Population and Social Characteristics

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We have been exceptionally laissez-faire in defining hard rock to include heavy metal and artists to include bands. Purists will bristle at the inclusion of heavy metal, alt-rock, and progressive rock artists/bands in the article. However, 24/7 Wall St.’s list reflects the answers received from baby boomers who have a broader opinion of what is considered a hard rock artist. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and The Who (none of which made the list) were among the pioneers of the genre, which continues to appeal to people of all ages. While there tends to be some overlap between hard rock and heavy metal, they are distinct genres, but if you squint, the lines get fuzzy. With that in mind, 24/7 Wall St. presents the 15 most popular hard rock artists according to baby boomers ranked from fairly popular to the cream of the crop. 

Why It Matters

Exploring the favorite hard rock artists of baby boomers provides valuable insights into the generation’s musical preferences, which can influence their spending habits, and inform investment opportunities. Understanding generational trends provides valuable insights for investing in the stock market. Each generation tends to have its characteristics, preferences, and spending habits, which directly affect the marketplace. By staying in tune with these demographics, investors can make more informed decisions and capitalize on emerging opportunities within the market.

Investing and stock market concept gain and profits with faded candlestick charts.

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Exploring the favorite hard rock artists of baby boomers provides valuable insights into the generation’s preferences and spending habits.

15. Metallica

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With sales of over 125 million records worldwide, Metallica’s influence is front and center in the heavy metal world.

  • Hometown: Los Angeles, California
  • Established: 1981
  • Greatest Hits: Enter Sandman, Fade to Black, Master of Puppets
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: 2009

Metallica is an American heavy metal band recognized for its aggressive sound and intense live performances. The founding members of Metallica are James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Dave Mustaine, and Ron McGovney. Enter Sandman, from the band’s eponymous album, commonly called The Black Album (1991), rocketed the band to new heights, introducing Metallica to a new generation of metalheads. With sales of over 125 million records worldwide, their influence is front and center in the heavy metal world. 

14. Ozzy Osbourne

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Osbourne once took a whiz on the Alamo.

  • Hometown: Birmingham England
  • Established: 1968 (Black Sabbath); 1980 (solo artist)
  • Greatest Hits: Paranoid, Iron Man, War Pigs (Black Sabbath); Crazy Train, Patient #9 (solo)
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: Black Sabbath 2004; Ozzy Osbourne 2024

Ozzy Osbourne is the poster boy for heavy metal music. As the lead vocalist of Black Sabbath, Osbourne helped define the genre with his distinctive voice and stage presence. After leaving Black Sabbath, Osbourne embarked on a highly successful solo career. Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. Known for his theatrical live performances (he once bit the head off of a live bat!) and controversial antics (does urinating on the Alamo count?), and his reality television show, Osbourne is a cultural icon.

13. David Lee Roth

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After leaving Van Halen, Roth pursued a solo career but never recaptured the success he had with the band.

  • Hometown: Bloomington, Indiana/Pasadena, California
  • Established: 1974 (Van Halen); 1985 (solo)
  • Greatest Hits: Jump, Panama, Runnin’ with the Devil, Eruption (with Van Halen); California Girls, Just Like Paradise (solo)
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: Van Halen 2007

Lucky number 13 on 24/7 Wall St.’s list of the 15 most popular hard rock artists according to baby boomers ranked is David Lee Roth, the flamboyant frontman best known for his tenure as the lead vocalist of Van Halen. Roth’s charismatic stage presence helped propel Van Halen to the top of the charts. Known for his high-energy performances and trademark screams, Roth’s swaggering persona epitomizes the rockstar archetype. After leaving Van Halen, Roth pursued a solo career but never recaptured the success he had with the band.

12. Ted Nugent

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Nugent is an unabashed supporter of the 2nd Amendment.

