rock The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time  

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23.9k votes 2.3k voters 94.1k views 99 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. (99 items)
list ordered by

1
705 435
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Pink Floyd Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

2
710 342
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
David Bowie Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

3
307 288
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
258 158
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Sixten Kastalje added The Beatles Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

5
313 273
Yes is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Yes Rock music, Experimental rock, Pop rock

6
452 348
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
345 284
The Who is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Who Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

8
532 476
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

9
399 349
The Velvet Underground is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Velvet Underground Noise rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

10
188 176
The Moody Blues is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Moody Blues Synthpop, Rock music, Acoustic music

11
367 318
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Talking Heads New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

12
210 214
Supertramp is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Supertramp New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

13
210 173
Electric Light Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Electric Light Orchestra Synthpop, Pop music, Rock music

14
198 161
Rush is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

The Best Rock Vocalists

15
264 255
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

16
128 151
The Alan Parsons Project is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Alan Parsons Project Pop rock, Soft rock, Progressive rock

17
320 303
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
King Crimson New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

18
148 131
The Cars is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Cars Bubblegum pop, Synthpop, New Wave

19
231 244
Tool is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Tool Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal

20
132 143
Kansas is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Kansas Heartland rock, Rock music, Progressive rock

21
104 106
Steve Miller Band is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Steve Miller Band Classic rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

The Druggiest Rock Stars of All Time

22
95 27
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
hepennypacker@gmx.com added The Doors Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

23
112 125
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
eg0654 added Kate Bush Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock

24
104 116
Styx is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Styx Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

25
90 100
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added The Smashing Pumpkins Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

26
80 24
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
hepennypacker@gmx.com added Jimi Hendrix Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

27
131 185
Devo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Devo Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop

28
137 195
Muse is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music

The Worst Rock Bands of All Time

29
79 105
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Syd Barrett Blues-rock, Psychedelic folk, Space rock

30
248 255
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Lou Reed Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word

31
208 206
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Frank Zappa Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

32
223 225
Roxy Music is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Roxy Music New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

33
150 133
Emerson, Lake & Palmer is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Emerson, Lake & Palmer Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock

34
86 134
Asia is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Asia Rock music, Arena rock, Pop rock

35
94 63
The Arcana is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
*DSO* added The Arcana Albums: Lemon Freddy Phantom of the Sky (2017) Tomorrow is Yesterday (2016)

15 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do

36
129 129
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

37
49 88
Tangerine Dream is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Tangerine Dream Krautrock, New Age music, Electronic music

38
87 77
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Beach Boys Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop

39
184 243
Arcade Fire is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Arcade Fire Indie pop, Alternative rock, Art rock

40
50 100
Queensr├┐che is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Queensr├┐che Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

41
38 81
Captain Beefheart & His Magic ... is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
82 96
Kraftwerk is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Kraftwerk Krautrock, Synthpop, Electronic music

16 Movie "In Jokes" You Probably Didn't Notice

43
105 135
Procol Harum is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Procol Harum Blues-rock, Raga rock, Progressive rock

44
45 100
Cocteau Twins is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Cocteau Twins Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Ethereal wave

45
31 77
The Flaming Lips is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added The Flaming Lips Rock music, Space rock, Psychedelic pop

46
44 35
Steely Dan is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
hepennypacker@gmx.com added Steely Dan Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

47
31 80
Porcupine Tree is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Porcupine Tree Progressive metal, Space rock, Britpop

48
118 171
Television is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Television New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

49
100 142
Bryan Ferry is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Bryan Ferry New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

50
84 123
10cc is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
10cc Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music