Popular Opinion The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time  

Ranker Music
Originally by
13.1M votes 54.1k voters 435.8k views 1,999 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
14,050 10,996
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

2
14,352 10,205
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

3
12,994 10,862
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First L added Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

4
13,305 9,754
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First L added Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

5
11,582 9,132
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First L added Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

6
13,387 10,138
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First L added Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

7
11,544 9,317
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First L added Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

8
10,360 9,463
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First L added Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

9
11,384 8,180
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First L added Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

10
11,141 8,623
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First L added Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

11
10,372 8,878
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First L added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

12
10,542 9,061
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First L added Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

13
10,122 8,268
Simon and Garfunkel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Pop music, Worldbeat, Rock music

14
10,303 8,067
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock

15
10,193 8,201
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First L added Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

16
10,400 8,363
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First L added Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

17
9,277 8,253
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

18
11,068 7,767
Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Opera, Classical music

19
9,267 9,002
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First L added Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

20
10,695 8,373
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First L added Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock

21
9,784 7,916
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First L added Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

22
9,104 8,385
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First L added Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco

23
9,696 7,938
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First L added Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

24
9,584 7,819
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop

25
10,569 6,826
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First L added Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

26
9,111 8,045
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First L added New Wave, 2 Tone, Ska punk

27
9,950 7,991
Eagles is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Country pop, Rock music, Folk rock

28
10,454 7,679
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Opera, Ballet, Art song

29
9,946 7,925
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

30
9,155 8,167
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First L added Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

31
9,807 6,754
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

32
9,809 7,661
Creedence Clearwater Revival is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Swamp pop

33
9,887 7,679
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First L added Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana

34
9,746 7,346
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First L added Reggae

35
8,901 7,902
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First L added Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

36
9,594 7,583
Frank Sinatra is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

37
8,714 8,238
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
9,564 7,643
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

39
8,659 7,625
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First L added Rock music, Pop rock, Soft rock

40
8,902 7,055
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First L added Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

41
10,171 7,871
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First L added Pop music, Rock music, Electronic music

42
8,933 7,426
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First L added Outlaw country, Blues-rock, Boogie rock

43
9,136 7,060
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First L added Classic rock, Jazz-funk, Rock music

44
9,293 6,610
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First L added Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

45
8,904 7,969
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First L added Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

46
8,874 7,190
ABBA is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
EricLeguenec added Synthpop, Disco, Pop music

47
8,819 6,812
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First L added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Pop rock

48
9,079 6,671
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
9,254 6,283
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time
Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

50
8,914 6,836
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First L added Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music