popular opinion The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time  

Ranker Music
Originally by
12.9M votes 44.1k voters 384.3k views 1,763 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!

1
11,623 9,030
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First L added The Beatles Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

2
11,038 9,037
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First L added Pink Floyd Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

3
11,464 8,508
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First L added Queen Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

4
11,244 8,211
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First L added Led Zeppelin Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

5
10,996 8,703
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First L added Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

6
10,171 7,987
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First L added The Rolling Stones Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

7
10,151 8,030
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First L added Elvis Presley Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

8
9,413 8,142
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First L added The Who Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

9
9,993 7,320
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First L added Jimi Hendrix Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

10
9,409 7,746
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First L added Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

11
9,464 7,888
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First L added AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

12
9,921 7,659
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First L added David Bowie Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

13
9,374 7,254
Simon and Garfunkel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Simon and Garfunkel Pop music, Worldbeat, Rock music

14
9,322 7,292
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First L added The Doors Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

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15
9,288 7,192
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First L added Elton John Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock

16
9,390 7,400
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First L added Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

17
9,767 7,054
Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Ludwig van Beethoven Opera, Classical music

18
8,607 7,327
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First L added Aretha Franklin Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

19
8,713 7,735
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First L added U2 Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

20
9,596 7,379
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First L added Nirvana Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock

21
8,588 7,375
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First L added Bee Gees Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco

The Best Genres of Music

22
9,033 7,100
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First L added Fleetwood Mac Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

23
8,942 7,142
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First L added Black Sabbath Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

24
8,601 7,204
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First L added The Police New Wave, 2 Tone, Ska punk

25
8,923 7,053
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First L added The Beach Boys Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop

26
9,105 7,305
Eagles is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Eagles Country pop, Rock music, Folk rock

27
9,460 7,104
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Opera, Ballet, Art song

28
8,584 7,395
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First L added Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

The Worst Band Names Ever

29
9,159 7,068
Creedence Clearwater Revival is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Creedence Clearwater Revival Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Swamp pop

30
8,438 7,247
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First L added Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

31
8,292 7,515
Dire Straits is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
SethLangley added Dire Straits Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

32
8,402 6,793
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First L added Lynyrd Skynyrd Outlaw country, Blues-rock, Boogie rock

33
9,089 7,148
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First L added Johnny Cash Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana

34
9,058 7,324
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
John Lennon Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

35
8,769 6,983
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Metallica Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

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36
8,924 6,755
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First L added Bob Marley Reggae

37
9,788 6,965
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First L added Madonna Pop music, Rock music, Electronic music

38
8,849 7,017
Frank Sinatra is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Frank Sinatra Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

39
8,273 7,028
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First L added Genesis Rock music, Pop rock, Soft rock

40
8,426 7,217
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First L added Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

41
8,446 6,454
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First L added Bruce Springsteen Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

42
8,328 6,241
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First L added Journey Rock music, Jazz fusion, Pop rock

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43
8,562 6,438
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First L added Red Hot Chili Peppers Classic rock, Jazz-funk, Rock music

44
8,448 6,462
ABBA is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
EricLeguenec added Abba Synthpop, Disco, Pop music

45
8,948 6,199
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Paul McCartney Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

46
8,449 6,308
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First L added Billy Joel Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

47
8,516 5,955
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First L added Chuck Berry Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

48
8,668 6,132
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First L added Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

49
8,162 6,242
Phil Collins is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Phil Collins Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

50
8,671 5,890
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Eric Clapton Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae