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10 Bands that Really Should Have Been Bigger

We’ve all heard of the Backstreet Boys, AC/DC, and the Beetles. Some bands are just iconic, especially to certain ages groups. However, there are other bands that rocked just as hard but never made it to the elite league.

Here’s looking at 10 bands that really should have been bigger.


Hanoi Rocks

You may never have heard about this 1980s glam metal band. Formed in Helsinki, Finland, Hanoi Rocks was one of the pioneers of their sound, fusing a glam gimmick with hard rock, seamlessly and effortlessly. At some point it even looked like they were on their way to superstardom, after gaining popularity in the USA and the UK. Unfortunately for the band, the world was taken over by the likes of AC/DC and Queen. And although they have received critical acclaim for their musical style, energetic live performances and to this day enjoy a large cult following, Hanoi Rocks never achieved the mainstream commercial success they should have. The band finally broke up in 2009.



I’m sure you’ve heard of Slayer and like everyone else are probably a big fan of Metallica. The one band that you should have heard of but probably haven’t is Annihilator. This Canadian thrash metal band came on the scene around the same time as the aforementioned legends but for some reason never got the same exposure.

With 15 albums under their belt, the band is still playing and still represented by a major label, but it looks like the marketing department has dropped the ball. The majority of young rock fans rarely hear about them today.


Super Furry Animals

You’ll be forgiven (slightly) if you haven’t heard of this Welsh psychedelic rock band. Formed in 1993, the band has stuck somewhat below the mainstream radar, partially due to their own wishes. Despite having a loyal, cult-like following, the Super Furry Animals haven’t quite pushed for mainstream acceptance.

Over the course of nine albums, Super Furry Animals have been described as “one of the most imaginative bands of our time” by Billboard, while according to a 2005 article in NME, “There’s a case to be argued that [Super Furry Animals] are the most important band of the past 15 years”.

With a resume like that we could have expected them to be much bigger. The band and management just don’t push enough, especially on today’s social media. A mere 63,000 Facebook likes are a testimonial to that. 



In 1990, this power pop band from San Francisco came to the scene with “Bellybutton”. “Spilt Milk” followed three years later until the break up in 1994. Fans around the world fell in love with the beautiful harmonies, even in a live setting. Although Jellyfish’s career was short, the band has become highly influential in the power pop genre.

Unfortunately, Jellyfish came out at the wrong time. Had the band been around a few years later or earlier, they could have become far bigger. The early 90s was all about Nirvana.



You may have heard of Cake without actually realizing it. Despite this alternative rock band from Sacramento, California never becoming a household name, the music has been featured on hundreds of TV shows, movies, and commercials (“The Distance” anyone?). This in itself is reason enough Cake should have become much bigger than they are.

On top of being featured so widely, Cake’s songs are catchy and quirky. They have personality and beautiful craftsmanship that many bands fail to offer in today’s mainstream platform.


Material Issue

Jim Ellison made it clear that he wanted to be a rock star. Fronting Material Issue, a power pop trio from Chicago Illinois was his ticket, but the outcome unfortunately didn’t match his expectations. It should have, though. He was born to be a rock star and the band’s music was perfect for the early 90s. The problem for the band was that it didn’t evolve with the times, therefore couldn’t compete with the sounds of the late 90s. and although there was a cult following, it wasn’t enough.



Don’t be misled by the name. Failure was a 90s alternative rock band that deserved far more recognition than it gained. Active from 1990 to 1997 and from 2014 onwards, Failure took a gentle approach to the angst-ridden rock, which was welcomed by those who just couldn’t quite get into Nirvana and Bush. In fact, Failure did have success, especially after it was picked up by a major label for its second album. Maybe the band would have been bigger if it stayed together after 1997.



Some of you may have heard of this English thrash metal band, made famous in the late 70s/early 80s. Venom’s music helped shape the development of many latter thrash metal bands. Being the huge influence they were, they should have been much bigger. Venom wrote their own songs and succeeded with eight albums to date. The momentum halted due to a breakup in 1993 and for some reason they couldn’t get the mojo back once again when regrouping back together in 1995.


The Music

Another English alternative rock band that should have been bigger is The Music. the band came to prominence with the release of their debut album, The Music, in 2002. The band released two further studio albums, Welcome to the North (2004) and Strength in Numbers (2008), before parting ways in 2011. When they first started, everyone thought they would be the next big thing. The ingredients were there, but then Coldplay took over and The Music failed to rise above. However, that didn’t stop the band from gaining a loyal following and released three albums, only to recently hang the boots on their 12-year career recently.



Finally, Trick-Trick should have been bigger. Technically not a band, the American Hip-Hop MC has featured various artists on his debut album. He has also done everything that all other rappers have attempted (and some succeeded) to accomplish: near-miss murder charges, Eminem and Dr. Dre on his records, and coming in from the success of band D12. Why is he one of those artists nobody hears about?

Do you agree with this list? Which band do you think should have been much bigger than it was?