Popular Opinion The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time  

Ranker Music
Originally by
13.1M votes 52.2k voters 428.2k views 2,009 items

List Rules The 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, 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!
list ordered by

1
13,561 10,555
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

2
12,876 9,411
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First L added Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

3
13,547 9,867
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

4
12,572 10,539
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First L added Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

5
12,960 9,853
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First L added Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

6
11,284 8,892
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First L added Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

7
11,235 9,059
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First L added Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

8
10,168 9,181
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First L added Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

9
11,098 7,999
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First L added Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

10
10,862 8,414
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First L added Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

11
10,176 8,630
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First L added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

12
10,319 8,836
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First L added Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

13
9,955 8,067
Simon and Garfunkel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Pop music, Worldbeat, Rock music

14
10,082 7,885
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock

15
10,011 8,014
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First L added Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

16
10,186 8,172
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First L added Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

17
9,131 8,074
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

18
10,793 7,635
Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Opera, Classical music

19
9,159 8,737
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First L added Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

20
10,474 8,160
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First L added Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock

21
9,628 7,751
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First L added Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

22
9,008 8,171
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First L added Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco

23
9,539 7,768
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First L added Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

24
9,458 7,652
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop

25
9,013 7,866
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First L added New Wave, 2 Tone, Ska punk

26
10,357 6,580
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First L added Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

27
9,784 7,849
Eagles is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Country pop, Rock music, Folk rock

28
10,254 7,575
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Opera, Ballet, Art song

29
9,781 7,786
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

30
9,053 8,004
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First L added Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

31
9,675 7,541
Creedence Clearwater Revival is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Swamp pop

32
9,617 6,638
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

33
9,589 7,224
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First L added Reggae

34
9,722 7,577
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First L added Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana

35
9,432 7,474
Frank Sinatra is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

36
8,816 7,762
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First L added Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

37
8,629 8,101
Dire Straits is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
SethLangley added Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

38
9,396 7,516
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

39
8,811 7,307
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First L added Outlaw country, Blues-rock, Boogie rock

40
10,100 7,696
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Electronic music

41
9,014 6,931
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First L added Classic rock, Jazz-funk, Rock music

42
8,578 7,510
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First L added Rock music, Pop rock, Soft rock

43
9,168 6,525
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First L added Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

44
8,807 7,826
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First L added Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

45
8,790 7,050
ABBA is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
EricLeguenec added Synthpop, Disco, Pop music

46
8,811 6,939
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First L added Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

47
8,733 6,702
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First L added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Pop rock

48
8,953 6,562
Guns N' Roses is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
First L added Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

49
9,131 6,208
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

50
8,615 6,480
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First L added Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal