music The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time  

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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
527 381
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

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2
545 289
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
197 231
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
212 224
Yes is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Yes Rock music, Experimental rock, Pop rock

5
245 239
The Who is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Who Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

6
291 304
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
301 256
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Talking Heads New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

8
346 277
The Velvet Underground is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Velvet Underground Noise rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

9
131 100
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Sixten Kastalje added The Beatles Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

10
441 397
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

11
209 203
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

12
265 242
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
King Crimson New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

13
129 124
Rush is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

14
130 132
Electric Light Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Electric Light Orchestra Synthpop, Pop music, Rock music

15
216 190
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Lou Reed Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word

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16
87 56
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
eg0654 added Kate Bush Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock

17
141 168
Supertramp is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Supertramp New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

18
120 127
The Moody Blues is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Moody Blues Synthpop, Rock music, Acoustic music

19
193 154
Roxy Music is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Roxy Music New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

20
168 157
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Frank Zappa Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

21
173 185
Tool is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Tool Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal

22
59 33
Kraftwerk is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added Kraftwerk Krautrock, Synthpop, Electronic music

23
61 51
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Syd Barrett Blues-rock, Psychedelic folk, Space rock

24
113 113
Devo is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Devo Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop

25
80 98
The Alan Parsons Project is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Alan Parsons Project Pop rock, Soft rock, Progressive rock

26
110 107
Television is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Television New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

27
50 45
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added The Smashing Pumpkins Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

28
93 99
Emerson, Lake & Palmer is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Emerson, Lake & Palmer Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock

29
164 174
Arcade Fire is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Arcade Fire Indie pop, Alternative rock, Art rock

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30
97 94
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
46 35
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Beach Boys Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop

32
82 105
Kansas is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Kansas Heartland rock, Rock music, Progressive rock

33
101 132
Muse is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Muse Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music

34
33 32
Tangerine Dream is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added Tangerine Dream Krautrock, New Age music, Electronic music

35
44 47
Tame Impala is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Tame Impala Space rock, Neo-psychedelia, Dream pop

36
88 90
The Cars is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
The Cars Bubblegum pop, Synthpop, New Wave

37
42 36
CAN is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added CAN Krautrock, Rock music, Electronic music

38
64 92
Asia is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Asia Rock music, Arena rock, Pop rock

39
26 28
Captain Beefheart & His Magic ... is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
55 68
Steve Miller Band is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Steve Miller Band Classic rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

41
58 76
Love is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Love Rock music, Garage rock, Folk rock

42
22 25
Sigur Rós is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added Sigur Rós Shoegazing, Experimental rock, Minimalist Post Rock

43
53 80
Styx is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Styx Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

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44
48 62
Wire is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Wire Electronic music, Experimental rock, Industrial music

45
34 54
Queensrÿche is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Queensrÿche Progressive metal, Rock music, Power metal

46
87 89
Bryan Ferry is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Bryan Ferry New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

47
19 32
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
pou569 added The Residents Noise rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

48
19 35
Dream Theater is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
julian-matthias added Dream Theater Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

49
22 29
The Flaming Lips is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added The Flaming Lips Rock music, Space rock, Psychedelic pop

50
35 46
Cocteau Twins is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Cocteau Twins Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Ethereal wave