  • Hometown: Detroit, Michigan 
  • Established: 1963
  • Greatest Hits: Stranglehold, Cat Scratch Fever, Wango Tango
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: Eligible since 2000

Number ten on 24/7 Wall St.’s list of the 15 most popular hard rock artists according to baby boomers ranked is none other than Ted Nugent, aka the Motor City Madman, is an accomplished guitarist and a polarizing figure thanks to his outspoken, unapologetic support of the 2nd Amendment. His lyrical content, particularly in the song Jailbait, has raised eyebrows as well. Despite the controversies, Nugent remains a celebrated guitarist and performer, recognized for his electrifying live shows and iconic guitar riffs.

11. Rush

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Following drummer Neil Peart’s death in 2018, Rush disbanded.

  • Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Established: 1968
  • Greatest Hits: The Spirit of the Radio, Tom Sawyer, Subdivisions, Red Barchetta
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: 2013

Rush is a Canadian rock band comprised of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart. Rush crafted a distinctive sound characterized by their undeniable musicianship and Geddy Lee’s piercing vocals. Their innovative blend of rock, metal, and elements of classical and jazz earned them a dedicated following. Though their legacy lives on, Rush officially disbanded in 2018 following drummer Peart’s death.

10. Def Leppard

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Def Leppard was a glam band.

  • Hometown: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
  • Established: 1976
  • Greatest Hits: Pour Some Sugar on Me, Love Bites, Rocket, Promises, Rock of Ages
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: 2019

The English rock band Def Leppard is one of the leading bands in the glam metal movement. With their infectious melodies and polished production, Def Leppard’s breakthrough album Pyromania (1983) propelled them to international fame. Their follow-up album, Hysteria (1987), solidified their status as superstars, spawning several hits, including Pour Some Sugar on Me and Love Bites. 

9. Gun N’ Roses

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Axl Rose is the only original remaining member of Guns N’ Roses.

  • Hometown: Los Angeles, California
  • Established: 1985
  • Greatest Hits: Sweet Child O’ Mine, Welcome to the Jungle, Mr. Brownstone
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: 2012

Guns N’ Roses emerged from the Sunset Strip rock scene to become one of the most iconic rock bands of all time. Their debut album, Appetite for Destruction (1987), featuring hits like “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” catapulted them to superstardom, thanks to Axl Rose’s powerful vocals and Slash’s virtuosic guitar work. Guns N’ Roses’ follow-up albums, Use Your Illusion I & II (1991), cemented their status as rock icons. Tensions between bandmates led to line-up changes, with Rose being the only remaining original member of the band. 

8. Trans-Siberian Orchestra

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TSO’s signature blend of music and dazzling visual effects continues to mesmerize audiences worldwide.

  • Hometown: Tampa, Florida
  • Established: 1996
  • Greatest Hits: Christmas Canon, Carol of the Bells, Christmas Eve/Sarajevo, Faith Noel
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: Eligible since 2022

At number eight on 24/7 Wall St.’s list of the 15 most popular hard rock artists according to baby boomers ranked is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. TSO is a progressive rock band that combines rock, classical, and orchestral musical elements with elaborate stage productions. The brainchild of composer and producer Paul O’Neill, TSO gained widespread acclaim for their holiday-themed rock operas, such as Christmas Eve and Other Stories and The Lost Christmas Eve. Their signature blend of music and dazzling visual effects continues to mesmerize audiences worldwide.

7. KISS

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KISS is retired, having played its last show at Madison Square Garden in December 2023.

  • Hometown: New York, New York
  • Established: 1973
  • Greatest Hits: Rock-n-Roll All Night, Shout it Out Loud, Beth, Calling Dr. Love
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: 2014

With their elaborate face makeup and positively explosive live shows, KISS captured the imagination of audiences as they set new standards for rock bands of the era. Led by frontmen Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, KISS was more glam rock than hard rock. Songs like Rock and Roll All Nite and Detroit Rock City became anthems for late-stage boomers and early Gen Xers. The band is retired, having played its last show at Madison Square Garden in December 2023.

6. AC/DC

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The band is presently (2024) on the AC/DC PWR ⚡️UP TOUR.

