The 10 Most Influential Bands of the 2000s (2023)

The Velvet Underground's enduring lesson, in the history of rock'n'roll, has been this: it's not how many records you sell, but who buys them. Sure enough, beyond those that merely shifted the most units in the 2000s, lay the bands that actually influenced the sound of underground music through the decade. Some were platinum-selling millionaires, others were the most fringe of figures, but it was these ten acts whose influence loomed largest upon contemporary acts of the '00s. From the trailblazers to the, um, trailblazers, it's the ten most influential alternative bands of the decade.

01

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Radiohead

The 10 Most Influential Bands of the 2000s (1)

It was Radiohead's decade, really. In 2000, they issued Kid A, a willfully artistic work of wonder that obliterated their Anthemic Guitar Rock baggage in 50 adventurous minutes, and set a new benchmark for radical career reinventions, inspiring many a bogged-down band to think outside the box and embrace the strange. If that weren't enough, in 2007 Radiohead unveiled In Rainbows online, via an instantly-infamous pay-what-you-feel pricing structure, almost as an experiment in determining the 'value' of music in the digital era. And, by the '00s' end, Radiohead were true barometers of the blogosphere's rise: no longer releasing something as archaic as LPs, merely disseminating individual tracks, at random, onto the internet's wires.

02

(Video) Top 10 Greatest Rock Bands of the 2000s

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The Strokes

No band was a bigger influence on '00s fashion —both musical and otherwise— than The Strokes. Via the awesomeness of their jams and the dandyism of their wardrobe, the New Yorker fops rescued commercially-viable rock and/or roll from its most dire nadir: nu-metal. Gone was backhatting, facial piercing, and unfortunate pant sagging, in blew swept fringes, thrift-store blazers, and impossibly tight trousers. After The Strokes' arrival in 2001, things would never be the same: soon every town in the Western world was full of 'retro' riff bands defined by coiffed hair and stick legs (a look some took more enthusiastically than others). Unfortunately, for the Strokes and all of us, the quality of those who followed was often sketchy.

03

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My Morning Jacket

Bands could've taken many things from My Morning Jacket as inspiration: the power to unironically rock a Flying V, the desire to play seemingly-unending sets (I can't think of a single band I'd want to watch play for three hours, ever, but that's just me), and the resolve to appear in crappy Cameron Crowe films. But My Morning Jacket's kept-on-giving gift to the indie world has been this: heavily reverb'd harmonies. On their first (and best) two albums, MMJ decamped to an abandoned grain-silo in backwoods Kentucky to get the unearthly reverb that doused Jim James's voice so magically. And, in the decade since, acts as way-popular as Band of Horses and Fleet Foxes have heavily 'borrowed' from such a sound.

04

(Video) The Most Influential Bands of 2000s Pop-Punk

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The Flaming Lips

By the time the '00s ended, 'The Coyne' had somehow usurped 'The Vedder' as the most imitated vocal style in rock. Where once manifold deadly-earnest young men rumarrrowww'd their way through hoarse-throated, utterly illegible groanings, now scores of semi-earnest young men sing in wonky, faltering falsettos. Hear English one-man-band Windmill or Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos, and it's hard not to think: 'woah, someone's a student in the School of Coyne!' The other lingering influence of the Flaming Lips on the musical landscape? Turning your live shows into huge explosions of positive energy. Sure, maybe not everyone dons animal suits, but the Lips have convinced everyone from Yeah Yeah Yeahs to the Arcade Fire to try harder.

The Arcade Fire

Speaking of the Arcade Fire, it became obvious, by 2009, that the ultra-epic Canadians had become a lazy shorthand for 'many people on stage,' when the Disneyfied, rock-themed tween-movie left its own trail of influence: choruses of massed vocals, massive crescendos, bashed pianos, and frenetic, we're-all-going-to-die-so-let's-live-right-now! energy. After the poster-children of the rock-revival —The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, White Stripes— demanded stripped-down reductionism, the Arcade Fire were hugely responsible for rehabilitating the cachet of earnest, emotive grandeur.

