Top 10 Greatest Music Artists of All TimeMusic is the universal language of the soul. It can make us feel, create, and connect with others in ways that nothing else can. Music is made by people who have a passion for expressing themselves through sound and melody, whether it's with their voice or an instrument.
A music artist or musician is someone who can make music that touches the hearts of listeners around the world. From the solo artists who write and sing their own songs to the band members who play together in harmony, music artists have different personalities, styles, and genres.
There have been many music artists who have changed the history of music. Some have become legends and icons, while others have earned a devoted fan base who love their music.
In this top ten list, let's celebrate the greatest music artists of all time. These are the musicians who have not only made amazing music but have also inspired and influenced countless other musicians.
Indescribable. So amazing, whether you like them or not. They can't be beaten. They were the greatest band who ever lived. John and George were no Hendrix at guitar. Paul wasn't any John Entwistle. And Ringo was no Neil Peart! But none of that mattered. At all. They just wrote incredible songs. They didn't need insane guitar solos. They were insane songwriters. The songs this band wrote cannot be explained. If you haven't, take a listen to a couple of albums by the Beatles. Even if you HATE the Beatles because you're a stubborn baby who likes only rap or heavy metal, you'll find at least one song that you love by this band. You will be amazed at the talent of each one of these four lads from Liverpool.
The Beatles, you are amazing. They are amazing in every way. I would go to the government and steal a time travel machine just to see you perform and see Paul's beautiful face.
Those saying MJ should be number one surely are living under a rock. See what they did in just 8 years. They got the most hits on US charts despite not being American, sold the most albums in the US and worldwide, all in a span of 8 years. Sure, MJ broke racial barriers, but he could not even do half of what the Beatles did. The Beatles had an impact on culture and were a minor force in bringing down communism in the USSR. Beatlemania is one of the first shows of feminist movements. Their music touched hearts, whereas MJ just amused people. See the Wikipedia page on the cultural impact of the Beatles. It is five times bigger than MJ's page on cultural impact.
The Beatles understandably hold the number one spot. They were a phenomenon. I don't agree with Michael Jackson at number two, but he was unique. What really irks me are the Zeppelin fans. Cover bands shouldn't be on any list, especially those that plagiarize music and songs and claim them as their own originals. Zeppelin is the most overrated band in history. I know it was cool to listen to them in high school to impress your friends, but adults should research to see everything they appropriated. Queen, on the other hand, is the whole package: originality, talent, showmanship - they never needed to steal the work of others. RIP Freddie, I hope you and Bowie can send down some heavenly music ASAP!
Should be at No. 3 behind MJ, despite Queen being my favorite. Some people think that Queen is overrated and that Led Zeppelin and the Stones were better, but Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones' music is not as relevant in today's industry as Queen, MJ, and The Beatles, because of the style that they played. Queen is my favorite and deservedly high on this list. Freddie's vocals are beyond compare, Brian's guitar playing was phenomenal, and the Red Special had such a distinctive sound. Roger's drums were superbly solid, as was John's, and all four had a great ability to sing harmonies. Queen was also the greatest live band, as seen when they dominated Live Aid. Queen is right where they should be on this list, not higher and no lower.
The most successful entertainer and most recognizable man on Earth, even nearly a decade after his death, Michael Jackson was simply phenomenal. He sold records like no tomorrow, broke through all racial barriers, and his performances were masterpieces. His dance moves are iconic, and his music is unmatched in its reach. Famous all over the world from childhood, over 30 years after its release, the 1983 album Thriller is still the best-selling album of all time, and his other albums, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995), all rank among the most successful albums of all time. Jackson received an unmatched amount of celebrity, and in his prime, everyone wanted to be like him. His dance has influenced the masses even more than his singing in some ways, and he is widely regarded to be the greatest and one of the most influential dancers of all time. From his amazingly choreographed music videos such as Thriller, Beat It, Bad, and Smooth Criminal, to outstanding live performances that sold out faster than any other artist. Not only this, however, but Michael Jackson was also a very charitable entertainer, donating over 500 million to various charities all over the world. He even holds the Guinness World Record for "most charities supported by an entertainer." Jackson traveled the world attending events honoring his countless humanitarian efforts. Even through all the despicable and downright silly controversy that was sent his way, he pushed through and continued on for his children, family, and the millions of fans all over the world. Michael Jackson will never be forgotten, and nobody will ever reach his level of perfection as a music artist.