  • Hometown: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Established: 1973
  • Greatest Hits: You Shook Me All Night Long, Back In Black, Highway to Hell, Let There Be Rock
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: 2003

Originating from Sydney, Australia, AC/DC is known for their electrifying brand of hard rock and high-voltage performances. Led by the iconic Angus Young’s frenetic guitar work and the distinctive vocals of Bon Scott and later Brian Johnson, AC/DC crafted a legacy defined by anthems like Highway to Hell, Back in Black, and Thunderstruck. Their raw energy, uncompromising attitude, and infectious hooks have made them one of the best-selling bands of all time, with over 200 million records sold. The band is presently (2024) on the PWR ⚡️UP TOUR.

5. Joe Walsh

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As a solo artist, Walsh achieved success with Rocky Mountain Way and Life’s Been Good.

  • Hometown: Wichita, Kansas 
  • Established: 1965
  • Greatest Hits: Funk #49, Walk Away (James Gang);  Rocky Mountain Way, Song for Emma, Life’s Been Good, (solo); Life in the Fast Lane, Hotel California  (Eagles)
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: Eagles 1998

Guitarist extraordinaire Joe Walsh has left his mark on the rock music landscape. His virtuosic guitar playing and witty lyrics have gained Walsh a dedicated following. Originally a member of the James Gang, Walsh joined the Eagles in 1975, penning their hits Life in the Fast Lane and Hotel California. As a solo artist, Walsh achieved success with Rocky Mountain Way and Life’s Been Good. 

4. Alice Cooper

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When he’s not on stage, Vincent Furnier can be found on the golf course.

  • Hometown: Detroit, Michigan/Phoenix, Arizona
  • Established: 1974
  • Greatest Hits: No More Mr. Nice Guy, I’m Eighteen, School’s Out
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: 2011

One of the original shock rockers, Alice Cooper’s genre-defying music blends musical elements with theatre to create his signature style. His hits School’s Out, No More Mr. Nice Guy, and Poison solidified his status as a rock icon. Cooper’s stage shows, featuring guillotines, electric chairs, and fake blood, push the boundaries of performance art. When he’s not on stage, Vincent Furnier can be found on the golf course.

3. The Guess Who

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Their signature blend of rock and blues, and Burton Cummings’ outstanding vocals, are evident on the Guess Who’s hits American Woman, These Eyes, No Time, and Bus Rider.

  • Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • Established: 1965
  • Greatest Hits: American Woman, These Eyes, No Time, Bus Rider
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: Eligible since 1991

Pleasantly surprised I was to see The Guess Who in the top three hard rock bands. Share the Land, the band’s first album without guitarist Randy Bachman, who would go on to form Bachman/Turner Overdrive, is still in heavy rotation in my mind and on my streaming service. With their signature blend of rock and blues, and Burton Cummings’ outstanding vocals, the Guess Who’s hits include  American Woman, These Eyes, No Time, and Bus Rider.

2. Steppenwolf

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John Kay has achromatopsia, a congenital condition that renders him completely colorblind.

  • Hometown: Los Angeles, California
  • Established: 1967
  • Greatest Hits: Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride, The Pusher
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: Nominated 2017

Led by the sensual vocals of John Kay and featuring the standout tracks Born to Be Wild and Magic Carpet Ride, Steppenwolf became synonymous with the counterculture. With their rebellious spirit and thought-provoking lyrics, Steppenwolf captivated audiences while cementing their place in rock history. Though the first was Easy Rider (1969, Born to be Wild)  Steppenwolf’s hits continue to appear on Hollywood soundtracks.

1. Van Halen

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Founded by brothers Eddie Van Halen (guitar, R) and Alex Van Halen (drums- not pictured), along with vocalist David Lee Roth (L) and bassist Michael Anthony (also not pictured).

  • Hometown: Pasadena, California
  • Established: 1973 
  • Greatest Hits:  Jump, Eruption, Panama, Runnin’ with the Devil 
  • Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Class: 2007

Coming in at number one on 24/7 Wall St.’s list of 15 most popular hard rock artists according to baby boomers ranked is Van Halen. This legendary American rock band skyrocketed to fame in the late 1970s, dominating the music scene for decades with their manic performances and signature sound, notably Eddie’s novel guitar techniques. The band’s virtuosic musicianship is not debatable, their influence is immeasurable. 

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