The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

398k votes 21k voters 234k views 1,485 items tags f p @

List Criteria: The best artists of any genre

When VH1 polled fellow artists to name the greatest artists of all time, it seemed like a good idea---but in reality, the list was truly flawed. According to them, Coldplay is better than Pearl Jam, Mariah Carey is only greater than six artists, etc! Not to mention other impactful artists were left off of the list. So I thought that maybe we try the countdown one more time, only this time with the perspective of true music fans...YOU..

This list will begin in no particular order, you will see some names that didn't appear in VH1's version, no artist appears on the countdown twice, and the order is not my personal opinion (I personally think Bob Marley is the greatest artist of all time). If you don't like how the list looks, you have the power to change it. This list includes some of the greatest female vocalists of the past 10 years, and many of the best rock bands and artists of all time. Many of them are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - and some will be, eventually.

So many questions will be answered with the voting results on this list. Nirvana or Pearl Jam? 2Pac or Biggie? The Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston? Is Michael Jackson still the King or is Elvis the true immortal? Is Madonna still the undisputed Queen of Pop? Does anyone rock harder than Hendrix? Are Jay-Z and Beyonce the most powerful couple in music history? It's up to you to decide!
Collection Photo:  via wikimedia
  • 152 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 4,112
    - 5,763

    the people's #1 & added by First L
    Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

    ;
  2. 2
    + 3,362
    - 5,558
    Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

    ;
  3. 3
    + 3,433
    - 5,477
    Queen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

    ;
  4. 4
    + 3,379
    - 5,355
    Led Zeppelin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

    ;
  5. 5
    + 2,754
    - 5,089
    Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

    ;
  6. 6
    + 1,831
    - 2,694


    Pop music, Worldbeat, Rock music

    ;
  7. 7
    + 2,632
    - 3,383


    Opera, Classical music

    ;
  8. 8
    + 2,375
    - 4,772
    The Rolling Stones is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

    ;
  9. 9
    + 2,251
    - 4,724
    Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  10. 10
    + 3,874
    - 5,211
    Madonna is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    ranked low on reranks & added by First L
    Pop music, Rock music, Electronic music

    ;
  11. 11
    + 1,920
    - 3,556
    David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

    ;
  12. 12
    + 1,833
    - 3,788
    AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

    ;
  13. 13
    + 1,925
    - 4,115
    The Who is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  14. 14
    + 2,284
    - 3,211

    ranked low on reranks
    Opera, Ballet, Art song

    ;
  15. 15
    + 2,081
    - 3,614
    Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

    ;
  16. 16
    + 1,349
    - 2,536
    The Doors is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

    ;
  17. 17
    + 1,747
    - 3,502
    Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  18. 18
    + 1,628
    - 2,313


    Classical music

    ;
  19. 19
    + 1,448
    - 2,662
    Nirvana is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock

    ;
  20. 20
    + 943
    - 1,637
    Rush is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

    ;
  21. 21
    + 1,421
    - 2,366


    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  22. 22
    + 938
    - 1,632
    Fleetwood Mac is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  23. 23
    + 793
    - 1,415
    The Police is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    New Wave, 2 Tone, Ska punk

    ;
  24. 24
    + 279
    - 289
    The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    ranked low on reranks
    The Arcana

  25. 25
    + 912
    - 1,557


    Country pop, Rock music, Folk rock

    ;
  26. 26
    + 656
    - 998
    Genesis is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Rock music, Pop rock, Soft rock

    ;
  27. 27
    + 724
    - 1,155
    Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

    ;
  28. 28
    + 924
    - 1,963
    Bee Gees is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco

    ;
  29. 29
    + 1,102
    - 1,771


    Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

    ;
  30. 30
    + 901
    - 1,812

    often listed & added by First L
    Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

    ;
  31. 31
    + 967
    - 1,583

    added by First L
    Reggae

    ;
  32. 32
    + 1,101
    - 2,077
    Prince is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

    ;
  33. 33
    + 417
    - 563

    ranked low on reranks
    Synthpop, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  34. 34
    + 838
    - 898

    ranked low on reranks
    Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

    ;
  35. 35
    + 1,284
    - 2,065

    added by First L
    Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana

    ;
  36. 36
    + 775
    - 1,084
    Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Lubbock sound, Rock music, Rockabilly

    ;
  37. 37
    + 843
    - 1,236

    added by First L
    Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

    ;
  38. 38
    + 597
    - 979
    Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  39. 39
    + 469
    - 560

    ranked low on reranks
    Opera, Ballet, Art song

    ;
  40. 40
    + 478
    - 645


    Jazz rap, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz-funk

    ;
  41. 41
    + 552
    - 792


    New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

    ;
  42. 42
    + 1,157
    - 2,144
    Elton John is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock

    ;
  43. 43
    + 419
    - 570
    James Brown is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1,317
    - 2,412

    often listed & added by First L
    Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop

    ;
  45. 45
    + 938
    - 1,679

    added by SethLangley
    Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

    ;
  46. 46
    + 508
    - 759


    Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

    ;
  47. 47
    + 926
    - 1,483

    added by EricLeguenec
    Synthpop, Disco, Pop music

    ;
  48. 48
    + 584
    - 853
    Janis Joplin is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  49. 49
    + 974
    - 1,795
    Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

    ;
  50. 50
    + 945
    - 1,501

    added by First L
    Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

    ;
1486 +

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