The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

411k votes 22k voters 240k views 1,488 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
  • 156 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 4,219
    - 5,914

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 3,465
    - 5,711
    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
    + 3,544
    - 5,612
    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
    + 3,483
    - 5,473
    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
    + 2,829
    - 5,243
    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
    + 1,872
    - 2,822


    Pop music, Worldbeat, Rock music

    ;
  7. 7
    + 2,442
    - 4,880
    The Rolling Stones is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

    ;
  8. 8
    + 2,702
    - 3,491


    Opera, Classical music

    ;
  9. 9
    + 2,323
    - 4,835
    Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  10. 10
    + 2,007
    - 3,655
    David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  11. 11
    + 3,942
    - 5,343
    Madonna is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  12. 12
    + 1,989
    - 4,203
    The Who is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  13. 13
    + 2,158
    - 3,695
    Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    ranked low on reranks & added by First L
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

    ;
  14. 14
    + 1,879
    - 3,916
    AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  15. 15
    + 2,357
    - 3,299

    ranked low on reranks
    Opera, Ballet, Art song

    ;
  16. 16
    + 1,397
    - 2,629
    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
    + 1,808
    - 3,587
    Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  18. 18
    + 1,244
    - 2,241
    Elton John is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  19. 19
    + 1,141
    - 1,835


    Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

    ;
  20. 20
    + 1,012
    - 1,660

    added by First L
    Reggae

    ;
  21. 21
    + 1,322
    - 2,116

    added by First L
    Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana

    ;
  22. 22
    + 1,495
    - 2,756
    Nirvana is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock

    ;
  23. 23
    + 933
    - 1,894

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

    ;
  24. 24
    + 1,477
    - 2,434


    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  25. 25
    + 1,675
    - 2,382


    Classical music

    ;
  26. 26
    + 985
    - 1,702
    Rush is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  27. 27
    + 876
    - 1,118


    Blues-rock, Psychedelic soul, Rock music

    ;
  28. 28
    + 1,144
    - 2,135
    Prince is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  29. 29
    + 1,362
    - 2,440

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

    ;
  30. 30
    + 815
    - 1,480
    The Police is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  31. 31
    + 682
    - 1,056
    Genesis is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  32. 32
    + 984
    - 1,525

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

    ;
  33. 33
    + 810
    - 1,111
    Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    ranked low on reranks & added by First L
    Lubbock sound, Rock music, Rockabilly

    ;
  34. 34
    + 1,012
    - 1,828
    Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

    ;
  35. 35
    + 967
    - 1,688
    Fleetwood Mac is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  36. 36
    + 886
    - 1,364


    Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Swamp pop

    ;
  37. 37
    + 949
    - 1,624


    Country pop, Rock music, Folk rock

    ;
  38. 38
    + 947
    - 2,026
    Bee Gees is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  39. 39
    + 747
    - 1,199
    Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1,234
    - 1,944


    Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

    ;
  41. 41
    + 510
    - 684


    Jazz rap, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz-funk

    ;
  42. 42
    + 499
    - 593

    ranked low on reranks
    Opera, Ballet, Art song

    ;
  43. 43
    + 609
    - 877
    Janis Joplin is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1,013
    - 1,962
    Aretha Franklin is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    ;
  45. 45
    + 623
    - 1,018
    Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  46. 46
    + 914
    - 1,268
    Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  47. 47
    + 962
    - 1,718

    often listed & added by SethLangley
    Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

    ;
  48. 48
    + 443
    - 601
    James Brown is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  49. 49
    + 439
    - 640


    Rock music, Experimental rock, Pop rock

    ;
  50. 50
    + 438
    - 594


    Synthpop, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
1489 +

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