Music

200 Greatest Icons in Pop Music of the MTV Generation

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.
  • Influences: James Brown, The Beatles, Elvis Presley
    Peers: Stevie Wonder, Prince, George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Madonna
    Followers: Usher, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown
  • Influences: Marilyn Monroe, Cher
    Peers: Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Prince, George Michael
    Followers: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Beyonce
  • 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  
  • Influences: David Bowie, U2, Bjork, Dinosaur Jr.
    Peers: Oasis, Blur, Beck
    Followers: Coldplay, Death Cab for Cutie, Snow Patrol, Matt Kearney 
  • Influences: Madonna, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey
    Peers: Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson
    Followers: Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Hilary Duff
  • 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 
  • Influences: Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello
    Peers: Annie Lennox, George Michael, Rod Stewart, Peter Gabriel
    Followers: Maroon 5, John Mayer, Rob Thomas
  • Influences: David Bowie, The Ramones, The Clash
    Peers: The Smiths, Depeche Mode, The Cure
    Followers: Radiohead, Oasis, Coldplay, The Killers, MUSE
  • Influences: NWA, Ice-T, Too $hort
    Peers: Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, The Notorious B.I.G.
    Followers: Canibus, Game, Lil' Wayne, Kurupt
  • Influences: Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Tina Turner
    Peers: Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Paula Abdul
    Followers: Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Aaliyah
  • Influences: Chuck Berry, Parliament Funkadelic
    Peers: REM, Guns N' Roses
    Followers: Sublime, 311, No Doubt, Pepper, Incubus
  • 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 
       
  • Influences: Gladys Knight, Teena Marie, Minnie Riperton
    Peers: Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige
    Followers: Brandy, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Beyoncé 
  • 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  
  • Influences: Iggy Pop, The Beatles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan
    Peers: Talking Heads, Morrissey, David Bowie, The Police  
    Followers: Nirvana, Radiohead, Tori Amos
  • Influences: UGK
    Peers: Three 6 Mafia, Goodie Mobb
    Followers: T.I., Ludacris, Lil' Scrappy, the Yin Yang Twins
  • 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
  • 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  
  • Influences: Led Zeppelin, Lynard Skynard, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath
    Peers: Megadeath, Anthrax, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Black Label Society
    Followers: Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Godsmack
  • 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  
     
  • Influences: Bad Brains
    Peers: LL Cool J, Biz Markie, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Run-DMC
    Followers: Kid Rock, Eminem, 311, Cypress Hill
  • 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 
  • Influences: Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan
    Peers: Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Madonna, Janet Jackson
    Followers: Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Brandy