Can You Name the Classic Rock Bands From Their Members?

By: Olivia Cantor
Image: Wiki Commons by Warner/Reprise Records

About This Quiz

People often think classic rock is a definitive genre of music similar to jazz, pop, R&B and such. But in reality, classic rock is more of a thematic radio format which radio stations used to classify their chosen "playlist," so to speak.

It started back in the early '80s in the U.S. when a radio station wanted to attract older listeners by playing older songs with their newer ones. That's why classic rock has this feel of "music you grew up with" or "music you grew up listening to" because that was the original point of its creation. And since it started in the '80s, the era covered has included the '60s and '70s. 

By the time the '90s and the 2000s rolled out, classic rock as a radio format soon morphed into an umbrella category that acted as an overall genre which encompassed rock-related musical permutations of past decades with the '60s still serving as the starting mark. That's why the beginnings of rock 'n' roll sounds are here plus sounds that vary in tempo, arrangement or style like rockabilly, psychedelic rock, folk rock, progressive rock, Southern rock, even funk and pop rock plus other permutations and intersections of these styles.

Soon, "harder" kinds of rock got considered with the proliferation of hard rock and the emerging heavy metal rock sound of the '70s. As the decades passed by, even some genres influenced by these classic rock genres got included in the umbrella term, too, like punk rock.

So much rock stuff, so little time! So come on and let's riff that guitar, bang that drum and tinkle those keyboards as we go through this quiz. Rock on!


Perhaps the Fab Four really needs no individual introductions since The Beatles' legacy is timeless and classic. By their first names alone, you'd know that we're talking about John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr here. Sadly, the world has already lost Lennon and Harrison.

It's great for the world to see that the original 1962 rockers of The Rolling Stones are still actively performing their greatest hits and new ones, too. Aside from the inimitable frontman Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards and drummer Charlie Watts are the original members who remain active.

It's no surprise that The Doors frontman Jim Morrison was also a poet, since he wrote the words and music for their repertoire. The collaboration won't be complete without bandmates Robby Krieger, John Densmore, and Ray Manzarek who came up with that groovy opening keyboard notes in "Light My Fire."

"Mr. Robot" Rami Malek did justice in bringing Freddie Mercury to life in the Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" along with Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor and Gwilym Lee as Brian May. A grown-up Joseph Mazzello, that little boy in the original "Jurassic Park" film, played bassist John Deacon.

When Palo Alto in California wasn't that high-tech in a "Silicon Valley way" yet, San Francisco Bay Area musicians emerged there during the 1960s. One of those notable acts was The Grateful Dead co-founded by guitarist Jerry Garcia, bassist Phil Lesh, keyboardist Ron McKernan and guitarist Bob Weir.

Guitarist-singer Glenn Frey and drummer-vocalist Don Henley both embarked on solo careers after their band, The Eagles, broke up during the early '80s. But they reunited and did newer albums in the '90s and 2000s. When Frey died, country music singer Vince Gill performed with them as a vocalist.

People mostly remember Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Joey Kramer and Tom Hamilton from their big 1975 hit "Walk This Way." The group got reintroduced to the kids of the '80s when rap group Run-D.M.C. sampled the song and collaborated with them for the music video.

For your album to become "certified platinum" during the late '60s was indeed a great enough achievement to propel you to superstardom. This was what Cream experienced in 1968 when they released their album called "Wheels of Fire" which contained the hits "Crossroads" and "White Room."

Journey members Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain indeed had very "Open Arms" when they searched for their next lead singer via YouTube. They found their singer in Arnel Pineda from the Philippines. Since he was a vocalist for a cover band, they heard his great Journey covers and the rest is history.

Mexican American Carlos Santana lent his name to his band when he formed it all the way back in 1966. Their group, Santana, and their music fit well with the Woodstock crowd of the late '60s. They also collected a handful of Grammy Awards and even Latin Grammy Awards for their music.

Shock Rock legend Alice Cooper got his name from their band because his real name is Vince Furnier. He was the band's vocalist and played harmonica, too, while Glen Buxton was their lead guitarist, Dennis Dunaway the bassist, Michael Bruce the rhythm guitarist and Neal Smith the drummer.

Psychedelic rocker Jimi Hendrix always jammed with fellow musicians Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel Redding on bass guitar during the late '60s. People referred to them as The Jimi Hendrix Experience and got inducted at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by 1992.

Nothing exemplifies classic rock better than Boston, the band who indeed hailed from that city in Massachusetts. One of their most popular hits is "Amanda". Another one is "Don't Look Back" from their second album with that same title.

Subgenres of classic rock like heartland rock and Southern rock characterize Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' music. Their tunes reflected themes and issues that championed the blue collar life of many Americans.

Before Ozzy and his original Black Sabbath bandmates Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Tony Iommi focused on heavy metal rock styles, they played very different genres that you wouldn't imagine they can! They were once actively playing blues rock tunes and called themselves the Polka Tulk Blues Band.

It's interesting to note that the very heavy metal band called Deep Purple once played progressive rock songs before transitioning to more hard rock tunes. Then they eventually turned metal and became one of the widely recognized British metal band pioneers.

For a band that gained a steady following playing in the underground music scene, The Mothers of Invention released albums with unique names reflecting this underground status. One is "We're Only in it for the Money" and another is "Absolutely Free."

The three members of Crosby, Stills and Nash each had more than one Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in their careers. That's because aside from being inducted for this group, they also jammed in other bands that got inducted as well. Those bands are The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and The Hollies.

Punk rock progenitor The Velvet Underground experimented with their rock sounds that influenced future genres like new wave. Led by Lou Reed, these artists once had a visual artist for a manager in the person of Andy Warhol.

People sometimes confuse the repertoire of The Police with Sting's solo career efforts, a common occurrence whenever a band's vocalist goes solo. Sting's first solo effort album was 1985's "The Dream of the Blue Turtles."

When looking at band models, The Monkees had a unique start because they were a product of TV auditions for a musical show. American TV producers wanted to ride on the popularity of The Beatles so they made a show about a band that approximated the Fab Four's looks and sounds.

Two of the greatest albums in rock's history came from Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Richard Wright and David Gilmour. These were 1973's "The Dark Side of the Moon" and 1979's "The Wall."

Joe Elliott is the lead vocalist of Def Leppard who still actively jams today with bassist Rick Savage, drummer Rick Allen and guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell. Formed in 1977, this heavy metal band was also pioneers of rock music videos when MTV first aired in the early '80s.

Originally, Grace Slick and Marty Balin sang vocals in Jefferson Airplane with band members Paul Kantner, Spencer Dryden and Jack Cassidy. When some members split and formed their own band, those who got left behind revamped the band and renamed it Jefferson Starship.

The Who continues their musical legacy today, which they began back in 1964. Aside from having their music featured in radio shows then and now, certain songs also got airtime in popular TV series like all the "CSI" shows and in movies such as "School of Rock" and "Almost Famous."

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Hollies is part of the British Invasion roster of artists. They got famous in England first before they hit it big internationally, crossing oceans to gain more airplay in the U.S. One of their most popular hits was the 1966 release "Bus Stop."

Van Halen originally had David Lee Roth as their lead vocalist before Sammy Hagar took over his place. He was the one singing the tunes in their controversially titled 1991 album called "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge."

Australia's contribution to the classic rock scene is heavy metal icon AC/DC. True to their electric name, the first album they released in 1975 is "High Voltage." Their other albums are "Back in Black," "Highway to Hell," Black Ice" and "The Razors Edge," to name a few

If there was a famous rock band from Liverpool, there's another popular British band which came from Blackpool this time: Jethro Tull. In a "Rolling Stones" magazine feature, frontman Ian Anderson identified songs he believed defined their band like "Beggar's Farm," "Teacher" and "Aqualung."

Counterculture music won't be the same without Steppenwolf's important contribution: their 1968 song "Born to be Wild." It solidified that status even more upon the release of the counterculture biker film "Easy Rider" by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. The film used it as part of its soundtrack.

One American band whose music obviously got heavily influenced by the British Invasion sounds was The Byrds. They did a cover of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" as their first ticket to fame. Their other huge hit was their version of "Turn! Turn! Turn!"

Only two siblings were in The Allman Brothers Band: founder-guitarist Duane and vocalist-songwriter Gregg. Some of their notable hits include "Ramblin' Man," "Midnight Rider" and "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed."

It's great to know that the British classic rockers The Kinks became active again today after splitting up in the '90s. They got formed as a band in the mid-'60s and had other huge hits such as "All Day and All of the Night," "Lola," and "Waterloo Sunset," to name a few. They reunited in 2018.

High school PE teachers never know which student will gain worldwide popularity or notoriety. This happened to the late Leonard Skinner, a Jacksonville teacher who once penalized long-haired students in the '60s. Those kids became Lynyrd Skynyrd, and their name is a "tribute" to this teacher.

Want to create your own Led Zeppelin logo and playlist as a tribute to this great metal band? Search for their official website and play with their logo generator which will write your name using their band font. The playlist maker will give you the chance to choose 50 songs from their eight albums.

Kiss fires up the heavy metal theatrics when they play and use special effects onstage. The members play their part by donning white face paint with black highlights designed to look like a specific character. Original members Gene Simmons wears The Demon and Paul Stanley's is The Starchild.

Fleetwood Mac earned accolades for their 1977 "Rumours" album as it got included in the Top 10 tally of the highest selling albums in music history. Too bad co-founders Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer already left when the band got this honor. Only Mick Fleetwood remained of the co-founders.

American music history is full of artistic siblings who formed singing groups or bands. One such band was the Wilson brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl who, along with their cousin Mike Love, formed the southern California-themed The Beach Boys band. Their only non-relative member was Al Jardine.

Another successful '60s pop and folk rock fusion band was The Lovin' Spoonful. They were such a big hit that TV producers approached them for a TV show project. But the deal fizzled so those producers created "The Monkees" TV show instead. The missed opportunity didn't hurt their popularity, though.

Clapton, Beck and Page of The Yardbirds are in "Rolling Stones" magazine's countdown of the 100 greatest guitarists. They were members at one point then left to form other bands. Drummer Jimmy McCarty, bassists Paul Samwell-Smith and Chris Dreja, and vocalist Keith Relf completed the lineup.

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