> Spotify followers: 26.3 million
> Facebook likes: 37.8 million
> Most popular album: A Rush of Blood to the Head
First achieving mainstream success for their romantic ballad “Yellow,” Coldplay’s blend of memorable piano riffs, introspective lyrics, and a large, anthemic sound has made them one of the most beloved rock bands of the 21st century. Coldplay’s eight studio albums have garnered the band four No. 1 hits on the Billboard 200 and over 14 million certified sales in the U.S. alone.
9. Guns N’ Roses
> Spotify followers: 17.2 million
> Facebook likes: 29.4 million
> Most popular album: Greatest Hits
Formed in LA in 1985, the bluesy, gritty hard rock act Guns N’ Roses are one of the oldest bands still touring today. The band’s first album, “Appetite for Destruction” — which featured hit singles “Welcome To The Jungle,” “Paradise City,” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” — sold more than 18 million copies in the U.S., making it the best-selling debut album of all time and making rock legends of singer Axl Rose and guitarist Slash.
> Spotify followers: 15.6 million
> Facebook likes: 28.7 million
> Most popular album: Back in Black
The Australian hard rockers have reached the status of rock and roll legends thanks to their minimalist stadium anthems. They are the ninth best-selling band in the U.S., according to the RIAA, with 75 million certified album sales nationwide. One-third of their U.S. sales are for “Back in Black” — the 1980 album that features hits such as “Shoot to Thrill,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” and, of course, “Back in Black.” AC/DC reportedly sold more than 200 million albums worldwide.
> Spotify followers: 14.5 million
> Facebook likes: 35.8 million
> Most popular album: Metallica
Innovative metalheads Metallica are among the most commercially successful bands of all time, selling more than 125 million albums, according to the BBC. They’ve released 10 studio albums in their nearly 40-year career, six of which reached the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart. These include the band’s 1991 self-titled album, which has spent 560 weeks on the chart, making it the second longest charting studio album (not counting greatest hits compilations) in the chart’s history thanks to songs like “Enter Sandman” and “Nothing Else Matters.”
6. Prince and The Revolution
> Spotify followers: 9,342,231
> Facebook likes: 2,079,988
> Most popular album: Purple Rain
Prince is regarded by many music historians as one of the greatest guitarists of all time and his halftime show at Super Bowl XLI in 2007 was one of the best. “Purple Rain” made the Minnesota rocker a megastar. The album, made partially with his touring band the Revolution in 1984, sold over 10 million copies and was No. 1 atop the Billboard 200 for 24 weeks. The LP won the Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. Before his death in 2016 Prince, either solo or with a collaborator, posted 19 Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 that included five No. 1s.
5. Led Zeppelin
> Spotify followers: 9.2 million
> Facebook likes: 13.1 million
> Most popular album: Led Zeppelin IV
Led Zeppelin, comprising singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and the late drummer John Bonham, became rock’s archetypical hard rock band in the 1970s, producing some of the most memorable rock music ever. Led Zeppelin has sold 111.5 million singles and albums in the U.S., fifth most according to statistics from the RIAA. Emerging from the ashes of the band the Yardbirds, the band toured the U.K. and America relentlessly in 1969 and built a loyal following. Their song “Stairway to Heaven” is routinely named by rock fans as the greatest rock song ever. Seven of their albums went to No. 1, including “Houses of the Holy,” “Physical Graffiti,” and Led Zeppelin IV,” the latter of which sold more than 23 million copies.
4. Pink Floyd
> Spotify followers: 12.5 million
> Facebook likes: 27.8 million
> Most popular album: The Dark Side of the Moon
The ethereal yet provocative British rockers — whose lineups included Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Bob Klose, Richard Wright, Syd Barrett, and David Gilmour — were an essential part of college dorm life beginning in the early 1970s. Their 1973 album “Dark Side of the Moon,” which includes songs about loneliness and alienation in an age of scientific discovery, was on the Billboard 200 chart for a record 950 weeks. Among their canon of 15 platinum albums are “The Wall” (23 times platinum), “Wish You Were Here” (six times platinum), and “Animals” (four times platinum). “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)” was the band’s lone single to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
3. The Rolling Stones
> Spotify followers: 8.8 million
> Facebook likes: 19.1 million
> Most popular album: Hot Rocks 1964-1971
Through a career spanning nearly six decades, the Rolling Stones have released over 20 studio albums, had nine No. 1 albums, and eight No. 1 singles. The band, whose rhythm-and-blues foundation has continued to attract and retain fans throughout shifting eras of popular music, set the record for what is now the fourth highest-grossing concert tour of all time with the completion of their “A Bigger Bang” tour in 2007. They continue to tour today. “Hot Rocks: 1964-1971,” a compilation album released in 1971, remains the band’s most popular album, having sold more than 12 million certified units in the U.S.
> Spotify followers: 27.3 million
> Facebook likes: 28.5 million
> Most popular album: Greatest Hits
Combining a hard-to-categorize mix of progressive rock, heavy metal, opera, vaudeville, and pop, Queen was one of the most popular arena rock acts of the 1970s and 1980s. Queen first charted on the Billboard 200 in 1974, when their eponymous debut album “Queen” peaked at No. 83. The band eventually topped the charts with the release of “The Game” in 1980. After the release of the 2018 biographical film “Bohemian Rhapsody” introduced a new audience to the British rock band and frontman Freddie Mercury, the film’s namesake song re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 33 — making “Bohemian Rhapsody” one of the few songs to enter the chart in three separate decades.
1. The Beatles
> Spotify followers: 16.7 million
> Facebook likes: 39.7 million
> Most popular album: 1
Fifty years ago, the Beatles broke up, yet their influence on popular culture is scarcely diminished. Thirty years after the band dissolved, their “1” album, a compilation of all of the Beatles No. 1 singles, itself went to No. 1 in 2000. Nineteen Beatles albums topped the Billboard 200, including such groundbreaking works as “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Revolver,” and “Rubber Soul.” “Yesterday” and “Something,” two of their 20 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, are among the most covered songs of all time. The Beatles even have their own day, Global Beatles Day, observed on June 25.