9. The Grateful Dead
What more can be said about the Grateful Dead? During their 30-year odyssey they built up a devoted fanbase unrivaled in rock history, and basically invented a whole new genre of music. While most bands of their era were playing rehearsed shows with a very strict setlist, the Grateful Dead played epic shows that changed radically from night to night. Luckily, almost all of it was documented by tapers – leading to endless debates about when the band peaked. In Europe 1972 at very tail end of the Pigpen era? How about the American tour in fall of 1978? Some say it was all downhill after 1968, while others point to the early Eighties as an underappreciated time of wonder. Regardless, the surviving members of the band continue to tour today in constantly shifting permutations and the fans continue to follow them around the country.