music The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time  

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Fusing influences ranging as far as experimental rock and classical music, art rock is a form of music where the best musicians are willing to take chances with sound that only a few of their contemporaries would ever contemplate doing. The best art rock bands not only experimented with their sound, but made it sound great in the process. Art rock has always had an underground following and some of the biggest bands were from rock's formative years in the 1960s and 1970s, where bands took traditional rock and decided to test how far they could take it. Art rock, thus, remains a highbrow genre and retains a strong following among its fans.

So, what are the best art rock bands? Any list has to include the likes of David Bowie, Pink Floyd, the Velvet Underground, Peter Gabriel, Arcade Fire, Radiohead and Roxy Music. Those bands are only a batch of the best art rock bands. What distinguishes these groups from others is that they are widely recognized not only as art rock bands, but also musicians willing to push themselves and their music by challenging themselves and implenting other genres into their sound. Thus, no art rock band's one song or album is considered different or more forward thinking than their last.

That said, it's up to you to determine what is the best art rock band. If you notice a band that should be on this list, and isn't, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best art rock bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest art rock musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular art rock bands that you might've heard of. (97 items)
list ordered by

1
537 284
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
David Bowie Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

The Best Rock Vocalists The Best Drummers of All Time

2
514 379
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Pink Floyd Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

3
194 228
Genesis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Genesis Rock music, Pop rock, Soft rock

4
238 234
The Who is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Who Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

5
294 254
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Talking Heads New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

6
282 302
Queen is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Queen Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

7
339 276
The Velvet Underground is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Velvet Underground Noise rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

8
208 221
Yes is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Yes Rock music, Experimental rock, Pop rock

9
123 99
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Sixten Kastalje added The Beatles Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

10
429 394
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

11
263 239
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
King Crimson New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

12
205 202
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

13
125 119
Rush is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

14
212 187
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Lou Reed Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word

15
138 164
Supertramp is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Supertramp New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

The Worst Rock Bands of All Time The Greatest Songs by One-Hit Wonders

16
123 130
Electric Light Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Electric Light Orchestra Synthpop, Pop music, Rock music

17
82 54
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
eg0654 added Kate Bush Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock

18
188 153
Roxy Music is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Roxy Music New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

19
115 125
The Moody Blues is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Moody Blues Synthpop, Rock music, Acoustic music

20
163 155
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Frank Zappa Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

21
169 182
Tool is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Tool Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal

22
55 32
Kraftwerk is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added Kraftwerk Krautrock, Synthpop, Electronic music

23
58 49
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Syd Barrett Blues-rock, Psychedelic folk, Space rock

24
108 112
Devo is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Devo Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop

25
78 94
The Alan Parsons Project is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Alan Parsons Project Pop rock, Soft rock, Progressive rock

26
108 105
Television is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Television New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

27
90 96
Emerson, Lake & Palmer is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Emerson, Lake & Palmer Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock

28
159 171
Arcade Fire is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Arcade Fire Indie pop, Alternative rock, Art rock

29
80 102
Kansas is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Kansas Heartland rock, Rock music, Progressive rock

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30
99 128
Muse is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music

31
43 34
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Beach Boys Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop

32
93 93
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

33
42 44
Tame Impala is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Tame Impala Space rock, Neo-psychedelia, Dream pop

34
43 42
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added The Smashing Pumpkins Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

35
30 31
Tangerine Dream is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added Tangerine Dream Krautrock, New Age music, Electronic music

36
84 88
The Cars is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Cars Bubblegum pop, Synthpop, New Wave

37
39 35
CAN is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added CAN Krautrock, Rock music, Electronic music

38
64 90
Asia is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Asia Rock music, Arena rock, Pop rock

39
25 26
Captain Beefheart & His Magic ... is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Blues-rock, Spoken word, Garage rock

40
22 23
Sigur Rós is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added Sigur Rós Shoegazing, Experimental rock, Minimalist Post Rock

41
57 74
Love is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Love Rock music, Garage rock, Folk rock

42
19 30
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
pou569 added The Residents Noise rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

43
52 78
Styx is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Styx Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

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44
51 67
Steve Miller Band is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Steve Miller Band Classic rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

45
84 87
Bryan Ferry is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Bryan Ferry New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

46
19 33
Dream Theater is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added Dream Theater Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

47
45 61
Wire is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Wire Electronic music, Experimental rock, Industrial music

48
21 27
The Flaming Lips is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added The Flaming Lips Rock music, Space rock, Psychedelic pop

49
31 53
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Queensrÿche Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

50
81 88
Procol Harum is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Procol Harum Blues-rock, Raga rock, Progressive rock