15 Of The Greatest And Most Famous Rock Bands Of The 2000s

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Written by Laura Macmillan
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The 2000s produced some of the greatest rock bands the world has ever seen. From the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Green Day, classic songs that people still listen to today came from that period. From angsty lyrics to epic guitar rifts, these bands have it all.

This list will go over the 15 of the greatest and most famous rock bands of the 2000s as a way to pay tribute to the people who started from rough beginnings and flourished into a worldwide phenomenon. Let’s get started.

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers

In the 1990s, Red Hot Chili Peppers rose to fame with their single “Give It Away.” The certified-Platinum song was their first #1 on the Alternative Airplay chart.

When the decade turned, they started it right with two chart-topping songs: “Otherside” and “Californication.” Then the band peppered—pun intended—the 2000s with a number of smash hits.

The group’s album releases for the decade were also massive. Both By the Way and the notorious Stadium Arcadium were multi-Platinum, with the latter being the Peppers’ first album to top the Billboard 200 chart.

Since then, the California born-band has sold over 100 million copies across the globe, won six Grammys, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The four-person band is regarded worldwide as one of the most successful alternative rock bands of all time.

2. Linkin Park

Another California band, Linkin Park caught fire fast with their album Hybrid Theory in the year 2000 and their hit song “In the End” in 2001.

Throughout the decade, the band sporadically released charting hits, like “Numb,” “What I’ve Done,” and “New Divide.” They’ve sold over a 100 million records worldwide and gained six American Music Awards, two Grammys, and two Billboard Awards, among other accolades.

Linkin Park has seen its share of hardship through the years, with one of their lead singers, Chester Bennington, taking his own life in 2017. They have not toured or produced new music since his passing. Even so, Linkin Park will forever be one of the most inspirational alt-rock bands ever to grace a microphone.

3. 3 Doors Down

Consisting of Brad Arnold, Matt Roberts, and Todd Harrell, 3 Doors Down formed in the city of Escatawpa, Mississippi. The band got their iconic nickname from a trip to Foley, Alabama, where they received inspiration from a sign that read “doors down.”

Their post-grunge, alt-rock sounds gained them a wide following, particularly after the release of “Kryptonite.” The album that contained this hit, The Better Life, reached six times Platinum in the United States. Another chart-topping song they had was “Here Without You,” released in 2003.

3 Doors Down continued their success in the following decades, and after a few lineup changes, they’ve announced that they’re still working on releasing new songs.

4. Evanescence

Formed by Amy Lee and Ben Moody in Little Rock, Arkansas, Evanescence is the epitome of goth with their alt metal, goth rock, and symphonic rock sounds.

From playing in local coffee shops for next to no money, the two founding members led the group of five through the 2000s with two #1 hit albums.

A good chunk of their fame cames from their hit singles “Bring Me to Life” and “My Immortal” from their 2003 album Fallen, which sold 17 million copies globally. In 2006, their second album, The Door Open, sold over 5 million records.

Though their popularity has waned a little during the 2010s, Evanescence is still active, with only Lee as the remaining original member.

5. Maroon 5

Led by singer-songwriter Adam Levine, Maroon 5 has a renowned sound in the genre of pop rock with their classic hits of the 2000s, including “This Love,” “She Will Be Loved,” and “Makes Me Wonder.”

These songs, and others, earned them numerous spots in the top 200 charts and a Best New Artist Grammy.

Their album Songs about Jane went quadruple Platinum by 2005, which was only complemented by “Makes Me Wonder” from their 2007 album It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, reaching the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart.

After losing Ryan Dusick in 2006 to wrist and shoulder complications, his replacement, Matt Flynn, and the band actively toured. Following a brief hiatus that ended in 2013, Maroon 5 has continued creating music.

6. U2

The first non-American band on this list, U2 was formed in 1976 in Dublin, Ireland, though their name and sound were different back then. The group had reached its peak during the ’80s and ’90s but were still going strong in the early 2000s.

U2 released three studio albums during the decade, and all topped the Ireland’s chart. The last two, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and No Line on the Horizon, reached #1 in the US.

Though none of their 2000 songs reached the top of US charts, many of them were #1 hits in their homeland, Australia, Canada, and the UK. The best at the time was “Beautiful Day,” which garnered three Grammy Awards for U2.

7. The Killers

American band the Killers has a unique sound, often blending pop rock with nu metal, punk, and alt. They gained massive fame with some of their hit singles, such as “Mr. Brightside” and “Somebody Told Me.” 

Killers debuted in 2004 with Hot Fuss. The breakout album was a commercial and critical success, selling over seven million records. It peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200 and #1 in UK. Another hit the group had in the 2000s was 2008’s “Human.”

Killers had a short hiatus in 2010 and came back the following year. Since then, they’ve continued touring and dropping charting albums.