06

(Video) Top 10 Most Important Albums in Rock History

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The Danielson Famile

It was bad enough that the Polyphonic Spree blatantly stole the Danielson Famile's white-robed, sunshine-and-handclapping shtick in 2000, but soon everything that made this Christian clan once seem so strange became indie-rock common-place. Authoring elaborate concept-albums? Drawing lyrical influence from the bible? Singing in ridiculous falsettos? Dressing up in costumes on stage? Pretending you're in a cult? 'Why not!' may've been the cry by the time the '00s ended, but Daniel Smith and his rag-tag congregation had been on this mission from God since back in the day's something called 'electronica' was thought the future of music, and suffered the slings and arrows of doing so. Now, Danielson are a just 'cult' act, in its standard usage.

07

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Sufjan Stevens

Danielson Famile are, in fact, oft just a footnote: the band that chart-bothering, banjo-pluckin' beefcake Sufjan Stevens once played in. Via his crazy album-for-every-state idea, Stevens instantly blew by his friends' fame and became one of the most acclaimed indie acts of the aughts. But Stevens' musical legacy was something else entirely. With his complex scores and daring classicism, Sufjan almost single-handedly popularized the notion of 'chamber pop,' inspiring a whole host of classically-trained, music-school kids to embrace simple, people's-music forms —folk, punk, indie-pop— with both a sense of humor and an air of dignity. In his spare time, he also somehow rescued the Christmas record from the realm of kitsch, too.

08

(Video) Top 15 - Most Influential Rap Songs of the 2000s

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Animal Collective

When Animal Collective hit the hipster consciousness with 2004's Sung Tongs, at first it wasn't obvious how much they'd really influence music. After all, their sound was something strange and singular, the product of a thousand different influences run through thousands of hours of playing together. How could knock-offs pop up instantly if it took Animal Collective a whole decade to become Animal Collective? Yet, by 2009, the year Merriweather Post Pavilion ruled the world, guitar-free AC wannabes were on the rise, with no end in sight. Or, as Los Angeles noiseniks Health put it: “Enjoy it while you can because [Merriweather Post Pavilion] is so good it will inspire its own avalanche of Creeds and Coldplays based on this AC era.” Eeep!

09

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Gang Gang Dance

Though peers and pals of Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance haven't achieved anywhere near the crossover success of their friends. But, even if 2005's God's Money has yet to be recognized as a decade-defining masterwork by the world-at-large, plenty of bands have drawn influence from Gang Gang Dance's inspired mish mash of genres and general disregard for straight sonorities and compositional orthodoxies. In fact, a quick list of outfits working very much post-GGD — Crazy Dreams Band, Rainbow Arabia, Rings, Telepathe, These Are Powers, Yeasayer— reads like an honor-roll of impressive acts emboldened by artist daring. Not to mention that Santogold/Santigold's breakout jam, “Creator,” sounded rather like a GGD facsimile topped with MIA vocals.

10

(Video) Top 10 Best Pop Punk Bands of the 2000s

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Boredoms

Boredoms' influence on the shape of popular music may've been imperceptible to some, but that certainly doesn't lessen their importance. Like Radiohead, the long-running Japanese outfit reinvented themselves in the decade's first year; 2000's immortal Vision Creation Newsun —close to the greatest album of the decade— found Boredoms ditching twitchy, provocative noise for lengthy, psychedelic workouts that sought transcendence through the powers of communal percussion. Across the remaining aughts, 'tribalism' became one of the decade's most enduring ideals; it soon becoming routine to see bands filled with members bashing away on all manner of bells and trinkets. It's a sound many identify as Brooklyn, but it's really all Boredoms.

FAQs

Who is the most influential band of the 2000s? ›

The mainstream's idea of contemporary metal, Linkin Park were without doubt the most influential heavy band of the decade, and launched untold numbers of copy-cat acts, many of whom carved out their own massive sales.

Who is the most influential bands of all time? ›

Rock on!
  1. The Beatles. As if The Beatles need any introduction: The Liverpool quartet is one of the bestselling, most influential bands in the history of music. ...
  2. Rolling Stones. ...
  3. Prince & The Revolution. ...
  4. Queen. ...
  5. Guns N' Roses. ...
  6. AC/DC. ...
  7. The Jimi Hendrix Experience. ...
  8. Led Zeppelin.
4 Oct 2021

Who dominated music in the 2000s? ›

Artists such as Eminem, OutKast, The Black Eyed Peas, T.I., 50 Cent, Kanye West, Nelly, Nas, Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah, Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliott, M.I.A., Lil' Kim, Gorillaz, Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, The Game, and Ludacris were among the dominant mainstream hip hop artists to have represented the hip hop genre for the ...

