The future of music

25 Best Southern Rock Bands of All Time (Most Popular)

December 28, 2023
southern rock bands

I’ve curated a list of the best Southern rock bands of all time, highlighting the most popular groups that have defined and shaped this unique and vibrant music genre.

These bands blend rock, blues, and country influences, creating sounds that resonate with fans across generations and geographies.

Top Southern Rock bands of all time

  • The Allman Brothers Band
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • The Marshall Tucker Band
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Outlaws
  • ZZ Top
  • 38 Special
  • The Doobie Brothers
  • Molly Hatchet
  • Black Oak Arkansas

1. The Allman Brothers Band

The Allman Brothers Band was one of the leading forces of Southern rock bands.

They blended different elements of jazz, blues, R&B, and country to create their own unique style of music.

At Fillmore East was the band’s breakthrough album and is considered to be one of their best live albums to this day.

The band also had the honor of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

2. Lynyrd Skynyrd

With powerful influence on music in the South and all of America, Lynyrd Skynyrd is the undisputed king of all Southern rock bands.

The band popularized the Southern rock genre with their greatest hits, like “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Simple Man,” and “Free Bird.”

They were also placed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

The group faced many hardships including many of their friends passing away, but they still worked persistently to record the best music for their devoted fans.

3. The Marshall Tucker Band

The Marshall Tucker Band entered the Southern music scene in the early 1970s and helped establish the Southern rock genre with its perfect blend of rock and country.

The band has released 22 studio albums, the most popular being A New Life, Carolina Dreams, and Where We All Belong.

The song “Can’t You See,” from their self-titled album, peaked at no. 75 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and is considered their best hit.

See also: Best The Marshall Tucker Band Songs

4. Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival, aka CCR, was formed in 1959 and has since led a chart-topping successful career.

Their musical style combines different genres like country, swamp rock, and blue-eyed soul.

Their lyrics usually center on Southern culture or political topics like the Vietnam War.

Most of their albums and singles have been featured in multiple music charts.

5. Outlaws

Outlaws is well known for its hit single “There Goes Another Love Song” and guitar jam “Green Grass and High Tides.”

Although the band couldn’t reach the fame of popular Southern bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd or The Allman Brothers Band, it still gained quite a loyal fanbase.

6. ZZ Top

The ZZ Top band members are known for their distinctive wardrobe choices.

With identical long beards, sunglasses, and flashy outfits, the band looked the part of the perfect Southern rock band.

The band has won multiple VMA awards for Best Art Direction, Best Group Video, and Best Direction.

They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

See also: Best ZZ Top Songs

7. 38 Special

Donnie Van Zant and Don Barnes were two neighborhood friends who formed 38 Special in 1974.

The band was mainly inspired by Southern rock gods like the Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Their most popular songs include “You Keep Runnin’ Away,” “Back Where You Belong,” and “Hold On Loosely.”

They are especially famous for their single “Caught Up in You,” which topped the Billboard Rock Tracks chart.

8. The Doobie Brothers

Since their formation in 1970, The Doobie Brothers have dedicated five decades to making Southern music that fans still love today.

“Black Water” was the band’s first song to reach no. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Some of their fan-favorite albums include The Captain and Me, Minute by Minute, and Takin’ It to the Streets.

9. Molly Hatchet

Molly Hatchet gained popularity during the late 1970s and released 6 studio albums.

Among their albums, Flirtin’ with Disaster, Beatin’ the Odds, and their self-titled album reached platinum status.

Many of their singles, including “Satisfied Man,” “The Rambler,” and “Bloody Reunion,” have featured on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

10. Black Oak Arkansas

The country and blues music from their hometown, Arkansas, is what inspired the band to start making their own.

Black Oak Arkansas reached peak fame in the 1970s because of the band’s raucous stage presence, raspy vocals, and punching guitar riffs.

Their best single, “Jim Dandy to the Rescue,” topped the R&B chart and ranked no. 17 on the US pop charts. 

The song was also featured on The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.

11. Blackfoot

Like most Southern bands, Blackfoot’s music is a blend of country rock and blues, but their use of traditional Southern instruments like banjos and tambourines makes them stand out.

Many of their singles, like “Highway Song,” “Train, Train,” and “Fly Away,” have featured on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Blackfoot still holds tours and live shows, but none of its original members play anymore.

12. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers are among the best Southern rock bands of all time.

Their best hit singles include “Learning to Fly,” “American Girl,” and “The Waiting.”

The band went on a hiatus after their lead singer, Tom Petty, died from an accidental overdose but came together to release another album, The Last DJ, in 2002.

13. Wet Willie

Wet Willie is a Southern soul band formed by brothers Jimmy and Jack Hall.

They are best known for their hit single “Keep On Smilin’,” which peaked at no. 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Some of their other charting singles are “Country Side of Life,” “Leona,” and “Everything That ‘Cha Do (Will Come Back to You).”

