The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

391k votes 21k voters 229k views 1,481 items tags f p @

List Criteria: 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!
Collection Photo:  via wikimedia
  • 152 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 4,052
    - 5,704

    the people's #1 & added by First L
    Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

    ;
  2. 2
    + 3,298
    - 5,504
    Pink Floyd 
	is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

    ;
  3. 3
    + 3,370
    - 5,423
    Queen 
	is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

    ;
  4. 4
    + 3,329
    - 5,316
    Led Zeppelin 
	is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

    ;
  5. 5
    + 2,708
    - 5,028
    Michael Jackson 
	is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

    ;
  6. 6
    + 1,803
    - 2,643


    Pop music, Worldbeat, Rock music

    ;
  7. 7
    + 2,587
    - 3,345


    Opera, Classical music

    ;
  8. 8
    + 2,339
    - 4,728
    The Rolling Stones 
	is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

    ;
  9. 9
    + 3,856
    - 5,141
    Madonna 
	is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    ranked low on reranks & added by First L
    Pop music, Rock music, Electronic music

    ;
  10. 10
    + 2,214
    - 4,681
    Elvis Presley 
	is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  11. 11
    + 1,801
    - 3,738
    AC/DC 
	is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music

    ;
  12. 12
    + 1,871
    - 3,519
    David Bowie 
	is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

    ;
  13. 13
    + 2,248
    - 3,176

    ranked low on reranks
    Opera, Ballet, Art song

    ;
  14. 14
    + 2,046
    - 3,573
    Jimi Hendrix 
	is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    ranked low on reranks & added by First L
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

    ;
  15. 15
    + 1,877
    - 4,091
    The Who 
	is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  16. 16
    + 1,317
    - 2,501
    The Doors 
	is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

    ;
  17. 17
    + 1,722
    - 3,463
    Bob Dylan 
	is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  18. 18
    + 1,416
    - 2,616
    Nirvana 
	is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock

    ;
  19. 19
    + 1,603
    - 2,283


    Classical music

    ;
  20. 20
    + 820
    - 874

    ranked low on reranks
    Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

    ;
  21. 21
    + 905
    - 1,937
    Bee Gees 
	is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco

    ;
  22. 22
    + 1,078
    - 1,753


    Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

    ;
  23. 23
    + 894
    - 1,522


    Country pop, Rock music, Folk rock

    ;
  24. 24
    + 1,075
    - 2,056
    Prince 
	is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

    ;
  25. 25
    + 921
    - 1,604
    Fleetwood Mac 
	is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  26. 26
    + 1,397
    - 2,328


    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1,263
    - 2,051

    added by First L
    Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana

    ;
  28. 28
    + 921
    - 1,658

    added by SethLangley
    Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

    ;
  29. 29
    + 912
    - 1,463

    added by EricLeguenec
    Synthpop, Disco, Pop music

    ;
  30. 30
    + 821
    - 1,213

    added by First L
    Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

    ;
  31. 31
    + 708
    - 1,131
    Neil Young 
	is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

    ;
  32. 32
    + 1,300
    - 2,397

    added by First L
    Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop

    ;
  33. 33
    + 635
    - 966
    Genesis 
	is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Rock music, Pop rock, Soft rock

    ;
  34. 34
    + 773
    - 1,386
    The Police 
	is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    New Wave, 2 Tone, Ska punk

    ;
  35. 35
    + 409
    - 635


    Jump blues, Swing music, Traditional pop music

    ;
  36. 36
    + 698
    - 1,113
    Bruce Springsteen 
	is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

    ;
  37. 37
    + 495
    - 743


    Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

    ;
  38. 38
    + 1,137
    - 2,126
    Elton John 
	is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock

    ;
  39. 39
    + 980
    - 1,919
    Aretha Franklin 
	is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Pop music, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1,187
    - 1,898


    Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

    ;
  41. 41
    + 550
    - 898


    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  42. 42
    + 948
    - 1,556

    added by First L
    Reggae

    ;
  43. 43
    + 239
    - 253
    The Arcana 
	is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    ranked low on reranks
    The Arcana

  44. 44
    + 869
    - 1,331
    Aerosmith 
	is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music

    ;
  45. 45
    + 883
    - 1,785

    often listed & added by First L
    Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

    ;
  46. 46
    + 825
    - 1,079


    Blues-rock, Psychedelic soul, Rock music

    ;
  47. 47
    + 958
    - 1,781
    Black Sabbath 
	is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

    ;
  48. 48
    + 917
    - 1,612
    Rush 
	is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    added by First L
    Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

    ;
  49. 49
    + 848
    - 1,319


    Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Swamp pop

    ;
  50. 50
    + 579
    - 965
    Billy Joel 
	is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

    often listed & added by First L
    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
1482 +

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