The 10 Best Musical Trios


Editor’s note: This originally published in 2014. Thanks to Nirvana being back in the spotlight with the new HBO documentary, Montage of Heck, we thought we would bring back our list that celebrates Nirvana and many other trios.

The best things in life come in threes. Primary colors, three-piece suits, movie trilogies, and creators of this here blog all come in threes. Schoolhouse Rock, the bedrock from which we have built our collective cultural knowledge and fortitude, even went as far as saying “3 is a Magic Number”.  We at Little by Listen, just hit our three year anniversary, and are happy to still have this format to talk music with each other and you the reader. So in honor and thanks for three wonderful years, we give you our favorite musical trios of all time.

10. Rush


Beyond the quality of the music, an important criteria for this list was strong contribution from all three members, rather than it being more of a one-man show. Rush certainly fits this criteria to a T, even if I don’t think their music is of the highest quality.

9. The Police


Sting gets made fun of plenty, but the Police’s 2007 Bonnaroo set made me a believer in Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland and the power of a dynamic trio.

8. Sleater-Kinney


The absolute rock dominance of Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, and Janet Weiss is still heard all around music today, but the band’s music still sounds as raw and interesting as ever.

7. Cream


The very first power trio, Cream consisted of bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce, drummer and maniac Ginger Baker, and the birth of rock legend Eric Clapton. While it might not be my cup of tea, there is no denying the power and influence of cream.

6. The Fugees


The Score hit Austin, Todd, and I at just right the age, and would probably land on our collective top ten albums of all time. Sure Pras is the weak link here, but this is still a trio with plenty of contribution from all three.

5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs



The best trio still running, Karen O, Nick Zinner, and Brian Chase put on one of the most electric live shows, not to mention hitting three of four of their albums out of the park.

4. A Tribe Called Quest


Legends for very good reason, few flows complement each other as well as Q-Tip and Phife Dawg, and are filled out with the buttery beats of DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

3. Beastie Boys


The way Adam Yauch, Ad-Rock, and Mike D bounced their flows off one another was unlock any other. There isn’t much more exciting than hearing how each will follow up from the other.

2. Jimi Hendrix Experience


Jimi Hendrix is quite fine on his own, but his music was taken to extreme highs with the help of Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums.

1. Nirvana


When one thinks of rock trios, it’s inevitable for Nirvana to come to mind. Each member was essential for changing the face of music.

Todd – Liars


Liars have been one of the most interesting and volatile rock bands in the last decade, and it’s almost shocking three people can make all that noise.

Austin – Violent Femmes


The Milwaukee trio are best known for “Blister in the Sun”, but the alt-folk band released plenty more gems over their two decade career.

Wes – The Antlers


Now three epic albums in, The Antlers are quickly becoming one of my favorite bands around.

Author: Wes

Hoosier. Writer. Music Buff. Media Man. Tourist. Polar Bear.

3 thoughts on “The 10 Best Musical Trios”

    1. I’m admittedly not really a Cream guy, and Todd and Austin were pushing for them higher. You can blame me on that. You could make a case for them at 1 with them being the first and all three members being equally important.

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