Readers' Poll: The Best American Rock Band Ever — Van Halen Vs. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band

by Guitar World Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2015 at 8:01am

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

Sweetwater Latest

Vote Now!

Guitar World's Best American Rock Band Ever: Van Halen Vs. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Behold the Latest Bracket!

Van Halen

Powered by the dynamic, extraordinary guitar chops of Eddie Van Halen and the thundering beats generated by his brother Alex, Van Halen changed rock from the instant they stepped into the limelight in 1978. Unapologetic, loud and flashy, they inspired a whole generation of musicians to go bigger. Whether fronted by David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar or Gary Cherone, Van Halen have always been a vehicle for brash, unforgettable tunes and Eddie’s always-astounding guitar work.




Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Although Bruce Springsteen, one of the greatest songwriters of ours or any age, likely would’ve become a star with or without the E Street Band, they made masterpieces like “Born to Run” and “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle” the revelations they were. The late, great Big Man, saxophonist Clarence Clemons, provided the soul, bassist Garry Tallent the pulse and lead guitarist Stevie Van Zandt the attitude. Anyone who wonders what the state of New Jersey has given the world should look no further.



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

Watch One of the 'Minions' Play Van Halen's "Eruption" — Video (7/10/2015)
As you might've detected from the non-stop (and fairly annoying) TV commercials, Minions opened in theaters today. The animated comedy, which is about gibberish-spewing yellow creatures who are looking for someone to serve, happens to feature a ...
Watch Eddie Van Halen Shred at Van Halen’s Hollywood Bowl Tour Finale — Video (10/5/2015)
Last night marked the end of Van Halen’s 2015 North American tour, and the band made sure it was a night to remember. They took the stage at the Hollywood Bowl for two nights, October 2 and 4, returning to Los Angeles, where they kicked off the ...
Watch Eddie Van Halen Play Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles — Video (7/9/2015)
Bassist Billy Sheehan recently appeared on Eddie Trunk’s podcast, where he revealed that Van Halen had twice invited him to join the group to replace Michael Anthony. Sheehan also noted in that interview that he has played with all the members ...
Van Halen Perform "Panama" at Billboard Music Awards — Video (5/18/2015)
Last night, Van Halen kicked off the Billboard Music Awards with a powerful performance of "Panama," which you can check out below. David Lee Roth turned in a solid vocal performance that was a step up from Van Halen's recent appearances on Jimm...
Thirty Guitar Legends — Including Eddie Van Halen, Dimebag Darrell and Jeff Beck — Pick the Song They'd Most Want to Be Remembered By, Part 1 (6/24/2015)
From the GW Archive: This feature originally appeared in the May 2002 issue of Guitar World. The story has a "time capsule" theme: We asked several veteran guitarists to choose the one song they'd most want to be remembered by after many years. ...
Sammy Hagar Responds to Eddie Van Halen's Billboard Interview: "F— You, You’re a Liar!” — Video (6/22/2015)
Over the weekend, singer Sammy Hagar responded to several claims made by Eddie Van Halen in a high-profile new Billboard interview. Hagar was particularly upset about Van Halen’s statements concerning former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony. I...
Roth Erupts and Van Halen Stop Show When Fan Throws Beer Onstage — Video [NSFW] (8/31/2015)
David Lee Roth had some choice words for a fan who threw a beer onstage at Van Halen’s August 27 performance in Camden, New Jersey. The group were just launching into “Dirty Movies” at the Susquehanna Bank Center when Roth stopped the show. “So...
Rosie Botterill Covers Joe Satriani's "Satch Boogie" and Eddie Van Halen's "Beat It" Guitar Solo — Video (10/20/2015)
Here's something we found on a growing Facebook community called Shreddelicious: Female Guitar Players Community. It's a new cover (October 16) of Joe Satriani's "Satch Boogie" by guitarist Rosie Botterill. The track is from Satch’s landmark Sur...
Readers' Poll: The Best American Rock Band Ever — Van Halen Vs. Red Hot Chili Peppers (9/9/2015)
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 Wor...
Readers' Poll: The Best American Rock Band Ever — Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble Vs. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (9/21/2015)
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 Wor...
Readers' Poll: Best Rock Headphone Song Ever — "Tomorrow Never Knows" (The Beatles) Vs. "Girl Gone Bad" (Van Halen) (11/3/2015)
What, exactly, is a headphone song? The definition changes depending on who you are. For audiophiles, a headphone song—or album, for that matter—is a work that is so exquisite that it demands you listen to each beautifully recorded note under a ...
Paul Gilbert Performs Van Halen's "Spanish Fly" — Video (6/29/2015)
Below, check out a video of Racer X/Mr. Big guitarist Paul Gilbert playing "Spanish Fly," a classic 1979 instrumental tune by Van Halen. Although we're not sure when (or where) the brief clip was filmed, we do know it was posted to YouTube early...
Lady Gaga Covers Van Halen's "Panama" at New York City Show — Video (6/23/2015)
Over the weekend, Lady Gaga let her love for hard rock, specifically Van Halen, show. The pop superstar performed a wild version of Van Halen's "Panama" with the Dirty Pearls at the band's gig at New York's Gramercy Theatre. Check it out below,...
Jim Dunlop Introduces MXR EVH 5150 Overdrive Pedal, Designed with Eddie Van Halen — Demo Video (11/10/2015)
The MXR design team has collaborated with Eddie Van Halen to deliver a full range of powerful saturation and hyper-driven tones right at your feet. The resulting EVH 5150 Overdrive joins hand-adjusted multi-stage MOSFETs with a full complement o...