They will never be topped. Timeless music that still captures the sound of the rock era while pushing the boundaries of various genres in their decade-long run of sold-out concerts and globally acclaimed records, right from the very first album. Basically, Led Zeppelin was the once-in-a-millennium meeting of the four best rock musicians on their respective instruments, forming one unbelievable band. Whether you listen to Led Zeppelin or rock or even if you don't listen to music at all, you have heard the heart-pulsing emotional vocals of Plant or the ripping tone of Page. Without a doubt, they were the best there ever was and most likely ever will be.
Those who say The Beatles are the greatest band should try listening to Led Zeppelin. The Beatles were a band that had good songwriters, below-average vocalists, and way too overrated instrument players. Led Zeppelin had one of the greatest vocalists, the best guitarist after Jimi Hendrix, arguably the best drummer, and a great bassist who is not overrated like Sir Paul McCartney. Listen to Kashmir. It will absolutely stick to your mind. What is great about Hey Jude? It's way too repetitive. Just because The Beatles are more popular than Led Zeppelin and more successful in terms of sales doesn't make them better. Also, just because The Beatles started earlier doesn't make them better either. The only band that is comparable to Zeppelin is Pink Floyd, another band that is way more talented than The Beatles.
The single greatest music artist ever. With most songs, I can't remember the words too well, but with EVERY Pink Floyd song, not only can I remember the words, but I can also sing along to the guitar. Their music takes you on a journey from start to finish, from Astronomy Domine (their first song) to High Hopes (their last). Before I heard Pink Floyd, I didn't know the meaning of life. But after hearing songs like Echoes, Time, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Wish You Were Here, Money, Comfortably Numb (I could easily go on and on), I found the meaning of life to be listening to Pink Floyd. I will forever be in debt to David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright, and Syd Barrett.
This band is god-tier. No other musician, artist, or band can even come close to the talent and otherworldly beauty that is Pink Floyd. To have them below Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and even Jimi Hendrix would do them a disservice. Every experimental musician, hip-hop artist, metal band, or alternative/indie rock band probably takes inspiration from Pink Floyd. Unlike other music, Pink Floyd's music takes you on a deep emotional journey through space and time. Even Jim Morrison said, at the time when Pink Floyd first started as an experimental psychedelic rock band, that they were on another level. This band was way ahead of their time, even compared to most music in the 2020s, in how revolutionary their sounds and talent were. Whenever I listen to Time, it takes me back to that first summer after my first semester of college, getting stoned with my friends. But you don't have to be stoned to appreciate the beauty that is Pink Floyd (even if it makes it three times better). Whenever I listen to their music, it just transports my mind to another, prettier (or darker) world that's better than this one. They should definitely be at number 1, based on how much raw talent and beauty they had.
Why did I get into rock music? One answer: Green Day's American Idiot musical. They will surely hold the title for the greatest punk band of all time, alongside the likes of The Clash. With a gritty, fantastic voice like Billie's, his powerful guitar and keys, Mike's awesome bass playing, and Tre kicking ass on the drum kit, they will go down in history for sure. Also, it's not an opinion that shows up too much, but I like to think that Green Day is also one of the most experimental bands of all time. If you want proof, check out the entirety of the Nimrod and Warning albums as evidence that these gods can do anything.
Green Day solely kept punk rock going in an era of drought after bands such as the Ramones retired. Billie has the ability to create great guitar parts that complement the song and has an amazing range. E.g., listen to Dookie and then listen to some songs such as 21 Guns or Good Riddance. Tre is an amazing drummer, and Mike is an amazing bassist. You don't have to play the flashiest parts to be a good band. Green Day knows that and plays for the music. Add that to Billie's voice and their innovative ideas towards music, and you have one of the greatest bands of all time. And I haven't even started on how amazing they are live.
