According To Science: These Are The Loudest Bands In The World

June 7, 2018

When you go to see a band perform live, you bring with you certain expectations. You hope they'll play your favorite song. You hope there will be lots of beer. And of course, you hope that it's going to be a very loud night.

But just how loud are you willing to go? The average person will start to develop hearing damange after any sound over 85 decibles (dB's). To put it into perspective, the average conversation volume occurs at 60dB. An idle bulldozer reaches 85dB. And a crack of thunder can reach 120dB. Because according to Get Licensed, below are the eight loudest live bands ever recorded.

Average Rock Band - 110dB

Deep Purple - 117dB

  • During their concert at London's Rainbow Theater in 1972, the volume was enough to make three out of 3,000 people in attendence lose consciousness and briefly made Deep Purple the Loudest Live Performance in the Guiness Book of World Records.

The Who - 126dB

  • In 1976, The Who played to over 75,000 people at The Valley (Charlton Athletic FC) in London. It was because of concerts like this where guitarist Pete Townshend suffered permanent hearing damage, nearly forcing him to retire from live performances.

Led Zeppelin - 130dB

  • Led Zeppelin peaked at 130dB while performing "Heartbreaker" for 8,800 people at the Honolulu International Centre in Hawaii. "Whole Lotta Love" was also said to have been just as loud.

AC/DC - 130dB

  • After playing to 16,839 people at the Northlands Coliseum while on their first Back In Black tour in 1980, AC/DC were told they had to turn down their volume for the remainder of the tour, and they did... sort of.

Mötorhead - 130dB

  • Mötorhead stormed the Cleveland Valley Theatre for 1,900 people in 1986 and were loud enough to form cracks in the ceiling and cut power to the venue. As a result, a judge ordered the theatre to be sealed off as a public safety precaution. 

KISS - 136dB

  • It's no surprise that KISS would take their shows over-the-top. But during their appearance at Bluesfest in Ottowa in 2009, the music festival set the volume limit to 90dB. After missing the mark by 46dB's, festival officials forced them to turn it down. At least 32,000 people managed to enjoy it, though!

Leftfield - 137dB

  • During their 1996 show at Brixton Academy in London for 4,921 people, the electronic music group were so loud that plaster began to fall from the ceiling. After returning in 2010, they did it again!

Manowar - 139dB

  • Manowar would have been on this list anyway after reaching 129dB while playing in Hanover, Germany in 1984. But during their 2008 show at Magic Circle Fest, 35,000 people witnessed the band reach the world record for Loudest Live Performance by reaching 139dB.