Top 10 Overrated Classic Rock Bands
Is The Credit Well-Deserved?
We’re well aware this will trigger a series of endless debates among classic rock fans for the most part because “overrated” is often subjective. But for this list, we’ll make it simple. We’re including bands who got more credit than they actually deserve. This means, they could have ONE GREAT song but people still act as if they’re the best thing ever created since the discovery of peanut butter and jelly.
You see, some groups live up to and even exceed expectations while others, they’ve become too commercialized and end up being nothing more than a hype. You won’t see any of the former here – that’s why we’re bumping out Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Queen even if so many haters deem them overrated. Their songs are overplayed, true, but talent-wise, they deserve their spot in the rock ‘n roll pantheon. We can’t say the same for those we included here.
10. Red Hot Chili Peppers
When you think of the greatest classic rock bands to ever walk the Earth, Red Hot Chili Peppers wouldn’t even cross your mind. For the record, they’re not exactly horrible but their songs are mediocre at best. They’re fun to listen to, sure, but that’s all there is to it.
Some grunge, some funk – they stuck to the same sound for years and while sometimes that’s good, it eventually gets boring.
“We started finding some magic and some music and some riffs and some rhythms and some jams and some grooves, and we added to it and subtracted from it and pushed it around and put melodies to it.” – Anthony Kiedis
To be fair, they were pretty great at the beginning. “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” was good thanks to John Frusciante. They weren’t revolutionary or anything that changed rock music but they were okay. Still, they get way more fame and acclaim than they actually deserve.
Okay, we can hear your collective groan all the way from here. Before you start throwing stuff to your screen, hear us out first. Like Red Hot Chili Peppers, their earlier stuff was amazing and Phil Collin’s drumming is impressive. We have plenty of favorite songs during the Peter Gabriel era and even after his departure, they still managed to release some great tracks.
Maybe our issue here is there are those who call them the greatest rock band of all time which, in our humble opinion, is just absurd.
“Pete was also getting too big for the group. He was being portrayed as if he was ‘the man’ and it really wasn’t like that. It was a very difficult thing to accommodate. So it was actually a bit of a relief.” – Tony Banks on Peter Gabriel’s departure
There are enjoyable tracks post-Gabriel and perhaps they wouldn’t be on this list if fans stop hailing them as the best thing since sliced bread.
Apart from their messy breakup, the Gallagher brothers are just way too loud and vulgar. Some people know more about their feuds than their songs which is kind of sad.
Yes, they can play instruments and write their own songs (can’t say the same thing about other groups) but at the end of the day, they are overrated and overhyped – even their peers consider them as such, which is kind of a big deal.
“Oasis were young, fresh and writing good tunes. I thought the biggest mistake they made was when they said ‘We’re going to be bigger than The Beatles’. I thought ‘So many people have said that, and it’s the kiss of death.’ Be bigger than The Beatles, but don’t say it. The minute you say it, everything you do from then on is going to be looked at in the light of that statement.” – Paul McCartney
They had good tracks but they were just so full of themselves. They had big claims but nothing to back those up and of course it didn’t help that they weren’t the nicest guys too.
7. Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi songs all sound the same – there, we said it. Richie Sambora is a great guitarist and their tracks are generally enjoyable BUT they found the formula that worked for them so they didn’t find any reason to stray from it.
No reinvention, experimentation and innovation – they may have a lot of decent hits like “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Livin’ On A Prayer” but they are too commercialized. It’s as if every classic rock radio station has to play one of their songs at least once every hour.
“Everything is bigger, and it moves twice as fast. You’re recognized twice as often. This is bigger, the whole world gets bigger. You have to sell more records, be huger. You get smarter and you understand the business a little more, so it’s more responsibility. You understand it now, and you want to make sure everything goes right.” – Jon Bon Jovi on their breakthrough
They had great songs but over time, it just became repetitive. They weren’t keen on taking risks and experimenting – two things common for those who wanted to do “art” instead of just focusing on selling records.
They were creative and imaginative which reflected on how amazing their concerts were – no one left unimpressed. Bono, with all the hatred hurtled at him, has some serious pipes. So, what’s the problem?
They had some solid tunes but they also had mediocre tracks which received major air plays. They had maybe two or three stellar albums but that doesn’t even put them in the same league as other GREATER rock acts.
