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20 Legendary Artists Who Overcame Critical Bashing

Updated January 28, 2021 19.4k views20 items

They say hindsight is 20/20, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the world of music criticism. Time and again, greats artists are panned upon their release, only to be later reappraised as geniuses. This list of good musicians that got bad reviews takes a look at now-respected bands and solo artists who were initially greeted with critical disdain, public lambasting, or plain indifference.

In many cases, the musicians and the bands on this list debuted with progressive sounds that baffled critics of the day. In other instances, established bands, like Pink Floyd, came under fire after sudden line-up changes forced them to overhaul their musical aesthetic. Meanwhile, heavyweights Bob Dylan and Michael Jackson were respectively ignored and attacked as they struggled to find their voices. This list includes bands, singers, and musicians that were panned in bad reviews and those that critics outright hated.

Of course, looking back at old reviews raises plenty of questions about music criticism in general. For instance, who has the final say on whether or not an album is a classic, or deserves to be among the best albums of all time? Which panned records of today will be hailed as the classics of tomorrow? And did any of the critics quoted here make valid points about the music they reviewed? Take a look at the list below and decide for yourself.