Wednesday Question: Best Rock Trio?

Which three-piece band is the greatest of all time? From Nirvana and Green Day to Rush, there's plenty to choose from. Post your nominations here.

Ultimate Guitar

When it comes to starting a band, there's only three instruments you really need: drums, bass, and guitar. Some bands start out with more, some with less, but when it comes to pure rock n' roll, it's often the tight-knit three piece groups who form a brotherly bond and make music history together.

This week we want you to answer this question:

Who is the best rock trio of all time?

You don't have to stick to the rock genre - we want nominations from across the guitar-loving spectrum. From Nirvana and Rush to Blink-182 and Green Day, there's plenty to pick from.

Some polls are easy to call, but this is a little different to our usual Wednesday questions, so we're really interested to see the results.

Post one band nomination per comment, and upvote those you agree with. Remember, they've got to be a three-piece band made of drums, bass and guitar (we don't mind which member sings).

The one with the most up votes before Friday will come out on top in the final poll. Will your nomination make it to the top 10?

675 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Emerson, Lake & Palmer!!
    Darth Wader
    "Remember, they've got to be a three-piece band made of drums, bass and guitar"
    also woops...
    **** that rule, UG what the ****, do you have something against ELP. and They have guitar in songs like "From The Beginning" where Greg Lake plays guitar, so technically.
    Primus !!!
    I was beginning to despair at how far down I had to go to see someone say Primus!!
    It has to be Rush! Who else?
    Yeah, Rush win hands down. This question literally has one answer, and that is the answer.
    Something that amazes me about Rush is that even though they are 3, some songs sounds like you would need 8 people to perform them. Take for example, Xanadu. Geddy uses a double neck bass, his voice, a keyboard and synthesizers like a pro. Alex shreds a double neck guitar with some cool pedal effects, and Neil not only plays the drums like a freaking master but also some other percussions like gongs and other stuff. I can certainly confirm that Rush is one of the best and most dynamic rock trios of all time, if not THE best and most dynamic
    There are a lot of great trios. But Rush transcends the label of trio. Plus unlike the majority of the other great bands listed here (aside from Motorhead) Rush is still around. And making kick ass, well crafted music.
    and ZZ Top of course. All three of these bands stood the test of time and keep going strong
    But would Rush even be considered if Neil peart wasn't on the skins???
    Uhm. Yeah. Geddy's great. To play bass and sing at the same time is very difficult, especially at his level of play. Then throw in him on keys. Also, Lifeson is a very highly underrated writer/riff master. So yeah, the rest of the band is great too.
    Lol excellent! I knew that would touch a nerve!
    Again, uhm. I'm not upset dude, I was just giving facts. Pat yourself on the back if you like, but you didn't succeed at anything.
    That's not really fact, that's just opinion though? But anyway, I'd probably take a band like Biffy Clyro or Muse over Rush personally and I'd be talking in terms of live performance at that.
    Calling Geddy great and Alex underrated is fact.
    It's personal opinion, but obviously I'm going to get downvoted 'cause I'm not sucking Rush dick. And I still stand by taking Muse or Biffy Clyro, hell even Jojo Mayer's Nerve or The Aristocrats over Rush. They're not the best trio, most technically proficient? Yeah I guess, but as a whole, nah. And yes I have seen them live, still thought Muse put on a better live show
    I'd just like to add that my personal favorite album of theirs is from before Neil Peart was even a member of the band. Neil Peart is a great drummer, but I don't think Rush necessarily needs him to be considered a great band.
    Nirvana is better then Rush, so is Green Day pre Jason White,and the Police too. Alkaline Trio is good, not sure if they really are a trio because I just got into them, but if they aren't then they have a really stupid name.
    How can you even compare Nirvana to Rush? They're completely different styles. And even comparing Green Day to either is just wrong.
    Can I ask why? I'd like to at least know the reasoning behind your argument.
    overall quality in songs, consistency in that quality. Rush is garbage compared to Green Day who continues to make great album after great album. Nirvana is an over-rated band but I just really like them . Rush just doesn't have the amount of great songs that other bands do, Green Day has more good songs on Dookie then Rush has in total.
    I'm gonna give you as much room as possible and say all 14 songs on Dookie are "good" by your standards. And there aren't 15 "good" Rush songs? I doubt you've listened to 15 Rush songs then.
    Actually, Red Barchetta counts better than 2 Green Day albums. If we took Tom Sawyer to give an example, better than anything Green Day will do or have done
    If you listen to earlier Green Day, up to UNO! DOS! TRE! even, you'll find an enormousness amount of quality. Nirvana wasn't around long enough to have more good songs then Rush, but overall quality in the great songs were way better then anything rush ever did!
    Moving Pictures, Permanent Waves, Hemispheres, 2112, and A Farewell to Kings were all miles better than any one of Green Day's albums. Your argument is invalid.
    your an idiot too, how can somebody even say such a thing??? Pick American Idiot, every song is great on that album, one of the greatest albums of all time, there isn't one Rush album that even has half the amount of great songs as American Idiot!!!
