Top 10 Greatest Musicians of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Michael Jackson Michael Jackson (Michael Joseph Jackson; August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, dancer, and songwriter. He passed away from cardiac arrest caused by a propofol and benzodiazepine overdose on June 25, 2009. He donated (at least) a remarkable 500,000,000 dollars to charity. Michael... read more

Michael Jackson is simply the greatest. He boasts the highest-selling album of all time, the highest-selling multi-disc release of all time, and the highest amount of money given away by one musician over his career. He has a set of undeniable classics that stand the test of time and the ability to sing, dance, and make music all simultaneously.

The man is truly undeniable. A beautiful person who cared more for the people around him than himself. Easily the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time).

This man was a real thriller. His creativity, talent, dance moves, voice, and ability to woo huge crowds were surely ahead of his time. To date, nobody has come close to the magic he pulled. I have a feeling that it will be centuries before a talent like this one comes back to Earth.

Those who watched him live were lucky. Thanks to YouTube, the world can enjoy his performances.

2 Paul McCartney Sir James Paul McCartney (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame with the rock band the Beatles, one of the most popular and influential groups in the history of pop and rock... read more

Best half (only by a little bit) of by far the best songwriting partnership in history. His career after The Beatles, solo and with Wings, just cements his position as the best and most successful songwriter of all time.

Also, one of the all-time best singers in popular music, proficient in multiple instruments, and still headlining festivals at 80 years old. The man is a legend, the single greatest musician of the modern era... it's not even close. Should be No.1 by a lot (MJ is a great singer but he is not a genius like McCartney... or many others on this list).

3 John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (9 October 1940 - 8 December 1980) was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. He was assassinated by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980 at age... read more

His music is so powerful that words can't describe how it has impacted the world and the millions who still listen to it. Countless masterpieces have been crafted by this man, from the beginning of his career to his heartbreaking death (which still brings tears to my eyes today). Nobody has ever revolutionized music in the way that Lennon did, and his remarkable quality and consistency in musical prowess is astounding.

Not only was he a musician, but he was an icon, charming teens during the early '60s with his wit and charm, spearheading the counterculture movement in the late '60s, and becoming an icon of peace movements during the '70s, inspiring millions to this day. Nobody has and ever will come close to how he has revolutionized culture, society, music, and the world as a whole, as he is a remarkable phenomenon that will never be topped or matched again.

4 Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, 1 violin concerto,... read more

Beethoven's music challenges the listener to experience deep swings of emotion, from agony to elation, from peaceful to triumphant. His music is complex and ever-changing. It can be intentionally atonal at one moment, then rhythmic or melodic the next.

It is this constant dynamism that makes his music brilliant. It guides the deep-thinking listener through an experience synonymous with life itself. And, at the risk of sounding shallow, his music is often so ridiculously exuberant, inspirational, and life-affirming that no one - Mozart, Bach, or the greats of our current era - comes even remotely close to matching his otherworldly genius.

5 Freddie Mercury Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara, 5th September 1946 - 24th November 1991) was a Zanzibari-born British singer of Indian descent, songwriter and record producer, known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the British rock band Queen. He also became known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave... read more

Freddie Mercury was not just a rockstar. He was a legend. Throughout his life, he faced discrimination for his teeth, his race, and his talent. He rose from humble beginnings as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport to become a rock legend.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, he didn't achieve fame at a young age. However, he genuinely worked at it, training his voice and taking advantage of his four-octave vocal range. Listen to his voice while singing with his prior band, "Ibex," and then listen to "The Show Must Go On." Not many people grow up to have such a powerful voice until they die.

6 Andy Gibb Andrew Roy Gibb was an English singer, songwriter, performer, and teen idol. He was the youngest brother of the Bee Gees.

Andy Gibb was a brilliantly talented singer, songwriter, and musician. His looks and voice made girls everywhere just love him.

He'll always be loved, missed, and remembered by his family, friends, and fans all around the world.

Andy was a talented singer and performer who would still be making hit songs if he had not left us at a young age. He would have been singing with his brothers, the Bee Gees.

And Andy loved his fans. He is truly missed.

Andy gave everything to the fans and the public. He was able to do Broadway, plays, etc. Michael and the rest only sang, and Michael didn't go out and do volunteer work and charity functions.

7 George Harrison George Harrison (1943 - 2001) was an English guitarist, singer, songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles.

