As the first hard rock band fronted by women, Nancy Wilson certainly deserves a spot on this list. The American musician rose to prominence alongside her older sister, singer Ann Wilson in the band Heart. Wilson was playing as a teen and, by college, in 1974, followed her sister into the iconic band. The group started with fellow members Steve Fossen, Roger Fisher, David Belzer, and Jeff Johnson.
One of the band’s fundamental attributes is its versatile set of musical styles, which has covered genres including everything from heavy metal to easy listening and more. The band has sold over 35 million records worldwide to date and has been ranked as one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time. Also, in 2013, Heart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
One of the countless rock legends who left us too soon, Terry Kath, lead guitarist of the band Chicago, sold more than 22 million records. Producing one of the greatest guitar solos in history, he has been dubbed better than Jimi Hendrix (by Hendrix himself.) The band was formed in 1967 and -described itself as a “rock and roll band with horns.” In 2008, Billboard listed Chicago at number thirteen and fifteen in a list of the top 100 artists of all time (from 2008 and 2015, respectively).
The band has sold over 40 million albums domestically and has released twenty-three gold albums, eighteen platinum albums, and eight multi-platinum albums. In 1974, the group had seven albums on the Billboard 200 simultaneously.
King Crimson's Robert Fripp blew his bandmates away in their very first rehearsal in 1969. His famous fuzzy guitar in one of the best progressive rock bands in music history has cemented his spot in the arena of legendary rockers. Crimson's 1973 metal classic, Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, is where one can best hear Fripp's genius.
Fripp has also collaborated greatly as a session musician with David Bowie, Blondie, Brian Eno, and David Sylvian.
Best known for his incredible guitar work in the two bands Journey and Bad English, Neal Schon Schon has made two of the most prestigious lists in the world of rock music; the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as part of the band Journey.) His guitar contribution in Journey was particularly great. The San Francisco band was during the early '70s by former Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch members.
The band's style is viewed as a mixture of progressive rock and jazz, and arena rock. The journey is often heard references in media, films, theatre, games, and even theater. USA Today ranked the band as the 5th best rock band in history. "Don't Stop Believin'" is a perfect gateway into the band's iconic melodies. While Schon's guitar stylings are integral to Journey's greatness, his best solo can be heard in Straight to Your Heart (1991) by Bad English.
Born on July 12th, 1967, in New York City, Petrucci attended Berklee College of Music in Boston with his childhood friend John Myung. The pair met Mike Portnoy, and together with another friend Kevin Moore, the four created Dream Theater. In a group full of some of the best musicians in the world, Petrucci's playing stands out.
His high-speed alternate picking requires mastery of the instrument, and his speed while playing some of Dream Theater's faster songs puts most other axemen to shame. He's also been lauded for his slower, emotive playing. Influenced by some of the best, he is now one of the best.