Pop rock is not simply a blend of two genres. The specialized craft of thought-provoking songwriting and recording takes center stage in this unique genre.
In the 1950s, when rock and roll was huge, bands began experimenting with different beats and arrangements. With this, pop rock emerged. Since then, bands who’ve perfected the genre with their own unique music have won over worldwide audiences.
Who are these bands? Read on to learn about 11 of the greatest and most famous pop rock bands to have found commercial success with their innovative style.
1. Maroon 5
We begin our list with Maroon 5. From Los Angeles, California, the group was formed in 1994 when the band members were in high school. Until 2001, they played music under the name Kara’s Flowers. The year after, they released their debut album, Songs About Jane.
This album peaked at #6 on the Billboard 200 chart. The three hit songs in the album—”She Will Be Loved,” “Harder to Breathe,” and “This Love”—helped grow the band’s popularity.
Since then, Maroon 5 has released six more studio albums, all of which were in the top 10 of Billboard 200. They’ve received over 100 accolades, including but not limited to 3 Grammys, 8 Billboard Music Awards, and 3 American Music Awards.
Across the Atlantic Ocean in 1997, the Britpop group Coldplay was formed. Three years later, their Parachutes album debuted at #1 in the United Kingdom. Over time, the album received double-Platinum status in the United States.
Coldplay has had two #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Viva La Vida,” which remained on the chart for 51 weeks, and “My Universe,” a collaboration with BTS.
Since their first win in 2002 (for the debut album), Coldplay has won seven Grammy Awards. They also hold several Guinness World Records, including Most Brit Award Wins by a Group.
American pop rock band Train has been making music for 30 years. Their eponymous debut album was successful, but their 2001 album, Drops of Jupiter, made waves. The title track received two Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
Train hit it big again in 2009 with the release of “Hey, Soul Sister.” The catchy ukulele-backed song captured the world over, peaking at #3 on Billboard 200 and topping charts in several other countries. The 11x Platinum hit landed a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
This group has since sold over 30 million tracks worldwide, and three of their albums have reached the top 10 on the Billboard 200. In 2022, Train dropped AM Gold (2022), the first studio album released in five years.
Colorado group OneRepublic put itself on the map with “Apologize” in 2007. Ryan Tedder, their lead vocalist, wrote this song for the musician Timbaland first. He then included it as the lead single for his band’s debut album.
In 2013, OneRepublic found continued success with their third studio album, Native, which is Platinum-certified. “Counting Stars” from this album is still the band’s biggest hit.
The band’s most recent album is Human, and their sixth studio album is on its way. OneRepublic plans to release song teasers, allowing their fans to choose the next single. So far, they have sold over 16 million records.
5. Imagine Dragons
Consisting of Dan Reynolds, Ben McKee, Wayne Sermon, and Daniel Platzman, pop rock band Imagine Dragons considers itself genreless. However, the group has strong ties to alt-rock, which has been evident throughout their 15-year-long career.
When the lead singer of Train was too sick to perform at the Bite of Las Vegas Festival in 2009, Imagine Dragons stepped up and performed for over 25,000 people. Here, they gained traction.
Imagine Dragon’s third studio album, EVOLVE, went double-Platinum within a year and included two singles that peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their song “Radioactive” received a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance and a Billboard Music Award for Top Streaming Song (Audio), among others.
6. The Script
In 2001, Danny O’Donoghue, Mark Sheehan, and Glen Power got together to form the Script. The Irish pop rock group’s sound is described as classic ‘90s R&B.
Initially, guitarist Sheehan and vocalist O’Donoghue were part of the band Mytown, but they expanded their horizons, added members, and found international success as the Script.
Their debut single, “We Cry,” climbed the charts immediately, and their self-titled debut album topped the charts in Ireland and the United Kingdom. One year later, Paul McCartney and U2 asked the Script to open for their sold-out shows.
In the United States, the Script found the most success with “Breakeven,” which peaked at #12 on the Billboard 200 several months after its release.
Famous for the emotions that fuel their music, Paramore was one of the foremost voices of the emo scene in the mid-2000s. Since then, they have incorporated ‘80s-style synth and dance rock.
The band formed in 2004 and made their way onto the Billboard Hot 100 in 2007 with “Misery Business” and “Crushcrushcrush.” Seven years later, they broke into the top 10 with “Ain’t It Fun” from their eponymous fourth studio album.
Paramore continues to tour and release singles from their newest album, This Is Why. The group received two Grammy nominations, one for Best New Artist and one for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for “The Only Exception.”
8. Fall Out Boy
Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy began his career performing in Chicago hardcore punk bands. In 2001, he formed his own band with Joe Trohman. They released their EP Evening Out with Your Girlfriend, which put them on the map before they could even release a full album.
Fall Out Boy has released four top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down,” “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race,” and “Centuries.”
Over their career, Fall Out Boy has sold more than 8.5 million albums. They’ve recently dropped So Much (for) Stardust, their eighth studio album and is set to tour mid-2023.
9. 5 Seconds Of Summer
Formed in 2011, 5 Seconds of Summer (or 5SOS) is one of the newest pop rock bands on this list. With sold-out concerts, song streams in the billions, and over 10 million albums sold, they are considered one of the most successful Australian musical acts in history.
In 2013, they toured with One Direction in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and New Zealand. The year after, 5SOS hit it big with “She Looks So Perfect.” The song landed the #1 spot in not just Australia but also the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand.
5SOS’s fame continued. In 2018, they found the most success in “Youngblood,” which peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. On Apple Music, “Youngblood” is the most streamed song, while on Spotify, it boasts over 1 billion streams.
10. My Chemical Romance
New Jersey group My Chemical Romance (shortened to either MCR or My Chem) has fit many genres throughout its career, from pop punk to hard rock. The group recorded and performed between 2001 and 2013 and got back together in 2019.
My Chem’s greatest hit is “Welcome to the Black Parade.” The song peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained on the chart for 26 weeks. This record sold over 4.5 million copies and received a Grammy nomination.
After the pandemic, My Chem dropped their first single since 2014, “The Foundations of Decay.” It landed on #2 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.
11. The All-American Rejects
We conclude our list with the All-American Rejects, which formed in 1999. Their eponymous debut album gained Platinum status, but their second album, Move Along, was their mainstream success.
It features three of their hits, “It Ends Tonight,” “Dirty Little Secret,” and “Move Along.” However, the group’s best-selling song is “Gives You Hell” (2008). It topped US Pop Airplay and peaked at #4 on Billboard‘s Hot 100.
The All-American Rejects’ last full-length album was Kids in the Street, released in 2012. Since then, the band has stuck together and spent time recording. Many band members moved across the country, but they continue to collaborate.
Summing Up Our List Of Great Modern Pop Rock Bands
Modern pop rock bands are not afraid to tap into uncomfortable emotions. When they record music, they share their rage, despair, and elation with vast audiences.
Although these groups do not necessarily set out to record music that will sell the best, their raw, untapped emotions reach millions. The fans they’ve gained and the accolades they’ve received are proof of that.