Music
80.7k voters

The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

Updated July 11, 2020 16.8m votes 80.7k voters 606.1k views1.9k items

List RulesThe best artists of any genre

When VH1 polled fellow artists to name the greatest artists of all time, it seemed like a good idea---but in reality, the list was truly flawed. According to them, Coldplay is better than Pearl Jam, Mariah Carey is only greater than six artists, etc! Not to mention other impactful artists were left off of the list. So I thought that maybe we try the countdown one more time, only this time with the perspective of true music fans...YOU..

This list will begin in no particular order, you will see some names that didn't appear in VH1's version, no artist appears on the countdown twice, and the order is not my personal opinion (I personally think Bob Marley is the greatest artist of all time). If you don't like how the list looks, you have the power to change it. This list includes some of the greatest female vocalists of the past 10 years, great current bands, and many of the best rock bands and artists of all time. Many of them are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - and some will be, eventually.

So many questions will be answered with the voting results on this list. Nirvana or Pearl Jam? 2Pac or Biggie? The Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston? Is Michael Jackson still the King or is Elvis the true immortal? Is Madonna still the undisputed Queen of Pop? Does anyone rock harder than Hendrix? Are Jay-Z and Beyonce the most powerful couple in music history? It's up to you to decide!

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  • 1
    16,837
    9,398

    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Opera, Classical music
    Ludwig van Beethoven ( (listen); German: [ˈluːtvɪç fan ˈbeːthoːfn̩] (listen); baptised 17...  more

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  • 2
    16,912
    10,913

    Jimi Hendrix

    Blues-rock, Rock music
    James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18,...  more

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  • 3
    16,001
    10,607

    David Bowie

    Rock music, Psychedelic pop
    David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie (,...  more

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  • 4
    15,584
    8,854
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus...  more

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  • 5
    14,758
    9,816

    Bob Dylan

    Blues-rock, Rock music
    Bob Dylan (born May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, poet, and visual...  more

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  • 6
    13,257
    8,153

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Classical music
    Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and...  more

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  • 7
    16,160
    11,034

    Elvis Presley

    Christian music, Pop music
    Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known mononymously as Elvis, was...  more

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  • 8
    14,239
    9,620

    Johnny Cash

    Outlaw country, Christian music
    John R. "Johnny" Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American...  more

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  • 9
    14,568
    9,463

    John Lennon

    Blues-rock, Pop music
    John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon, 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an...  more

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  • 10
    14,135
    9,524

    Frank Sinatra

    Swing music, Traditional pop music
    Francis Albert Sinatra (; December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer, actor and...  more

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  • 11
    16,042
    11,044

    The Rolling Stones

    Blues-rock, Rock music
    The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first settled...  more

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  • 12
    15,266
    10,594

    Elton John

    Pop music, Rock music
    Sir Elton Hercules John (born 25 March 1947) is an English singer, songwriter, pianist, and...  more

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  • 13
    14,516
    9,866
    Robert Nesta Marley, (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981) was a Jamaican singer and songwriter....  more

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  • 14
    19,196
    13,358

    Led Zeppelin

    Blues-rock, Classic rock
    Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of...  more

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  • 15
    19,844
    13,802

    Michael Jackson

    Motown Sound, Rock music
    Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter,...  more

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  • 16
    13,912
    9,557

    Stevie Wonder

    Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul
    Stevland Hardaway Morris (born May 13, 1950), better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is...  more

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  • 17
    14,058
    9,803

    The Doors

    Blues-rock, Rock music
    The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, with vocalist Jim...  more

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  • 18
    13,425
    9,344

    The Beach Boys

    Pop music, Rock music
    The Beach Boys are an American rock and roll band. Formed in 1961, they gained popularity for...  more

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  • 19
    15,269
    9,562

    Paul McCartney

    Pop music, Rock music
    Sir James Paul McCartney (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer, songwriter, musician,...  more

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  • 20
    21,552
    15,403

    The Beatles

    Pop music, Rock music
    The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With a line-up comprising...  more

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  • 21
    14,904
    10,461

    Nirvana

    Rock music, Grunge
    Nirvana was an American grunge band that was formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and...  more

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  • 22
    14,017
    9,818

    Creedence Clearwater Revival

    Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul
    Creedence Clearwater Revival (often referred to as Creedence or CCR) was an American rock band...  more

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  • 23
    12,921
    8,844

    Chuck Berry

    Rock music, Rhythm and blues
    Charles Edward Anderson Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) was an American singer and...  more

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  • 24
    14,731
    10,520

    Prince

    Hip hop music, Synthpop
    Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter,...  more

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  • 25
    14,165
    10,129

    AC/DC

    Blues-rock, Boogie rock
    AC/DC are an Australian hard rock band, formed in November 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus...  more

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