Boy, you guys are mellow. 😁 Most of the posts about Chris The Collector's A to Z Music Challenge are chock full of alternative bands. I'm not knocking anyone for that, it's just that my "formative years" in music were the mid-1980's so the typical live performance included guitar solos in every song and looked more like this:
I've delved into Motown, Top 40, country, and other things at certain points, but Heavy Metal is supreme, and really all I like any more. The Sirius/XM stations I sit on 90% of the time are the ones between Octane and Turbo, including Hair Nation and Ozzy's Boneyard. So that's where most of my choices will be. I'll give a main selection and one or more honorable mentions. Not going to link to songs or videos. You're welcome to look those up on your own, but I like graphics, so I downloaded all the band logos.
The son of Led Zeppelin drummer John, Jason Bonham's band right at the end of the metal era really could have been big. They're on my heavy play rotation these days, but only have one album I think. Boston probably should be here, but I've heard 'em a million times.
The BulletBoys were another latecomer, and have a rather unique style. Their rendition of The Color of Money from the O'Jays is great.
Another band on my recent heavy play list is The Cult. Their stuff rocks, but is also super melodic and the guitar work is amazing. And Ian Astbury has such a distinctive voice.
Runner Up - Creed. Best concert I ever saw was Creed and 3 Doors Down. Just a killer rock show. They were one of my top 5 favorites, but then Scott Stapp just got weird after a while and they were horrible.
Runner Up - Ronnie James Dio is the ultimate metal god. If he didn't share the same letter as my personal favorite band, he'd be a featured listing. He has some great classic tracks with Black Sabbath and Rainbow as well.
Although Rob Halford's vocals aren't what they used to be, and the lineup has changed in recent years, these guys are still going strong too. I consider them to be on the Mt. Rushmore of metal bands. There aren't many better. So many albums with so many killer songs.
Lamb of God are intense, so I enjoy them in small doses. They're much more than just the extreme vocals of Randy Blythe, they're a very tight musical group.