rock The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time  

Originally by
14k votes 1.6k voters 83k views 84 items Follow Embed
Fusing influences ranging as far as experimental rock and classical music, art rock is a form of music where the best musicians are willing to take chances with sound that only a few of their contemporaries would ever contemplate doing. The best art rock bands not only experimented with their sound, but made it sound great in the process. Art rock has always had an underground following and some of the biggest bands were from rock's formative years in the 1960s and 1970s, where bands took traditional rock and decided to test how far they could take it. Art rock, thus, remains a highbrow genre and retains a strong following among its fans.

So, what are the best art rock bands? Any list has to include the likes of David Bowie, Pink Floyd, the Velvet Underground, Peter Gabriel, Arcade Fire, Radiohead and Roxy Music. Those bands are only a batch of the best art rock bands. What distinguishes these groups from others is that they are widely recognized not only as art rock bands, but also musicians willing to push themselves and their music by challenging themselves and implenting other genres into their sound. Thus, no art rock band's one song or album is considered different or more forward thinking than their last.

That said, it's up to you to determine what is the best art rock band. If you notice a band that should be on this list, and isn't, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best art rock bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest art rock musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular art rock bands that you might've heard of. (84 items)
list ordered by

1
+ - 495 281
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
David Bowie Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

The Worst Rock Bands of All Time The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

2
+ - 485 367
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Pink Floyd Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

3
+ - 318 271
The Velvet Underground is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Velvet Underground Noise rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

4
+ - 276 246
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Talking Heads New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

5
+ - 226 218
The Who is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Who Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

6
+ - 405 380
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

7
+ - 104 88
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Beatles Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

8
+ - 200 178
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Lou Reed Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word

9
+ - 268 290
Queen is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Queen Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

10
+ - 246 232
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
King Crimson New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

11
+ - 190 196
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

12
+ - 193 212
Yes is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Yes Rock music, Experimental rock, Pop rock

13
+ - 66 49
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Kate Bush Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock

14
+ - 179 218
Genesis is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Genesis Rock music, Pop rock, Soft rock

15
+ - 113 111
Rush is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

The Best Rock Vocalists 21 Most Annoyingly Over-Used Movie Trailer Songs

16
+ - 159 151
Roxy Music is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Roxy Music New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

17
+ - 115 123
Electric Light Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Electric Light Orchestra Synthpop, Pop music, Rock music

18
+ - 148 152
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Frank Zappa Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

19
+ - 159 175
Tool is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Tool Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal

20
+ - 130 156
Supertramp is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Supertramp New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

21
+ - 158 163
Arcade Fire is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Arcade Fire Indie pop, Alternative rock, Art rock

22
+ - 51 44
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Syd Barrett Blues-rock, Psychedelic folk, Space rock

23
+ - 39 28
Kraftwerk is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Kraftwerk Krautrock, Synthpop, Electronic music

24
+ - 104 122
The Moody Blues is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Moody Blues Synthpop, Rock music, Acoustic music

25
+ - 98 100
Television is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Television New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

26
+ - 83 84
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

27
+ - 98 108
Devo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Devo Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop

28
+ - 82 91
Emerson, Lake & Palmer is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Emerson, Lake & Palmer Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock

29
+ - 74 88
The Alan Parsons Project is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Alan Parsons Project Pop rock, Soft rock, Progressive rock

14 Famous People Who Have PhDs What Should Be the First Thing We Say During First Contact with Aliens?

30
+ - 34 30
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Beach Boys Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop

31
+ - 78 84
The Cars is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Cars Bubblegum pop, Synthpop, New Wave

32
+ - 37 39
Tame Impala is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Tame Impala Space rock, Neo-psychedelia, Dream pop

33
+ - 95 120
Muse is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music

34
+ - 31 31
CAN is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
CAN Krautrock, Rock music, Electronic music

35
+ - 24 26
Tangerine Dream is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Tangerine Dream Krautrock, New Age music, Electronic music

36
+ - 74 96
Kansas is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Kansas Heartland rock, Rock music, Progressive rock

37
+ - 34 38
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Smashing Pumpkins Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

38
+ - 79 84
Procol Harum is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Procol Harum Blues-rock, Raga rock, Progressive rock

39
+ - 56 69
Love is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Love Rock music, Garage rock, Folk rock

40
+ - 73 84
Bryan Ferry is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Bryan Ferry New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

41
+ - 19 22
Captain Beefheart & His Magic ... is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Blues-rock, Spoken word, Garage rock

42
+ - 66 77
Jeff Lynne is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Jeff Lynne Disco, Pop music, Rock music

43
+ - 61 84
Asia is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Asia Rock music, Arena rock, Pop rock

The 36 Greatest On-Stage Falls of All Time The Best Netflix Original Comedy Movies

44
+ - 64 75
Laurie Anderson is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Laurie Anderson Experimental music, Art rock

45
+ - 16 19
Sigur Rós is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Sigur Rós Shoegazing, Experimental rock, Minimalist Post Rock

46
+ - 47 62
Steve Miller Band is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Steve Miller Band Classic rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

47
+ - 17 23
The Flaming Lips is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Flaming Lips Rock music, Space rock, Psychedelic pop

48
+ - 67 84
The Plastic Ono Band is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Plastic Ono Band Rock music, Experimental music, Art rock

49
+ - 56 70
10cc is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
10cc Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music

50
+ - 40 57
Wire is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Wire Electronic music, Experimental rock, Industrial music