What was the #1 song of the 2000s? ›

Mariah Carey earned four number-one singles, including the best-performing single of the decade "We Belong Together". Alicia Keys scored four number-one entries, totaling 22 weeks atop the chart.

Who Won 2000s artist of the decade? ›

In December 1999, Billboard published decade-end lists based on statistical performances on weekly Billboard charts, with Mariah Carey being dubbed the Pop Artist of Decade. Other artists receiving the honor in the following decades are Eminem (2000s) and Drake (2010s).

What is the top 10 bands of all time? ›

The 10 best rock bands ever
  1. The Beatles. The Beatles are unquestionably the best and most important band in rock history, as well as the most compelling story. ...
  2. The Rolling Stones. ...
  3. U2. ...
  4. The Grateful Dead. ...
  5. Velvet Underground. ...
  6. Led Zeppelin. ...
  7. Ramones. ...
  8. Pink Floyd.
30 Mar 2004

What is the #1 band of all time? ›

#1 - The Beatles

The Beatles had a short run of only 10 years from 1960 to 1970, but they're still the best-selling artists of all time by far. If you were to add in their solo albums and side groups, they'll hold that record forever.

Who is the most successful band ever? ›

Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales.

Who was the best-selling band of the 2000s? ›

Over three decades after their breakup, the Beatles still released the top-selling album of the 2000s. The Fab Four's greatest hits compilation 1 sold over 11,448,000 copies since its release in November 2000 according to Nielsen SoundScan's decade-end sales numbers.

What band sold the most albums in the 2000s? ›

The Beatles ended up with the decade's best-selling album (they sold nearly 11.5 million copies of 2000's greatest-hits comp 1,) besting the likes of 'NSYNC's No Strings Attached (11.1 million copies sold) and Norah Jones' Come Away With Me, (10.5 million).

Who is the greatest singer of the 2000s? ›

Marshall Bruce Mathers III, or as the world knows him, Eminem, tops our list as the most popular and influential artist of the 2000s.

What was the best selling single of the 2000s? ›

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE/EVERGREEN

What was the 2000s era known for? ›

The decade was littered with recessions, stock market crashes, financial scandals, antitrust cases, and flat-out disasters all around.

What song sold the most in 2000? ›

Biggest Songs of the 2000s (CSPC)
  • 2000 – Eminem – The Way I Am [The Marshall Mathers LP] – 3,710,000.
  • 2004 – Green Day – Holiday [American Idiot] – 3,710,000.
  • 2000 – NSYNC – It's Gonna Be Me [No Strings Attached] – 3,680,000.
  • 2006 – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Snow ((Hey Oh)) [Stadium Arcadium] – 3,600,000.
7 Mar 2019

What was the biggest album of 2000? ›

No Strings Attached is the best-selling album of 2000, accumulating nearly 9.94 million sales by the end of the year. The album was noted for its debut sales figure of 2.4 million, the highest first-week sales in the Billboard 200 history.

What were 3 popular songs in the 2000s? ›

Some of the iconic songs produced during this era include:
  • 1. “ Toxic” by Britney Spears. ...
  • “Family Affair” by Mary J. Blige. ...
  • “Stan” by Eminem. ...
  • “Beautiful People” by Christina Aguilera. ...
  • “Drop It Like It's Hot” by Snoop Dogg. ...
  • “You'll Think of Me” by Keith Urban. ...
  • “My Boo” by Alicia Keys and Usher. ...
  • “Crazy in Love” By Beyoncé
3 Oct 2022

What was the rock 2000 Number 1? ›

Lynyrd Skynyrd's Simple Man has taken out the #1 spot in this years Rock 2000 Countdown!

Who has won the most Grammys since 2000? ›

Who has the most Grammys? Georg Solti holds the record for most Grammy awards, having received 31 in his career, according to the Recording Academy. The orchestra conductor also holds the record for most wins in the classical field.

Who Won 2010s Artist of the Decade? ›

Drake's dominance during the 2010s wins him top honors in the overall top artist category, which ranks the best-performing artists based on activity on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart and the Billboard 200 albums tally, as well as social media data and touring revenue from Billboard Boxscore, during the decade (see ...

Who was won the most Grammys? ›

Contact The Author

With 31 golden gramophones to his credit, the most decorated musician in Grammy Awards history — the late orchestra conductor Georg Solti — is hardly a household name.

