spanning a life of only two years, from 1966 to 1968. Buffalo Springfield was formed in Los Angeles by Stephen Stills, Bruce Palmer, Dewey Martin, and Neil Young. The band evolved in their two albums from folk-rock to psychedelia and hard rock. Also, the band grew to include Richie Furay, David Crosby, Jim Fielder, Ken Koblun, and Jim Messina.
The band's members disbanded in 1968, with Stills going on to form Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the others forming their own bands. The band has since done a 2011 reunion tour which was planned to continue until the end of 2012 but was put on pause and inevitably led to an indefinite hiatus. However, back in 1997, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Recommended Listening: With only three official albums spanning from 1966 to 1968, there is, unfortunately, not a great deal of choice for those who want to enjoy the band to the fullest. Regardless, we highly recommend listening to "For What It's Worth," a song that still gets played to this day as a protest song.
Like many bands on our list, Journey was formed in San Francisco during the early '70s by former Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch members. The band was most popular and successful between the late '70s and the late '80s. During this period, the band released some of their most famous songs, which included "Don't Stop Believing," "Open Arms," and "Faithfully."
The band's style is regarded as a combination of arena rock and progressive rock, and jazz. In 2017, their unique talent and sound got Journey members Steve Perry, Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Gregg Rolie, Ross Valory, Aynsley Dunbar, and Steve Smith inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The journey is often heard of or referred to in various films, TV shows, video games, and even theater. The band was featured in 'The Sopranos,' 'Glee,' and 'Family Guy.' USA Today ranked the band as the 5th best rock band in history.
Recommended Listening: Everyone's favorite inspirational song, "Don't Stop Believin'," is a perfect entry into the band's iconic music, with an incredible mix of hard rock roots and sweet pop vocals and melody. This song was covered and featured in numerous musical and entertainment media and is the best-selling catalog track of the digital music era, with more than 5 million digital sales.
Guns N' Roses
Guns N' Roses combined numerous rock genres to create a unique, chugging, driving sound known worldwide. Their first album, Appetite for Destruction, reached number one on the Billboard 200 and still is the best-selling debut album ever.
The band is also famous for its antics. Singer Axl Rose has assaulted people, people have died at concerts, and addiction ran rampant during the eighties, earning the band the moniker “the most dangerous band in the world.” Recommended Listening: There's no going wrong with their debut album. Make sure to hear the songs “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Sweet Child of Mine,” and “Paradise City."
Formed in 1972, Styx melds hard rock, acoustic guitar, synthesizers, and acoustic piano. They are best described as progressive rock with pop and soft rock.
The band has found themselves, in a variety of different lineups, on the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 a number of times, and have had four consecutive albums certified multi-platinum: 'The Grand Illusion,' 'Pieces of Eight,' 'Cornerstone,' and 'Paradise Theatre.'
Recommended Listening: If you haven't already heard “Come Sail Away,” you need to fix that right now. They also have plenty of other songs that have reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.