Rock The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time  

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25k votes 2.5k voters 95.9k 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)

1
742 446
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
742 349
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
331 299
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
287 168
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
332 285
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
474 356
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
365 294
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
557 494
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
202 182
The Moody Blues is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Moody Blues Synthpop, Rock music, Acoustic music

10
226 220
Supertramp is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Supertramp New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

11
407 363
The Velvet Underground is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Velvet Underground Noise rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

12
373 331
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Talking Heads New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

13
220 177
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
278 259
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

15
136 153
The Alan Parsons Project is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Alan Parsons Project Pop rock, Soft rock, Progressive rock

16
330 309
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
King Crimson New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

17
242 259
Tool is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Tool Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal

18
114 29
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
hepennypacker@gmx.com added The Doors Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

19
92 27
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
hepennypacker@gmx.com added Jimi Hendrix Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

20
113 132
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
eg0654 added Kate Bush Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock

21
110 126
Styx is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Styx Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

22
90 109
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Syd Barrett Blues-rock, Psychedelic folk, Space rock

23
94 109
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added The Smashing Pumpkins Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

24
214 210
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Frank Zappa Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

25
139 207
Muse is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music

26
256 266
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Lou Reed Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word

27
157 137
Emerson, Lake & Palmer is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Emerson, Lake & Palmer Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock

28
226 233
Roxy Music is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Roxy Music New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

29
88 143
Asia is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Asia Rock music, Arena rock, Pop rock

30
136 132
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Roger Waters 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 The Arcana Albums: Lemon Freddy Phantom of the Sky (2017) Tomorrow is Yesterday (2016)

32
50 96
Tangerine Dream is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Tangerine Dream Krautrock, New Age music, Electronic music

33
186 250
Arcade Fire is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Arcade Fire Indie pop, Alternative rock, Art rock

34
41 89
Captain Beefheart & His Magic ... is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
52 108
Queensr├┐che is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Queensr├┐che Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

36
50 37
Steely Dan is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
109 141
Procol Harum is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Procol Harum Blues-rock, Raga rock, Progressive rock

38
47 108
Cocteau Twins is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Cocteau Twins Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Ethereal wave

39
35 87
Porcupine Tree is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Porcupine Tree 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 The Flaming Lips Rock music, Space rock, Psychedelic pop

41
119 178
Television is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Television New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

42
102 147
Bryan Ferry is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Bryan Ferry 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
Jeff Lynne 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
10cc Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music

45
58 97
CAN is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
CAN Krautrock, Rock music, Electronic music

46
80 141
Laurie Anderson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Laurie Anderson Experimental music, Art rock

47
24 102
Steve Lieberman is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
GANGSTARABBI added Steve Lieberman 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
30 Seconds to Mars 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 The Residents Noise rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

50
15 71
Pavlov's Dog is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Pavlov's Dog Progressive rock