13 Amazing Bands Similar To Counting Crows

Written by Dan Farrant

One of the best bands that contributed to the alternative rock genre is Counting Crows. The band came together in 1991 in San Francisco, California, and established itself as a leading alternative rock band.

Counting Crows entered the music scene with a bang. Their debut album, August and Everything After, sold more than seven million copies in the US. The next album, Recovering Satellites, was equally successful as it topped the Billboard 200.

Some of the songs that propelled them to fame are “Mr. Jones,” “Accidentally in Love,” and “Big Yellow Taxi.”

With a band as successful as Counting Crows, it can’t be helped if they are compared to other bands. In this article, we’ve handpicked 13 amazing bands like Counting Crows with a common musical influence that will captivate you. So let’s get started.

Counting Crows by Rutger Hesseling (CC BY-SA 2.0)

1. Dave Matthews Band

Up first is Dave Matthews Band, which was formed in 1991 in Charlottesville, Virginia. They have captivated fans with chart-topping hits like “Too Much,” “Crash Into Me,” and “Mercy.” All of these songs topped the Adult Alternative Airplay chart.

Dave Matthews Band also released commercially successful and critically acclaimed albums. Before These Crowded Streets (1998), Everyday (2001), and Away from the World (2012) are just three of their discography that topped the charts and received RIAA certifications.

The band’s blend of folk, rock, and pop resonates with listeners seeking captivating melodies and profound lyrics. Fans of Counting Crows will appreciate the similarities in the genre, as both bands create heartfelt and soulful music.

2. The Goo Goo Dolls

If you’ve heard the song “Iris,” The Goo Goo Dolls will come to mind. After all, this is their biggest hit since their formation in 1986 in Buffalo, New York. Starting as a punk rock group, they later transitioned to alternative rock, creating a distinctive sound.

With roots in the underground punk scene, The Goo Goo Dolls possessed a unique edge over other alternative bands. However, they are similar to Counting Crows in several ways.

First, they both use melodic pop-rock elements in their music. Their songs are characterized by catchy hooks and choruses, and melodies that their listeners love. Second, both bands have songs with relatable lyrics. The themes usually revolve around love, pain, and personal struggles.

Fans of Counting Crows will appreciate The Goo Goo Dolls’ captivating music, as both bands offer heartfelt lyrics and a fusion of alternative rock styles.

3. Matchbox Twenty

The acclaimed American rock band Matchbox Twenty came from Orlando, Florida. The band has captured the hearts of fans worldwide since its formation in 1995. Led by the talented Rob Thomas as vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist, this multi-platinum-selling group has enjoyed immense success.

The band is known for infectious and successful hits like “If You’re Gone,” “Unwell,” and “Bright Lights.” They’ve sold over 40 million records worldwide and garnered billions in views and streams on Youtube and Spotify. These numbers testify to the band’s impact on the music industry and the appeal of their music.

Fans of Counting Crows will appreciate their shared era, melodic sensibility, and heartfelt lyrics, making Matchbox Twenty a must-listen.

4. The Wallflowers

Up next, we have The Wallflowers, an alternative rock band formed in 1989. This was a project of Jakob Dylan, son of the legendary Bob Dylan. The band creates a captivating blend of heartfelt lyrics and powerful melodies, resonating with fans of Counting Crows.

The Wallflowers rose to prominence with their breakthrough album Bringing Down the Horse in 1996. It produced the hit single “One Headlight,” which won the band a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 1998. Billboard also chose the song as the #1 Greatest of All Time Adult Alternative Song.

The Wallflower’s music carries echoes of Bob Dylan’s storytelling prowess while establishing their own unique identity in the alternative rock scene. By 2022, the band has three #1 songs and 13 songs in the Top 10 of Billboard‘s Adult Alternative Airplay chart.

5. Hootie & The Blowfish

In 1986, the rock band Hootie & the Blowfish was formed in South Carolina. They entered the music scene in 1994 with the successful album Cracked Rear View. Based on RIAA certification, the album is the 19th-best-selling of all time in the US. It was also certified platinum 21 times!

Hootie & the Blowfish and Counting Crows share a similar sound and musical inspiration. Their musical connection can be attributed to music producer Jeff Trott, who has worked extensively with both artists. Trott’s involvement in producing most of Hootie & the Blowfish’s new album further solidifies their shared sonic landscape.

Additionally, both bands share a mutual admiration for the legendary Paul McCartney. His influence has left a lasting impact on their music.

6. Gin Blossoms

The alternative rock band Gin Blossoms was formed in 1987 in Tempe, Arizona. With hits like “Hey Jealousy” and “Found Out About You,” they have garnered widespread recognition.

Notably, it was Gin Blossoms’ second album that was their breakthrough. New Miserable Experience produced “Hey Jealousy,” peaking at #4 on Billboard‘s Mainstream Rock Tracks. It went gold and propelled the album to success.

With their melodic sound and relatable lyrics, fans of Counting Crows can enjoy Gin Blossoms’ music. Both bands produce tracks with catchy hooks, incorporating emotional themes into their songs. This way, it’s easy to connect with their fans and listeners.

7. Third Eye Blind

With 12 million records worldwide and several hits, Third Eye Blind deserves a spot on this list. The band was formed in 1993 in San Francisco, California, and has made a lasting impact on the music scene.

