Rock The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time  

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26.6k votes 2.6k voters 97.9k views 80 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. (80 items)
list ordered by

1
771 521
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
777 416
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
339 379
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
349 310
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
496 428
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
304 239
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Sixten Kastalje added Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

7
376 366
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
584 565
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
405 314
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

10
421 431
The Velvet Underground is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Noise rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

11
384 390
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Punk funk

12
211 240
The Moody Blues is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Synthpop, Rock music, Acoustic music

13
234 273
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
229 219
Electric Light Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Synthpop, Pop music, Rock music

15
148 174
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
288 315
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

17
254 273
Tool is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal

18
125 38
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
103 30
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
122 135
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
eg0654 added Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock

21
114 135
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
94 113
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Blues-rock, Psychedelic folk, Space rock

23
100 116
The Smashing Pumpkins is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Alternative rock

24
219 217
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

25
262 273
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word

26
147 216
Muse is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Space rock, Rock music, Electronic music

27
162 142
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
232 236
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
136 136
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

30
88 150
Asia is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Arena rock, Pop rock

31
94 77
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
52 100
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
188 254
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
42 93
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
53 112
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
111 143
Procol Harum is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Raga rock, Progressive rock

37
53 42
Steely Dan is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
hepennypacker@gmx.com added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

38
42 92
Porcupine Tree is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Progressive metal, Space rock, Britpop

39
49 111
Cocteau Twins is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Ethereal wave

40
106 150
Bryan Ferry is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

41
122 180
Television is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk

42
32 88
The Flaming Lips is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Rock music, Space rock, Psychedelic pop

43
92 133
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
87 132
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
60 101
CAN is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Krautrock, Rock music, Electronic music

46
83 145
Laurie Anderson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Experimental music, Art rock

47
23 92
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
pou569 added Noise rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

48
82 155
The Plastic Ono Band is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Experimental music, Art rock

49
24 105
Steve Lieberman is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
GANGSTARABBI added Garage punk, Outsider music, Heavy metal

50
27 105
30 Seconds to Mars is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Neo-progressive rock, Rock music, Space rock