You guys love lists, and we love to start our holiday weekend early, so thanks VH1 for putting together this 100 Greatest Artists Of All Time countdown. (Spoiler Alert: No Wavves…) You should compare it to VH1′s 100 Greatest Artists Of Rock & Roll from 1998 (back when VH1 was VH-1) to see some of the overlaps/differences. For starters: The Top 5 “Rock” vs “Of All Time” is the same group, except for Jimi Hendrix who’s been pushed to No. 6. It’ll also give you an idea of how VH1 defines rock & roll. And how much it sucks to be the Eagles. Trivia: Which artist has drunkenly crashed his car the most times? Highest ranked artist to be pelted with plastic bottles? Did Biggie beat Tupac? Which version of Journey made it? But it’s not all about long-suffering has-beens: I, for one, am happy for Def Leppard.

100 Alicia Keys
99 Hall & Oates
98 Depeche Mode
97 Pretenders
96 Journey
95 OutKast
94 Mariah Carey
93 Pearl Jam
92 LL Cool J
91 Green Day
90 Elvis Costello
89 Beastie Boys
88 Bee Gees
87 George Michael
86 N.W.A.
85 The Band
84 Curtis Mayfield
83 Earth, Wind and Fire
82 Steely Dan
80 Mary J. Blige
79 Eminem
78 Judas Priest
77 Lynyrd Skynyrd
76 Run-D.M.C.
75 Rush
74 The Cure
73 Van Morrison
72 Janis Joplin
71 R.E.M.
70 Def Leppard
69 Tupac Shakur
68 Otis Redding
67 Coldplay
66 Justin Timberlake
65 The Doors
64 Talking Heads
63 Notorious B.I.G.
62 Genesis
61 Cream
60 Whitney Houston
59 Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
58 Cheap Trick
57 Iggy & The Stooges
55 Peter Gabriel
54 Public Enemy
53 Little Richard
52 Beyoncé
51 Billy Joel
50 Sade
49 Parliament-Funkadelic
48 Rage Against The Machine
47 Jay-Z
46 Ramones
45 Al Green
44 Joni Mitchell
43 Ray Charles
42 Metallica
41 Van Halen
40 The Police
39 The Kinks
38 Sly & The Family Stone
37 Fleetwood Mac
36 Paul McCartney
35 Johnny Cash
34 Tina Turner
33 Guns N’ Roses
32 Black Sabbath
31 John Lennon
30 Aerosmith
29 Radiohead
28 Elton John
27 Aretha Franklin
26 Neil Young
25 Chuck Berry
24 The Velvet Underground
23 AC/DC
22 The Clash
21 Bruce Springsteen
20 Marvin Gaye
19 U2
18 Pink Floyd
17 Queen
16 Madonna
15 The Beach Boys
14 Nirvana
13 The Who
12 David Bowie
11 Bob Marley
10 Stevie Wonder
09 James Brown
08 Elvis Presley
07 Prince
06 Jimi Hendrix
05 Bob Dylan
04 Rolling Stones
03 Led Zeppelin
02 Michael Jackson
01 The Beatles

Stereogum will be at ATP NY this weekend and will be sure to congratulate No. 57 if we see them at the Sportsman Bar. (We’ll livetweet via @stereogum if AT&T cooperates.)

Comments (963)
  1. Just letting everyone make sure they know that there’s a group of people that exist on this plane of earth who think Jay-Z is literally a better artist than R.E.M., Outkast,Steely Dan,Talking Heads,The Doors,Otis Reeding,N.W.A.Janis Joplin, and the fucking Parliament-Funkadelic! At this point Jay-Z has gotta be thinking this is ridiculous

    • I do not feel jay z is nearly as good as R.E.M., yah he has some good songs spedifically his older works. Lately i feel as though all he talks about is how hes the greatest rapper of all time, litterally in about 90% of his songs he mentions his greatness. What a fucking undeserved ego. He hasn’t for as long as he’s been around sold that many albums. When he cracks a 100 million records sold then we’ll talk. The biggest outrage to me on this entire list is Beyonce and Sade being so high on the list. Beyonce should be like 90, doesnt deserve such a high spot. Coldplay, don’t make me laugh shouldn’t even crack the list. Rage against the machine shouldnt be so high either. Outkast is one of the most succesful rap groups of all time how could they live with themselves making Justin Timberlake over them thats rediculous.Tool should appear on there great band. Wheres Warren Zevon I can’t believe hes no where on there.

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      • Jay-Z def should be that high, Who are we kidding here Jay-Z isnt that great sure hes had a few songs in the past that were good, but he hasnt sold more than Eminem, Tupac, or BIG etc. He hasnt even had as much of a cultural impact as those b4 him have had. Like are people seriously buying into this guys ego, titansrule is right Jay just spends most of his time talking about how his the best when hes not, while others stay humble and the thing is hes gotten alot of people to think so too which is sad. And lastly this list really encompasses modern music and doesnt cover all genres. Like wheres Frank Sinatra, Luciano Pavarotti or Placido Domingo who are all legends of there feilds and are Artists as well. They might not be popular to alot of people to our present geneteration but they where at one point and still are to many, and have made an impact in music. So in conclusion this list is a piece of shit and i agree with alot of people here that many artist are placed way too high or just plain missing like bon jovi

        • First off, this list is called greatest artists of all time, not artists with the biggest followings and whatnot. That being said, Michael Jackson, as an artist, is not deserving of the #2 ranking. The guy was the greatest entertainer of all time, the king of pop, and a hell one of my favorite things to listen to. However he did not write close to half of his own songs. Influtienal, yes. greater artist than the likes of Zeppelin, the Stones, Elvis, Stevie Wonder, Dylan, Hendrix, hell no. Sorry i know thats gonna piss a lot of people off, but one of the main reasons Zeppelin, the Beatles, and the Stones are legends is because their writing was incredible. His was too, but he didnt do it.
          Prince at 7? come on. Dont make me laugh. One of my major problems is Bob marley at 11. The man is an iconic figure, and made reggae what it is today. Without him, Reggae is not nearly what it is. He made his music an art form that the world fell in love with, and still is in love with. The fact that his music is still tremendously popular is a testament to his artistic value. I went to Jamaica, and in one of the clubs they played the Bob song “Smile Jamaica” and people started crying. the man is a legend. Much more of a legend than Prince. Shut the fuck up VH1, you just said Prince is a better artist than Elvis fucking Presley.
          the fact that Jay-Z is higher than Pac and BIG is a fucking JOKE!!! not to mention his wife! are we serious here? There are actually people that think Beyonce is more important to musical world than Tupac and BIG. The fact that those two are below those shit heads show me that this list is purely political. Pac an BIG both represented an entire coast of America, and gave them a voice. Jay-Z took Brooklyn…. Fuck that. Pac and BIG both go down as the two who made rap what it is today. And the gap between them is bullshit. I get that whichever one you choose as the better one is a matter of opinion, but there is no way either one of them is 6 spots better than the other. I like Pac better since he is the most prominent figure in the creation of gangsta rap. and i love his anger and passion.
          Coldplay, get the hell outta here. No way do you deserve to be in the top 200. My main problem is where are all the country artists? Its almost like VH1 decided that country music isnt as important or as artistically vauluable as any other kind of music. The only true country artist is Johnny Cash. What the fuck? People shit themselves to Garth Brooks. 40 year old women screamed like little girls for hours, went home and had dreams of Conway Twitty for months after seeing his concerts. Patsy Cline? Get real VH1. Not having country artists on here is like taking half of america, and saying no, your opinions and what you like dont mean anything because you are from the south. Its the equivalent of putting ANYONE in front of the Beatles. Goddamn. This list is such bullshit that i could go on for days.