Like Counting Crows, Third Eye Blind emerged from the vibrant Bay Area music scene of the ’80s and ’90s. The bands even shared a stage early on when Third Eye Blind opened for Counting Crows at the Balcony in Philadelphia.

With their alternative rock sound and infectious melodies, Third Eye Blind appeals to fans of Counting Crows. Some of the songs that propelled them to fame are “Semi-Charmed Life,” “Jumper,” and “How’s It Going to Be.” These songs have garnered widespread recognition for doing well commercially and on Billboard Hot 100.

8. Better Than Ezra

Both Counting Crows and the alternative rock band Better than Ezra made their wave in the 1990s. The latter is often compared to Counting Crows due to similarities, from their music to their successes.

Both have found commercial success with some of their albums and singles. While Counting Crows found success in August and Everything After and Recovering the Satellites, Better than Ezra’s albums Deluxe and Friction, Baby did well. Better than Ezra is also known for hits such as “Good” and “Desperately Wanting.”

Throughout their career, Better than Ezra has made a significant impact on the music scene. With a career spanning several decades and a dedicated fanbase, their melodic sensibility and passionate performances make them a band worth exploring.

9. R.E.M

Hailing from Athens, Georgia, is the influential rock band R.E.M. They came to the scene in 1980 and were one of the earliest alternative rock bands. With a unique blend of folk-rock and post-punk, their sound resonated with the rise of alternative rock.

Albums like Automatic for the People and Out of Time showcase their artistry and earned critical acclaim. The latter earned seven Grammy nominations and produced the band’s best-selling hit, “Losing My Religion.”

One thing you’ll like from R.E.M. and Counting Crows is their use of jangly guitar sound. Thanks to R.E.M.’s guitarist Peter Buck, the band became known for their ringing, arpeggiated guitar style. In the same way, Counting Crows uses jangly guitars in their songs.

10. Barenaked Ladies

Up next, we have the Canadian alternative rock band Barenaked Ladies, formed in 1988. They are known for their unique and quirky sound that blends genres like hip-hop and acoustic pop.

Like Counting Crows, Barenaked Ladies have garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success. Their breakout album, Stunt, produced their highest-charting song, “One Week.” Other successful songs include “If I Had $1000000,” “Pinch Me,” and “Call and Answer.”

Barenaked Ladies’ ability to seamlessly merge different musical styles, including their use of comedic lyrics, sets them apart. Their live performances, often alongside bands like Counting Crows, showcase their energetic and entertaining stage presence.

Fans of Counting Crows will appreciate Barenaked Ladies’ eclectic sound, rich melodies, and the lighthearted and fun twist they bring to their music.

11. The Jayhawks

Emerging from the thriving Minnesota music scene in 1984 is The Jayhawks. This alternative country and country rock band influenced some of the bands that emerged during this time period.

The Jayhawks drew inspiration from legends like Bob Dylan and Gram Parsons. And they captivated audiences with their signature harmonies, heartfelt lyrics, and rootsy sound.

In addition, they seamlessly blend folk, rock, and country elements into their music. Their discography includes acclaimed albums like Tomorrow the Green Grass and Rainy Day Music.

Like Counting Crows, The Jayhawks excel in storytelling and creating a timeless sound. Fans of Counting Crows would appreciate The Jayhawks’ rich harmonies and emotional depth in their songs.

12. Semisonic

Also from Minnesota is the renowned pop-rock band Semisonic. They rose to prominence in the mid-’90s with their infectious melodies and relatable lyrics.

Their breakout hit, “Closing Time,” topped the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and earned them a Grammy nomination. Other successful hits include “Singing in My Sleep” and “Secret Smile.”

Semisonic’s music shares common ground with Counting Crows. They both excel in heartfelt songwriting and delivering captivating pop-rock tunes. With their ability to craft memorable hooks and narratives, Semisonic captures the essence of Counting Crows’ style.

If you enjoy Counting Crows’ melodic music, exploring Semisonic’s discography will be a delightful addition to your playlist.

13. Toad The Wet Sprocket

Our last band on the list is Toad the Wet Sprocket. This alternative rock band emerged in 1986 and shares a musical kinship with Counting Crows. Their music has some similarities, as jangly guitar riffs and relatable lyrics characterize both.

In fact, Counting Crows’ frontman Adam Duritz recognized their musical similarities. The band handpicked Toad the Wet Sprocket to open for their tour in 2002.

Toad the Wet Sprocket has garnered success with hits like “Walk on the Ocean,” “All I Want,” and “Fall Down.”

Their albums, including Fear and Dulcinea, have received critical acclaim and a devoted fan base. With their songwriting, vocal styles, and commercial success, Toad the Wet Sprocket offers an engaging experience for fans of Counting Crows.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like Counting Crows

What fun it was to discover the bands above that share similarities with Counting Crows. We hope you’ve found new favorites to add to your ever-growing playlist!

Whether you admire the melodic tunes of The Wallflowers or the emotionally charged lyrics of Third Eye Blind, this list offers a wide range of musical inspiration.

Our list is by no means comprehensive. So if we missed a band, let us know so we can add it.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.