A fantastic artist and a great guy. He has the non-stop ability to create new catchy riffs and imaginative guitar styles.

It was very hard to choose a Beatle, but I eventually chose John. George is amazing though.

8 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era, born in Salzburg.

One of the great classical composers. No doubt, he should be in the top 10. Probably the single most "gifted" musician/composer in human history.

Died too young, like many others on this list, and would likely be considered the greatest artist of all time by some distance if he had continued composing until old age.

It is completely and insanely baffling that he is not number one. He was by far the greatest musical mind to have ever lived. This absolutely outrages me to the point of complete loss of sanity.

Mozart wasn't only a prodigy but a revolutionary. His work was more groundbreaking and original than Beethoven's in his particular time period. Imagine if he had lived to old age.

9 Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix (born November 27, 1942 - September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter.

Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most... read more

Jimi Hendrix wasn't just a guitar player. The guitar was an extension of his mind and soul. It was through his guitar that Jimi expressed himself. It represented the way he talked, walked, and even breathed.

Due to this extreme relationship between a man and his instrument, Jimi became a master songwriter, a soulful vocalist, and a studio genius who crafted, with ease, lots and lots of songs which had a life of their own. This organic characteristic is unparalleled among rock musicians.

Since his death, there has not been a single guitar player as important or as revolutionary. His work has remained so vital and inspirational that his influence over the music world has defeated his death, and therefore he gained his immortality.

10 Bob Dylan Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author, and artist who has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades.

Bob Dylan should be ranked second. He changed popular singing and is arguably the greatest lyricist of all time. His influence in music is unmatched.

Going electric at the Newport Folk Festival and his involvement in the civil rights movements changed pop culture and the world. There would be no Hendrix, Springsteen, Nirvana, and the genre of rap in general if it weren't for Dylan. Give credit where credit is due!

Certainly one of the greatest lyricists in history, and although musically I would rank others above him, overall he deserves a top 10 spot.

The Contenders
11 Elvis Presley Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the "King of Rock and Roll", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined... read more

I don't think he was a genius, like say McCartney, Lennon, Beethoven, Mozart, Dylan, but his singing, charisma, importance in the development of popular music, and iconic status earn him a top 10 status in my opinion.

Elvis Presley was undoubtedly a talented man, but after his death, there haven't been any more songs. My favorite song is Hound Dog! Back then, he was a rock for our grandparents and parents, but I still watch, learn, and get inspired by his videos.

The greatest, most fabulous music artist of all time. No one can or ever will compare to Elvis. God bless him, he gave so much pleasure to millions and still does.

Artist of the century. Mozart of the 20th century.

12 David Bowie David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie (January 8, 1947 - January 10, 2016) was an English singer born in London, the son of a fundraiser and a waitress. He is credited for his experimental and creative musical discography which has won praise and accolades for many critics and fans... read more

The phrase "You can do whatever you set your mind to" isn't true... unless you are David Bowie. Bowie managed to stay relevant in the changing music world since the early '70s. He has written and performed countless genius songs.

He belongs in the top 10.

All I'm saying is that he is the greatest musician of all time.

How are he and Kurt not tied for first?

13 Slash Saul Hudson, known professionally as Slash, is a British-American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the lead guitarist of the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Was looking at this list to see if Slash was even on it at all. Certainly didn't expect him this high, but it makes sense!

Some say Slash doesn't exist. He's like Santa, too good to be true.

14 M. Shadows Matthew Charles Sanders, better known by his stage name M. Shadows, is an American musician, best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter and founding member of the American metalcore/alternative metal band Avenged Sevenfold.
15 Frank Sinatra Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer, actor, and producer who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide... read more

Frank Sinatra sang so well. He sure has lots of good songs like The Way You Look and My Way. There are lots of other songs he wrote, composed, and produced that should be considered at least in the top five best jazz musicians.

He had flow, style, amazing pitch, and dancing skills.

By far the greatest musician I've ever heard in my life!

I don't see why this guy isn't No. 1. He is brilliant.

16 Eminem Eminem, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, is an American rapper, actor and music producer born on October 17, 1972 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Eminem has sold over 300 million records making him the bestselling hip-hop artist of all time. In addition to his solo career, he is a member of D12 and (with Royce... read more

Eminem is undoubtedly an awesome musician. He definitely should be in the top 15, maybe even the top ten. Eminem has a wealth of skill and experience in writing songs, producing others, freestyle rap battling, and making beats.

