13 Amazing Bands Similar To Extreme

Written by Dan Farrant

Recognized widely for their chart-topping hit “More Than Words,” Extreme is a celebrated hard-rock ensemble. The band, originating from Massachusetts in 1985, was established by musicians who had previously been part of different rock bands.

Together, they pooled their varied musical backgrounds to create a unique style that would become the trademark of Extreme. Their fusion of hard rock, glam metal, and funk would set them apart from their contemporaries.

Despite the fact that the popularity of their style of rock music waned during the rise of grunge in the mid-’90s, Extreme remained active. Their music is influential in the rock world, and in this article, we’ll dive into 13 bands like Extreme. Let’s start!

Extreme by Rubén G. Herrera (CC BY-SA 4.0)

1. Bon Jovi

American band Bon Jovi has become one of the most successful rock bands of all time. With chart-topping hits like “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “You Give Love a Bad Name,” and “It’s My Life,” the band is praised for their arena-ready choruses and heart-pumping music.

Over the course of their decades-long career, Bon Jovi has sold over 130 million records worldwide and has received numerous awards, including Grammy Awards and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

Their uplifting pop-rock sound appeals to a wide range of audiences, much like the band Extreme. With their catchy melodies, energetic performances, and relatable lyrics, Bon Jovi’s music has the power to resonate with fans of all ages.

2. Guns N’ Roses

Hailed as the “most dangerous band in the world, Guns N’ Roses gained a reputation for their raw energy, rebellious attitude, and wild on-stage antics.

The band drew a devoted following for its powerful blend of punk rock, blues, heavy metal, and classic rock. Their music was all the more matched by Axl Rose’s distinctive vocal range and stage presence, as well as Slash’s iconic guitar solos.

With iconic hits like “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” “November Rain,” and “Welcome to the Jungle,” Guns N’ Roses has become a staple in rock music. Their success is reflected in their numerous accolades, including Grammy Awards and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

Guns N’ Roses, much like Extreme, were non-conformists, pushing boundaries and often embracing controversy, which can resonate with fans of Extreme who appreciate the band’s distinct blend of genres and resistance to being pigeonholed into a specific style.

3. Van Halen

This list isn’t complete without the rock band Van Halen. Originating from Pasadena, California, in 1972, Van Halen is recognized for their innovation in hard rock, introducing an energetic sound and showmanship that shook up the music scene in the late ’70s and ’80s.

The band’s live performances were renowned for their high energy, featuring frontman David Lee Roth’s flamboyant stage antics and guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s exceptional guitar work. This was complemented by their notable discography, which includes top hits “Jump” and “Runnin’ With the Devil.”

Van Halen’s signature hard-rock and funk-infused music style bear similarities with Extreme’s music. Both bands have the knack for switching between hard-hitting numbers and melodic ballads, showcasing a versatile musicality that charms fans of all tastes.

4. Mr. Big

Despite being categorized as a hard rock band, Mr. Big’s music often strayed into territories of blues, pop, and soul, displaying a versatility that set them apart from other rock bands. This was particularly evident in their hit ballads “To Be With You” and “Just Take My Heart.”

These songs, with their soaring harmonies and heartfelt lyrics, helped catapult Mr. Big to international fame in the early ’90s. Mr. Big also released numerous rock songs that highlighted their technical proficiency and songwriting skills, often characterized by intricate basslines and fast-paced guitar work.

Their ability to infuse complex musical arrangements into catchy songs is reminiscent of Extreme’s style. Both bands have been able to create softer, emotive ballads alongside harder rock songs, demonstrating a versatility that has helped them maintain a broad appeal.

5. Winger

Much like Extreme, Winger rose to prominence in the late 1980s with their unique blend of heavy metal and melodic rock. The band, led by Kip Winger, showcased their exceptional musicianship and delivered standout live performances. 

Their second album, In the Heart of the Young, led to a remarkable 13-month world tour, sharing stages with renowned bands like Extreme, Kiss, and Scorpions. This highlighted their versatility and compatibility with diverse music genres. 

Winger’s music resonates with fans who appreciate the fusion of heavy riffs and melodic sensibilities. For those drawn to Extreme’s energetic sound, Winger offers a similar experience through their technical prowess and captivating songwriting.

6. Danger Danger

Formed in the late 1980s, metal band Danger Danger started their career with a bang, with their self-titled debut album spawning hits like “Naughty Naughty” and “Bang Bang.” 

Danger Danger’s music seamlessly blends hard rock with elements of glam metal, creating an engaging and distinctive musical style. Their style often draws comparison to other rock bands during their era, and they toured with Extreme, KISS, Warrant, and Alice Cooper.

While less commercially successful than some of their peers, Danger Danger has maintained a loyal fanbase throughout their career. They went on a short hiatus in the mid-’90s but returned with the same passion and dedication.

In 2014, the band reunited with their original lineup and reignited the spark that had initially made Danger Danger a beloved name among hard rock and glam metal fans. Since their reunion, Danger Danger has continued to tour, bringing their energetic performances and classic tracks to audiences old and new.

7. Whitesnake

Deviating from American bands, Whitesnake is a notable British rock band that came into prominence during the late ’70s and ’80s.

Founded by former Deep Purple member David Coverdale in 1978, Whitesnake became known for their blues-infused hard rock sound that later evolved into a more straightforward, energetic glam metal style in the mid-80s.

Their notable hits, such as “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love,” have become staples of the hard rock genre. While they may not share the same country of origin as Extreme, Whitesnake shares several characteristics with the American rockers, including their dedication to high-energy, guitar-driven rock music.

