In celebration of the July 4th holiday, Gibson.com is taking a moment to appreciate 10 of America’s greatest bands. America is the birthplace of rock and roll and even though the English, Irish, Swedes, Aussies and others have taken the genre and run with it, America certainly has held its own in the rock and roll arms race. Here are 10 of our finest (with two recommended tracks for your holiday weekend iPod shuffle!).

1. Lynyrd Skynyrd – No band sounds more like America than these street survivors from Jacksonville, Florida. More than 30 years after fate stole their voice and their heart, they continue to sell out stadiums to bandana-and-blue-jean crowds singing “Free Bird” like it was the national anthem. And maybe, just maybe, it really is. Shuffle tracks: “Free Bird,” “Saturday Night Special”

2. Aerosmith – For 40 years, these Boston blues rockers have boogied their way to the forefront of the American rock scene. Few acts can match the sheer hit power of these reformed bad boys. “Walk This Way,” “Sweet Emotion” and “Dream On” are but a handful of the songs you are guaranteed to hear this holiday weekend if you’re within spitting distance of a radio. Shuffle tracks: “Let the Music Do the Talking,” “Toys in the Attic”

3. The Beach Boys – In the mid-’60s, there were really only two other bands that entered the discussion with The Beatles for Greatest Band in the World. Certainly, The Rolling Stones were one. But at the time, the other band that garnered serious discussion were The Beach Boys (even The Beatles agreed!). With peerless harmonies and a sheer musical genius cranking out the songs, The Beach Boys were America’s best answer to the British Invasion, right up to the point where Brian Wilson dropped out of the race. Shuffle tracks: “God Only Knows,” “In My Room”

4. Nirvana – The most influential band of the last two decades, Nirvana swept away the noodley gymnastics of ’80s guitar with a single riff. If “Smells Like Teen Spirit” were the only song the band ever recorded, they would still garner a place on this list. But Kurt Cobain’s soul-baring lyrics and deceptively melodic approach to songwriting ensured that the band’s brief life would forever send ripples across the musical landscape. Shuffle tracks: “Breed,” “You Know You’re Right”

5. The Allman Brothers – Number One on Gibson.com’s fan poll for Greatest Guitarist of All Time, Duane Allman was the original fretted engine to this blues-based jam machine, along with co-guitarist Dickey Betts. Over the years, the lineup has changed (with modern guitar gods Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks currently onboard) but the improvisational genius of the group has never faltered. Shuffle tracks: “Whipping Post,” “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”

6. The Ramones – The modest album sales The Ramones generated over the years pales in comparison to their influence on generations of musicians. All the snotty-nosed punks who litter the malls now can bow their heads to these titans of punk. Shuffle tracks: “Pet Sematary,” “Psycho Therapy”

7. The Eagles – No doubt about it, these Southern California country-rockers created a sound so unique and so utterly easy on the ears, that no one has ever been able to duplicate it. With songwriting giants like Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Don Felder on board, every tune tells its own engaging story. And that “Hotel California” end solo is as good as rock guitar gets. Shuffle tracks: “Hotel California,” “Life in the Fast Lane”

8. Metallica – The biggest force in metal for the past 25 years, Metallica show no signs of slowing down. With the dazzling wizardry of Kirk Hammett and the often-imitated-never-duplicated chunka-chunka of James Hetfield, these monsters of rock continue to bludgeon ears all over the world. Shuffle tracks: “Creeping Death,” “Fuel”

9. The Doors – One of America’s great icons – up there with Elvis, Marilyn and James Dean – is the late, great James Douglas Morrison. But the magic of The Doors was that they weren’t just the backing band for an electric lead singer. They were an eclectic and talented group of musicians whose sum was always greater than the parts. Shuffle tracks: “Break on Through (To the Other Side),” “L.A. Woman”

10. Guns N’ Roses – Rock and roll is always most at home when it’s sitting in a gutter, unwashed and unabashedly menacing to all passersby. Rock and roll is – well, should be – dangerous. And not since the Stones, or at least The Sex Pistols, has a band exuded swagger and stagger like Guns N’ Roses. Listen to “It’s So Easy” off the seminal Appetite for Destruction and try not to flinch. Shuffle tracks: “Night Train,” “14 Years”