Such a badass band. While Black Sabbath sort of pioneered the metal sound, Metallica truly initiated the era of heavy metal, including thrash metal, which was their subgenre. All of the heavy metal elitists who listen only to obscure black and death metal bands call Metallica "sell-outs," an overused term. To me, selling out is not just achieving mainstream success. It's achieving it and then sacrificing musical quality to make money. Metallica never lost their quality, even during their Black Album era in the '90s. So many legendary metal tracks came from this band, replete with amazing guitar solos, that I have to place them at number eight on the top ten list.
I never rate musicians based on my personal taste. I've seen a lot of people criticize Eminem's songwriting. Although I do like some of his music, I am definitely not a huge fan of Eminem. But I give credit where credit is due! He is extremely talented! However, he is not as diverse in his topics and doesn't write with the intellectual ability that Hetfield and crew do. I am a huge Metallica fan, but that's not why I say Metallica definitely belongs in the top three. It's based solely on talent and ability. Metallica will continue to release Billboard #1 albums long after most on this list have completely faded away. Metallica forever!
SERIOUSLY?! 14th place isn't an acceptable position for these absolute legends. Need I say more? They've appealed to all generations of people for four decades now and are the best rockers out there. With over 200 million album sales and over 50 million on Back in Black alone (the best-selling rock album of all time), they have hits that never have and never will get old. Songs like Thunderstruck, You Shook Me All Night Long, Highway to Hell, Hells Bells, and Back in Black prove this. They are the best of the best and always will be. For those about to rock, we salute you.
Best rock band of all time. There's no way Green Day and My Chemical Romance should be above them. I love both those bands, but neither compares to the legend that is AC/DC.
I'd put AC/DC at 5 because they've been around forever. Their songs are iconic.
Eminem is the most extraordinary musician to ever live. No artist comes even close to the emotion Shady brings to the mic. He created the best album of all time, the Marshall Mathers LP. He became the best rapper to ever live, while being the ONLY white rapper on the scene in the early 2000s, which makes everything he did even more impressive. No artist has ever beaten the odds better than Marshall Mathers, the king of rap.
Very impactful guy. He may not be recognized as the #1 artist yet, but give it a few years and people will look back on him and place him in the same group as Michael Jackson, The Beatles, and other greats. The fact that an artist who emerged just 16 years ago is already number 5 really makes a statement. In my opinion, his lyrics have more meaning than those of the others on this list by quite a bit. It's just an opinion.
He deserves this spot! He can play with words better than anyone else. He can insult anyone without the person even realizing it. His songs are so inspiring. He makes all kinds of songs - funny, emotional, from a third-person perspective, etc. I think he was, is, and will always be the best rapper.
Love you, Eminem. Your music is the best I've heard. I'm listening to you even now as I'm typing this.
Their best works include songs like Paint it Black, Sympathy for the Devil, Satisfication (Which ranked no. 2 in The Rolling... read more
Amazing, The Rolling Stones' music makes you feel like you can be yourself. I could never really explain why I loved the Stones so much. Every time I listened to them, I wanted to dance and jump in the air. Watching Mick Jagger dance on stage and how comfortable he was doing any kind of dance, not even caring if he was embarrassing himself or not, is inspiring.
They are the world's greatest rock and roll band and are still going, more than the Beatles! They are extremely popular and sound amazing. They should be number 1 on every list because they ARE #1!
I cannot accept Eminem being higher than Elvis OR the Rolling Stones. Eminem is good, but he's not revolutionary. The Rolling Stones released complex, well-structured songs.
This isn't even contestable. Elvis started in the '50s and is still a household name today in 2019. The King paved the way for so many other artists and gave inspiration to the likes of not only Michael Jackson but also Bruno Mars. Ever wonder where Bruno's moves come from? "Elvis the Pelvis."
There were his earlier hits like "Jailhouse Rock," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Blue Suede Shoes," and "Hound Dog." Then there is one of the most beautiful performances of any song ever with "Can't Help Falling in Love."
My top 10 greatest musicians or musical groups of all time are as follows:
1. Elvis Presley
2. The Beatles (side note: they have the most #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits of any other band or artist)
3. Bruno Mars (Bruno is only in his 30s and he already has so many hit songs that everybody knows. I always say that he is today's Elvis.)
All those artists ranked above him wouldn't be there if Elvis had never existed. He started more than just Rock and Roll worldwide. He opened the doors for black music to all people (he made it popular when this was called "race music"), he invented an attitude for teenagers (before him, there was not really a music or teen culture). The Beatles were rockers when they started. Michael Jackson would never have had a chance as a popular musician if there were still segregation of black/white music. Led Zeppelin and Queen would never have had the opportunity to take Rock further. Elvis started it all! I'm not saying that all those artists ranked above him had no talent. I'm just saying that all those artists wouldn't be on this list without Elvis.
The band was comprised of Kurt Cobain (Vocals, Guitar), Dave Grohl (Drums) and Krist Novoselic (Bass).
Nirvana is most well-known for their... read more
One of the best bands that changed music in general. Their lead singer, Kurt Cobain (one of the greatest musicians of all time), influenced many generations and, in my opinion, improved how music was back then. Therefore, why is Nirvana ranked No. 12? It should at least be No. 9 or in the Top 10.
Through their short 7-year career, Nirvana almost shook the world with their three albums. Imagine if Kurt Cobain would've still been alive. Then maybe, today Nirvana would've been probably bigger than Metallica too. RIP Kurt Cobain.
One of the only bands held in such high regard despite only being around for a few years. Without Nirvana, the '90s would have been a very dull decade musically. Kurt Cobain was a genius, and it's still tragic to this day that he was unable to cope. RIP Kurt.
They are without a doubt the best band today. Their lyrics are fantastic, and their music is the perfect fusion of alternative rock and rap. To say a little, Chester's voice is one of the best in the entire history of rock - so powerful and versatile. He can go from melodic vocals to screams easily. Mike is a fantastic rapper and a good melodic singer, as well as a good songwriter. Brad is a much too underrated guitarist, and the other members, Phoenix, Rob, and Joe, are underrated too. If you listen to their songs, you can feel the emotions they put into their art.
In my opinion, they need to be at least in the top 5. There are a lot of people who hate on them because they were nu-metal, because of One More Light, etc. There is nothing wrong with trying different genres. It only proves that they are talented.
P.S. Numb is not overrated. Just listen to it and try to be open-minded.
Though I have loved metal/hard rock music all my life, even some death metal, Iron Maiden changed everything. I was around 14, I think, living in Helena, MT at the time. Walking home from school, I always stopped into the local record store to see if anything good had come out. I had just recently gotten into albums from Judas Priest, Scorpions, Rush, and Van Halen. I really liked this stuff, but why I had never heard it on the radio always puzzled me. Anyhow, the guy at the counter said, "Check this out. It's 'Where Eagles Dare' from Iron Maiden. The album is called Piece of Mind," and wow, what a cover. He handed it to me, and well... (you fill in the rest). Just turned 50 this year. Up the Irons!
There's nothing more exciting than watching Bruce sing "Fear of the Dark," "Hallowed Be Thy Name," "Aces High," "Trooper," "Sign of the Cross," "The Wicker Man," "The Clairvoyant," "Heaven Can Wait," and so on. There are a lot of great songs. Along with the triple guitar attack of Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers, along with Steve Harris's galloping style and Nicko's fast yet melodious drumming, Iron Maiden is like living a dream of heavy metal.
I got heavily interested in Radiohead very late. The first time I ever heard of this band was when their 2016 album "A Moon Shaped Pool" was released, and I was mesmerized the first time I heard it. It was unlike any other rock music I had ever heard. It's extremely experimental, softcore, and minimalist in nature, and I loved every bit of it. I began to dig deeper into the band's discography and must say that it's been a while since I've found a band with such consistency. Radiohead's lyrics are fantastic and their style is always unique and hypnotic. I may also be a sucker for Thom Yorke's voice. I got hooked on this band so hard and so fast that they need to have my number one spot.
The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A, and In Rainbows all greatly revolutionized music during the 1990s-2000s. They were on top of the world by that point, with songs such as Paranoid Android, No Surprises, High and Dry, Fake Plastic Trees, Everything in Its Right Place, Bodysnatchers, and so many more being among their best songs.
Huge fan of Imagine Dragons. Their alternative style is fantastic and their songs are very deep and dark. Demons, Radioactive, Monster, I'm So Sorry (my favorite), It's Time, Bleeding Out - the list goes on. However, I would consider them nowhere near the top 200. (In their defense, Maroon 5 isn't even in the top 1000, and they're ranked 25 as of now.) Still, they're one of the best alternative bands, top 20 in my opinion.
