The best trios in music

30 April 2023, 09:00

Great musical trios: Biffy Clyro, The Jam, Haim, Muse, Supergrass and Green Day
Great musical trios: Biffy Clyro, The Jam, Haim, Muse, Supergrass and Green Day. Picture: Pictorial Press/JC Olivera/Sipa USA/dpa picture alliance/Alamy Stock Photo/Press

Sometimes three really is the magic number: Radio X looks at the greatest three-pieces in rock and indie.

  1. Green Day

    This American band love the power of three so much in 2012 they issued three albums - Uno! Dos! and Tre!

    Green Day - Basket Case [Official Music Video]

  2. The Jam

    Bruce Foxton, Rick Buckler and Paul Weller were the angry, angry young men that made up Woking's greatest exponents of the 1970s mod revival.

    The Jam - Town Called Malice

  3. Biffy Clyro

    ‘Mon the Biff! Simon Neil is the singer and guitarist and brothers Ben and James Johnston do the rest.

    Biffy Clyro - Mountains (Official Music Video)

  4. The Wombats

    This Liverpool based trio is made up of Matthew Murphy, Daniel Haggis and Tord Øverland Knudsen. One of these three is not originally from Liverpool.

    The Wombats - Moving To New York [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

  5. Nirvana

    One of the most iconic trios in the list, here in their classic line-up of Cobain-Novoselic-Grohl. Towards the end of their career, they were joined onstage by extra guitarist Pat Smear, now with Foo Fighters.

    Nirvana - On A Plain (Live at Reading 1992)

  6. Motörhead

    The trio that made the classic 1980 album Ace Of Spades were Lemmy (bass, vocals), Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor (guitar) and "Fast" Eddie Clarke (drums). "You know I'm born to lose, and gambling's for fools / But that's the way I like it baby, I don't wanna live for ever."

    Motörhead – Ace Of Spades (Official Video)

  7. The Enemy

    Coventry’s finest were made up of Tom Clarke, drummer Liam Watts and bass player Andy Hopkins.

    The Enemy - Away From Here (Video)

  8. Beastie Boys

    Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA, known to their mothers as Adam Horovotz, Mike Diamond and Adam Yauch.

    Beastie Boys - Sure Shot

  9. Blink-182

    Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker were the original men behind California's pop-punk powerhouse. In 2015, Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba replaced De Longe.

    blink-182 - All The Small Things

  10. Muse

    The core members of Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dom Howard have been together since the beginning of the Teignmouth trio's career.

    Muse - Plug In Baby (Official Video)

  11. Haim

    Not only a trio - but a group made up of three sisters: Este, Danielle and Alana Haim from Los Angeles in California.

    HAIM - Want You Back (Official Video)

  12. Manic Street Preachers

    When Richey Edwards went missing in 1995, the Manics reconvened as the trio of James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore - and they've remained that way ever since.

    Manic Street Preachers - A Design For Life

  13. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

    Hailing from San Francisco BRMC are named after Marlon Brando's motorcycle gang in the film The Wild One. Robert Been and Peter Hayes originally worked with drummer Nick Jago, but now the role is taken by Leah Shapiro.

    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Spread Your Love

  14. Stereophonics

    One of Wales' most famous exports, originally featuring Kelly Jones, Richard Jones and Stuart Cable. Cable left the band in 2003, and died seven years later. The band now operate officially as a quartet with guitarist Adam Zindani and drummer Jamie Morrison - plus on tour they also add keyboard player Tony Kirkham.

    Stereophonics - Local Boy In The Photograph

  15. The Subways

    Welwyn Garden City's own power trio, featuring singer and guitarist Billy Lunn, drummer Josh Morgan and the Rock And Roll Queen herself, Charlotte Cooper, on bass.

    The Subways - Rock & Roll Queen - Official Video

  16. Supergrass

    Gaz Coombes, Danny Goffey and Mick Quinn were Britpop's favourite trio. They were later joined by Rob Coombes (Gaz's brother) on keyboards.

    Supergrass - Moving (Official HD Video)

  17. The Cribs

    Apart from when they had Johnny Marr on guitar, of course.

    The Cribs - Men's Needs [Non-PA] (Video)

  18. Ash

    The Northern Irish trio of Tim Wheeler, Mark Hamilton and Rick McMurray were joined for a time by second guitarist Charlotte Hatherley, but they're back to a three-piece now.

    Ash - Kung Fu (2019 Remaster) (Official Video)