music The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time  

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List Rules Criteria for my greatest bands of all time list is a combination of recorded albums, live shows I've seen, live recordings I've heard, radio songs, and even overall image/album covers/general coolness or uniqueness.

Top 500 Rock Bands isn't 100% accurate as this includes solo artists, and though it does not include jazz or blues it does include soul, R&B, Americana, reggae, and classic country (yes, that is somewhat arbitrary, but for whatever reason i listen to blues and jazz differently than the rest, and would be too hard to compare Miles or Ornette or Hooker to, say, Aerosmith).

See my criteria - I guess that was a way of trying to explain that the ranking is just a gut feeling. But it's probably about 50% based on "live chops", hence the lower ranking of the Beatles, who quit playing live before the most creative parts of their career. I am very into live shows and live recordings.

Obviously, this list will change over time. I'm adding commentary to items whenever i get a spare minute or something interesting comes to mind about a band. Yes, this is a personal list - click over to the "original list" links all over the page if you want to see a crowdranked list.

1
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Neil Young Actually, #1 should be Neil Young And Crazy Horse, though i am a big fan of Neil in all incarnations. except for a few of those 80s Geffen genre records.

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Led Zeppelin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Led Zeppelin i hate long plane rides, and i had just gotten back from my honeymoon, in europe a few weeks prior, so i blew off a chance to see the reunion show, figuring there was about a 70% chance of a tour. Almost every band that plays a full ...

3
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Bob Dylan One of the greatest Americans of alltime, and certainly my favorite lyricist (tho by looking at my list you will probably see that lyrics aren't the top priority, especially after you get past the top 20 or so)

4
Grateful Dead is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

5
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

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The Rolling Stones is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
The Rolling Stones The most amazing thing is that there can actually be 5 artists on this planet I would put AHEAD of the mighty Stones.

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Black Sabbath The first, and best, true metal band. Great with Ozzy, great with Dio ( http://www.ranker.com/list/ronnie-james-dio_s-greatest-album-moments/clark-benson ). and honestly, pretty damn good with Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, and even Ray ...

8
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

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Blue Öyster Cult Yes, BOC means more to me than the Beatles (but not more than the Beatles plus all the solo careers especially when you count on the impact of McCartney's live shows which have blown me away year in and year out, but this particular ...

10
Pearl Jam is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Pearl Jam PJ are a better-sounding live band now than they have ever been. They are playing widely different sets night after night. Their studio albums have been lacking the massive hooks of their first 3, but still tend to have 2/3 or so ...

11
Rush is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Rush The first band I just had to own every album by. Back when that meant a lot.And my first live show ('82, with the late Rory Gallagher opening).UPDATE: I had parked the mighty Rush at #16 on my list.But in 2010, with the tour where ...

12
Bob Marley is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Bob Marley I don't think I had ever heard a Bob Marley song before I went to college. I probably heard more Bob Marley than any other artist in college. I have heard so much Bob Marley that I rarely find myself actively thinking "time for ...

13
Aerosmith is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Aerosmith the first cassette i ever bought was Toys In The Attic, and the 3rd or 4th was Live! Bootleg. (we won't discuss the first vinyl album i bought)up until 1993 i had never met an Aerosmith song i didn't like. Still a full on ...

14
The Clash is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
The Clash If I had been more of a casual fan when they were in their prime, I could easily see them in my Top 10. If I had seen them live, they might even be my #1 (I didn't start going to shows until I was about 14, and at that point they were ...

15
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
The Beatles Though the Beatles were a big part of my childhood, as they probably are for just about anyone, i didn't grow up in the 60s, so don't have that "nothing compares to the Beatles" mentality. But the main reason such an ...

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16
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Van Halen Tho the first 4 albums are the alltime classics, I am also a fan of the Van Hagar era (mainly the first 2 albums of that era). And I was pleasantly-shockingly- blown away by the reunion they did with Wolfgang on bass.

17
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Jimi Hendrix Another where if I had been of age in the 60s and had seen live, would potentially be in my Top 10. Then again, when you die young, you get penalized a bit simply by lack-of-output - though perhaps not penalized as hard as if you ...

18
Phish is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Phish Lyrics - terribleSongs - inconsistent (tho they have many, many excellent ones, especially if you don't really think about the lyrics)Albums - mediocre (except for Billy Breathes)Musicianship - phenomenalLive Shows - astonishingly ...

19
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

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The Allman Brothers Band is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

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Phil Lesh and Friends my favorite live band of the last 10 years. See my entry on The Beatles - Phil and Friends have the opposite weighting. I actually prefer some periods of P&F (particularly the Warren Haynes years, which i believe hardcore fans ...

22
The Who is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

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Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Bruce Springsteen Growing up in the 80s when Born In The USA (a record I absolutely loathe, except for the title track) was so overplayed, I was not very into Springsteen. But as the years go by I appreciate The Boss more and more - he's an absolutely ...

24
U2 is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
U2

25
Lynyrd Skynyrd is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

26
Wilco is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Wilco Wow. Wilco ahead of such giants as Queen, Maiden, The Doors, Jane's? Yes, even though I haven't been blown away by any of their studio records since A Ghost Is Born. For Wilco is a hell of a live band, and they are 100% of this time, ...

27
Queen is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

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Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Guns N' Roses Back when they were still around I would have for sure put them in my Top 10 (I even own a GNR pinball machine), but as the years go on I listen to them less and less.

29
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

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30
Jane's Addiction is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Jane's Addiction So many unique and amazing elements to this band . . . which is why they have a very high ranking on my list, even though just about every great song of theirs was written in a 3 year period (a couple of the songs on Ritual were ...

31
Scorpions is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Scorpions did i really just put the Scorps above Purple, AC/DC, and even f-ing MAIDEN? i did. when you add up the peak streamlined hard rock machine era of the early 80s along with the totally different, and at times (ie the whole live Tokyo ...

32
Deep Purple is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

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AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
AC/DC Trying to choose btw these guys, Scorps, Purple, Maiden is like playing favorites with one's children.Thankfully they are all still playing live with enough key members to make worth seeing. And in that regards, AC/DC still has it the ...

34
Iron Maiden is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

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Nine Inch Nails is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

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UFO is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
UFO Most underrated A-List Hard Rock band in history

37
Thin Lizzy is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

38
Genesis is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Genesis Deducted a few points for the Godawful 1983-onward period, though my absolute favorite Genesis material is actually with Collins fronting - Abacab and both the double lives.

39
Oasis is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

40
Nirvana is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Nirvana Never saw them live, a great regret. Might be higher up on this list if i had.

41
Built to Spill is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Built to Spill One of the alltime great guitar bands, non-metal category.

42
Misfits is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Misfits In my life there have been 5-10 bands that utterly floored me and caused me to reevaluate music as a whole when I first heard them. This is one of them.

43
The Black Crowes is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
The Black Crowes People rarely talk about how consistent the Black Crowes were, and how they became a great live band after many years. On album, it was the early-to-mid 90s, though their output in the 00s was also consistently good. Live, they ...

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44
Spiritualized is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Spiritualized I just moved Spiritualized above Nick Cave. Talk about a tossup.

45
Rainbow is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Rainbow see: my Dio eulogy

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The Cure is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

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Wings is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

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Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

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Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time
Rage Against the Machine Probably the most incendiary live band I've ever seen (not having ever seen The Clash)

50
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time