Rock The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time  

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28.7k votes 2.9k voters 100.2k 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
816 616
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
827 504
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
372 404
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
378 323
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
537 514
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
349 321
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
498 322
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Experimental rock

8
395 454
The Who is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

9
478 445
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
429 405
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
625 650
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
253 285
Supertramp is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

13
224 252
The Moody Blues is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Synthpop, Rock music, Acoustic music

14
246 229
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
309 322
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
160 184
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
145 48
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
hepennypacker@gmx.com added Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

18
265 293
Tool is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal

19
122 36
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
144 140
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
114 117
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
passionsears added Blues-rock, Psychedelic folk, Space rock

22
125 149
Styx is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

23
179 146
Emerson, Lake & Palmer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
Rock music, Progressive rock, Art rock

24
233 226
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
245 245
Roxy Music is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Art Rock Bands & Artists of All Time
New Wave, Rock music, Protopunk