A bar graph showing the percentage of respondents to a Monmouth University Poll asking who is the greatest rock band. The Beatles top with 23 percent, followed by the Rolling Stones at 8 percent, AC/DC at 4 percent, Led Zeppelin at 4 percent, The Eagles at 3 percent, Aerosmith at 2 percent, and Queen at 2 percent.

Rock of Ages

In Search of America’s favorite Rock band.

Pity the Rolling Stones. Still going strong nearly six decades after they formed, scheduled to hit the road in April, and reportedly working on a new album, they again find themselves eclipsed by their one-time rivals, the Beatles—a band that broke up nearly 50 years ago.

The latest example: In a national poll conducted by Monmouth University’s Polling Institute, Americans were asked to name the greatest rock ’n’ roll band or group of all time. Nearly 1 in 4 (23 percent) said the Beatles. The Stones finished a distant second, with just 8 percent naming them. AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Aerosmith, and Queen were the only other bands named by more than 1 percent of respondents.

When asked if they like the Beatles, 86 percent of Americans said they do, either “a lot” (50 percent) or “a little” (36 percent). Eight percent reported disliking the group, while 4 percent weren’t sure. Perhaps the most surprising piece of data in the polling report: Two percent of respondents said they’d never heard of the lads from Liverpool.

So take heart Stones fans. Hypothetically speaking, there’s at least a sliver of the population for whom your band never played second fiddle to the Beatles. Maybe that tidbit, and Keith Richards’ seeming immortality, can give you some satisfaction.

Supporting Acts

The following artists were mentioned by no more than 1 percent of respondents:

  • The Beach Boys
  • Bon Jovi
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Def Leppard
  • Elvis Presley
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • The Grateful Dead
  • Guns N’ Roses
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Journey
  • Kiss
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Metallica
  • Pink Floyd
  • U2
  • The Who