Here are The Top Bands That Formed During College Time

The best stories of your life are written during college time as it is a time of exploration. It is a period when young minds come together, sharing their passions and talents to create something extraordinary. It is a complete journey of attending classes, submitting assignments, and joining campuses of your interest. Some of the best pop bands of this decade, as well as, those of earlier decades have originated from the colleges.

We often see posts about highly educated celebrities who have studied at Harvard or Oxford but the bands that are formed during college time are quite rarely discussed. The following post is intended to shed light on the best pop bands that were formed during college time.

  1. The Beatles:

“And when the brokenhearted people;

 Living in the world agree.

There will be an answer, let it be.”

No discussion about bands formed in college is complete without mentioning the legendary Beatles as it has been continuously counted as the best-selling American rock band of its time. Originating in Liverpool, England, this iconic group started out as a skiffle band in the late 1950s.

The band’s nucleus, John Lennon and Paul McCartney met in their late teens at the Liverpool Institute for Boys, forming a musical bond that would change the course of history. George Harrison was another key member who joined the group shortly afterwards. With the addition of Ringo Starr, the Beatles went on to revolutionize the music industry with their timeless hits.

  1. U2

“And the battle’s just begun.

There’s many lost, but tell me who has won?

 The trenches dug within our hearts.

 And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart“.

In the 1970s, a group of four students at Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin, Ireland, came together to form what would later become one of the world’s most successful rock bands: U2. This old famous bands band’s lineup consisted of;

  • Bono (Paul Hewson).
  • The Edge (David Howell Evans).
  • Adam Clayton.
  • Larry Mullen Jr.

Their college roots played a pivotal role in shaping their early sound and ethos. U2’s socially conscious lyrics and anthemic melodies garnered them a massive global following, making them an enduring symbol of activism through music.

  1. Coldplay:

“If you were to ask me;

 After all that we’ve been through.

Still, believe in magic?

 Yes I do, of course I do”

The Coldplay’s formation began in the late 1990s at University College London. Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland met during their orientation week and bonded over their shared love for music. With the later additions of Guy Berryman and Will Champion, the band solidified its lineup and started crafting its signature blend of alternative rock and introspective lyrics.

Coldplay’s emotional resonance and stadium-filling sound have earned them a place as one of the defining old famous bands of the 21st century.

  1. Radiohead:

“When you were here before.

Couldn’t look you in the eye.

You’re just like an angel.

Your skin makes me cry.”

In the late 1980s, a group of friends at Abingdon School in Oxfordshire, England, decided to form a band named “On a Friday”. At that time, the trend of taking dissertation help but their music managed to make its way into the colleges quite successfully. This was a nod to their preferred rehearsal day. Little did they know that this modest beginning would eventually give rise to Radiohead, one of the most innovative and experimental bands in contemporary music. Their college-era collaborations laid the groundwork for their exploration of unconventional sounds and themes, which led to groundbreaking albums like;

  • OK Computer.
  • Kid A.
  • Creep.
  1. Queen:

“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality

Open your eyes, look up to the skies, and see

I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy”

Long before they became rock royalty, the members of Queen were college students pursuing their passion for music. Brian May, Roger Taylor, and Tim Staffell first crossed paths at Imperial College London. Their shared love for music led them to form Smile, which later evolved into the iconic Queen when Freddie Mercury joined as the lead vocalist.

Queen’s fusion of rock, opera, and theatricality produced a string of hits that continue to captivate audiences worldwide. Who knew when students were worrying about cyber security dissertation topics, Queen was working on their next hit!

  1. Nirvana

“I’m not like them, but I can pretend …

The day is done and I’m having fun

I think I’m dumb

Maybe just happy.”

The rock movement of the early 1990s was highlighted by Nirvana. It was a band that emerged from the Seattle music scene and later on came to be known as the best-selling American rock band. Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and original drummer Aaron Burckhard initially formed the band while attending Aberdeen High School.

Although the lineup changed over time, Cobain’s songwriting and the band’s raw, emotive performances catapulted them to international fame with the release of “Nevermind.” Nirvana’s impact on alternative music remains indelible to date.

  1. Fleetwood Mac

“Now here you go again

You say you want your freedom

Well who am I to keep you down

It’s only right that you should

Play the way you feel it”

Before Fleetwood Mac became a household name with their chart-topping albums, they were a British blues band formed by guitarist Peter Green in London. Green, along with drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, and guitarist Jeremy Spencer built their musical foundation while playing together at various colleges and clubs. As the band’s lineup evolved, they transitioned from blues to a more pop-oriented sound, ultimately creating timeless classics like “Rumours.”

  1. R.E.M.

“The walls are built up, stone by stone

The fields divided one by one

And the train conductor says

 Take a break Driver 8, Driver 8 take a break

We’ve been on this shift too long.”

The alternative rock pioneers R.E.M. owe their origins to the vibrant music scene of Athens, Georgia. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry came together while attending the University of Georgia. Their jangly guitars and distinctive vocals propelled them to international acclaim with multiple hits. R.E.M.’s college roots contributed to their unique blend of folk-rock and indie sensibilities.

  1. Imagine Dragons

My patience is waning

Is this entertaining?

Our patience is waning

Is this entertaining?

I got this feeling, yeah, you know

Where I’m losing all control

In the late 2000s, the seed of what would become Imagine Dragons was planted when lead vocalist Dan Reynolds and drummer Daniel Platzman met at Brigham Young University in Utah. It has managed to become the most influential bands of the 2000s.

After relocating to Las Vegas, the band added guitarist Wayne Sermon and bassist Ben McKee to their lineup. Their indie rock sound, infused with electronic elements, gained traction with the release of “Night Visions.” Imagine Dragons’ energetic anthems have resonated with a diverse fanbase.

  1. Vampire Weekend

“Though we live on the U.S dollar, you and me, we got our own sense (cents) of time”

“Wisdoms a gift, but you trade it for youth”

“We mostly work to live, until we live to work”

“You know I love the past, cause I hate suspense”

Columbia University in New York City served as the backdrop for the formation of Vampire Weekend or Weekend Vampires. Ezra Koenig, Chris Baio, Rostam Batmanglij, and Chris Tomson came together during their college years, blending indie pop with influences from various musical traditions. Their self-titled debut album was a critical and commercial success, characterized by its catchy melodies and erudite lyrics.


College is a time of self-exploration and many bands have managed to discover themselves from their respective colleges. Some of the most popular bands of earlier decades and today’s time have been mentioned in the above post as their story originated from their colleges.


What are the top 5 most popular bands?

Some of the most popular bands are:

  1. The Beatles.
  2. The Rolling Stones.
  3. BTS.
  4. One Direction.
  5. Pink Floyd.

What college has the biggest band?

The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band at Texas A&M University is nationally known for its marching formations and for being the largest marching band in the nation with over 400 members in the Corps of Cadets unit.

Which band has the most No. 1 hits?

The Beatles have the most number-one hits on the chart, with 20 songs having reached that position.

What is the 1 most listened-to band of all time?

The Beatles had a short run of only 10 years from 1960 to 1970, but they’re still the best-selling artists of all time by far.

What rock band went to Harvard?

Tom Morello, the guitarist from this American rock band, attended Harvard University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in history,

What famous rock band was formed in Cambridge?

Pink Floyd was the most famous rock band that went to Cambridge and formed a group of three; Roger ‘Syd’ Barrett, Roger Waters, and David Gilmour.

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