What are the top 3 bands of all time? ›

The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and the Eagles sold the most albums, as measured by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

What is the #1 rock song of all time? ›

The Greatest EVER Rock Song
  • LED ZEPPELIN - STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN. Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in concert. ...
  • QUEEN - BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. ...
  • LYNYRD SKYNYRD - FREE BIRD. ...
  • DEEP PURPLE - SMOKE ON THE WATER. ...
  • PINK FLOYD - COMFORTABLY NUMB. ...
  • LED ZEPPELIN - KASHMIR.
11 Nov 2019

Who is the number 1 greatest artist of all time? ›

In both versions of the list, the top three positions are held by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Elvis Presley; rounding out the top ten (in descending order) are the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles.

Which band broke the most records? ›

Aerosmith also broke several world records, including being the all-time best-selling American hard rock band with over 150 million records sold globally. The band, formed in 1970, holds 21 Billboard Top 40 hits, with a number one hit in 1998.

What band made the most money? ›

U2 have become the annual highest-earning musicians five times, more than any other act. Michael Jackson is the first musician to earn over $100 million in a year (1989), and has become the top-earning male soloist a record seven times.

Who sold more than 50 million records? ›

According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

Who sold 50 million albums? ›

Check out the 50 best-selling music artists of all time in the US by album sales:
  1. The Beatles — 183 million units.
  2. Garth Brooks — 157 million units. ...
  3. Elvis Presley — 146.5 million units. ...
  4. Eagles — 120 million units. ...
  5. Led Zeppelin — 112.5 million units. ...
  6. Michael Jackson — 89 million units. ...
  7. Billy Joel — 85 million units. ...
19 Nov 2022

What is the top 10 selling albums of all time? ›

The Top 10 Best-selling Albums of All Time (at a glance)
  • 1. “ THRILLER” by Michael Jackson. ...
  • 2. “ BACK IN BLACK” by AC/DC. ...
  • 3. “ THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON” by Pink Floyd. ...
  • 4. “ THE BODYGUARD” ...
  • 5. “ BAD” ...
  • 6. “ BAT OUT OF HELL” ...
  • 7. “ THEIR GREATEST HITS (1971-1975)” ...
  • 8. “ COME ON OVER”
13 Sept 2022

Who was the biggest pop star in 2000? ›

Hailed the Princess of Pop, Britney Spears is arguably the biggest star of the 2000s.

Who has sold more than 30 million albums? ›

30–39 million copies
ArtistAlbumReleased
Michael JacksonBad1987
Meat LoafBat Out of Hell1977
Alanis MorissetteJagged Little Pill1995
Various artistsDirty Dancing1987
6 more rows

Who is the best band of the 2000s? ›

Top 10 Best Rock Bands of the 2000s
  • Linkin Park (New Metal/Alternative Metal)
  • Avenged Sevenfold (Metalcore/Heavy Metal)
  • Green Day (Punk Rock/Pop Punk)
  • Snow Patrol (Alternative Rock/Power Pop)
  • Korn (Nu Metal/Alternative Metal)
  • Nickelback (Post Grunge/Alternative Rock)
  • Slipknot (Heavy Metal/Groove Metal/Alternative Metal)
24 Jun 2022

What was the best year for music in the 2000s? ›

The study, conducted by online file conversion platform Convertr.org, identifies 2001 as the best year for music, thanks to its pack-leading 10 top 250 releases, including Daft Punk's Discovery, Bjork's Vespertine, Jay-Z's The Blueprint, The Strokes' Is This It and System of a Down's Toxicity.

Who has the most Billboard hits of the 2000s? ›

The singer Usher had the largest number of hits in the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the 2000s (7 songs).

Who has sold the most albums since 2000? ›

Adele's 21 is the best-selling album of the 21st century to date, with sales of over 31 million copies worldwide.

What country song was #1 in 2000? ›

"How Do You Like Me Now?!" was ranked number one on Billboard's year-end chart of the most popular country songs.

What single spent the longest at number 1? ›

Bryan Adams – (Everything I Do) I Do It For You (16 weeks) 1991.

What is the 2000's Decade called? ›

The 2000s (pronounced "two-thousands"; shortened to the '00s and known as the aughts or noughties) was a decade that began on January 1, 2000, and ended on December 31, 2009.

