Readers' Poll: The Best American Rock Band Ever — R.E.M. Vs. Guns N' Roses

by Guitar World Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2015 at 7:43am

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

R.E.M.

For 30 years, few rock bands could hold a candle to Athens, Georgia’s R.E.M. in terms of sheer innovation. From the introverted jangly and mysterious college rock of their early days to the brilliant melancholy of 1992’s Automatic for the People to the tightly coiled glam rock of 1994’s Monster, no band could as consistently and triumphantly reinvent themselves as R.E.M. did. Anchored by the extraordinary rhythm section of Mike Mills on bass and Bill Berry on drums, Peter Buck was allowed to craft a criminally underappreciated body of work on the guitar while Michael Stipe was allowed to explore the outer reaches of his poetic lyricism.




Guns N' Roses

Armed with the hedonistic showmanship of hair metal, towering, stadium-sized hooks and the primal aggression of punk, Guns N’ Roses defined the post-hair metal, pre-grunge period of rock. Their debut, Appetite for Destruction, remains one of the most successful debut LPs in history and rock’s definitive late-Eighties blockbuster. Led by powerful voice of Axl Rose and the astounding chops of Slash, Guns N’ Roses singlehandedly altered the face of rock music. Their impact was incalculable, and it shows in the enduring popularity of their early work.



Vote Now!

Guitar World's Best American Rock Band Ever: R.E.M. Vs. Guns N' Roses

Behold the Latest Bracket!

Baby Cecil

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

Slash Plays Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" with Polish Pop Singer Doda — Video (11/23/2015)
Slash teamed up with polish pop singer Doda for a performance of the Guns N’ Roses classic “Sweet Child O' Mine,” on November 20 at Atlas Arena in Lodz, Poland. You can watch video from the performance below. Doda, a.k.a. Dorota Rabczewska, is t...
Readers' Poll: The Best American Rock Band Ever — Allman Brothers Band Vs. Guns N' Roses (10/1/2015)
When Labor Day came and went early last 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...
Luca Stricagnoli Plays Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" on Two Guitars at Once — Video (7/7/2015)
In this new (July 5) video posted July 5 by Candyrat Records, guitarist Luca Stricagnoli—who has been featured on GuitarWorld.com several times in the past—plays his own arrangement of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine." As you can see, he's p...
Guns N' Roses' Slash and Duff McKagan Reunite to Play AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" — Video (9/21/2015)
Former Guns N’ Roses bandmates Slash and Duff McKagan reunited onstage a few days ago to perform “It’s So Easy” and “Paradise City.” As you can see below, they also played AC/DC's “Highway to Hell.” The mini-reunion took place at a charity show...
100 Greatest Guitar Solos: No. 37 — Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" (Slash) (7/23/2015)
“When ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ was written, it was a joke as far as I was concerned,” Slash says. “I was just f---in’ around when I came up with that riff. To me it was a nightmare because, for some strange reason, everyone picked up on it and, th...
Matt Sorum Discusses Adopt the Arts Charity, Kings of Chaos and Guns N' Roses (1/14/2015)
Matt Sorum is perhaps best known as the drummer for such bands as the Cult, Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver. But in addition to his musical success stories (that now include Kings of Chaos), the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame inductee also is an ...
Greatest Rock Singers of All Time Readers Poll, Round 1: Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones) Vs. Axl Rose (Guns N' Roses) (10/4/2013)
Why should guitarists have all the fun? GuitarWorld.com recently launched a new readers poll in partnership with Samson: the Greatest Rock Singers of All Time Readers Poll. We're certain that, even though our core readership is mainly made up of...
New Guns N' Roses Song, "Going Down," Surfaces Online (8/20/2013)
A new Guns N' Roses song has surfaced online, and you can check it out below. That said, because it wasn't accompanied by any sort of official announcement, we don't know much about it. In fact, it might even be deleted soon, so take a listen n...
Listen: demo of Axl Rose's pre-Guns N' Roses band, Rapidfire (5/29/2013)
Read more about Listen: demo of Axl Rose's pre-Guns N' Roses band, Rapidfire at MusicRadar.com Before he was known to the world as the vocalist for Guns N' Roses, Axl Rose sang with another Los Angeles-based group that went by the name of Rapidf...
Listen: 1983 Demo Featuring Pre-Guns N' Roses Axl Rose Surfaces Online (5/29/2013)
Some 1983 recordings featuring a pre-Guns N'Roses Axl Rose have surfaced online. Before he was in GNR, Rose was in a Los Angeles band called Rapidfire. The band's former guitarist, Kevin Lawrence, recently posted a sampling of a track called wh...
The Capo Crusader: An Acoustic Arrangement of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" (4/26/2013)
In the following video, our own Jimmy Brown -- aka the Capo Crusader -- shows you a special "unplugged" version of the Guns N' Roses hit "Sweet Child O' Mine," which first appeared on their debut album, Appetite for Destruction. In the original ...
Video: Guns N' Roses Perform "Paradise City" from 'Appetite For Democracy' 3D Concert Film (1/22/2013)
Why should Led Zeppelin hog up all the movie-theater-bound concert-film glory? Guns N' Roses have posted a new preview video — in the form of a live rendition of "Paradise City" — for their upcoming 3D concert film based on their Las Vegas resid...
Video: Izzy Stradlin Performs "14 Years" with Guns N' Roses (11/26/2012)
Closing out their first-ever Las Vegas residency with a bang, the current incarnation of Guns N' Roses was joined by original member Izzy Stradlin on both Friday and Saturday night for a rendition of the Use Your Illusion classic, "14 Years." Ch...
Video: Guns N' Roses Perform Acoustic Set at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit (10/22/2012)
This past Saturday, Guns N' Roses, Eddie Vedder, Gary Clark Jr., the Flaming Lips, Jack White and more took the stage at Neil Young's 26th annual Bridge School benefit concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. Performing a...
Interview: Steven Adler talks Guns N' Roses, drums, drugs and his new band (10/11/2012)
"I am back from the dead," says former Guns N' Roses drummer Steven Adler, referencing the title of the album from his new band, which also sports his surname. "But I'm not just feeling good, I'm feeling great. After the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fa...