    OK, if you say so, Mr. My-Opinion-Is-Supreme-So-Don't-Fuck-With-Me-Even-Though-I'm- An-Obvious-Fanboy. Also, that might partially be because most Rush albums only have half the number of songs on American Idiot in general?.. Just because Billie Joe makes your panties wet doesn't make Green Day better than Rush. This shit's subjective.
    At bacon, changing your debate now. First you said Dookie has more good songs than all of Rush, and now I find "an enormousness amount of quality" in the whole discography. Rush already destroys any one album by Rush or Nirvana and it seems you've conceded that, but Rush still has a better discography too.
    no, they don't. If I had the time I would make a list of Great Green Day songs that would make a list of Rush look like an ant. Sadly I don't have the time
    Rush has 19 Albums, the first 10 of which are all awesome. Green day has 11, of which only 4 are any good. Stop trying to troll, you suck at it.
    how can you be so stupid and live??? 4 good albums??? that might be the most ridiculous I've ever heard. Dookie is good, Nimrod is good, Shenanigans is good, Warning is good, American Idiot is great, 21st century Breakdown is good, and UNO! DOS! and TRE! are all good
    "Rush is garbage compared to Green Day" Aaaand you just lost all credibility.
    I just wanted to point out that there's a reason Rush has been around for 45 years, and still busting out albums faster than a lot of bands out there. With almost 200 songs (maybe more), I highly doubt one Green Day album can top all of Rush. And I'm not sure how you can say all of Green Day's albums are great when 21st Century Breakdown still exists. End rant.
    21st Century breakdown is the most underrated album of the century, It has a lot of quality stuff but would never live up to the standards of American Idiot
    And what is quality? How do you define or measure that? Is it subjective or objective? Maybe something quality to you doesn't have the same effect on me. (Go read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance if you want to take it further)
    Someone didn't listen to Clockwork Angels, it owns everything post-American Idiot. Snakes & Arrows also.
    Every Green Day album sounds the same. If you really think Green day is better than rush, listen to Natural Science...that will change your mind
    some sound the same. I think the band went downhill after dookie and tried to make songs sound similar to a dookie song, but failed. They picked it up with Warning and haven't had an even mediocre album since.
    Sorry, but while Nirvana have some good songs, a lot of them are just angsty screaming. Before you downvote me for that, I'm going to say that I used to love Nirvana, and as a 14 year old, they were one of the first bands to get me into music. But a lot of their stuff- most of Bleach, Territorial Pissings, Stay Away, Milk It, etc, is quite hard to listen to once you get over the shock factor and the rebelliousness of playing loud music from your bedroom for the first time. I still listen to songs that have that extra edge- Louge Act and Aneurysm are two of the best songs Nirvana wrote imo. As a grunge band, I prefer Alice In Chain. As for Green Day- they have some good songs, but to compare them on a technical song writing level to Rush is just pointless. Prog and Punk are at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
    Saying Nirvana is better than Rush is like saying Dr Suess was a better writer than Hemmingway.
    Bullshit. Nirvana writes better songs...Rush is basically just recorded jamming. Are Rush better musicians? Yes, by leaps and bounds...better songwriters? Not a chance.
    Nirvana: A mulatto,An albino,A mosquito,my libido,Yeah! Rush: Silence shrouds the forest As the birds announce the dawn Three travelers ford the river And southward journey on The road is lined with peril The air is charged with fear The shadow of his nearness Weighs like iron tears
    Frank Zappa: Titties and beer Titties and beer Titties and beer Titties and beer See? I can pick out random out of context bad lyrics, too. I mean, I dislike Nirvana too.. but shit.
    this is bullshit... if you are actual saying that Kurt Cobain was a bad lyricist than I think your a disgrace to the human race
    this is bullshit... if you are actual saying that Kurt Cobain was a bad lyricist than I think your a disgrace to the human race
    You're all over Green Days dick aren't you? I can't even take your opinion seriously. Everything you say, it all sounds so... Ridiculous. But whatever...
    There is absolutely no comparison between Rush and Green Day. For one, the crowd at a Green Day concert beats the shit out of the crowd at a Rush concert in a fight, just saying. Two, Green Day is way better live as they actual do stage antics, Rush just's stand there like statues. Three, Billie Joe is a better singer
    1) Most fans at a Green Day show would either cower in fear at the thought of a fight or slit their own wrists because a fight would be overwhelming. If nothing else, Rush's concerts would be more comprised of bigger, stronger adults, whereas Green Day's concerts would more generally be populated by small and frail teens-to-young-adults. 2) Green Day might do a little more running around, but the claims you're making lead me to believe you've never even watched videos of Rush performing. They might not run around all over the stage, but that's partly because half the time, they're too busy playing three ****ing things at once. Every member of Rush is technically more skilled at what they do than all 3-4 members of Green Day combined. 