Aside from Whitesnake’s more hard-rock hits, they’re also known to release powerful ballads, much like Extreme. This balance between heavier rock anthems and soulful ballads is a shared characteristic with Extreme, making both bands appealing to fans who appreciate this dynamic in rock music.

8. Ratt

Regarded as a key influence in shaping the ’80s LA metal scene, Ratt is a glam metal band best known for their hit songs “Round and Round” and “Lay It Down.” Ratt’s distinct blend of hard rock, heavy metal, and elements of blues helped to carve a unique space for them within the music industry.

Ratt’s music shares similarities with bands like Poison, Guns N’ Roses, and Extreme in the sense that they all came to prominence during the same era and are characterized by a distinct blend of hard rock and heavy metal. Like Extreme, Ratt also has the ability to craft softer, more melodic ballads.

Over the years, Ratt has been able to reinvent its style while still retaining the core elements that originally made them popular. The band has navigated through changing musical trends, lineup alterations, and the evolving tastes of their audience, demonstrating remarkable resilience.

9. Def Leppard

The English band Def Leppard emerged in the music scene in 1977. However, their commercial success took off a few years later, in the early 1980s, with the release of their breakthrough album Pyromania

Known for their unique blend of hard rock and glam metal, Def Leppard became a defining band of the era, with hits like “Photograph,” “Rock of Ages,” and later, “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” Their approach to rock, marked by layered vocals and anthemic choruses, propelled them to global fame.

Despite facing significant challenges, including the loss of drummer Rick Allen‘s arm in an accident, the band’s resilience and innovative spirit have allowed them to maintain a successful career in the music industry, much like Extreme.

With millions of records sold worldwide and an induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it’s undeniable that Def Leppard is one of the biggest rock bands of all time.

10. Scorpions

The German rock band Scorpions is a force to be reckoned with in the rock genre. Their iconic hits, such as “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” “Wind of Change,” and “Still Loving You,” have earned them global recognition and a dedicated fan base. 

Formed in Hannover, Germany, in 1965, Scorpions has crafted a distinctive sound that blends hard rock and heavy metal, mirroring some aspects of Extreme’s musical style. The band’s longevity and their ability to continually engage their audience have ensured their music has remained timeless.

Scorpions, like Extreme, have shown remarkable adaptability in their career, consistently evolving their sound to stay relevant while staying true to their roots. Both Scorpions and Extreme have shown a dedication to their craft that has allowed them to continue creating music and performing live for decades.

11. Poison

In their early days, Poison‘s band name wasn’t as lethal as what they eventually became known for. The band started out under the name “Paris” in their hometown in Pennsylvania before they relocated to LA and changed their name to Poison.

The change in name was symbolic of their evolution as a band, and it more accurately reflected the edgier, more daring image they wanted to project. Their flamboyant performances and high-energy shows have become their signature style.

The band’s big hits include songs like “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Nothin’ but a Good Time,” and “Fallen Angel.” Poison achieved significant commercial success, selling over 55 million records globally and earning multiple Platinum certifications. 

In many ways, Poison and Extreme have followed parallel paths in their respective careers. Both bands emerged during the thriving glam metal scene of the ’80s and ’90s. They have also endured lineup changes and navigated through changes in musical trends over the past decades.

12. Skid Row

Known for their heavy metal sound, Skid Row has captivated audiences with hits like “18 and Life,” “Youth Gone Wild,” and “I Remember You.” These songs became anthems for a generation, reflecting themes of youth, rebellion, and the challenges faced in everyday life.

Frontman Sebastian Bach’s soaring vocals and charismatic stage presence have been a driving force behind Skid Row’s energetic shows, captivating audiences with his powerful delivery and magnetic persona.

This dynamic stage presence, alongside the band’s talent for creating both hard rock and gentle ballads, has drawn fans who appreciate a similar combination found in Extreme.

Like Extreme, Skid Row has demonstrated tenacity in its decades-long career. Demonstrating their ongoing commitment to creating new music, Skid Row has recently embarked on writing sessions for their highly anticipated seventh studio album, as revealed by guitarist Dave “The Snake” Sabo in March 2023.

13. Mötley Crüe

Infamous for their androgynous persona and rebellious music, Mötley Crüe captivated audiences in the ‘80s and ‘90s with their hard-hitting rock anthems like “Kickstart My Heart,” “Girls, Girls, Girls,” and “Dr. Feelgood.”

Mötley Crüe’s provocative image and wild lifestyle only heightened their appeal, making them the epitome of rock ‘n’ roll excess during that time. Their music, characterized by aggressive guitar riffs and powerful performances, further enhanced their reputation as a pioneering force in the glam metal genre.

Mötley Crüe and Extreme share a similar spirit of breaking boundaries and pushing the limits of their respective genres. Their fearless approach to their craft has solidified their status as iconic bands, even up to the modern era.

In 2022, Mötley Crüe co-headlined with Def Leppard and Poison for “The Stadium Tour,” showcasing the collective impact and longevity of these bands. The tour also brought together generations of fans to celebrate the enduring power of rock music. 

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like Extreme

If you’re a fan of Extreme’s hard-hitting sound and are looking for more bands that deliver the same punch, we hope this list was able to help!

From the heavy, hardcore music of Poison or Guns N’ Roses to the rebellious rock anthems of Skid Row and Mötley Crüe, the landscape of the hard rock and glam metal genre is rich with diverse bands.

If we missed anyone, we’d love to hear about your favorite bands from the hard rock and glam metal era. Share your picks, and let’s keep the discussion going!

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.