Music

The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time 

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Updated May 12, 2020 71.1k votes 4.9k voters 109.7k views 117 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. (117 items)
list ordered by
1
Nautilus Pompilius is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
2
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
3
Genesis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
4
10cc is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
5
The Pineapple Thief is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
6
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
7
Electric Light Orchestra... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
8
Emerson, Lake & Palm... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
9
The Velvet Underground ... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
10
Yes is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
11
Television is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
12
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
13
Porcupine Tree is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
14
Procol Harum is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
15
The Moody Blues is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
16
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
17
The Alan Parsons Project... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
18
Styx is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
19
Queen is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
20
Supertramp is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
21
Roxy Music is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
22
Jeff Lynne is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
23
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
24
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
25
David Garrett is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time