Readers' Poll: The Best American Rock Band Ever — Kiss Vs. ZZ Top

by Guitar World Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2015 at 6:20am

When Labor Day came and went earlier this month, it reminded us of the American labor movement and the contributions American workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of the good ol' U.S. of A.

However, since we're Guitar World people, we couldn't help but apply those sentiments to music and the American people who made and make it—bands!

This, in turn, led to thoughts and theories about the greatest American band of all time, which led us to our latest readers' poll—the Best American Rock Band Ever! Yes, the gangs from Guitar World and Sweetwater want to get GW readers—you people!—involved as we attempt to crown the Best American Rock Band Ever!

Although we had thousands of bands to choose from, we decided to narrow things down to 32, which is perfect for a month's worth of intense—and fun (it's supposed to be fun, people!) matchups. All the bands were carefully selected by Guitar World's editorial staff.

Note that this poll includes current bands and bands that disappeared into the woodwork years ago. Also, if you're wondering why the Jimi Hendrix Experience aren't on this list, they weren't an American band. Hendrix was American, but he's not a band. Band of Gypsys were American, but they simply didn't make the cut based on the music released under the "Band of Gypsys" moniker. It's one of many tough sacrifices we had to make along the way. Speaking of which, be sure to read "How the Bracket Was Compiled" at the bottom of this story.

Anyway, here are our 32 American bands, which are presented in alphabetical order. You also can check out the entire 32-band bracket below.

Aerosmith, Alice In Chains, the Allman Brothers Band, the Beach Boys, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Doors, Eagles, Foo Fighters, Grateful Dead, Green Day, Guns N' Roses, Heart, Kiss, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Metallica, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Queens of the Stone Age, Ramones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, R.E.M., Soundgarden, Steely Dan, Steve Miller Band, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Styx, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Van Halen, the White Stripes and ZZ Top.

Enjoy our Best American Rock Band Ever Poll, which is sponsored by Sweetwater!

Today's Matchup

Kiss

In an age where rock was coming to be dominated by stoic figures playing excruciatingly long solos, and before punk rock blew the genre out of the water, Kiss came along, with the sole purpose of making rock and roll fun again. With ridiculous clown makeup, and even more ridiculous pyrotechnics, Kiss gave their simple tales of teenage misadventure a sense of theatricality. With attitude, power chords and the undying love of the massive Kiss Army, Kiss have defied the critics and remained a powerhouse for more than 40 years.



ZZ Top

“That Little Ol’ Band From Texas” hasn’t changed much over the last 40 years, but they’ve never really needed to. In this crazy world of ours, they’re a model of consistency; relying on amusing videos, their unmistakable look and that infectious blues-rock boogie that’s never left them. Though commercial success and synthesizers came and went for the trio, they never lost their unmistakable attitude or their charm. More than a band, ZZ Top has truly become an institution.



Vote Now!

Guitar World's Best American Rock Band Ever: Kiss Vs. ZZ Top

Behold the Latest Bracket!

32 Bracket No Numbers

How the Bracket Was Compiled

Here's how the bracket was—very unscientifically—compiled.

We drew the artists' names out of a hat (It was, in fact, a smelly Quebec Nordiques baseball cap) to help us create our bracket, which is available for your viewing pleasure below. Obviously, none of these of bands are ranked or come from a previously compiled list, so we chose purely random matchups to have as little impact as possible on the final outcome. We're actually pretty pleased with the way the bracket turned out.

Remember that, as with any poll, genre might occasionally clash against genre, so you'll just need to decide which artist has (or has had) the most to offer within his/their genre, perhaps which one has or had more natural talent or technical skill, which one had the biggest influence on other live acts, etc.

As always, you can vote only once per matchup (once per device, that is), and we'll be posting match-ups pretty much every day of the month, sometimes more than once per day, just to give you an early warning.