8. The All-American Rejects

Coming out of Stilwater, Oklahoma, in 1999, a 15-year-old Ritter and his buddy Wheeler wrote and composed songs for their five-man band, the All-American Rejects. Soon after, they found mainstream success.

Their best-selling work, however, came in 2005 in the form of Move Along, their second studio album, which sold over two million copies worldwide. It featured their first top-five hit “Dirty Little Secret.”

2008’s “Gives You Hell,” from their third album, is their greatest single to date. Certified four times Platinum, the song was nominated for Choice Music: Rock Track and International Work of the Year.

9. Foo Fighters

It took a while for the Foo Fighters to get their final lineup together, but once previous Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl found his squad, they were ready to make memorable music.

The 2000s were kind to the group as all three of their studio albums were top three in the US, UK, and Australia charts. 2002’s One by One received two Grammy Awards, 2005’s In Your Honor was nominated for five Grammys, and 2007’s Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace won a Grammy and a Brit Award.

Foo Fighter’s blend of heavy yet melodic music pushed their popularity to greater heights even after the end of the decade. Sadly, their drummer, Taylor Hawkins, recently passed away in 2022, and though they’ve paused performing, plans to continue are in the works.

10. Radiohead

Britain’s own Radiohead planted its roots in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, during the mid-eighties. They found massive success through the 1990s, releasing four albums that brought them to global fame.

However, the year 2000 saw them change the style of their music drastically as they implemented electronic music, jazz, and classical sounds into their songs.

At first, fans met the stark difference in tune with pushback, but eventually, Radiohead won them back with songs like “Pyramid Song,” “There There,” and “Nude.” Their iconic sound nominates them as some of the decade’s best bands.

11. Paramore

The Hayley Williams-led band Paramore released their debut album, All We Know Is Falling, in 2005. It didn’t quite met the success they wanted, but this soon would change.

Atlantic Records had an eye on Williams since her early years in the music business. However, she wouldn’t leave her band behind to pursue a solo career, so they soon signed on with her.

Haley and her band of four then produced certified-Platinum singles throughout the decade—”Misery Business,” “Crushcrushcrush,” “That’s What You Get,” and “Decode”—which helped shoot them to superstardom.

Since then, Paramore’s fame has continued to rise over the years. They’ve have Grammy Award and several Teen Choice Awards, among many other accolades, to show for their success.

12. Green Day

Composed of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tré Cool, Green Day may have laid their roots in the late 1980s, but it made their name during the mid to late 2000s.

More specifically, they made their name with the younger audience by releasing the rock opera album American Idiot. This was a hit in the US, winning the group a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. The title track is considered their signature song.

Other songs of Green Day that charted high in the 2000s are “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and “21 Guns.”

13. Blink-182

American rock band Blink-182 made its name in the skate-punk arena of 1992 but soon reached an audience far and wide with its frantic shows and classic humor.

They weren’t a cohesive unit in their early days as they participated in solo recording sessions and touring before finally coming together and signing with MCA Records in the late ’90s.

Their 2001 album, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, reached #1 on the Billboard 200 (their first) and became part of the reason they grew to massive proportions. They made their biggest splashes at that time with songs like “Feeling This” and “I Miss You” in the 2000s.

14. The Strokes

Penultimate on our list, the Strokes was regarded as the leading band during the indie rock revival era in the early 2000s. The group of five released three albums and an EP during the decade.

After releasing their first EP, The Modern Age, and the world caught a glimpse of their talent, record labels fell over themselves trying to sign these rock stars. RCA records eventually snagged them.

Their debut album in 2001, Is This It, rose to critical acclaim and contributed heavily to their over two million worldwide record sales. The title track was equally successful.

15. Good Charlotte

Lastly we have Good Charlotte, formed by twin brothers Joel and Benji Madden with Paul Thomas and Billy Martin in 1996. Four years after, they released their self-titled debut album.

Their second album, The Young and the Hopeless, in 2002, is where they made their breakout success. It contained three of their top-5 songs on the US Pop Airplay chart—”Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” “Anthem,” and “Girls & Boys”—which helped the album sell over three and a half million copies in the US alone.

Good Charlotte followed up on this success with four more albums over their career, but none had the same success as The Young and the Hopeless.

Summing Up Our List Of 2000s Rock Bands

That’s it for now. The 2000s was a prime time for many rock bands to flourish. Each one, in one way or another, changed the music world forever. Some of them were pioneers, while others redefined their particular genre.

We hope you enjoyed listening to their top songs while reading the article, and while this list only featured 15 rock bands, there are many more that could have easily made the cut.

There are just too many to name due to the massive amount of rock talent out in the world. Who do you think we missed off? Let us know and we’ll add them in!

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Laura has over 12 years experience teaching both classical and jazz saxophone and clarinet. She now resides in California where she works as a session and live performer.