Bands/Musicians The Best Outsider Artists  

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3.7k votes 571 voters 12.2k views 76 items

Outsider music artists list, with photos, ranked best to worst by votes. List of good outsider music bands includes a filter so you can sort by the groups’s label and what albums they've put out. This list of the top outsider music bands in the world includes all musicians who have released recordings that have gotten distribution, and is an up-to-date list. Outsider music groups and artists are shown below along with any additional genres in which their music belongs. If available, you can also see information about where all outsider music bands on this list got started. These are truly the greatest outsider music bands of all time, since the most famous outsider music artists ever are listed, and the order is decided by actual fans of the best outsider music music.

You can click on the outsider music band names to see more information about that particular notable outsider music group. If they're near the top of the best outsider music artist list, though, then they should have at least some information available. All the top outsider music bands named on the list also have discographies on their pages if you click on the outsider music band names themselves.

Artists include everything from Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band to Brian Wilson. Make sure to upvote the best artists on this list to see them rise to the top. Downvote the artists you hate (Daniel Johnston, Swans, etc.) or show them some love by voting them up if you like them.

All important, significant and iconic names in outsider music music history deserve your votes, so make sure to choose wisely. You can only vote once on this list.

The list includes all new outsider music bands, and if there are any missing on the list, you can always add them yourself. Just make sure they aren't already on the list and check your spelling, because this is already an accurate compilation of the best examples of outsider music, as well as a good place to start if you're asking yourself, or friends, exactly how to get into outsider music music. Especially since the bands at the top of the list will at the very least be the best choices if you're looking for a list of good outsider music bands with which to start out. No point in listening to them if they aren't actually good or even half-way decent outsider music bands.

This list answers the questions "who are the best outsider music bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest outsider music musician ever?"

If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular outsider music bands that you might've heard of, but not really listened to closely enough to cast an informed vote.

You can change the order of the list by posting the list to your Tumblr so that they can vote too. (76 items)
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list ordered by

1
111 22
Ranker Video
Outsider Music added Outsider Music, Lo Fi, Folk Rock

"Andrew Neil" Maternick. Outsider music/lo-fi/Grunge-Folk/Alternative Rock Artist.  An artist with some intriguing mystery surrounding him.  The music seemed to start out of nowhere.   Started writing songs following a head injury (car accident) in 2009. Has written 350 songs since then. His guitar work is raw and unpolished, his lyric are uncompromising.  Was hospitalized for 3 years.  The 11 songs on his album "Code Purple -Andrew Neil" were written and recorded in his hospital room. Andrew writes songs that ignore standard musical and lyrical conventions.  He had no formal training and does not follow formal rules of songwriting. He  has no idea what notes/chords he is playing or what key he is in or what scales are all about.  He defies music theory. He just plays by ear.... up and down the fretboard.  He manages to wrap his guitar work around the lyrics.  The result is a raw, yet effective and emotionally charged song.  He writes prolifically and in most cases his songs are deep and introspective.... themes of loneliness, angst, mental illness, longing to be "normal".  Some have likened him to a Kurt Cobain meets Nick Drake and Elliot Smith with the simplicity of Daniel Johnston's "pure and childlike soul" thrown in.  Andrew Neil Discography includes two lo-fi albums.  "Andrew Neil Live at Para Coffee" (Feb 2012) and "Code Purple-Andrew Neil" (Oct 2017).  Code Purple is unique in that all the songs were written and recorded in a State Mental Hospital (Western State Hospital) where he was a patient for three years.  He wrote and recorded almost 70 songs there.  The Album includes 11 of those songs…..Exactly the way he recorded them.   https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/AndrewNeil ;  https://www.discogs.com/artist/5198941-Andrew-Neil-Maternick;  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Neil_Maternick

2
121 47
Daniel Johnston is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Outsider music, Folk rock, Alternative rock

3
94 35
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
ElijahKaganer added Blues-rock, Psychedelic folk, Space rock

4
92 38
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

5
42 12
Nick Drake is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
ElijahKaganer added Folk music, Folk rock

6
78 42
Captain Beefheart & His Magic ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Blues-rock, Spoken word, Garage rock

7
64 32
Skip Spence is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Psychedelic folk, Rock music, Outsider music

8
68 38
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

9
66 38
Sun Ra is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Doo-wop, Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz

10
72 44
Moondog is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Outsider music, Jazz

11
56 35
Jandek is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Outsider music

12
49 30
The Fugs is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Rock music, Experimental rock, Psychedelia

13
77 59
Ranker Video
coffeecigsandi added outsider, lo-fi, obscure
Outsider music, lo-fi, obscure. http://www.rickyparker.com

14
87 72
Quint Baker is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Quint Baker added
Quint Baker is best known for his Psychic Cat'z Golden Fleece record release in 2010.

15
14 2
John Revitte is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Outsider Music added

John Revitte is a visual and music artist.  His songs have been described as "raw emotion from the soul."  In many ways his writing reflects a strong Bob Dylan influence.   He just writes and sings what comes out with little to no editing. The music and lyrics come out the way they were supposed to come out...from the moment. 

16
73 64
R. Stevie Moore is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
New Wave, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

17
53 44
Tiny Tim is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Americana, Pop music, Outsider music

18
38 30
The Red Krayola is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Rock music, Outsider music, Experimental rock

19
13 5
Iggy Pop is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
dan808 added Punk blues, Garage rock, Protopunk

20
75 71
Weird Paul is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Outsider Artists

21
29 23
Ariel Pink is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Psychedelic folk, Outsider music, Psychedelic pop

22
49 45
Steve Lieberman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Garage punk, Outsider music, Heavy metal

23
9 4
Tom Waits is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
dan808 added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

24
62 66
The Shaggs is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

25
33 33
Joe Meek is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Outsider Artists
Pop music, Rock music