3) You might prefer Billie Joe's singing to Geddy Lee's, and I could see how Geddy Lee's voice could be a turnoff, but I don't see how you can listen to both objectively (something it seems you're not willing/unable to do) and say that Billie Joe is a 'better' singer. Geddy Lee isn't the best singer around, either, but I'd be willing to say he tends to make better use of his voice and has a broader, more distinct range than Billie Joe Armstrong does. Billie Joe is more skilled at singing now than he's ever been, but he somehow sounded better back in the 90s when he seemed to only have about a 4-5 note range. If I'm being completely honest, I would agree that I enjoy listening to (some) Green Day more than I enjoy (a good amount of) Rush; it really depends on the mood I'm in and what type of music I feel like listening to. But the claims you're making are just ridiculous. Rush are leaps and bounds ahead of Green Day, in every aspect -- they're better songwriters, better musicians, better performers, etc. They do seem to have less energy on stage, so I guess I'll give you that. It doesn't mean anything, though. It just means Green Day gets in a little more cardio while they're performing than Rush does. Also, to play devil's advocate on that one, too, maybe Green Day feels like they need to do stuff like that to entertain people because the music alone just isn't enough. I guarantee you they don't do all that when they're practicing (and I could post some videos to prove it). Rush just performs the music because they know that's what their fans come to see, and they're confident that it will be more than enough to keep them entertained.
    I dont even listen to Rush and enjoy Green Day (up until American Idiot), yet I am deeply offended. What is wrong with you?
    how can that be, the only people who go to Green day concerts are kids...The real men at the rush concert wouldn't even have to lift a finger. Also your average Rush fan would be much more mature than a green day yourself
    Okay, either you are some ill-advised 13 year old as previously mentioned, or you are just a troll because after reading the comment about Green Day's crowd beating up a Rush crowd there are no other possibilities. WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING!? There is a reason why Green Day isn't as respected as Rush, and a large part of it is people like you. If you are being serious that is.
    Nirvana was a four piece when they broke up., and none of those band come close to Rush musically.
    In order to have valid opinions on this subject you would need to actually listen to Rush. And since anyone that considers Nirvana or Green Day better than Rush. Which both bands are the same 3 minute 4 chord stereotypical garbage on repeat A.D.H.D crap obviously does not have the musical prowess to take in a full Rush album and appreciate the music itself.
    Of course Rush is the best. And yes they wouldn't be even mentioned if Neal Peart wasn't in the band. But that can also be said about Alex Leifson and Geddy Lee. They would not be the great band nor have the longevity that they and we have enjoyed. How many bands, when they put on a concert, get 3 generations of families in the audience with EVERYONE enjoying a fantastic night of music and showmanship? Only one that I can think of. I've seen them 4 times over their career and each one was memorable.
    I personally think it's Rush, but have to mention Cream as well.
    Rush will probably be mentioned 1,290,328,164 and a half times in this wednesday question, I'm nominating Them crooked vultures!
    Exactly! I thought about those as well. I really hope they'll record another album sometime.
    Don't TCV have a second guitarist on the record or at least live who everyone forgets because he's not famous?
    They have a guy named Alain Johannes as second-guitarist when playing live, but both rythm and lead is done by Homme alone on all studio recordings
    Sleep were a 3-piece weren't they?
    oh yes they won't make it unfortunately because UG has a non-existant Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal population. If you haven't listened to this song before, dedicate an hour of your time to it now!
    Flying Afros
    I got this newest release with the new cover on vinyl at Amoeba Records on record store day in 'Sativa Green." ****ing awesome band. Now it looks like only 3/4 people (including myself) have mentioned Sleep. Maybe the best stoner/sludge/doom/whatever you want to call it metal band that has ever existed, and IMO one of the greatest bands ever. They paved the way for so many others, pioneers of music, space-faring, bong-hitting giants. I actually listen to this song in full on vinyl once a month, if not more. It's become a ritual. God I'm stoned. All hail Sleep.
    Face R1pper
    They were, and so was Thergothon!
    Do they count though? They started off as a 4-piece but their other guitarist left after their first album was recorded. *Edit* Damn it....that was supposed to be a reply to jamie-hough but I think I clicked on Face R1pper instead ._.
    Was about to scroll all the way down and post this before you did. Fucking amazing band.
    If we're speak talent wise I have to say Rush. Hendrix Experience is up there too, but with The Experience most people think of Jimi Hendrix. With Rush you have three members who are all among the very best in the world at their instrument
    Mitch Mitchell was no slouch of a drummer. Easily in the tops of drummers from the 60's.
    Face R1pper
    The NWOBHM is full of excellent trios. Angel Witch needs to be considered for this list.
    I can't decide between The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, and Rush.
    Beastie Boys
    I like them too, but it's hard to call them "Rock Trio".
    They started out as a punk band and have ''rock'' songs such as Gratitude and Sabotage. They even made an instrumental album with them playing guitar, bass and drums. Sounds like a rock trio to me
    This is rock/punk. They breeched the barriers of rock/hip-hip, but they're still a rock trio
    I now that Chevelle wont make it but i think they deserve to be at least mentioned on this article, they are a rock trio with all the words.
    Bee Gees
    Definitley some of the best songwriters of the last century.
    Best DISCO songwriters.
    No, best songwriters, period. Disco was only a part of their discography which really grabbed the public's attention, but tell me if any of those are disco:
    And that is just a handful.