rock The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time  

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14.4k votes 1.6k voters 84.3k views 84 items 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
510 283
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 Classic Rock Bands

2
493 371
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
325 274
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
280 248
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
229 221
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
416 382
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
272 294
Queen is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Queen Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

8
106 92
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Sixten Kastalje added The Beatles Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

9
205 181
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Lou Reed Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word

10
252 236
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
73 51
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
eg0654 added Kate Bush Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock

12
195 198
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

13
198 215
Yes is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Yes Rock music, Experimental rock, Pop rock

14
184 222
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
116 112
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

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16
165 153
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
118 124
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
152 153
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
163 177
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
133 158
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
43 30
Kraftwerk is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added Kraftwerk Krautrock, Synthpop, Electronic music

22
107 122
The Moody Blues is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Moody Blues Synthpop, Rock music, Acoustic music

23
53 46
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Syd Barrett Blues-rock, Psychedelic folk, Space rock

24
158 166
Arcade Fire is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Arcade Fire Indie pop, Alternative rock, Art rock

25
101 102
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
101 111
Devo is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Devo Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop

27
86 88
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

28
38 31
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Beach Boys Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop

29
76 90
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

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30
84 94
Emerson, Lake & Palmer is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Emerson, Lake & Palmer Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock

31
79 86
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
38 41
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
27 28
Tangerine Dream is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added Tangerine Dream Krautrock, New Age music, Electronic music

34
77 98
Kansas is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Kansas Heartland rock, Rock music, Progressive rock

35
96 124
Muse is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music

36
36 40
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added The Smashing Pumpkins Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

37
32 34
CAN is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added CAN Krautrock, Rock music, Electronic music

38
80 86
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
20 21
Sigur Rós is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added Sigur Rós Shoegazing, Experimental rock, Minimalist Post Rock

40
57 71
Love is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Love Rock music, Garage rock, Folk rock

41
76 86
Bryan Ferry is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Bryan Ferry New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

42
21 24
Captain Beefheart & His Magic ... is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Blues-rock, Spoken word, Garage rock

43
62 86
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

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44
65 77
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
48 64
Steve Miller Band is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Steve Miller Band Classic rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

46
66 79
Jeff Lynne is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Jeff Lynne Disco, Pop music, Rock music

47
50 73
Styx is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Styx Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

48
18 25
The Flaming Lips is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added The Flaming Lips Rock music, Space rock, Psychedelic pop

49
18 29
Dream Theater is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added Dream Theater Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

50
57 71
10cc is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
10cc Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music