Best artist of all time. Can't love them less. They will forever be my favorite band. My best song from them is Believer. It seems like the song was made for me. It's my personal anthem. Radioactive is great, my second favorite. Bad Liar, On Top of the World, Thunder, It's Time, Born to Be Yours, Natural, Next to Me, and so on - I love them all.
Beatles + Queen + Coldplay + Eminem + David Bowie + Nirvana + Radiohead + Metallica + Twenty One Pilots + Beach Boys + Green Day + U2 = Imagine Dragons
Seriously, anyone who makes bad comments or underrates them doesn't really know them. Probably they have only listened to Radioactive and Thunder from their songs. Believe me, I love most of the artists from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, but the Dragons are my favorite and they are the best artists of all time. I can say it anywhere.
I love bands like Green Day, or even Queen and the like, but they're not better artists than Ziggy Stardust himself. No one has gone through so many transformations so seamlessly like Bowie has. His creative brilliance is reflected in records like the legendary "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars," "Low," "Blackstar," etc. David Bowie was one of those rare artists who was able to make not one, but multiple masterpieces. Green Day is great. Linkin Park isn't, but both need to be behind this man in terms of artistry. R.I.P.
How is this guy not higher on the list? Seriously, how? This man was fearless when it came to music and revolutionized the pop music industry. He always did what he wanted to do. He was an absolutely brilliant lyricist, an amazing singer, and put on fantastic shows. He should most definitely be one of the greatest musicians/artists in history.
Should be top ten. Also, why are Linkin Park and Eminem in the top ten? I love Linkin Park and I'm fine with them being in the top twenty. Eminem, I personally hate rap. But he is good, so also top twenty. But why are Imagine Dragons, Kendrick Lamar, Tupac Shakur, and Kanye West in the top fifty? Rap sucks. Imagine Dragons is very good but should be lower than the likes of The Who, Elton John, Billy Joel, and Black Sabbath. Also, Maroon 5 is good but should not be in the top 50.
They're great artists. Their album Appetite for Destruction is great. I remember listening to the album when I was younger. It sounded so cool and was good. The songs on the album are great. The album is hard-hitting. Songs on the album like Sweet Child o' Mine and Rocket Queen sound nice. They're not very hard but have a nice beat to them.
I'm shocked that Guns N' Roses is not in the top ten. I think it's the best band ever. They were so professional and artistic, and really very different. They brought out a different type of rock/metal and even rock 'n' roll. I'm sure the lineup with Axl, Slash, Duff, Izzy, and Steven is the best. Their song Sweet Child o' Mine is given the most importance, but I think that there's no other song like November Rain. It's really different and obviously made by Guns N' Roses. Thank you for reading this. I hope you all will agree with it.
Bob Dylan cannot be overrated by any measure. He's not a great musician because of his voice. Dear Lord, it's not his voice. But his talent for multiple instruments, sometimes simultaneously, and his lyrical genius put him above the rest. He's a greater writer than even The Beatles or The Faces. He is a masterful lyricist and poet. His writing won him a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and he will live on in history for decades due to his influence on such a wide spectrum of musical genres.
His lyrics were genius. He led movements, was a poet, and extremely talented. There was a reason why many during his time thought he was some kind of prophet. Even though technically his vocals weren't the best, he knew how to take advantage of it and use his vocals to perfectly match his music. He sang about racism and many other important issues. He inspired The Beatles to write deeper music. He is one of the greatest lyricists of all time.
The band became mainstream after improving after their debut album got panned. In 1978, Osbourne was fired and replaced with former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Who went to release... read more
Although Black Sabbath didn't originally invent the metal genre, they pioneered its way to popularity. This is one of the all-time best hard rock bands, but they had influences from other genres such as stoner metal and rock, metal, psychedelic rock, and blues rock. Definitely a talented band with some badass guitar solos. Great to listen to them stoned. Definitely deserves the number 3 spot on my list.
Below Green Day? That needs to be switched. These guys are what cemented metal and created a name for the genre. They are the ones who created it and made it a thing. They especially created the doom metal/psychedelic rock subgenres as well. Let's keep voting and get these guys higher on the list!
Black Sabbath is awesome! They're one of the bands that practically inspired many of the bands we have today. They deserve so much more credit. Long live Black Sabbath!
This is my favorite band of all time. Twenty One Pilots is my second, and Fall Out Boy is my third. I feel bad for Brendon Urie because his former band members left him, but he is doing so much better on his own. No one right now can persuade me to love a different band. This is my favorite, and it will always be.
Hey Look Ma, I Made It is still my favorite song today.
Actually, the different albums are so diverse!
Alice in Chains is, for me, the best artist. Their music just feels right. When you hear their music, it sounds incredible. Alice in Chains is their best album, in my opinion. It's grunge, dark, hard, but fantastic. Songs like Heaven Beside You, Man in the Box, Rooster, among others, are great. I can't fully explain why they're so great, but I prefer all their songs and albums over any other music from different artists.
Now, I ask people not to say mean things to me because of how I feel about Alice in Chains. Why? Because firstly, Alice in Chains is great and doesn't make bad music like Justin Bieber and some other contemporary artists. Secondly, they're my favorite artist. Thirdly, I'm under 18, and I'm not a fan of Justin Bieber or similar music. Lastly, it's not nice to be mean. I only respond in kind if someone is mean to me first. My school taught us never to be mean to others. Adults should not pick on kids or teenagers because they're older. An adult being mean to a kid isn't right. Kids aren't on the same level as adults, and adults being mean to kids is like being mean to someone smaller than you. I know this isn't directly related to the topic, but I wanted to make a point about not being mean to me, so maybe adults will then refrain from being mean to me too.
Coldplay will forever be the best artist, period. All their material is hauntingly good. Their 'new stuff' is still amazing compared to the first few albums and it still has that Coldplay vibe. They can make anything sound their own. Coldplay has a song for every emotion that our bodies can physically and psychologically feel. The chemistry within the band is one of the main attributes that puts them head and shoulders above the likes of the Beatles, Queen, MJ, and the Rolling Stones. Coldplay will forever be the epitome of music.
"Coldplay, we don't care what rubbish other people say. You have a whole army behind you." The point is that Coldplay is generally a subtle rock band, and its instrumental composition is so divine that it fills people's hearts with joy. For me, it all started with the song "Paradise" from the album Mylo Xyloto. That's when I entered the world of Coldplay, inspired and curious. Seriously, this band deserves to be at least in the top 15.
Definitely the musician who has had the most impact on my life. His music has lifted me up from rock bottom twice throughout my life, due to how his melodies and voice absolutely pierce through my soul.
He is one of the few artists that I know of who have many unknown gems that are as good or even sometimes better than his hits. I highly recommend albums like Tumbleweed Connection, Made in England, and Songs from the West Coast as prime examples of that.
I am just so appreciative of his music and how much he has given to the world of music and even charity. He remains active in the music field to this day and goes out of his way to ensure that new great talent is discovered and provided with proper guidance to handle the pressure of being a celebrity. He remains, after many years in music, my all-time favorite artist, and I sincerely hope future generations discover his music and experience the same impact I got from him.
Listen to their debut album up to These Days. Satisfaction is guaranteed. Really, I like all their albums. They're better than Beethoven and are still touring and releasing new albums. They know how to gain and keep fans. I'm 18 and went to my first concert two years ago and my second one last year. They know how to keep fans and gain new ones.
A lot of people might be saying, "Why aren't they #1?" and whatnot. Truthfully, that's exactly what I'm thinking, but I think I can live with #30. It could be worse. They could move up a few spots, but like I said, #30 is a pretty sweet spot.
I don't like to criticize people's opinions, but it's hard not to when the band that wrote songs like Livin' on a Prayer, Always, It's My Life, and other big hits, including four Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits, isn't even on the first page. Hopefully, when you read this, Bon Jovi will be in the top 20 or something. It's also confusing because people have voted them and their songs very high on other lists, including Livin' on a Prayer at the top of the best '80s songs list. BON JOVI FANS, DO NOT FORGET TO VOTE FOR THE BEST BAND IN THE WORLD.