What is the best band ever?

Obviously, answers will be subjective. Wish we could poll this. I guess, just give your personal favorite.

Led Sepellin for me.
Dire Straits
1) beatles 2)stones 3) jimi h

and, yeah, i'm an oldster
flaming lips
ryan adams
and, yeah, i'm an oldster too
Emerson, Lake, and Palmer circa 1974...

the fab four...their effect on culture(music, and 'everything else'for that matter)was not subjective,particularly if you lived through it.
Led Sepellin for me.
John11f 10-10-08

John11f it's spelled "Led Zeppelin."

My best is the Beatles simply because they made such a wide variety of great songs.
Hard to Say. My choices - Squeeze, Roxy Music, Alice in Chains.
Zep is on the top of the mountain look down on everyone.

If Hendrix would have lived, I think it may have been another story.

Post removed 
Art Blakey Quartet circa 1963
Led Zeppelin
Jimi Hendrix
Bob Dylan
Alman Brothers
Grateful Dead
String Cheese Incident
I would add the Byrds to the list, they were my favorie band in the 60s, a very innovative group. However, even though I liked the Byrds better, I'd have to say that in rock the Beatles are the best band ever, for the reasons Jaybo lists. They were more than just their music.
16 Horsepower (granted, a very personal choice and well outside of the mainstream...hey, you asked!)
Coltrane's great band w/ Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison, and Mccoy Tyner.
I'm quite sure if you asked the major artists/bands from 1963 to present, the answer would overwhelmingly be The Beatles.

The music for certain. However, no group or individual has come close to approaching their impact on music, politics, and society.

I suspect Dylan, although not a band, would be the next biggest influence.
Wall of Voodoo
The Monkee's !!
Whoever I am listening too at the time.

Probably Fiends of the Necrophiliacs or Radiohead, then again.........
The band that moved me the most when I was a teen was "Love", now I like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Gov't Mule.
sh*t. wrong spelling. thanks for not castigating me. i will add steely dan & dave matthews on my list as well. all though DMB has been on a decline, they still influenced and shaped my love for music.
I actually agree with Audiofeil. Beatles by far.
The Grateful Dead!

Honorable Mention: Uncle Tupelo
Miles Davis Sextet (1958-Kind of Blue version), featuring John Coltrane (tenor sax), Bill Evans (piano), Paul Chambers (double bass), Julian "Cannonball" Adderly (Alto Sax) and Jimmy Cobb on the drums.

about the "cultural" thing and the sixties...yeah, i think the beatles were the prime players.

but if u were an adolescent male in the early to mid sixties, the stones were your role model. attitude, looks, and mick was still a few years away from his affected stage schlock...
Can't list just one.

The Who
Neil Young (with or without Crazy Horse including CSNY)
Van Halen
Pink Floyd
Bob Marley

in that order........
Oh ya, Pink Floyd - forgive me..
Define best
Procol Harum
for sheer fun and styles...LITTLE FEAT!
art ensemble of chicago and sun ra arkestra - both groups, while having top-notch players, were still greater than the sum of the parts. incredible 'telepathy', synergy, etc.
Really, can't name one. However, typically I would only list bands with proven staying power as some of the best.
That would lead me to this list:

The Beatles
Rolling Stones
The Who
Jimi Hendrix
Led Zeppelin (I'm not really a fan, but I know many are...)
Van Halen
Neil Young variants
Pearl Jam

and my wildcard........

The Tubes

I'm sure there are many more that deserve mention......



Dude, it's just impossible to pick one :)

Return to Forever, any Miles Davis ensemble, EARLY Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green), any John Lee Hooker ensemble, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Traffic, Steely Dan, Aimee Mann's groups, Radiohead, Wilco, and too many others to list!
60's Beatles
70's Led Zeppelin/Pink Floyd/Rolling Stones
80's Rush/Genesis
90's Nirvana/Black Crowes
00's Beck/Hold Steady/Kings Of Leon

Honorable Mentions: Grateful Dead, Phish, Boston, The Who, CSN&Y, Pretenders, Ramones, and Elvis Costello.
5.Fleetwood Mac
6.Pink Floyd
7.The Band
8. Byrds
9.Travling Wilburys
10.The Strangers
To me these were the greatest groups, but of course I could add many more to the list.
Sun Ra Arkestra, early 60's Ornette Coleman band, Classic Coltrane Quartet, The Grateful Dead

I love the above, but Beatles top all. Kinks get honorable mention.
One of the greatest, if not THE greatest working band, in the USA;

LOS LOBOS!!!!!!!!!
Chazro, I like the way you think!
Return to Forever, in all of its incarnations.
Radiohead. A consistent body of intelligent recordings that all ran counter to the prevailing sounds when released.
Really, the only band left standing coming out of Britpop.
Never relied on hit singles; chosing albums of rare beauty and depth like O.K. Computer, Kid A and In Rainbows. Great live presence--Beatles never evolved into a live entity.
hell, the beatles initial success was 'because' they were a great live entity....their evolution(more a revolution) was as songwriters and recording artists
The Beatles.
Velvet Undergound

They gave up touring because they could not recreate their studio work.
Actually they gave up touring because Lennon, and to a lesser extent all of them, became weary of the road routine.
I've read that the Beatles stopped touring because the hysteria was such that they couldn't hear themselves over the screaming! They'd wind up playing like shit and the fans STILL thought they'd heard a miracle.