The best trios in music

27 March 2021, 14:00

Three great musical trios: Supergrass, Haim and Green Day
Three great musical trios: Supergrass, Haim and Green Day. Picture: Martyn Goodacre/Mick Hutson/Chime For Change/Getty Images for Gucci/Naki/Redferns/Getty Images

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 their last album was in fact a three-parter - Uno! Dos! and Tre!

  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.

  3. Biffy Clyro

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

  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.

  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.

  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."

  7. The Enemy

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

  8. Beastie Boys

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

  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.

  10. Placebo

    Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal were joined by drummer Steve Hewitt, who left in 2008 to be replaced by Steve Forrest.

  11. Muse

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

  12. Haim

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. The Cribs

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

  19. 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.


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