Top 10 Most Underrated Rock Bands

By way of an introduction, it is best pointed out at the outset that underrated does not imply unheard of and unknown bands – it primarily means those bands that never made it as big as they were supposed to. Thus, some of the bands on this list may be popular on your playlist, but they figure here because they failed to click with the masses.


1. Third Eye Blind

This band made it to the Billboard countdown for four consecutive years from 1997 to 2000 – but you never hear them on the radio, rarely get to see their videos on TV, and almost none of the people you meet have heard them. Yet, when you pick up their debut album, you are blown away by their music.


2. Hanoi Rocks

This Finnish band was formed in 1977 and they continued to play for around eight odd years, before disbanding after a series of misfortunes in 1985. They never made it to the big labels but their music has its own cult following, swearing by their offbeat melodies and sound tones.


3. Nazareth

Тhis band is synonymous with the hit ‘Love Hurts’ but no one knows any other song by them. This typical rock band of the seventies has several great numbers which have even been covered by other artists like the Guns N’ Roses. Yet, you don’t hear of any die-hard Nazareth fan who has their complete discography.


4. The Dandy Warhols

Debuting in 1995, this American band cannot be called a rock band, for their music defies genre. They have released only a handful of albums in the past fifteen years and have remained media shy. Although their tracks are all too familiar (what with them being used in TV shows and movies all the time) very few have heard of them and really heard them.


5. Talking Heads

This band has explored almost every type of music there was to explore in the eighties. They have had Billboard numbers almost every year starting from 1979, and have had several hit albums. Yet, they never gained celebrity status, and seemed to disappear into oblivion.


6. Black Label Society

This heavy metal band had an awesome sound and some superb compositions when they started out. However, as their story progressed, their members seemed to move into other popular bans, one after and another, and their sound got lost in the mist. They had it in them though.


7. Soul Asylum

Although they had been around on the music scene, Soul Asylum made their first Billboard debut only in 1993 and their second and last in 1995. They have had the popular hits “Runaway Train” and “Misery” but no one seems to know anything else about them. Their albums however reveal a fresh sound and great numbers.


8. Gentle Giant

This was a progressive rock band from the UK in the seventies and their gigs were particularly known for the level of orchestration and complexity. They however slipped in between the cracks somewhere in their efforts to redefine popular music.


9. Toad the Wet Sprocket

Barring their odd name, everything about this American alt rock band is fabulous, except maybe the fact that they broke up in 1998 after being in the business for 12 years. Their best hits are ‘Walk on the ocean’ and ‘Fall Down’.


10. Collective Soul

Okay, so many of us have heard of this one, but how many know all of their numbers and swear by their name? Face it, this is one of those band that could have made it really big – but didn’t.


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12 Responses

  1. Jeff Condie

    I agree with Nazareth,Hair of the Dog might be the rockinest song I never hear.This Flight Tonight,I’ve never heard. What about Ten Years After, Uriah Heep, The Animals,T-Rex,and the most talented band ever The Dixie Dregs. Eric Burdon is the whitest black guy you’ll ever know,said his band mates from The Animals, and, War.

  2. Ryan S.

    Toad the Wet Sprocket never got their proper recognition. Great band. Great collection of music in their short career.

    Talking Heads though? I would have to consider them on the most overrated list…

    When I was growing up everyone that was “cool” and “hip” was listening to them.

    I liked them alright but thought they were very much overrated.

  3. Tasmanian Devil

    Do yourself a favour and look into the work of the Australian band Powderfinger.
    They are about to embark on their final tour after 20 years. Their middle three albums are particularly brilliant i.e Internationalist, Odyssey Number Five and Vulture Street. Bernard Fanning’s voice is a good as any in the world.

  4. Will Trame

    I agree with the sentiment that Nazareth was grossly underrated. Their “Hair Of The Dog” album is their most well known work. Another track of theirs that I really liked was “Holiday” from the “Malice In Wonderland” set. That song did receive some strong airplay back in 1980. Glad to see Gentle Giant on this list. Their “Octopus” album features a fine blend of medieval classical progressive. Arthur Lee’s band Love should have been mentioned, as they are the perhaps the ultimate cult rock band. Had Lee and the group toured extensively outside of Los Angeles during the late sixties, Love could have been as big as the Doors.

  5. Giovanni

    The simple fact that Gotthard (from Switzerland) is not even on the underrated list makes them the most underrated band ever !!!
    Great, great band who recently lost its frontman on a freak accident.

  6. Dave

    Stackridge. Not hard rock but progressive rock/folk. A quintessentially English band that really defies categorization. Active 1969 to 1976. Reformed in 2007. They were the the very first act at the very first Glastonbury Festival. Perhaps the only band that was formed over 40 years ago and still as creative today as when they started. Listen to their last album. A victory for Common Sense released 2009.

  7. matt

    The only band i wish that was on there i W.A.S.P. only because it’s pure emotion, Blackie has a unique voice also


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