The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

398k votes 21k voters 235k 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
    + 4,121
    - 5,780

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 3,372
    - 5,572
    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
    + 3,443
    - 5,488
    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
    + 3,387
    - 5,367
    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
    + 2,758
    - 5,104
    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
    + 1,834
    - 2,702


    Pop music, Worldbeat, Rock music

    ;
  7. 7
    + 2,636
    - 3,392


    Opera, Classical music

    ;
  8. 8
    + 2,379
    - 4,783
    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
    + 2,255
    - 4,736
    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
    + 3,883
    - 5,216
    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
    + 1,929
    - 3,563
    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
    + 1,835
    - 3,797
    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
    + 1,928
    - 4,121
    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
    + 2,288
    - 3,218

    ranked low on reranks
    Opera, Ballet, Art song

    ;
  15. 15
    + 2,086
    - 3,621
    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
    + 1,354
    - 2,542
    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
    + 1,750
    - 3,509
    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
    + 1,630
    - 2,319


    Classical music

    ;
  19. 19
    + 1,452
    - 2,671
    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
    + 284
    - 296
    The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    ranked low on reranks
    The Arcana

  21. 21
    + 1,425
    - 2,373


    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  22. 22
    + 945
    - 1,644
    Rush is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  23. 23
    + 941
    - 1,640
    Fleetwood Mac is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  24. 24
    + 795
    - 1,422
    The Police is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  25. 25
    + 659
    - 1,004
    Genesis is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  26. 26
    + 968
    - 1,586

    added by First L
    Reggae

    ;
  27. 27
    + 912
    - 1,563


    Country pop, Rock music, Folk rock

    ;
  28. 28
    + 924
    - 1,967
    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
    + 724
    - 1,160
    Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

    ;
  30. 30
    + 1,103
    - 1,776


    Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

    ;
  31. 31
    + 902
    - 1,818

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

    ;
  32. 32
    + 1,103
    - 2,082
    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
    + 1,288
    - 2,067

    often listed & added by First L
    Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana

    ;
  34. 34
    + 473
    - 562

    ranked low on reranks
    Opera, Ballet, Art song

    ;
  35. 35
    + 838
    - 900

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

    ;
  36. 36
    + 263
    - 278
    The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    ranked low on reranks & added by buster
    The Arcana Rock music, Pop music Baroque pop/rock

  37. 37
    + 418
    - 567


    Synthpop, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  38. 38
    + 846
    - 1,240

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

    ;
  39. 39
    + 481
    - 647


    Jazz rap, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz-funk

    ;
  40. 40
    + 776
    - 1,086
    Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Lubbock sound, Rock music, Rockabilly

    ;
  41. 41
    + 598
    - 982
    Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  42. 42
    + 420
    - 571
    James Brown is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  43. 43
    + 940
    - 1,682

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

    ;
  44. 44
    + 1,319
    - 2,414

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

    ;
  45. 45
    + 1,158
    - 2,147
    Elton John is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  46. 46
    + 553
    - 795

    ranked low on reranks
    New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

    ;
  47. 47
    + 585
    - 853
    Janis Joplin is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
  48. 48
    + 509
    - 760


    Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

    ;
  49. 49
    + 927
    - 1,484

    added by EricLeguenec
    Synthpop, Disco, Pop music

    ;
  50. 50
    + 975
    - 1,796
    Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

    ;
1486 +

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