When most people think of a big time rock band, a few names instantly come to mind. We’re sure a few are popping into your head right now as you read this. Notice anything about those bands, though? Is it just us or did most of them form before the turn of the century?
Well, that’s what the folks over at Completely Ignored couldn’t help but notice. After surveying the current musical landscape, they were left with two pressing questions: how did Foo Fighters get so big, and what is the biggest band since Nirvana?
“When did the Foo Fighters get so massive?” they write. “Circa 1995, they were simply the band featuring “that dude from Nervarna” and openers for Mike Watt. Now, they play Wembley Stadium and peddle their white dad rock on HBO. All in an era where rock is (apparently) dead.”
“So what happened? It’s pretty simple: over the past two decades, the Foo Fighters have done a lot of things that big rock bands do. They play big shows. They win big awards. They have big followings on social media. This isn’t complicated. It’s counting stats.”
While no one can deny that the impact of Foo Fighters is far-reaching, the questions still remains if they are in fact the biggest band since their frontman’s former unit, who are widely renowned as one of the most influential and important bands to ever exist.
To find out who the biggest rock band of the last 20 years (i.e. bands that formed in 1995 or afterwards) are, Completely Ignored assembled a list of criteria that all bands would have to adhere to in order to be considered a big rock band.
Among the criteria was having a number one album in the Billboard Top 100 chart, having Top 10 singles on the Mainstream Rock chart, winning Grammys, amassing lots of followers on social media, and headlining festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella.
Their results yielded the following undeniably huge acts: Coldplay, Linkin Park, Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, Nickelback, The Killers, Muse, The Black Keys, and Fall Out Boy. Sounds like a pretty decent (and expensive) festival lineup already.
But which one of these giants came out on top? That title goes to Coldplay, who scored highest on Completely Ignored‘s index for big-ness. According to the blog, each band was assigned a score in each of the 10 categories used, with a maximum possible score of one per category and 10 overall.
“Category scores were assigned as a percentage of the high score achieved in each metric so bands were ranked relative to each other,” they write. While the scientific methods used are obviously questionable, the results did yield some interesting bits of info.
In their chart of ‘Who Did What The Most ’95-’14?’ Coldplay and Linkin Park each have the most number one albums with four, Nickelback come out on top for highest number of Top 10 singles on the Mainstream Rock chart, while Coldplay and Foo Fighters are tied for the most Rolling Stone cover appearances at three.