200 Greatest Icons in Pop Music of the MTV Generation 

Updated December 26, 2017 37.2k views 200 items

List Rules Only artists who were huge in the era of MTV, vh1, and music videos. Image, style, influence, and icon status

The music world will never be the same, ever since "video killed the radio star". In honor of this we are listing the best artists of the video era. All of these artists included on this list had a major impact on pop music in the last thirty years. This list begins in no particular order. Of course, this countdown isn't limited to pop artist--iconic artists that have had major impact in the video era of rock, hip-hop, and R&B are also included. Music fans, remember to look at each artist for their iconic status--looks, image, style, uniqueness, stage presence, as well as their videos. This list is also re-rankable, in case you don't see your favorite artist. But please only artists who have made music videos. At first, MTV started off as a place to see your favorite white rock bands like Van Halen and Bon Jovi jam out. Since Michael Jackson's breakthrough, however, MTV has became a diverse musical haven, making bonafide stars out of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eminem, the Backstreet Boys, Mariah Carey, The Notorious B.I.G, George Michael, Lady Gaga, and many more on this list. Of course, one of the era's biggest breakthroughs was Madonna, who has been making music as long as the time frame of this list, and has introduced a new format for women in the last thirty years of music, influencing Britney Spears, Beyonce, and others. David Bowie and Boy George are also recognized on this list for experimenting with androgyny and human sexuality. And in addition to Jackson opening doors for black artists to be bonafide superstars, Prince, Whitney Houston, and others broke through easily. Since the '80s, and '90s have died down, many fresh faced pop stars are carving their place in music history for the 21st century. So where would artists like Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus, or One Direction rank? With your votes, it's your call.
Also: There is a limited time to vote, so hurry up and vote while you have the opportunity, just in case you might not like your favorite artists' rating.
Ranker Video
Genre: Motown Sound, Rock music & Electronic music; Nationality: United States of America
Influences: James Brown, The Beatles, Elvis Presley
Peers: Stevie Wonder, Prince, George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Madonna
Followers: Usher, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown
Ranker Video
Genre: Pop and Electronica; Nationality: United States of America
Influences: Marilyn Monroe, Cher
Peers: Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Prince, George Michael
Followers: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Beyonce
Ranker Video
Genre: Rock music, Psychedelic pop & Electronic music; Nationality: United Kingdom
David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie (, BOH-ee), was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry ...more
Ranker Video
Genre: Hip hop; Nationality: United States of America
Influences: Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 2pac
Peers: Busta Rhymes, Lil' Wayne, Jay-Z
Followers: 50 Cent, Asher Roth, The-Game, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar  
Ranker Video
Influences: David Bowie, U2, Bjork, Dinosaur Jr.
Peers: Oasis, Blur, Beck
Followers: Coldplay, Death Cab for Cutie, Snow Patrol, Matt Kearney 
Ranker Video
Genre: Pop, Contemporary R&B & Electronica; Nationality: United States of America
Influences: Madonna, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey
Peers: Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson
Followers: Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Hilary Duff
Ranker Video
Influences: The Pixies, R.E.M., Sonic Youth,The Beatles
Peers: Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Hole
Followers: Foo Fighters, Breaking Benjamin, Silverchair 
Ranker Video
Genre: Medieval music, Classic rock & New Wave; Nationality: England
Influences: Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello
Peers: Annie Lennox, George Michael, Rod Stewart, Peter Gabriel
Followers: Maroon 5, John Mayer, Rob Thomas
Ranker Video
Influences: David Bowie, The Ramones, The Clash
Peers: The Smiths, Depeche Mode, The Cure
Followers: Radiohead, Oasis, Coldplay, The Killers, MUSE
Ranker Video
Genre: Hip hop music, Political hip hop & Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America
Influences: NWA, Ice-T, Too $hort
Peers: Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, The Notorious B.I.G.
Followers: Canibus, Game, Lil' Wayne, Kurupt
Ranker Video
Genre: Hip hop music, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America
Influences: Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Tina Turner
Peers: Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Paula Abdul
Followers: Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Aaliyah
Ranker Video
Influences: Chuck Berry, Parliament Funkadelic
Peers: REM, Guns N' Roses
Followers: Sublime, 311, No Doubt, Pepper, Incubus
Ranker Video
Influences: The Sex Pistols, Black Flag, The Who
Peers: Nirvana, Bad Religion, Weezer, blink-182
Followers: Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, sum-41, Fall Out Boy 
Ranker Video
Genre: Pop and Contemporary R&B; Nationality: United States of America
Influences: Gladys Knight, Teena Marie, Minnie Riperton
Peers: Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige
Followers: Brandy, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Beyoncé 
Ranker Video
Genre: Synthpop, New Wave & Dance-pop; Nationality: United Kingdom
Influences: Freddie Mercury, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson
Peers: Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, Prince, Madonna, Duran Duran
Followers: Robbie Williams, Ricky Martin, Maxwell, Justin Timberlake  
Ranker Video
Influences: Iggy Pop, The Beatles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan
Peers: Talking Heads, Morrissey, David Bowie, The Police  
Followers: Nirvana, Radiohead, Tori Amos
Ranker Video
Influences: UGK
Peers: Three 6 Mafia, Goodie Mobb
Followers: T.I., Ludacris, Lil' Scrappy, the Yin Yang Twins
Ranker Video
Genre: Alternative hip hop, Anti-folk & Country rap; Nationality: United States of America
Influences: Bob Dylan, Beastie Boys, Nirvana, Sonic Youth
Peers: Radiohead, Bjork, Luscious Jackson, The Flaming Lips, Garbage, Cake
Followers: Gorrilaz, Ben Kweller, LCD Soundsystem, MIA, Air, Ke$ha
Ranker Video
Genre: R&B, Pop & Hip hop; Nationality: United States of America
Influences: Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson
Peers: Alicia Keys, Ashanti, Britney Spears, Pink, Justin Timberlake
Followers: Rihanna, Ciara, Nicole Scherzinger, Frank Ocean  
Ranker Video
Influences: Led Zeppelin, Lynard Skynard, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath
Peers: Megadeath, Anthrax, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Black Label Society
Followers: Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Godsmack
Ranker Video
Genre: Hip hop music, Synthpop & New Wave; Nationality: United States of America
Influences: Al Green, Santana, Jimi Hendrix
Peers: Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, George Michael, Madonna, David Bowie
Followers: Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Pharrell Williams, Lenny Kravitz  
Ranker Video
Influences: Bad Brains
Peers: LL Cool J, Biz Markie, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Run-DMC
Followers: Kid Rock, Eminem, 311, Cypress Hill
Ranker Video
Influences: The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Deep Purple
Peers: Queen, Motley Crue, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake
Followers: Metallica, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Soundgarden, The Black Crowes 
Ranker Video
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1970. Their classic line-up was Freddie Mercury (lead vocals and piano), Brian May (lead guitar and vocals), Roger Taylor (drums and vocals) and ...more
Ranker Video
Genre: Pop music, Dance-pop & Contemporary R&B; Nationality: United States of America
Influences: Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan
Peers: Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Madonna, Janet Jackson
Followers: Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Brandy