He has a lot of great songs like Lucky You, Godzilla, Rap God, Without Me, Slim Shady, Lose Yourself, I'm Not Afraid, and The Marshall Mathers LP Mockingbird, among many others.

One of the greatest musicians, no question. As a composer and producer, he mixed different genres of pop, rap, and rock so well, creating one of the best symbioses of these genres. He has amazing voice control, so many types of rhythms, and a lot of lyrical work, artistically well-crafted, and more.

17 Kurt Cobain Kurt Cobain was born February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. In 1987, he started the grunge band Nirvana, which became one of the most successful bands ever. He was a talented yet troubled grunge performer. Kurt Cobain became a rock legend in the 1990s with his band. He committed suicide at his... read more

You always notice that stage where celebrities often do drugs and die from them, especially what happened to Kurt Cobain. My theory is that some of them are just scared. Like, they're scared of being famous and they just want to be left alone. Now, I don't know if this was true with Kurt, but he did say that the fame was too much for him.

Think about it, people, when you're on top of the world, it gets really overwhelming. There are some people out there who are planning for a future but are scared to be famous because they are just normal people who want to be left alone. And whether they're artists, some of them didn't plan for their work to stand out from all the others. They've probably done their work just for themselves and for others to enjoy.

If you are so famous that you'll be remembered throughout all of history, wouldn't that be way too much pressure? Do you really want to waste your life for the hell of stardom? In my opinion, we should only choose art that really stands out from all forms of other art, which would be good enough to remember throughout all of history. Whether it be something about the secrets of life and the universe, or a huge past event from history like the Holocaust and the Titanic, I want all of you to remember this. Think about what your choice is going to be for the future. You get to make that choice, whether it be fame or no fame at all.

18 Synyster Gates Brian Elwin Haner, Jr., better known by his stage name Synyster Gates or simply Syn, is an American musician, best known for being the lead guitarist and backing vocalist of the band Avenged Sevenfold.

One of the best lead guitarists of all time!

19 Brian Wilson Brian Douglas Wilson is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer best known for being the multi-tasking leader and co-founder of the Beach Boys.

This is the man who played and performed music through his mind and hallucinations. He translated this music into an album that is not only influential but one of the best albums ever created. The Beach Boys are underrated in the public eye, but Brian Wilson, in particular, deserves more recognition. He is a musical mastermind.

20 Louis Armstrong Louis Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American trumpeter, composer and singer who was one of the most influential figures in jazz.

The trumpet was made for him! No one can manipulate an instrument like he did.

21 Prince Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 - April 21st, 2016) was an American musician, best known for being one of the most popular and influential artists from the 80s, with songs such as "Purple Rain", "Little Red Corvette", "1999", and "When Doves Cry" .

The greatest musician that ever lived on this planet. Best songwriter, best guitar player, best producer, best performer, best dresser, best looker.

Listen to his discography and watch him perform. If you do, then you'll understand why he is the most talented musician of all time.

Though Michael Jackson is the greatest entertainer, Prince, bar none, takes the 1, 2, and 3 slots as the greatest musician of all time. It's a debate with the rest of the numbers from 4 on down on who's the best musician.

But this poll here is probably controlled by the Democratic party or some other screwup nut job.

22 Chuck Berry Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. He died on 18 March 2017.
23 Ozzy Osbourne John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne was born on December 3, 1948. He is also known as ''The Prince of Darkness''. Ozzy is an English singer, songwriter, and television personality. He rose to prominence in the early 1970s as the lead vocalist of the band Black Sabbath. Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath... read more

Ozzy should be at least in the top ten. He ROCKS! He isn't called the "Prince of Darkness" or the "Godfather of Heavy Metal" for nothing. I LOVE Ozzy!

He deserves so much more credit than this. Ozzy forever!

One of the founders of heavy metal. He is a genius of that music. I was going to choose Michael Jackson, but he only wrote a few of his songs and hardly played anything.

24 Steve Harris Stephen Percy "Steve" Harris is an English musician and songwriter, known as the bassist, occasional keyboardist, backing vocalist, primary songwriter and founder of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

Steve Harris should be in the top 10.

25 Whitney Houston Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston is one of pop music's best-selling music artists of all-time, with an estimated 170–200... read more

No mere human has ever had a more refined voice than she had. I think she literally introduced a new high note in music.

Whitney Houston is an amazing singer. She has such great songs.

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