Rock The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time  

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27.3k votes 2.7k voters 98.8k views 79 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. (79 items)
list ordered by

1
789 568
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

2
792 462
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

3
345 392
Genesis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Pop rock, Soft rock

4
356 315
Yes is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Experimental rock, Pop rock

5
507 473
Queen is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

6
318 283
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Sixten Kastalje added Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

7
380 412
The Who is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

8
451 315
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

9
597 608
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

10
434 433
The Velvet Underground is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Noise rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

11
389 392
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

12
213 245
The Moody Blues is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Synthpop, Rock music, Acoustic music

13
236 279
Supertramp is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

14
232 224
Electric Light Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Synthpop, Pop music, Rock music

15
292 318
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

16
149 179
The Alan Parsons Project is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Pop rock, Soft rock, Progressive rock

17
259 278
Tool is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal

18
131 41
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
hepennypacker@gmx.com added Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

19
106 32
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
hepennypacker@gmx.com added Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

20
129 137
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
eg0654 added Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock

21
99 116
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Blues-rock, Psychedelic folk, Space rock

22
117 142
Styx is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

23
102 121
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

24
225 218
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

25
267 275
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word

26
236 237
Roxy Music is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

27
166 144
Emerson, Lake & Palmer is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock

28
149 218
Muse is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music

29
141 138
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

30
90 154
Asia is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Arena rock, Pop rock

31
94 80
The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
*DSO* added

Albums: Lemon Freddy Phantom of the Sky (2017)

Tomorrow is Yesterday (2016)

32
55 101
Tangerine Dream is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Krautrock, New Age music, Electronic music

33
189 258
Arcade Fire is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Indie pop, Alternative rock, Art rock

34
45 96
Captain Beefheart & His Magic ... is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Blues-rock, Spoken word, Garage rock

35
114 145
Procol Harum is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Raga rock, Progressive rock

36
55 45
Steely Dan is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
hepennypacker@gmx.com added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

37
54 115
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

38
52 113
Cocteau Twins is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Ethereal wave

39
42 96
Porcupine Tree is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Progressive metal, Space rock, Britpop

40
125 182
Television is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

41
108 152
Bryan Ferry is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

42
33 91
The Flaming Lips is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Rock music, Space rock, Psychedelic pop

43
93 136
Jeff Lynne is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Disco, Pop music, Rock music

44
91 135
10cc is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music

45
87 147
Laurie Anderson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Experimental music, Art rock

46
61 103
CAN is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Krautrock, Rock music, Electronic music

47
24 94
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
pou569 added Noise rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

48
84 157
The Plastic Ono Band is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Experimental music, Art rock

49
32 49
Traffic is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
hepennypacker@gmx.com added Rock music, Folk rock, Jazz fusion

50
28 107
30 Seconds to Mars is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Neo-progressive rock, Rock music, Space rock