The Cars emerged from the new wave scene in 1976 and were at the forefront of merging guitar-oriented rock with synthesizer-driven pop. The Cars have a unique style recognizable after even the briefest moments.
The Cars snagged the “Best New Artist” award from the Rolling Stone reader’s poll in 1978 and won “Video of the Year” at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984. They got into the R&R Hall of Fame in 2018. Recommended Listening: ‘The Cars’ is a six-time platinum album. Songs to seek out include “Just What I needed,” “Drive,” “Moving in Stereo,” “All Mixed Up,” and “Good Times Roll.”
Queens of the Stone Age
Formed in 1996 in California and centered around vocalist and guitarist Josh Homme, who is the band's constant member through numerous personnel shifts, QotSA has a riff-oriented, heavy rock style. They have produced one certified platinum album, 'Songs for the Deaf,' and four others certified gold.
One of the best-known facts about this band is the number of musicians who have played with the band. At present, there have been twelve current and former band members and four touring members.
Recommended Listening: Their most famous album is 'Songs for the Deaf,' and many consider their best song “A Song for the Deaf.”
Coming out of Illinois in 1973, Cheap Trick found mainstream success with their second album, 'Cheap Trick at Budokan.' A hard rock outfit, Cheap Trick has had nineteen albums since forming: two certified gold and four more certified platinum.
How many times has Cheap Trick performed live? Over five thousand times. They've sold over twenty million albums and made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.
Recommended Listening: 'Cheap Trick at Budokan' ranked number 426 in Rolling Stone magazine's “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and is in the book '1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die.'
R.E.M. stands for rapid eye movement, and it's the perfect way to describe this band's music, one of the first alternative rock bands. Nirvana and Pavement viewed R.E.M. as a pioneer of the alternative rock genre.
Their 1991 album 'Out of Time' received seven nominations at the 34th Grammys, and the album's lead single, “Losing My Religion,” was the band's hit, reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100. The band retired in 2011.
Recommended Listening: Start with 'Out of Time' and go from there. Other great songs include “Nightswimming” and “It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).”
Ronnie James Dio
Ronnie James Dio, or simply Dio, has made his mark on music from several bands. He could be the progenitor of heavy metal, eventually working with Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath, his band Rainbow, and later a solo outfit.
Dio is famous for popularizing the “metal horns” gesture. Dio said it's an Italian gesture to ward off the evil eye. When Dio joined Black Sabbath, Ozzy flashed the peace sign, and Dio wanted his own gesture.
Recommended Listening: A best of Dio could be its own entire article, but check out “Holy Diver,” “Don't Talk to Strangers,” “Stargazer,” and “Rainbow in the Dark.”