Music

The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time  

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43.9k votes 3.6k voters 104.9k views 95 items

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. (95 items)
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26
Jeff Lynne is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Disco, Pop music, Rock music
27
The Pineapple Thief is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
makson.gromov90 added New Prog, Alternative rock, Progressive rock
28
Arcade Fire is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Indie pop, Alternative rock, Art rock
29
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music
30
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word
31
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal
32
Tool is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal
33
Bryan Ferry is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music
34
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock
35
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog
36
Asia is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Arena rock, Pop rock
37
Wire is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Electronic music, Experimental rock, Industrial music
38
The Mars Volta is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Krautrock, Noise rock, Space rock
39
The Nice is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
makson.gromov90 added Symphonic rock, Progressive rock, Art rock
40
Dream Theater is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal
41
U-Piter is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
makson.gromov90 added Rock music, Russian rock, Post-punk
42
Traffic is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
hepennypacker@gmx.com added Rock music, Folk rock, Jazz fusion
43
Bruce Soord is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
makson.gromov90 added Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock
44
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Alternative rock
45
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
makson.gromov90 added Gothic rock, Dark wave, New wave
46
Pulsar is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
makson.gromov90 added Space rock, Progressive rock, Psychedelic rock
47
Van der Graaf Generator is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
makson.gromov90 added Progressive rock, Art rock, Experimental rock
48
Gentle Giant is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
makson.gromov90 added Experimental rock, Folk rock, Jazz fusion
49
America is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
makson.gromov90 added Classic rock, Rock music, Folk rock
50
XTC is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
makson.gromov90 added Indie pop, New Wave, Psychedelic pop