The Most Popular Classic Rock Band in Every U.S. State
July 21, 2023
From The Who to The Stones, some iconic groups have been entertaining Americans well past their initial surge in popularity. But which classic rock groups are Americans still enamored with?
We analyzed Google Trends search data of 70 iconic rock bands that were at their peak pre-1990 to determine the most popular classic rock band in every state.
Read on to see which band is a fan favorite in yours!
Every State’s Favorite Classic Rock Band
When discussing the who’s who of classic rock bands in the U.S., a couple of names stand above the rest. Van Halen claims the title of best classic rock band in five states with their explosive sound and virtuosic guitar playing. Their high-octane performances and catchy tunes have resonated with fans from coast to coast, as they’re the most popular classic rock band in Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
Sharing the limelight with Van Halen is Guns ‘N Roses, known for their hard-hitting sound and the larger-than-life personalities of members Axl Rose and Slash.
Guns ‘N Roses also capture the hearts of fans in five states, showcasing their enduring influence on American rock music. With iconic ballads like “November Rain” and raucous rockers a la “Welcome to the Jungle,” Guns ‘N Roses continues to resonate with rock fans regardless of region. They’re the most popular in Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Virginia, and West Virginia.
ZZ Top and Queen follow closely behind, winning over rock fans in four states apiece. ZZ Top’s blues-infused riffs and distinctive bearded appearance have transformed them into a Southern rock staple, coming in as the top group in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Meanwhile, Queen, led by the legendary Freddie Mercury, has captivated audiences across different generations with theatrical performances, powerful vocals, and timeless anthems like “We Will Rock You” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Those in Florida, Idaho, Maine, and Maryland still can’t get enough Queen.
Hailing from sunny California, another classic rock band with a loyal fan base of diehard followers in three states (Iowas, North Carolina, and South Carolina) is The Doobie Brothers. With their smooth harmonies, catchy melodies, and diverse musical style, they have earned a devoted following over the years that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
While these bands reign supreme in their respective states, several other classic rock acts are worthy of an honorable mention, winning over fans in two states each.
Southern rock n’ rollers Lynyrd Skynyrd, known for their iconic anthem “Sweet Home Alabama,” have unsurprisingly become a favorite in Alabama and Mississippi. Heavy metal pioneers Judas Priest, known for their electric performances, also enjoys a dedicated following in Washington and Wyoming.
The Eagles, masters of harmonies and creators of timeless hits, are the classic rock n’ roll band of choice in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Finally, Creedence Clearwater Revival, with its rootsy rock sound and unforgettable tracks, has left an imprint on the hearts of fans in Alaska and Washington, D.C.
The popularity of classic rock bands varies across states, with Van Halen and Guns ‘N Roses leading the pack by winning over fans in multiple regions. These iconic bands and many others have left an indelible mark on the classic rock genre and continue to captivate audiences across generations with their timeless hits.
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To determine the most popular classic rock band in every state, we created a list of 70 rock bands that were at their peak popularity pre-1990. Using the bands as a list of search terms, we analyzed each band’s Google Trends search interest from 2004 to 2023. By comparing the search interest state-by-state we were able to find the classic rock groups that are still being searched across the U.S. today. We used search interest as a measure of popularity for this study.
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