The 10 Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

Griffin Snyder, Writer

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The Top 10 Musical Artists of all Time

By Griffin Snyder

I will discuss here my opinion on the greatest bands, singers, and musical acts of all time according to lasting appeal, effect on the music scene, Lyrical quality, originality/uniqueness, and general sound. I am an avid fan of music and I listen to all types and I would consider myself knowledgeable in what is good and bad music.


10: David Bowie

Possibly the greatest performer of the glam-rock sub genre, the late David Bowie (who rejected a knighthood) was one of the most unique musical acts of all time. His androgynous style was tantalizing and completely different from most popular music made at the time. He was incredibly unique because of his multiple characters that he became throughout the years, such as Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke, and the Blind Prophet, and each persona gave a unique kind of music, such as Major Tom’s psychedelic rock classic Space Oddity ( and Ziggy Stardust’s Starman ( One of the most controversial and diverse performers of all time, David Bowie’s music is unforgettable.

9: The Smiths

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Easily the most controversial pick on this list, the kings of the alt-rock movement of the 1980’s revolutionized alternative rock and music in general forever with their poetic songs and outstanding sound. With Morrisey’s excellent lyricism and unique voice and Johnny Marr’s riveting guitar riffs, the Smith’s melancholic sound is unlike any other band in history. Reflecting a frustration with life in England in the 80’s, the Smiths have never had huge mainstream success or massive critical recognition, but with the long, sad chords of How Soon is Now ( and the fast paced frustrated energy of Bigmouth Strikes Again (, the Smiths are the greatest alternative band of all time.

8: Simon and Garfunkel

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The greatest musical duo of all time, Simon and Garfunkel recorded their first song, The Sound of Silence ( in 1963, and it flopped, so the group split up. But when their song was remixed in 1967 and became a huge hit, the duo got back together and created one unforgettable hit song after another for 4 years. They created dozens of classic folk rock songs such as the jumpy and nostalgic Mrs Robinson ( and the depressing aforementioned Sound of Silence. This classic duo created some of the most recognizable and emotional music of all time.

7: The Kinks

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One of the most important yet underrated bands of all time, the Kinks were easily one of the best British Invasion bands of all time. They helped to create hard rock and techniques like power chords with their classic 1964 hit You Really Got Me ( They were not just a hard rock band, as they also experimented with calmer, sadder songs like Waterloo Sunset, ( and quasi-psychedelic tracks like Village Green Preservation Society ( The Kinks tried everything, and influenced music in as many genres.

6: The Doors

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Unquestionably the greatest psychedelic rock band of all time, The Doors created the two greatest psychedelic songs of all time, Light My Fire (, and The End ( They also created some of the most memorable hard rock songs of all time, such as the aptly named, fast paced Break on Through ( and the seesawing Take it as it Comes ( The Doors were masters of psychedelic, hard, and blues rock and helped define the counterculture music of the late 60’s. With Jim Morrison’s deep, soulful vocals and Ray Manzarek’s masterful keyboard playing, The Doors had some of the most musically diverse tracks of all time.


5: Queen

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With a big film coming out this weekend named after their best song, Bohemian Rhapsody []), Queen is one of the most popular bands of all time , using Freddy Mercury’s outstanding vocal range and Brian Mays’ perfectly mixed guitar work to create some of the most interesting and frankly strangest songs of all time. Bohemian Rhapsody is by far one of the greatest songs out there, with an operatic section, a hard rock section, and pop influences making it the most unique song of all time. Queen also had many other excellent hits, like the outstanding Under Pressure, which was one of the first songs to feature another artist, in this case David Bowie (, and Don’t Stop Me Now, their most fast paced and exciting song ( Queen deserves this spot on the list because of their place in history as the most inventive and varied band of all time.


4: Led Zeppelin

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The greatest band of the 70’s and the greatest hard rock band of all time, Led Zeppelin defined hard rock with songs like the Nordic inspired Immigrant Song (, and the unforgettable riffs of Kashmir ( and Black Dog ( Their best and most influential song, however, is the seemingly calm and serene, then fast and exciting Stairway to Heaven ( Robert Plant’s  soaring vocals and Jimmy Page’s rapid and energetic guitar created the greatest hard rock sound ever heard.


3: Bob Dylan

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The man who defined early folk rock and the greatest lyricist of all time, Bob Dylan was the first musical artist to win a Nobel Prize in literature for a reason. With arguably the greatest song ever, Like A Rolling Stone ( under his belt, his position was already secured in rock history, but he still created dozens of other unforgettable classics like the mysterious and longing Mr Tambourine Man ( and his classic protest song Blowin’ in the Wind ( Dylan was the face of the early peace movements of the 1960’s and was the voice of a whole generation, which he earned fully through some of the most poetic and best written songs of all time.


2: The Rolling Stones

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The self-described “greatest rock and roll band of all time” created some of the best sounds of all time, and managed to continue to change and stay relevant for years.  First embodying the British invasion (but an edgier version of the Beatles) with classic hits like the rebellious and pessimistic (I can’t get no) Satisfaction ( and the exciting Jumpin’ Jack Flash (, the Stones then turned to the psychedelic energy and creative experimentation  of the late 60’s with the haunting Gimme Shelter ( and the Indian-inspired Paint it, Black ( The Stones are truly the masters of rock and roll and created some of the best songs of all time, and they are still active and touring today. They certainly defined the counterculture of the 60’s.


1: The Beatles

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The band that started the British invasion, the Beatles may have started out making simple yet extremely excellent pop tracks like I Wanna Hold Your Hand (, but they evolved in the mid to late 60’s into the greatest band of all time with defining psychedelic hits like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (  They truly came into their own before their split in 1970 with Let it Be ( and Hey Jude (, arguably two of the most iconic songs of all time. The Beatles, like the Stones, perfectly evolved to fit the environment of the musical landscape at the time and wrote some of the catchiest, most memorable, best written, and overall greatest songs of all time.