(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

When a study claiming to have sussed out the most popular classic rock bands in America pops up in my feed, you know I have to share it.


And you know I have to share my opinions on it. If you’re reading this and you’re not a regular ROCK 92.9 listener, my name is Adam 12. I’m the Program Director of Boston’s ROCK 92.9 and I’m on the air weekdays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. And when I’m not on the air, I’m scouring my social feeds for things to talk about on the air. You know, like the most popular classic rock bands, nationwide.


The lion’s share of the bands on the list you’ll see below I either: a) play on ROCK 92.9 on the regular, or b) grew up listening to on rock radio. I’m a North Shore kid, born and raised on WBCN, WFNX, and WAAF. Hell, I worked on-air at two of those three radio stations. I’m sharing all of this so you won’t think I’m some crank with lousy takes. What I’m trying to say is I have some credibility.


The Most Popular Classic Rock Bands in New England

The list comes courtesy of Sell Easy and it’s called The Most Popular Classic Rock Band in Every U.S. State. Here’s how the put it all together: “we created a list of 70 rock bands that were at their peak popularity pre-1990. Using the bands as a list of search terms, we analyzed each band’s Google Trends search interest from 2004 to 2023.” Then they compared the search interest state-by-state.


You can see the full 50 state breakdown here, or at the graphic I’ve shared below. I’m focusing on the six New England states, because these are my friends and neighbors and I need to tell them how on-point (or how wrong) they are to love these bands the most. Let’s begin.

  • Connecticut

    Van Halen – Can’t argue with this pick at all. Groundbreaking act, beloved by generations of rockers. My only problem is that the study didn’t specify between Roth-era and Van Hagar. I’ll just assume it’s the latter.

  • Maine

    Queen – Is it wrong that I don’t think of Queen as “classic rock?” I mean, yes, of course they’re classic rock. It’s just that when I think of “classic rock” I put the emphasis on the “rock” part. And while Queen rocks plenty, there are other acts that rock harder. But hey, maybe Maine is listening to this track while drinking Fat Ass in a Glass.


  • Massachusetts

    The Rolling Stones – Look, I’m not going to sit here and disrespect the Stones. They are legend; I wouldn’t fault any classic rocker who named them as a favorite. But Massachusetts, you couldn’t go local with this one? I was fully expecting Aerosmith as the top pick, but secretly hoping it would be The Cars.

  • New Hampshire

    Led Zeppelin – The unofficial rock band of the Granite State. I think in my 46 years on earth, more than 50% of the Led Zeppelin I’ve heard is on radio stations in New Hampshire. Best served from a rusty pickup truck with a “LIVE FREE OR DIE” bumper sticker.

  • Rhode Island

    Black Sabbath – HELL yes. Now THIS is a pick I can get behind. Van Halen, the Stones, and Zep are all fine. But they’re obvious. It takes a bit more character to step up and say you’re a Sabbath guy, gal, or non-binary pal. You go, Li’l Rhody.

  • Vermont

    Grateful Dead – Of course. Who else would it be? FOH with this jam band nonsense, Vermont.

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