The band’s fusion of the saxophone and harmonica in their music puts them next to contemporary Southern rock bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd or ZZ Top.

14. The Black Crowes

Although The Black Crowes formed back in 1984, they didn’t release their first album until 1990.

The band’s best album, Shake Your Money Maker, ranked no. 4 on the Billboard 200 charts and sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

This album also featured their top-charting singles like “She Talks to Angels,” “Hard to Handle,” and “Twice As Hard.”

The Black Crowes’ second studio album, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, was also well-received by audiences and top-ranked in the Billboard 200 album chart.

15. Blackberry Smoke

Blackberry Smoke was the first independently-released artist in modern history to top the Billboard Country Album chart.

Their fourth studio album called, Holding All the Roses, was released in 2015 and sold 49,600 records in the US.

The band has also performed live alongside popular bands like Guns n’ Roses, Zac Brown Band, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

16. Alabama

Alabama is a Southern country rock band that has sold over 75 million records worldwide.

This puts them among the world’s best-selling bands of all time.

Their music is a mix of bluegrass, folk, and country rock styles, while the lyrics are mostly centered around their homeland.

They’ve produced several platinum-certified albums like The Closer You Get…, My Home’s in Alabama, and Feels So Right.

See also: Best Alabama Songs

17. Dixie Dregs

Dixie Dregs blends different genres of music like jazz, country, and classical music to create some of the best rock you’ve ever heard.

What sets Dixie Dregs apart from most Southern bands is that their songs are mostly instrumental, making you feel closer to the music.

Their sixth studio album, Industry Standard, is the only one that contains vocals and earned the band their fourth Grammy nomination.

The other albums that received Grammy nominations are Night of the Living Dregs, Bring ’em Back Alive, and Unsung Heroes.

18. Kings Of Leon

Kings Of Leon’s early music was a general blend of blues and southern rock before they evolved to include alternative rock-based music.

The band first gained success in 2009 when all the albums they had released till then peaked on the UK Albums chart.

They have been nominated and won multiple awards, including 4 Grammy wins out of 12 nominations.

Three of their singles, “Notion,” “Sex on Fire,” and “Use Somebody,” topped the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart as well.

19. Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes had the best start to their career with their debut album, Boys & Girls.

The album was nominated for three Grammy Awards and ranked no. 6 on the Billboard 200 charts.

For this album, the band was inspired by the soulful music genre and incorporated elements of mid-20th-century rhythm and blues into its music.

20. My Morning Jacket

Although mildly successful in the U.S., my Morning Jacket’s debut album was a hit internationally in countries like Netherlands and Belgium.

The band works with diverse genres to create memorable music, such as folk, blues, psychedelia, and indie rock.

Their most popular songs include “Gideon,” “Mahgeetah,” and “One Big Holiday.”

21. NEEDTOBREATHE

NEEDTOBREATHE is a Christian rock band from South Carolina formed by brothers Bear and Bryant Rinehart.

This band owns many chart-topping singles like “Washed by the Water,” “Brother,” and “Multiplied.”

They’ve won several GMA Dove awards and also have nominations for a Grammy and a Billboard Music award.

22. Grinderswitch

Even though Grinderswitch never rose to commercial success, it gained a loyal fanbase.

This band went on tour with other famous Southern rock bands like Marshall Tucker Band and The Allman Brothers Band.

Their tracks “Open Road,” “Can’t Keep A Good Man Down,” and “Miss Understanding” are fan favorites.

23. Whiskey Myers

Whiskey Myers is a Southern rock and country band from Texas famous for tracks like “Stone,” “Ballad of a Southern Man,” and “Bury My Bones.”

The band’s fifth studio album of the same name ranked no. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart and sold 47,900 copies in the United States.

Their inspiration mainly came from well-known artists like Waylon Jennings, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Hank Williams Jr.

24. Point Blank

Point Blank is a Texas-based band that released 6 albums throughout their career.

Their music style is a combination of southern rock, boogie, and hard rock.

The band is most famous for its hit singles “Nicole” and “The Hard Way.”

25. Canned Heat

Canned Heat was formed by musicians Alan Wilson and Bob Hite in Los Angeles in 1965.

The band is known for consistently creating great blues music and promoting its original artists.

Many of their songs, like “On the Road Again,” “Let’s Work Together,” and “Going Up the Country,” became international hits.

Best Southern Rock Bands of All Time – Final Thoughts

Southern rock music is a smooth mix of rock, blues, and country music that can do wonders for your mood.

Only a few bands still indulge in the elements of Southern rock music, but thankfully fans are dedicated to keeping the genre alive through these bands.

We hope you enjoyed our list of the best Southern rock bands of all time and found some new favorites for your playlist.

You may also like: Best Bands of All Time

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

view profile

metalcore bands
Previous Story

25 Best Metalcore Bands of All Time

Best george thorogood songs
Next Story

15 Best George Thorogood Songs of All Time (Greatest Hits)

Latest from Entertainment & Playlists