Bands/Musicians The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time  

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30.7k votes 3.1k voters 102.3k 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)
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list ordered by
1
880 688
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
892 574
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
400 444
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
414 350
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
579 338
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock
6
574 595
Queen is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal
7
421 518
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
388 398
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Sixten Kastalje added Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock
9
515 473
The Velvet Underground is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Noise rock, Blues-rock, Rock music
10
463 419
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk
11
664 670
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog
12
266 245
Electric Light Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Synthpop, Pop music, Rock music
13
266 306
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
234 265
The Moody Blues is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Synthpop, Rock music, Acoustic music
15
324 337
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
170 197
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
253 235
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal
18
289 296
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word
19
147 45
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
166 63
The Doors 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, Protopunk
21
278 308
Tool is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal
22
160 150
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
eg0654 added Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock
23
131 127
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
194 157
Emerson, Lake & Palmer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock
25
134 162
Styx is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal