Rock The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time  

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25.3k votes 2.5k voters 96.6k views 81 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. (81 items)
list ordered by

1
752 457
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
758 355
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
334 312
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
294 177
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Sixten Kastalje added Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

5
485 364
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
339 294
Yes is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Experimental rock, Pop rock

7
370 300
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
566 503
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

9
205 190
The Moody Blues is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Synthpop, Rock music, Acoustic music

10
232 229
Supertramp is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

11
413 371
The Velvet Underground is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Noise rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

12
379 340
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

13
224 185
Electric Light Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Synthpop, Pop music, Rock music

14
281 268
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

15
138 161
The Alan Parsons Project is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Pop rock, Soft rock, Progressive rock

16
338 310
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

17
245 264
Tool is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal

18
120 32
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
118 133
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
eg0654 added Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock

20
96 29
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
hepennypacker@gmx.com added Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

21
111 130
Styx is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

22
96 112
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

23
91 112
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Blues-rock, Psychedelic folk, Space rock

24
142 211
Muse is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music

25
215 214
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

26
258 270
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word

27
158 139
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
227 234
Roxy Music is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

29
88 144
Asia is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Arena rock, Pop rock

30
136 133
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

31
94 72
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
50 97
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
186 251
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
41 90
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
52 109
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

36
52 37
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
109 142
Procol Harum is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Raga rock, Progressive rock

38
48 108
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
36 88
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
32 84
The Flaming Lips is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Rock music, Space rock, Psychedelic pop

41
120 178
Television is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

42
103 148
Bryan Ferry is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

43
90 130
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
86 129
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
82 141
Laurie Anderson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Experimental music, Art rock

46
58 98
CAN is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Krautrock, Rock music, Electronic music

47
24 102
Steve Lieberman is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
GANGSTARABBI added Garage punk, Outsider music, Heavy metal

48
26 99
30 Seconds to Mars is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Neo-progressive rock, Rock music, Space rock

49
20 90
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
pou569 added Noise rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

50
79 152
The Plastic Ono Band is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Experimental music, Art rock