Add a Comment
0 Comments

Similar Guitar News

ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons Premieres "Treat Her Right" Music Video (9/15/2015)
ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons has premiered a new music video for "Treat Her Right," a track from his upcoming solo album, Perfectamundo, which will be released November 6 via Concord Records. The album has been described as a bilingual record ...
ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons Discusses His New Gibson Billy Gibbons SG Model — Video (10/20/2015)
Gibson and Billy Gibbons have teamed up to create the new Gibson BGSG—as in “Billy Gibbons SG.” The platform for the BGSG is a classic 1961 SG, but there are radical differences. The most obvious is the guitar’s top, which is raised on its upper...
ZZ Top Finally Perform "La Grange" in La Grange, Texas — Video (9/15/2015)
ZZ Top’s jumpy "La Grange" has been a crowd favorite since it was released in 1973 on the band's Tres Hombres album. As most fans know, the song was named after La Grange, Texas, home to the Chicken Ranch brothel, which was inspiration for the ...
Wrecking Crew Legend Carol Kaye Gives Kiss' Gene Simmons a Bass Lesson — Video (10/28/2015)
In the world of bass guitar, Carol Kaye is a legend. Kaye, who turned 80 earlier this year, was a member of LA's legendary "Wrecking Crew" and is known as one of the most prolific and widely heard bassists, playing on an estimated 10,000 session...
The 21 Greatest Kiss Songs (8/24/2015)
Here's where my story with Kiss began. I was in the seventh grade and was a young hell-raising thrash kid into Megadeth, Testament, Anthrax, Overkill and Metallica. One day my best friend brought a Hit Parader magazine to school and said, “Dave...
Private Blues Lesson from ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons — Video (10/8/2015)
About seven years ago, ZZ Top guitarist extraordinaire Billy F. Gibbons sat down with Gretsch Billy-Bo in hand to give us a lesson in playing the blues tunes that inspired him to play guitar. We not only got the lesson, we got it on video! Below...
Kiss Guitarist Tommy Thayer Discusses Epiphone White Lightning Les Paul, Momoiro Clover Z and More (3/17/2015)
Kiss guitarists and Les Pauls just seem to go together. Just ask Tommy Thayer, who just introduced his new Epiphone White Lightning Les Paul. We caught up with Thayer—just days before he headed out on a whirlwind tour of Japan—to discuss the ne...
Kiss Guitarist Tommy Thayer to Perform with Steel Panther at NAMMJAM 2015 (1/22/2015)
Kiss guitarist Tommy Thayer will perform with headliner Steel Panther at NAMMJAM 2015. NAMMJAM 2015 is considered "the hottest ticket at NAMM." Now in its sixth year, this invitation-only party will take place Friday, January 23, beginning 6 p....
Foo Fighters Enlist Van Halen's David Lee Roth, Slash, Kiss' Paul Stanley and More for Dave Grohl's Birthday Show (1/12/2015)
Late last week, when Foo Fighters told the universe about frontman Dave Grohl's "surprise" birthday show scheduled for this past Saturday at the Forum in LA, we knew we'd have some interesting clips to share with you this morning. Turns out we w...
Magnatone Amps Are Back, and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons Is Rolling Out the Red Carpet (11/5/2014)
After 40 years of dormancy, Magnatone amplifiers, one of the great names in guitar amplification has returned—and not in name only. While the front end and power sections of the new Magnatones have been modernized and vastly improved, the compa...
Jeff Beck and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons Discuss the Rocking Relationship Between Guitars, Cars and Everything in Between (9/10/2014)
This is an excerpt from the all-new November 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus new Gibbons/Beck photos by Ross Halfin, not to mention features on Weezer, George Thorogood, MXR & Eddie Van Halen, the guitar pick rev...
Kiss' Gene Simmons Declares "Rock Is Finally Dead" (9/8/2014)
According to Gene Simmons of Kiss, rock is dead. "Rock is finally dead," he told Esquire. "The death of rock was not a natural death. Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered." Simmons blames file sharing and the fact that no one values mu...
Show Review: Kiss — Still Creatures of the Nighttime World (9/1/2014)
Kiss brought their 40th Anniversary Tour to the First Niagara Pavilion in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, Sunday, August 24 — and were greeted by a packed house. They played what amounted to a greatest-hits set that included "Deuce," "Love Gun," "...
Jeff Beck and ZZ Top Announce Tour Suspension; Beck to Fill Dates Through August (8/28/2014)
Jeff Beck and ZZ Top have announced the suspension of the remaining scheduled double-bill tour dates due to an injury sustained by ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill. According to a story posted by wcsx.com, Hill, who is 65, slipped and fell on his hip w...
Dear Guitar Hero: Former Kiss Guitarist Bruce Kulick Talks Getting Shot, His Proudest Guitar Moments, Signature Guitar and More (8/18/2014)
He’s a former Kiss guitarist from their makeup-free era in the late Eighties and early Nineties. But what Guitar World readers really want to know is… What is the story behind your new Rock N’ Roll Relics guitar? — Michael Steadman I was first i...