What were 3 major events in the 2000s? ›

10 Major News Stories of the 2000s
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks. Spencer Platt / Getty Images. ...
  • Iraq War. Chris Hondros / Getty Images. ...
  • Boxing Day Tsunami. The aftermath 1 week after the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami. ...
  • Global Recession. ...
  • Darfur. ...
  • Papal Transition. ...
  • Hurricane Katrina. ...
  • The War on Terror.
14 Jul 2019

What is the year 2000s called? ›

The aughts is a way of referring to the decade 2000 to 2009 in American English. The equivalent term used in British English is the noughties. These arise from the words aught and nought respectively, both meaning zero.

What was voted best song of 2000s? ›

The 50 best 2000s songs
  • 'Dirrty' – Christina Aguilera. ...
  • 'Date with the Night' – Yeah Yeah Yeahs. ...
  • 'Dry Your Eyes' – The Streets. ...
  • '22 Grand Job' – The Rakes. ...
  • 'What's Your Fantasy' – Ludacris feat Shawnna. ...
  • 'Don't Mess with My Man' – Lucy Pearl. ...
  • 'Two Doors Down' – Mystery Jets. ...
  • 'Wearing My Rolex' – Wiley.
8 Dec 2021

What was the #1 song in 2003? ›

50 Cent's "In da Club" took the top spot, one of four singles from his debut studio album Get Rich or Die Tryin' to make the list (at positions 1, 14, 21, and 63).

What was the #1 song in 2002? ›

Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" which spend four weeks at number between 2001 and 2002, was the number one song of 2002.

Who was the biggest pop star of the 2000s? ›

Hailed the Princess of Pop, Britney Spears is arguably the biggest star of the 2000s.

Who is the #1 band of all time? ›

#1 - The Beatles

The Beatles had a short run of only 10 years from 1960 to 1970, but they're still the best-selling artists of all time by far. If you were to add in their solo albums and side groups, they'll hold that record forever.

What is the most influential album of the 2000s? ›

Best 2000s Albums: 20 Classics That Shaped The Noughties
  • 7: The Strokes: 'Is This It' (2001) ...
  • 6: Wilco: 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' (2001) ...
  • 5: Arcade Fire: 'Funeral' (2004) ...
  • 4: Gorillaz: 'Demon Days' (2005) ...
  • 3: Kanye West: 'The College Dropout' (2004) ...
  • 2: Radiohead: 'Kid A' (2000) ...
  • 1: Daft Punk: 'Discovery' (2001)
20 Sept 2022

Who was the best selling band of the 2000s? ›

Over three decades after their breakup, the Beatles still released the top-selling album of the 2000s. The Fab Four's greatest hits compilation 1 sold over 11,448,000 copies since its release in November 2000 according to Nielsen SoundScan's decade-end sales numbers.

What was iconic in the 2000s? ›

The early 2000s brought forth the premieres of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and "The Bachelor." Lady Gaga and Mariah Carey dominated the industry, while Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake kept the tabloids talking. There were also major news events that changed America forever.

Who sold the most albums from 2000 to 2010? ›

Sales numbers from Nielsen SoundScan reveal Em beat the Beatles in the '00s. Back in 1999, Eminem was best known as the slightly screwy, bottle-blond protégé of Dr.

Who was the king of pop in 2000? ›

Michael Jackson set and broke records throughout his entire career. As of 2009, he was the most awarded person, artist, entertainer with 372 recognized awards. This was excluding Diamond, Platinum and Gold Certifications. In 2000, he became the biggest selling artist of all time, with 380 million records sold.

What are the 10 best selling records of all time? ›

Top 10 Highest-Selling Albums of All Time in the US
  • Fleetwood Mac — “Rumours” ...
  • Hootie & the Blowfish — “Cracked Rear View” ...
  • Pink Floyd — “The Wall” ...
  • Led Zeppelin — “Zeppelin IV” ...
  • The Beatles — “The Beatles” ...
  • AC/DC — “Back in Black” ...
  • Eagles — “Hotel California” ...
  • Michael Jackson— “Thriller”

What is the #1 album of all time? ›

Michael Jackson's Thriller, estimated to have sold 70 million copies worldwide, is the best-selling album. Jackson also currently has the highest number of albums on the list with five, Celine Dion has four, while the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Madonna and Whitney Houston each have three.

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