“Something just didn’t feel right. We felt we had more dimension than just the next big anything, we had something unique to offer.” – Bono
There were those who thought they were the next Led Zeppelin or The Who but we beg to disagree. While they’re not bad (only haters say Bono can’t sing), they’re not the greatest either.
They were a tour de force in the ‘80s but even at the height of their career, they’re still incomparable to maybe about 10 other better classic rock artists.
Like most bands, Metallica had their hits and misses. But to treat them like they’re the best thing metal has to offer is just ridiculous. They had excellent albums and songs which are epic masterpieces.
Thus, it makes Metallica the perfect example of what overrated really means. They’re not bad or un-talented, they’re simply overhyped and it’s not always their fault – both radio stations and other media can be blamed for playing average songs too much.
“What we mean is an album that has the power, influence and epic grandeur of that album Master of Puppets—and the staying power—a timeless record like that.” – Machine Head’s Robb Flynn
We actually like Metallica with their bad ass riffs and catchy tunes. And while they’re not the MOST OVERRATED rock group, they are still surely up there. Musically, they were above average but definitely not as “untouchable” as others make them seem.
4. Guns ‘n Roses
Maybe their appeal lies in how unapologetic they were. Aside from Axl Rose’s random rants, their concerts had that raw and primal energy even if they sang songs which aren’t even too great to begin with. Axl Rose had an impressive range and “Appetite for Destruction” was stellar but it went downhill from there.
In terms of technical skill, Slash isn’t the best guitarist either. They’re not an awful band but to say that they changed the hard rock game is a bit of a stretch.
“I hated that song with a huge passion for the longest time, and it turned out to be our hugest hit, so it goes to show what I know.” – Slash on “Sweet Child O’ Mine”
“Welcome To The Jungle” will always be one of our favorites but let’s all be honest, they were hyped up so their big bosses could pocket more bucks. They didn’t single-handedly redefine rock, they were so far from that.
3. Motley Crue
The fact is, they had a few good songs and the rest were nothing but fillers. And that’s why we don’t understand why some consider them as the best thing about hair metal because, they’re not.
They fall under the “bands that are okay” category, so it’d be great if fans don’t act like they’re the most outstanding rock act to emerge from the ‘80s.
“I wanted a band that would be like David Bowieand the Sex Pistols thrown in a blender with Black Sabbath.” – Nikki Sixx
Their music is entertaining and fun – definitely not the kind to blow you away with its sheer awesomeness. Even Nikki Sixx knows somewhere in their catalogue are a bunch of crappy songs.
As individual musicians, they may not be the crème de la crème but they still managed to make it work. They have classics and all things considered, they’re still getting way too much credit.
2. The Rolling Stones
We know we are going to be crucified for this unpopular opinion. Anyway, we love to joke about Keith Richards surviving the apocalypse and outliving basically every other peer he has. But are they getting more credit than they actually deserve? We think so.
They didn’t reinvent or redefine anything. And while they did have their moment when they were at the top of their game, we believe it’s high time to give it a rest – these dudes are above 70 years old and still performing, seriously, they should be at home watching TV or jamming with their grandkids.
“Our reputation and image as the Bad Boys came later, completely there, accidentally. Andrew never did engineer it. He simply exploited it exhaustively.” – Bill Wyman
We can think of more than five other classic rock bands who can blow them out of the water easily. They had phenomenal songs and the ‘bad boy’ image sells, obviously, but they’re not the greatest like how they were portrayed to be. Others still think otherwise.
If you’re surprised that KISS is the most overrated classic rock band ever, then you haven’t been paying close attention. Although to be fair, the band never made it a secret or pretended they wanted anything other than making big bucks.
Gene Simmons will do anything for easy money – it doesn’t matter if it’s selling coffins or delivering mediocre records on your front door.
“Without sounding too cocky – although I’ve certainly been accused of that all my life – there is no negative to being Gene Simmons.” – Gene Simmons
They have a handful of good tunes but they were more hype and gimmick. Being a sellout is the surefire way to be hated but KISS embraced it fully. There are few standouts in their catalog and maybe even some classics but there’s nothing awe-inspiring or even innovative about them.
In fact, if you aren’t a hardcore fan, the first thing to come to mind when someone says KISS is their makeup, not their music.