Popular Opinion The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time  

Ranker Music
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13.3M votes 62.5k voters 476.3k views 2,100 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!
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list ordered by
1
16,139 12,755
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock
The Beatles were an English rock band that formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the greatest and ...more
2
17,167 11,784
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Progressive rock
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1970, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor. Queen's earliest works were influenced by progressive ...more
3
14,551 12,356
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First L added Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock
Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive music. Distinguished by their use of philosophical lyrics, sonic ...more
4
14,952 10,936
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First L added Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John ...more
5
12,690 10,302
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First L added Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first settled line-up consisted of Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts. ...more
6
15,263 11,358
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First L added Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor. Called the King of Pop, his contributions to music and dance, along with his publicized personal ...more
7
12,678 10,367
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First L added Christian music, Pop music, Rock music
Elvis Aaron Presley was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as "the King of Rock and ...more
8
11,086 10,495
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First L added Popular music, Pop music, Rock music
The Who are an English rock band that formed in 1964. Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon. They ...more
9
12,474 8,917
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First L added Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most ...more
10
12,246 9,439
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First L added Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music
David Bowie is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, and actor. He is also a painter and collector of fine art. Bowie has been a major figure in the ...more
11
11,200 9,727
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First L added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, artist, and writer. He has been influential in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the ...more
12
11,330 10,062
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First L added Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music
AC/DC are an Australian hard rock band, formed in November 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who continued as members until Malcolm's illness and departure in 2014. Commonly referred to ...more
13
10,761 9,089
Simon and Garfunkel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Pop music, Worldbeat, Rock music
Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They are best known for achieving commercial and critical success in the ...more
14
11,166 8,790
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock
Sir Elton Hercules John CBE is an English singer, songwriter, composer, pianist, record producer, and occasional actor. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriter partner since ...more
15
10,819 9,005
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First L added Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk
The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger. The band took its ...more
16
11,239 9,119
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First L added Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave
Prince Roger Nelson, known by his mononym Prince, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor. A major figure in popular music for over three decades, Prince is renowned ...more
17
9,843 8,964
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues
Aretha Louise Franklin was an American singer and songwriter. She began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father, C. L. Franklin, was ...more
18
12,041 8,392
Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Opera, Classical music
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and ...more
19
9,758 10,003
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First L added Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr.. U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to ...more
20
11,532 9,205
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First L added Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock
Nirvana was an American grunge band that was formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, ...more
21
10,413 8,567
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First L added Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music
Fleetwood Mac are a British-American rock band formed in July 1967, in London. The band have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time. ...more
22
9,514 9,181
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First L added Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco
The Bee Gees were a pop music group formed in 1958. The group's line-up consisted of brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb. The trio were successful for most of their decades of recording ...more
23
10,148 8,451
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop
The Beach Boys are an American rock and roll band. Formed in 1961, they gained popularity for their close vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting a California youth culture of surfing, girls, and ...more
24
10,188 8,656
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First L added Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal
Black Sabbath are an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, singer Ozzy Osbourne, and drummer Bill ...more
25
9,523 8,693
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First L added New Wave, 2 Tone, Ska punk
The Police were an English rock band formed in London in 1977. For the majority of their history, the band consisted of Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland. The Police became globally ...more