          • To begin with let me say im pretty new to learning about music and i have much to learn so my judgements may be juvenile but i would like to make a few statements. First off let me make this clear Cabrol2124 I agree with most of what you have to say, im very upset that there are no country singers on here except johnny cash who alone was a incredible artist but more that just he should be mentioned. Secondly, how the hell could anyone believe that coldplay deserves any spot on this list, sorry in my opinion coldplay is nothing but a sell out. I have to disagree on one things tho….. The beatles do deserve to be on the top of this list they changed music forever when they came to the scene in america, they wrote their own music and influenced so many bands after, i may be a little biased because im a die hard beatles fan.


        • this Vh1 list is all B.S. Barbara Striesand. If you want to talk about influence, inventions, longevity, concerts, concert tickets sold, money earned, hits, movies, creativeness, and any other way to judge bands, then it would be Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Led Zepplin in that order. Anybody else can take a back seat. Most of those rappers didn’t influence anybody. Alicia Keys!? Gimme a break! B.S. list.

        • Michael Jackson definitely writes MORE than half of his music so you don’t know what you’re talking about. He wrote all his greatest hits and actually deserved to be #1! The Greatest artist of all times should include this: talent, album sales, popularity, chart placing, influence, etc. MJ has all of that. So anyways I do agree with you about the Tupac and Biggie thing though.

          • mj didn’t write half of his songs, he wrote only 8 of his 13 #1 songs, the greatest artists list does include talent, album sales, popularity, chart placing, influence, etc. and they got it right the Beatles beat mj in every category. no one sold more albums, no one has greater chart success and no one has been more influential than the Beatles. They are the greatest off all time.

          • now micheal is and always be the best ya heard

        • Aw you’re as crazy as fuck. Jay-z Should not be that high, but he’s definitely on the list, and surely has made a greater impact and contributed a more quality-consist product than eminem has – MINUS all the personal attacks on people he doesn’t know.

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      • i doubt Jay-Z has more #1 albums (or singles) than The Beatles. Simply mentioning them together in a sentence like that, as if they could be compared to each other on a critical and/or commercial scale, is ridiculous.

        And even if Jay does have more #1 records in America (which he doesn’t), and as if record sales somehow indicate quality (which they don’t) The Beatles would have him totally beat because they’ve sold over 1 billion albums. Nobody else but Elvis is even close to that.

        • If you want to discuss, albums sales, concert tickets sold, movies, hits, number of albums, creativeness of albums, length of time, influence, innovativeness, historical perspective, money earned, radio play, then it would have to be Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Led Zepplin and everybody else can get in line. Alicia Keys didn’t influence anybody, gimme a break. This list is Barbara Striesand B.S. Rappers haven’t influenced anybody like these 5 entertainers did. Most rappers cant play an instrument or write music. Rappers are B.S.

          • I agree with that, with album sales, why wasn’t Boston on this list? Wasn’t there 1st album one of the best selling records of all time? I know they made like only 3 albums, but every song on there records where hits, here many of there songs all the time on the radio, and Rush at # 75? What a joke that is! They should be in the top 15 at least! Live in concert, i have never seen no one better live! Yea, how ever this list was made up is a big joke!

          • My list would be Zeppelin, Beatles, Hendrix, Stones, Michael Jackson, Elvis, Garth Brooks, Alabama, George Strait…., but I’m a guitar player so I’m much more impressed w/ Led & Hendrix than I am with M.J. But, I do agree with the top 3 in this list, In any order, being the most influential and having the biggest impact. However, the rest of the list is complete bullshit. How can you possibly rate Metallica, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen, G’N'R or AC/DC as low as in this list or say that Prince made a bigger impact than any of these rockers. And not having Boston or Ozzy Ozborne on the list is a slap in the face to all rock fans. Rap is bullshit & shouldn’t even be included on this list except for 2pac. 2pac put harmony in his songs & is the only rapper I respect. Plus, Coldpaly & Radiohead are on this list, what a load of bullshit that is. The biggest disappointment of the list is how country music was avoided. Garth Brooks, George Strait, and Alabama deserved to have been in the top 15 or 20 at the very least & they weren’t even mentioned. Instead of listing people that have made huge impacts in their genres you concentrated on pop & rock mainly. Plus, they couldn’t even get the rock bands right. Bands like The Cure and all the other pussy bands on this list is a joke & slap in the face when you include them on this list and not Boston or Ozzy. This list must of been the opinion of a few geeky ass people who work for VH1.

        • shut you’re disgusting ass the hell up. Michael Jackson has sold more records than elvis, by about over 100 million. To sit there and write that bullshit about “no one being even close” to the accomplishments of beatles except for “ELVIS”, that is equally Ridiculous as your gripe, biased bonehead.

      • “Think he has more #1 albums than The Beatles, right?” very very wrong

    • Anyone who thinks jay-z is a better artist than nwa clearly doesn’t know rap and this list putting jay-z as the best rap artist is out of control

      • well dude i agree jay-z is a great if not phenomenal artist,but not the best fucking artist ever,i can atleast pick out 40 artists that shouldnt be there in the first place,namely fucking coldplay!

        • bob is #2 read the list but these list are all such bs how in the hell can you have cold play why waste my time going thru those that shouldnt be there but where is BOV JOVI. Who picks these songs maybe they should ask DJ’s we know our music we know our artist God knows we could do a much better job

          • I agree and I am not huge Bon Jovi fan, always liked Richie’s playing, think he is way underated as player, songwriter and even singer. There are atleast 30 acts on the list that could not draw like Bon Jovi still today!

          • Bon Jovi is exactly where they belong. On the shelf with the rest of the hair bands. Popularity is not the criteria here, If it were David Cassidy, Donny Osmond, and the Backstreet Boys would be present. They are not. The criteria is, subsequent influence, of which Bon Jovi had none. Exactly what is the thumbprint Bon Jovi sound that can not be found anywhere else, or that has been copied by other bands. The same applies Motley Crue, Poison, Warrant, Dokken, Ratt, Honeymoon Suite, Night Ranger, or, Extreme, all of which sold very well in their time, which is why they are not on the list either. Every band I have listed has sold twenty times the amount of recordings sold by the Velvet Underground (of which I am not a fan) but their influence is twenty times as wide. (Witness the NY punk scene of the mid to late 70′s as an example) . Thats why no Bon Jovi. No merit

          • Bon Jovi was a great influence in the 80s, in the 90s and still today influence a lot of people in the world, is amazing how can you compare Bon Jovi with the Backstreet boys i think that´s completely ignorant and abusive (no offense intent here) The darkest album and one of the deepest of the Band is the album”These Days” which is a musical jewel and completely different from the work made in the 80s… one of the most evolved bands, one of the most mature and innovative bands in the world today is Bon Jovi. No one can say that loves rock and roll without consider that album and how it change a lot the environment when it comes out back in the 90s what about “Bounce” “Lost highway” “Crush” or the last one ” The Circle” ? I think a band that goes around the world shaking the ground of many people still today, a band that has change the life of many around the globe, a band that did people that has died sing that makes me sing and that is making sing a lot of young people still today has to have respect from persons like you.

            As is obvious that Bon Jovi is not between your favorites as a Journalist, you should review professionally what the people, the real people thinks about the band, and why is so important today, even more than in the 80s.

            Sad for VH1 to have a so poor countdown… wow i really can´t believe Alicia Keys is in the count but Bon Jovi not!!! haha wow that´s Amazing! haha or Justin Timberlake? My Gosh! that is ridiculous ….. and the worst for me and for many people.. the WORST is to have Michael Jackson as the number 2 just besides the Beatles???? o My Gosh that is something really really crazy, and the main reason because i prefer now mtv or any other channel but VH1. Good luck with your taste and tumbs down for this count.. is the worst in the world believe me, it seems like a cheap magazime count…

            **I’m sorry for any language error i could make in this comment**

          • Just to add to your comment, you’re right about Bon Jovi. They should be on the list. Its funny that VHI had one of their greatest songs of all-time (can’t remember if its 80′s or 90′s) and Bon Jovi had the #1 song, but can crack the list as artist.

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          • You have zero understanding of music… or how this list was formed for that matter. To make it as objective as possible, they tried to rank it based on influence. You can’t put Coldplay in the top #20 when they haven’t make nearly as much of an impact as nearly every band on this list. Hell, I don’t think they should even be on here. Awards don’t mean shit. Get off your ass and go listen to a real band with creative drive and musical ingenuity. Chris Martin is just a Thom Yorke that can’t write lyrics to save his life and needs a pretty face to cover it up.

            P.S. Frank Sinatra????????????????

          • You have zero understanding of trolls.

          • It’s based on influence, not awards. Coldplay hasn’t been around long enough to make a huge impact on music. I hope to god that you’re a troll, because if not, you’re a fucking lunatic moron. Seriously, of all the bands to be obsessively defending, you pick COLDPLAY?! Sad…

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      • Not to metion Dr DRE wtf? not even on there. He has produced more albums, artists, recordings that have hit the top of the charts, not only that but put Cali on the map, as well as Gansta Rap ( with a little help from Snopp, 2PAC and a few others) the man is a fuckin phenomenal, but not there, let alone below Jay-Z. NWA should be waaaayyyyyyy higher than they are. Jay-Z brags about himself every, i mean every song. ok J we know that you sold crack, we know you came from nothing, we know that you where head of a record label. Fuck enough already. And again coldplay? Dude enough that got like one album that sold a bunch, wtf. In that case Marky Mark sold a shit ton of albums he should be on here. Wheres Tool. WTF?! Maynards voice could give chills to Satan himself. Justin really that high? Ok, great artist. Greaaaaat artist to play if you want panties dropped. Busted out of that horrible boy band…yes. top 100….fuck no. Radiohead is a fucking joke. A fucking Joke. Good solid band, HUGE CULT following. top 100…..FUCK NO. let me repeat….FUCK NO!!!!!!! top 200 FUCK NO!!!! If you said top 10 for Best Cult following, understandable. as well as The Misfits, Which in my opinion The Misfits took punk, TOOK punk slammed to the ground, whipped its narly cock out, pissed on, stomped on, helped back up, stabbed with a Bowie knife several times in the gut, then asked “Hey punk rock, want more?” then ate it. The misfits baby Punk legends, not fags that have long hair and sing about a girl named Sheena, or a Labotomies.

        • I pretty much agree with you ‘cept on two things:
          1. Dre is amazing, put he’s a producer not an artist.
          2. You can hate on Radiohead’s cult following (we are dicks), but that doesn’t change the fact that they are the most critically acclaimed band of the last 15 years who have put the most creative energy into expanding their music. There’s nothing like Radiohead right now and I doubt there will ever be in the near future.

          +1 for mentioning The Misfits

          • Ah 1. Dre is an artist
            2. I agree Radiohead belongs but to rank them higher than Jonny Cash or Aerosmith who have much larger bodies of work, have been relevant for much longer and way more hits and fans

          • 1. Gah, I feel like an idiot. I’ve never heard any of his discography before. :x
            2. Agreed, they should have been somewhat lower. They have yet to have the sort of impact many of the classic rock and metal bands on the list have.

        • technically by putting NWA they put Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, DJ Yella and MC Ren.,

      • 2PAC should be the highest rated hip-hop artist period!!! Mariah Carey should also be rated much higher as well! I guess having the most number one songs of all time don’t get you much respect now a days!!!

    • I find it disturbing and quite frankly, fucked up that Maynard James Keenan and his brotherhoods of elite musicians, whether it be Tool or A Perfect Circle were missing from the so called “all time greats” list! It’s surprising that artists with such amazing and unique talents could be omitted and overlooked.

    • Holy fucking dog balls!!!! ColdPlay really? really guys ColdPlay? Fine i can deal with that, but in10, 15, or 20 years will they be there? and Black Sabbaths Position WHAT THE FUCK the band that literally, FUCKING LITERALLY CHANGED they way people play, not only that but kicked the hippies in the face. Not only that, DIO?!!!!! WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!! people, he created, FUCKING CREATED the rock in roll symbol we use as rockers when we head bang, not only that the man is fucking prolific songwriter. Sade…who the fuck is that ( i know who she is its sarcasm) and AC/DC, do you know how many rythems hip hop artists and rap artists use from AC/DC, let alone the countless remakes we here of AC/DC? I agree with Beatles and Bob, But Jimmy so low. LOWER than the fuckin pedaphile Mike jackson really? Micheal only was up there becuase he recently passed away and VH1 would proly get emails pouring in about how he deserves it….BS. He is talented yes, Awsome dancer, and changed the way hip hop dancers dance today yes, top 5….fuck no. Let alone above fuck GOD. aka JIMI….
      Last two things, Beyonce, Beatiful, yes. Woman power, positive yes. on this list….NO. Top 200 yes. VH1 should be ashamed of this list and the outcome. People have lost there damn minds….and as for that you want to talk about top hits and #1′s, as well as THE face of Country…George Strait. But nope not in these times. You mention country music now, and automatically you are a rap/hip hop hating white trash redneck that has no understanding of music. BULLSHIT! Not one damn country artist on here. By the way…If Lemme got into a fight with God, who would win? If you do not know the answer you should not, ever fucking post your close minded ignorant opinions again let alone share them with any one. STUDY YOUR MUSIC ALL OF IT. all types and then talk to me.

    • P.S. VH1 really hates jazz

      • I think the list was BADLY skewed with young voters and black voters that were over represented. Lets put it this way M&M is by FAR the best rapper ever but is not as high as several rappers. Alicia Keyes? Are you serious? on this list. ELvis is the greatest single Performer of all time. He changed Music. He wrote he played he entertained.He is dead thirty years and people still visit him. How he is not Number 2 I dont get it. Michael Jackson is HUGE and deserves high status but NOT NUMBER TWO He had a long young career and then really became huge. . No Eagles? Are you Kidding? Chicago Not on the list? I also understand that Jimi Hendrix is (one of the) greatest guitar players but he was only around ten minutes deserves to be on the list for sure but like Janis Joplin. thats a lot of romantic bummer they died as junkies voting. He was great his singing was Ok He did not change music in my opinion as much as Nirvana another unfortunate story. He was almost always a drugged up drug addict playing below his potential. Imagine if he wasnt stoned out of his head all the time!! Whoopie. Other artists that put in Many years deserve more credit that a bunch of Heroin junkies that died a few years after they started. My top ten would be as follows….

        1. Beatles so obvious (leaving Lennon and McCartney off additional) The added careers of the separate Beatles added to this makes it a runaway.
        2. Elvis also obvious (remember dummies the KING out ranks the Prince of pop and Prince
        3. Bob Dylan I would accept him at number two He wrote half the songs everyone sang but could NOT sing like Elvis or dance or carry a crowd like the KING.
        4. Led Zeppelin Changed heavy metal to a standard so high Best hard rock writer Best Drummer Best Front man for heavy rock (sorry Ozzy)
        5. Michael Jackson Moon walk Thriller biggest album ever
        6. Prince always coming in second to Michael but Prince is like Dylan writing tons of songs other people sing. Prince did NOT change Music like Michael did.
        7.Madonna By far the greatest female performer ever. Amazing songs and voice. She deserves to be in the top ten though I am not much of a fan personally.
        8. Bob Marley….because he represented an entire Genre of Music from which stemmed other music and he is so distinct a true icon.
        9.Eric Clapton SO much to say I cant believe he is not on the top ten. Mentioning him as a member of Cream only is a disgrace to this list. how many decades does he have to have top rated songs?
        10.U2 top band of the 80′s and the 90′s what the hell else do you have to do. they are hugeness. you cant dominate two decades and not be on the list.

        Honorable mentions
        Bruce Springstein
        Johnny Cash
        Neil Young
        Elton John
        Jimi Hendrix
        Pink Floyd

        Where is Buddy Holly? Eagles? Chicago?
        One more time I LOVE ALicia Keyes but beyonce and Alicia….neither belong here

        • I think ur tope 10 can be acceptable although I would include Queen and Abba and take out Eric Clapton, Prince and even Bob Dylan…I think Bob is being too overrated as an artist and has basically being some kind of US flag, not with a worldwide appeal…same goes for Eric Clapton, he may be an extraordinary guitarist but didn’t revolution anything indeed…not even anything superficial…and Prince, the same goes for him…just because he’s a prolific artist doesn’t mean he caused a huge impact other than the “Purple Rain” era and his too sexual kitch lyrics…lol…I think Abba and Queen made much more of an impact in Music and Pop-Rock Culture…whether Freddy might have been too flamboyant, or Abba’s music might have been too perfect pop…Also, there’s much more merit in an artist when he/she/they achieve long relevant careers in an always changeable, inconstant Music Market than an artist like Cobain who kills himself and becomes some kind of a “legend” and gets placed in this list above Madonna, Pink Floyd, Queen or Abba…that’s why i think the top 100 positions do not make sense at all….and yes, Alicia and Beyonce do not deserve under no premise to be in this list, simply because if there’s a reason for including them them they should also include acts like Alanis Morrissette,Björk or even Britney, this lattest one matching Beyonce’s flat-supercial-esque music…….

        • Your list is better than the VH1 ranking, that’s for sure. If it’s influence for all time, then it would probably have to go: 1) Bach, 2) Mozart, 3) Beethoven. I’m surprised you didn’t put the Rolling Stones or the Who in the honorable mentions. Also, I’d probably rank Stevie Wonder higher than Jackson or Prince considering how much he influenced them, if influence is the criteria.

          In fact, if they were doing it by influence then 50s and 60s artists should get more weight considering what they shaped, so Chuck Berry and James Brown would deserve a lot of weight by that criteria. So would the Beach Boys and Traffic.

          But here’s another thought — influence in terms of what? Performance? Musical Vocabulary? Vocalizing? I think they need a better criteria than “influence.”

        • Ok…I think your list is good, but the top three should beatles, elvis and michael jackson. Doesn’t matter what order you put them in because they are the greatest of all time. Their influence is unmeasureable. Secondly, Micheal Jackson is not the prince of pop, he is the king of pop!

        • if you want to talk about influence, lenght of time, hits, albums sales, money earned, radio play, concert tickets sold, money generated, movies, historical events, creativeness of albums, then it would have to be Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Led Zep. anybody else can get in line behind them. Rappers didn’t do squat for music. Rappers can’t play instruments, don’t write music. Alicia Keyes, I mean really! WTF who has she influenced? total Barbara Striesand list, B.S. The Who at 13! amazing!

    • WTF do you mean you retard. Otis Redding and REM and the NWA are better than Jay Zs dumb ass.

    • Wow! no Sam Cooke or CCR?! tupac should easily be top 20. im sorry but i think MJ should be #1. wheres ZAPPA and Sinatra?! ill put morrissey instead of talking heads any day! coldplay is whack! shouldnt be on the list……Santana should be on here. buddy holy, van morrison

    • Jay -Z? The greatest of ALL TIME!? What? What has he done? He sampled Shirley Temple and that is it right? His mono-toned rapping just doesn’t cut it. There are 100′s of rappers better than him…Ice-T, Ice Cube, Tupac, Slim Shady, 50 Cent, even Too Short is better than him. The only reason he is on the pedestal he’s on is because he’s a better business man than rapper and he married Beonyce. Enough of Jay Z. 10 years from now no one will be talking about him anymore.

      • This is not a rap list to begin with, this is a list of REAL artists, rappers are not artists, they have no talent at all, they can’t sing crap..

    • I think its bull shit that they have green day on here and not even blink 182, or have frank sanitra, or any big country artist like kenny chesney which im sure hes had more hits then half the people on this list like seriously this list is shit where 50 cent im sure he has enough to be on here and wheres phil colins? or where is jimmy buffet like seriously idk if i ever heard of a jimmy buffet concert not bein sold out this list is bad

      • Kenny Chesney is not influential in any way. The reason country artists are never included on list like these is because their music is trite and meaningless. Jimmy Buffet was just unique, not talented enough to be top 200 artists of all time. There are so many more bands that should be included in this list instead of KC and JB. For example, Smashing Pumpkins, RHCP, Chicago, Sonic Youth, The Eagles.

      • Smashing Pumpkins definitely plus Red hot Chili peppers

    • And there’s a group of people that exist on this plane of earth who think, in the context of the 100 greatest artists, the question is not where is Jay-Z, but who is Jay-Z?

    • Especially Otis. What is he doing all the way down at 68?

    • As far as Im concerned, you all are full of fucking shit. At what fuckin’ point do we see fuckin’ Jay-fuckin’ faggot Z more of a musical influence than Ozzy Osbourne (who isn’t listed here). And what ever happened the The Scorpions, Cradle of Filth, Venom, Slayer, Motley Crue, Sting, Rod Stweart, Meatloaf, Jimmy Buffet, The Misfits, the Carpenter, The Momas and the Popas, Red Hot chili Peppers, Bush, Alice Cooper and Linkin Park, just to name a few. Maybe we should kick off some of this pop bull-faggot-shit for fuckin’ Tinkerbell and lable music that actually matters. Maybe we should Grow some fuckin’ balls and redo this, Shall we………. Kick out the Jams, man………

    • Jay-Z would have never been born if it weren’t for Funkadelic.

    • Jay-Z, really? lol. Get a clue, man. How about Buddy Holly not being on this list?!? I love how the Beatles are number one and both McCartney and Lennon said that Buddy Holly was a huge influence for them (not to mention a pioneer of rock and roll) and he got outsted by Alicia Keys. Sorry VH1- FAIL!

    • outkast, nwa/? jay z? i mean gay z?, this is not a rap list, this is for REAL artists, rappers are not artist to begin with, hey can’t sing…………….

    • This Vh1 list is Barbara Streisand, B.S. The Who at 13! I mean really! Non of these talentless rappers influenced anybody. I am really Alicia Keys! Who the hell did she influence? If you want to talk about talent, hits, creative albums, lenght of time playing live or in studio, money earned, movies, concerts, creativeness, radio play, influence, history, being able to play a fucking instrument, then you would have to say Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Led Zepplin and everybody else can get in line. Rappers need not apply.

    • Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Led Zepplin, everybody else can get in line. Total Barbara Striesand list, B.S. Alice Keys! gimme a break! she didnt influence anybody.

    • seriously where the fuck is blink 182, greenday, 50 cent??? these people were the early 2000 god damn

    • wheres willie nelson???? why aint ray charles in the top ten the doors in the top 15????? carlos santana in the top ten???? cmon

    • I am amazed that Yes didn’t even hit your brains!!! on thebest all time guitarist, Steve Howe is #22; Chris Squire on the bass is listed as #1; Rick Wakeman on keyboards is ranked #2; and last, the drummer Alan White is listed at #50, but noone even considered all this talent?? someone was smoking too much crack!

  2. You’d think Red Hot Chili Peppers and Chicago would be on there…

  3. JT is only at 66! His put his dick in a damn box and sung about it. wtfits.

  4. Alicia Keys: Greater Than Nina Simone since 2010.

    • Seriously? Why? People have their own views on music. Artists in their own genre are going rank the music they are involved with higher so to have the audacity to call this list the greatest artists of all time is a fucking joke. Stick to ranking your own music and don’t give me a list where chamillionare and lil john have an input. plus having coldplay abba and justin timberlake on it doesn’t help

  5. @rex YOU RULE. Coulnt have said it better myself.

  6. and probably the only list in existence, where u will see Radiohead and Aerosmith in the same category

    • Anyone who thinks Radiohead is exactly one degree better than Aerosmith is not worthy of my time.

      Also, KISS at 56. KISS “better” than R.E.M., The Stooges, and forty-one other musicians. Hell, KISS on the list AT ALL. I will never understand what baby boomers see in those pseudo-clowns.

      • well wasn’t really born where Aerosmith had any general relevance of being extraordinary ,so im a little biased on that opinion but i still feel radiohead are way better artist than Aerosmith.

        • Oh, I agree completely… I guess I didn’t say it as clearly as I intended. Radiohead are arguably one of the most creative and critically lauded bands of their time. Aerosmith in their heyday were considered a second-rate version of the Rolling Stones, and have basically been a joke for the last twenty-five years or so. All I was saying is that a one-spot difference between the two is practically insulting.

          • Ahhh i gotcha,im still surprised Radiohead got on “this” list in the first place,i’m still more focused on the no freaking Miles Davis,Frank Zappa or fucking Bob Dylan come on this list wasn’t even done by VH1

        • ok so aerosmith winning 3 grammies selling multi platinum records only in the 90′s is a joke? yup aerosmith is a joke!

  7. I fucking hate lists.

    • Lists are useful when they rank the top forty new bands of 2010 or the one with 69 decent bands releasing this year, but this list is completely unnecessary. I liked stereogum because they focussed on many artists I thoroughly enjoy, and did not have useless garbage swarming their cite. I can’t agree more with the comment by iwalrus, stating simply “why”. Stereogum doesn’t need to reissue everything pitchfork and vh1 and rollingstone do; there are reasons to visit all these sites, and I feel stereogum is losing their focus and ruining great tool for staying updated on good music and artists.

  8. No Pavement?

    Pitchfork’s going to be PISSSSSSSED.

  9. This is the most ridiculous list of all time. 100 greatest “Artists?” The idea that something like this could ever be quantified is insulting to us and everyone on the list.

    And Queen is “Greater” than Pink Floyd?? Coldyplay matters? ABBA and Green Day?? What about Frank Sinatra (since this isn’t rock)? What about all the great songwriters, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin? What about all the jazz greats? What the fuck does “artist” even mean in this context?

    Fuck VH1, they should stick to bullshit reality shows.

    • I agree – Pink Floyd is better than Queen. I love Queen but they would be 9 or 10 on my list. Pink Floyd should be number 2 with Zeppelin being number 1. Obviously, this list wasn’t the top rock artists but some on the list are shocking!

  10. LL Cool J, finally getting the recognition he deserves!

  11. The Pixies don’t qualify.

  12. Here’s about 50 that probably deserve in a few slots on the list. No particular order.

    King Crimson
    Frank Zappa
    The Allman Brothers
    Guided by Voices
    Miles Davis
    A Tribe Called Quest
    Sam Cooke
    Eric Clapton
    The Yardbird
    Jeff Beck
    The Drifters
    The Deftones
    Snoop Dog
    Isley Brothers
    Merle Haggard
    The Four Tops
    Blue Oyster Cult
    Wu Tang
    Iron Maiden
    Gang of Four
    The Jackson Five
    Willie Nelson
    The Cars
    Simon and Garfunkel
    Stevie Ray Vaughn
    The White Stripes
    Waylon Jennings
    Buddy Guy
    Muddy Waters
    Charlie Parker
    Albert king
    John Coltrane
    Thelonious Monk
    Grateful Dead
    The Flaming Lips
    Nine Inch Nails
    Smashing Pumpkins

  13. lists are stupid

  14. Even by Stupid List Standards, this list is stupid. And if I were Elvis Costello, I’d probably be pissed off (“Twenty critically acclaimed records, avatar of New Wave, genre-busting writer/performer… and I’m behind Sade, Coldplay, ABBA, Steely Dan, five heavy-metal bands, 10 R&B singers who didn’t write their own songs…and Fucking Cheap Trick? Fuck VH1 sideways with a Farfisa…”).

  15. There is a lot to scorn here, VH1, but I’ll pick just one:

    Coldplay? really?

    Oh, sorry, I forgot this is a list from the people who brought you “Hogan Knows Best”, “Charm School with Ricki Lake ” and “”Flavor of Love”.

    VH1 has credibility about musical taste like LiLo has credibility about sobriety.

    • What’s a LiLo?

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      • Dude cold play are assholes. Pantera deserves to be on this list more. They made it big with limited radio play and they could kick the shit out of CP.

      • You can’t even think of a better insult? No wonder you think Coldplay is amazing, YOU are a moron.
        1. You spelled Coldplay wrong.
        2. Many of the bands were influential in other ways besides awards. You know, like actual emotion being felt by many instead of a vote?
        3. Your grammar is terrible. ‘Half them bands’…?
        3. You’ve stated this fact already. We understand that they have won the Album of the Year on all their albums, do you have anything else to offer?
        I’m not usually this ‘mean’ as you will probably say, but you really don’t have good music tastes, and you are really, really f*cking obsessive about Coldplay.

  16. the list is absurd on many levels, but these things are really of no value other than to facilitate debate such as can be seen on this thread…so i suppose its done its job…

    a few observations:

    It is laughable that : grateful dead are excluded; beach boys are #15 (approx 90 seems more appropriate), prince is ahead of elvis, george michael ahead of pearl jam, and that mccartney and lennon get spots in addition to the beatles, oh, and abba?

    I suppose its hard to argue with 1-5, though opinions can differ, i cant really say this is WRONG….

    • It is really laughable, I thought the same thing about the Dead and I am not more than casual fan. Also 100% with you on Pearl Jam have been lucky enough too see them 2 time in last 6 month, once at 10/31 Philly show closing the spectrum, awesome show 3 hours 45 min 30 plus songs no one gives you that now a days, they should at very least be in top 50 IMO. I actually was surprised PJ made list as they get no respect from VH1 or rolling shit mag and other so called music media! I know people are saying VH1 did not make list but they pick the voting pool that seemed very heavy w/ Rap, Hip-Hop and newer bands, which I think really skewed thelist in that direction!

  17. Typical list aimed to please people who listen to top 40 radio.

  18. Is there really any point in arguing about an entirely predictable list (as far as rankings don’t play into it, anyways) made by an unbearably dull and irrelevant network such as Vh1, the top spot of which could be called before one could even read the word “Of”? Just asking.

  19. Coldplay higher than R.E.M./

  20. Where the hell is Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine?

  21. How the fuck do you get included on this list if you don’t write your own music???

  22. arcade fire deserve a spot on here, at least.

  23. Do we really need to make lists? They’re always going to end up being biased, and no one’s going to agree with them.

  24. lists are FUN!!!

  25. I don’t get this list….

  26. Man, i was pissed off at this list, and then i got pissed off at the comment section. Where the fuck has artistic credibility gone?

  27. I think the worst aspects of these lists is the historical distortion they apply to the heritage of popular music. Once this music is removed from its immediate context it sounds unique and unimaginable – the work of genius. But this is a trick of perspective. Once any artwork is recontextualised there are a thousand or more clues that contributed to its creation. Take a look at any of the artists on this list, and I guarantee that there will be several smaller bands from the period playing music very similar to theirs, as they all at least started off as part of a movement, and became singular later on in their careers. More than this, there are other cultural markers outside of the sphere of popular music that form the shifting fashions of each era. Lists like this undermine historical understandings of the development of pop music and make it seem as if these artists sprang out of nowhere, fully formed. It’s not only a reductive way to discuss music, but it actually obscures part of the heritage it’s meant to be honouring.

    Secondly, to be wildly controversial, I take some issue with the constant lauding of The Beatles. Largely due to the formal considerations of the song as a medium. A song requires both words and melody to be formally correct – and I feel that, although The Beatles’ melodies are exquisite, they are lyrically under-developed. They are kind of like the comfort food of the pop world – in a short burst, they fulfil every need, but under serious scrutiny they lack depth. I guess it depends what you want pop music to be. I think that if a lot of people are happy with the Beatles being the archetype for what a pop band should be, they are ignoring the potential of the medium. Although they are and excellent pop band, and beloved by many, they offered only pure entertainment – remarkably pure – which laid the foundation for today’s largely vacuous pop industry. But I guess the people who make these lists don’t stop to think about music in context, and the cultural legacy of that music.

    Can we stop making lists and make a bit more effort to discuss pop music like we actually care about it?

    • It’s not controversial. It’s just wrong. I can name many Beatles songs with outstanding lyrics.

    • How can you say that the Beatles lyrics are under-developed? Have you ever listened to the White Album, Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper? Apparently not!

    • Would anybody like to quote any of these amazing lyrics?

      • Why do you find it necessary for us to quote the lyrics? All you are going to disagree with everyone. Lyrics affect people in different ways. Why don’t you listen to the albums and decide for yourself? Of course, you probably won’t.

        • I would just like to have this argument using evidence instead of the empty assertions we have (all) already been making.

          • Whadd’ya expect? A bunch of psychoanalyst -literature professor-lyricists?

            AND…..who wrote some of greatest melodies of all time? Not many people can say they attained the level of universal greatness in their profession before the age of 30 that the Beates did…and still do….can you?

            I think that you , sir, have penis envy….SO THERE!

      • Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.
        Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
        Oh, I believe in yesterday.

        I’m not half the man I used to be,
        There’s a shadow hanging over me,
        Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

        Why she had to go
        I don’t know she wouldn’t say.
        I said something wrong,
        Now I long for yesterday.

        Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play.
        Now I need a place to hide away.
        Oh, I believe in yesterday.

        Why she had to go
        I don’t know she wouldn’t say.
        I said something wrong,
        Now I long for yesterday.

        Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play.
        Now I need a place to hide away.
        Oh, I believe in yesterday.
        Mm mm mm mm mm mm mm.

        These are the lyrics to Yesterday, by The Beatles. Beautifully simple, yet profound lyrics. And this is just one that popped into my head. Feel free to look up ANY others. Also, I’ll mention that this song is the MOST covered song in the world, according to Guinness Book of World Records.

        Also, The Beatles had, at one point (I will be lazy and not directly look it up and quote it, but you can if you wish to prove me wrong :) ) had about 6 songs, all in the top 10, within the top 40 hits in America. At once. No one has ever done that before or since. Do you realize how unreal that is? To even have 2 of an artists songs in the top 10 nowadays is a feat. So yeah, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but Suck on that.

        So I say this for everyone, the number one spot will continue to be The Beatles, so go ahead and resume arguing about the placement of #2 – #100. :)

        • True, but remember in July of last year Michael Jackson had 6 of the top 10 best selling albums in the US and in over 30 other international markets all at the same time. Not even the Beatles accomplished that. In fact, MJ is the only one in music history to have that many albums in the Top 10!

        • You do realize that many of their songs were not actually written by Paul and John. There was a “Fifth Beatle” that never really got credit. I made this stupid account just to write this (see my name?)
          So if you were an artist (Elvis) who influenced the supposed “greatest artist of all time” (beatles, sure “best artists) Shouldnt you be considered god? I mean they wouldn’t have gotten into music unless it was for the Don’t Be Cruel record. And Elvis CREATED this music. He was the first TO MIX genres. Black and white music of the time, created rock and roll. So if you created past present and future music. then you are the greatest artist of all time. (P.S. Thank god there are such few of the Beatles left, it’s like God spread the Red Sea of shitty music.)

        • Hey!! Is Celine Dion here???How about Sinatra???Anyway,Led Zeppelin is better than the Beatles,they were responsable for breaking their record set.I heard Robert Plant saying in a interview about how Elvis Presley wanted to meet the band that was selling tikets faster than him.The Beatles were NOT pioners,becose it was the same Rock and Roll of th 50′s.They just made it better.Led Zeppelin changed the world with new Blues rock,Metal,Folk,Country and Mithycal Rock.There is no doubt,The Beatles were the most famus band ever,but Led Zeppelin was better in terms of music.The Beatles should be #3,Zeppelin #2 and Michael should be #1.”Bye the way” where the hell is Ricky Martin,Menudo,Selena or Shakira,they should be in this list,they brought a new movement;”Latin Flavor” How about Santana???Not even the Jackson 5 is in this list.But you wanna know why this list is so mest up?well the fact that a band called ”The Band”(#85) is in a better spot than Mariah Carey(#94).

      • “Words are flying out like
        endless rain into a paper cup
        They slither while they pass
        They slip away across the universe
        Pools of sorrow waves of joy
        are drifting thorough my open mind
        Possessing and caressing me
        Jai guru deva om
        Nothing’s gonna change my world
        Images of broken light which
        dance before me like a million eyes
        That call me on and on across the universe
        Thoughts meander like a
        restless wind inside a letter box
        they tumble blindly as
        they make their way across the universe
        Sounds of laughter shades of life
        are ringing through my open ears
        exciting and inviting me
        Limitless undying love which
        shines around me like a million suns
        It calls me on and on across the universe”

        “And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree,
        there will be an answer, let it be.
        For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see,
        there will be an answer. let it be.
        Let it be, let it be, …..
        And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,
        shine until tomorrow, let it be.
        I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me,
        speaking words of wisdom, let it be. ”

        “I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
        While my guitar gently weeps
        With every mistake we must surely be learning
        Still my guitar gently weeps
        I don’t know how you were diverted
        you were perverted too
        I don’t know how you were inverted
        no one alerted you
        I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
        While my guitar gently weeps
        I look at you all
        Still my guitar gently weeps ”

        “Something in the way she moves,
        Attracts me like no other lover.
        Something in the way she woos me.
        I don’t want to leave her now,
        You know I believe and how.
        Somewhere in her smile she knows,
        That I don’t need no other lover.
        Something in her style that shows me.
        I don’t want to leave her now,
        You know I believe and how.
        You’re asking me will my love grow,
        I don’t know, I don’t know.
        Stick around, and it may show,
        But I don’t know, I don’t know.
        Something in the way she knows,
        And all I have to do is think of her.
        Something in the things she shows me.
        I don’t want to leave her now.
        You know I believe and how”

        “There are places I’ll remember
        All my life, though some have changed
        Some forever, not for better
        Some have gone and some remain
        All these places had their moments
        With lovers and friends, I still can recall
        Some are dead and some are living
        In my life, I’ve loved them all
        But of all these friends and lovers
        There is no one compares with you
        And these memories lose their meaning
        When I think of love as something new
        Though I know I’ll never lose affection
        For people and things that went before
        I know I’ll often stop and think about them
        In my life, I’ll love you more
        Though I know I’ll never lose affection
        For people and things that went before
        I know I’ll often stop and think about them
        In my life, I’ll love you more ”

        “You are me and we are all together”
        -I am the walrus

        “And in the end,
        the love you take,
        is equal to the love you make”
        -The End

        “take these broken wings and learn to fly”

        “all you need is love”

        “living is easy with eyes closed
        misunderstanding all you see
        it’s getting hard to be someone
        but it all works out
        it doesn’t matter much to me”
        -strawberry fields forever

        And that’s just out of a few of their “popular” songs…

      • We were talking-about the space between us all
        And the people-who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion
        Never glimpse the truth-then it’s far too late-when they pass away.
        We were talking-about the love we all could share-when we find it
        To try our best to hold it there-with our love
        With our love-we could save the world-if they only knew.
        Try to realize it’s all within yourself
        No-one else can make you change
        And to see you’re really only very small,
        And life flows ON within you and without you.
        We were talking-about the love that’s gone so cold and the people,
        Who gain the world and lose their soul-
        They don’t know-they can’t see-are you one of them?
        When you’ve seen beyond yourself-then you may find, peace of mind,
        Is waiting there-
        And the time will come when you see
        we’re all one, and life flows on within you and without you.

      • Yes I’m lonely wanna die
        Yes I’m lonely wanna die
        If I ain’t dead already
        Ooh girl you know the reason why.

        In the morning wanna die
        In the evening wanna die
        If I ain’t dead already
        Ooh girl you know the reason why.

        My mother was of the sky
        My father was of the earth
        But I am of the universe
        And you know what it’s worth
        I’m lonely wanna die
        If I ain’t dead already
        Ooh girl you know the reason why.

        The eagle picks my eye
        The worm he licks my bones
        I feel so suicidal
        Just like Dylan’s Mr. Jones
        Lonely wanna die
        If I ain’t dead already
        Ooh girl you know the reason why.

        Black cloud crossed my mind
        Blue mist round my soul
        Feel so suicidal
        Even hate my rock and roll
        Wanna die yeah wanna die
        If I ain’t dead already
        Ooh girl you know the reason why.

      • I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink
        I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink
        I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink

        I’m so tired I don’t know what to do
        I’m so tired my mind is set on you
        I wonder should I call you but I know what you would do

        You’d say I’m putting you on
        But it’s no joke, it’s doing me harm
        You know I can’t sleep, I can’t stop my brain
        You know it’s three weeks, I’m going insane
        You know I’d give you everything I’ve got
        for a little peace of mind

        I’m so tired, I’m feeling so upset
        Although I’m so tired I’ll have another cigarette
        And curse Sir Walter Raleigh
        He was such a stupid get.

        You’d say I’m putting you on
        But it’s no joke, it’s doing me harm
        You know I can’t sleep, I can’t stop my brain
        You know it’s three weeks, I’m going insane
        You know I’d give you everything I’ve got
        for a little peace of mind
        I’d give you everything I’ve got for a little peace of mind
        I’d give you everything I’ve got for a little peace of mind

      • I look at all the lonely people
        I look at all the lonely people

        Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
        Lives in a dream
        Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
        Who is it for?

        All the lonely people
        Where do they all come from?
        All the lonely people
        Where do they all belong?

        Father McKenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
        No one comes near.
        Look at him working, darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there
        What does he care?

        All the lonely people
        Where do they all come from?
        All the lonely people
        Where do they all belong?

        Ah, look at all the lonely people
        Ah, look at all the lonely people

        Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
        Nobody came
        Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
        No one was saved

        All the lonely people
        Where do they all come from?
        All the lonely people
        Where do they all belong?

    • Point One. I agree entirely.

      Point Two. For the most part you make the integral points for why the Beatles should lauded at #1. You state “people are happy with the Beatles being the archetype for what a pop band should be” and “they offered only pure entertainment – remarkably pure – which laid the foundation for today’s largely vacuous pop industry” , I agree, thats why they win. But whats more is, the fact we engage pop music on serious artistic terms is due to the accomplishments of the Beatles.

      As far as Beatle lyrics go you make a valid point. But encourage you to remember the staggering youth of the Beatles before their isolating fame. By 1963 John and Ringo were 22 and Paul and George were 19. At that point they ceased to live “real” lives. That kind of fame warped Michael Jackson, had Tom Cruise jumping on couches and bitching about psychiatry, and made Britney Spears shave her head. As such, they had to make it up. Some things they did well, others not so much. They were young when they wrote that stuff, and we love it when we are young. But the Beatles do not grow old (the were done before 30) and we do. We look at these lyrics with older/wiser/jaded/ eyes. When we do it seems simple, idealistic, inconsequential, dare I say juvenile.

      John in particular really suffers from bing stuck as an adolescent. Imagine, which might his best lyric would have a hard time winning an 8th grade poetry contest. That being said he stopped producing music/art in his early thirties (with the exception of Double Fantasy). His career is permenanty frozen in that stage of life. But we get older, and our view changes with our aging.

      Paul and George continued to produce over the years and as such grow into adult artists. One wonders what the Beatles would have been had the Beatles remained a single productive unit.
      I whole heartedly believe that they would have resolved their lyrical shortcomings if they had remained in tact.

      • @fabbig: “Whadd’ya expect? A bunch of psychoanalyst -literature professor-lyricists?
        AND…..who wrote some of greatest melodies of all time? Not many people can say they attained the level of universal greatness in their profession before the age of 30 that the Beates did…and still do….can you?”

        Would it really be naive or stupid to expect that the greatest artists in a given medium are also those who have achieved the highest level of expression within that medium? And, given that the pop song is a medium which formally encompasses both melody and lyric, surely then it’s not unreasonable to expect both to be of a high standard. To say that it doesn’t matter that the Beatles’ lyrics weren’t incredible because they wrote great melodies is ignoring half of the form of pop music.

        Also, you seem to have posted some of their worst lyrics.

        “I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink
        I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink
        I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink


        And that Dylan reference, really really? It’s lazy more than anything. I guess it’s fair enough since they were pumping out this stuff at a prodigious rate, but it’s just not that good lyrically. It tells me nothing about my life that I couldn’t just spout in fifteen minutes of cliche to some stranger in a pub.

        p.s. my penis is monolithic


        Yesterday is a beautiful song, and admittedly those lyrics are perfect for the melody. That is not to say that they are profound; in fact they rely on cliche and vague nostalgia and only seem profound because they are coupled with a stunningly evocative melody. The lyrics, in that context, are evocative. They are more symbols for a vague universal nostalgia than anything descriptive of a singular emotion. That’s fine, it works. But universality is a tough line to tread, as you risk straying into cliche, which the Beatles did over and over again (to be fair, they invented some of the cliches). Look up any Beatles lyrics. Try reading them without imagining the melody, I’ll bet you can’t. The Beatles wrote good melodies foremost and lagged behind in terms of lyricism.

        Secondly, popularity is no measure of quality.

        Thirdly, you fail to put the Beatles in perspective. They operated within a much smaller music industry. You’re right, no-one has done that before or since, and probably, they never will, because the amount of artists releasing singles today is so much higher. There’s practically a completely different top ten every week. But I accept your point. They were very popular. And still are, apparently, from the number of disciples they have on these boards.


        “Words are flying out like
        endless rain into a paper cup
        They slither while they pass
        They slip away across the universe
        Pools of sorrow waves of joy
        are drifting thorough my open mind
        Possessing and caressing me
        Jai guru deva om”

        That’s just LSD-tinged nonsense. Come on! Think. That says nothing about anything. It’s just a vague notion that everything is connected and we’re just drifting around the universe on a cosmic rainbow. Man.


        Firstly, thanks for leaving a thoughtful reply and not just telling me how great the Beatles are and what a dickhead I am.

        I take your point about the Beatles opening the floodgates for intelligent music criticism. I also take your point about their youth as they hit the big time. However, I’d like to qualify it further – there are two sides to that point about their popularity; as they acheived the kind of success that makes a lot of people, on this board included, cite them as one of the greatest bands ever, that very success contributed to an artistic under-development. Instead of wondering how great the Beatles could have been had they continued longer, I wonder how great they could have been if they’d have become famous later, and endured some epic struggles on their path to fame. I guess there’s no use speculating though, it is what it is.

        I don’t know. In a way I’m suspicious of the universal praise the Beatles receive. It just seems lazy to me, an excuse to not think about their music. “Oh yeah the Beatles are the greatest of all time.” Well, why? And really? And on what criteria? That’s all I’m trying to thrash out. Rather than just acclaiming them, I want to appraise them. It’s got nothing to do with bitterness or the need to provoke reaction. I’m just genuinely interested in pop music as a form, it’s limitations and it’s successes, and discussing them thoughtfully.

        • I hear what you are saying about the Beatles being a little weak lyrically early on, but there is a bigger picture. The reason they NEED to be #1 on this list, and any other subsequent lists of this nature, is because of the EFFECT. I love John Lennon. I feel he was just about the greatest artist ever and love his music. But the Beatles changed the way music was made. Period. Changed the way it was recorded. Part of me thinks we should get specific and say The Beatles plus George Martin, but it was The Beatles so that’s the end of it. Can you make an argument that another artist had MORE of an influence on music and musicians? If you tried, all the musicians themselves would rebuke that argument..

          • I agree completely with clevis 44. It is ridiculous to think of any other artist being higher ranked then the Beatles. Pop and Rock were never the same after the Beatles came along. They effectively started the British Invasion, so if you are a fan of The Rolling Stones, Moody Blues, The Kinks, Donovan, The Animals, or The Who, you should be extremely grateful for The Beatles opening the door to America. They changed everything about music, and covered many different types of music. Although they were influenced by older artists such as Elvis ( I personally love Elvis too), every artist who was contemporary or has followed after has had to cope with the influence The Beatles left behind.

  28. I stopped taking this poll seriously when I saw Madonna and Nirvana ahead of U2 and Bruce Springsteen.

    • Based on influence, I can understand Nirvana. They f*cking turned the popular music scene upside down over night and shaped the landscape of 90′s rock with a single song. But Madonna?

      P.S. Still freaking out over no Frank Sinatra.

      • Based on influence??? You realize Nirvana put 3 albums out and their biggest song was a Pixies knockoff, correct? How many major indie bands are doing some Springsteen right now? Hold Steady? Arcade Fire? And different phases of U2 still influence a ton of bands. Have you heard any old U2 ever?

        I’m guessing/praying that you’re still a kid. Study up before you start defending bullshit.

        • Erin if your trying to argue that Nirvana does not deserve a spot near the front of any list of great artist your fighting a losing battle. I like U2 and I tolerate all the love for Springstein because I have a soft spot for lyricists and singer-songwriters but they weren’t revolutionary.

          Understand Nirvana didn’t invent punk but they were revolutionary in being a band that made elements of indie, punk, and metal all relevant for the masses. That may be good or bad depending on your opinion but the Pixies were’nt gonna do it and neither was Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Sonic Youth or any other obscure favorite of yours. Your going to say Nirvana isn’t influential? please.

          Some flavor of the week indie darlings are on your iPod and now Springstein and U2 invented r&r.

      • Kurt Cobain playing Bowie’s Man Who Sold The World Made Me Want To Become A True Artist As A Teenager, So I
        Know How Influential He Was And In 3 Years, He Accomplished More Than Anyone Music Ever Has. So I Agree With You On That Aspect But You Are Saying All Of The Legit
        Reasons Why You Think Nirvana Deserved To Make The List But Then You Turn Around And Question Madonna Being On The List?!! I’m Not A Madonna Fan At All, But There Is No Female Musician In The history Of Music That Not Only Was The Most Successful Artist Of Her Generation, But She Was Extremely Unique And Influenced Countless Artists Dong Their Thing Today. GaGa Is Bascally Just A Massive Ripoff Of Madonna, Especially Alejandro Or Whatever That Piece Of Shit Is Called. She Was An Absolute Pioneer & Architect & The 1st Female Artist To Follow In Someone Like David Bowie’s Fogsteps. I’m Not Even A Hige Fan, But She Is A True Artist. I Don’t Understand How TOOL Didn’t Make The list. They Have A Lot Of These Lists & They Always Focus
        on A Certain Genre Of Mysic. This Is Based On ART!! So Radiohead Deserve Their High Spot And Most Musicians Couldn’t Disagree If They Were #4 or #8. As Far As Art Is Concerned, Tools Guitarist Created All Of Their Sick Videos & Their Last Album Won The Grammy For Best Album Cover Art/Packaging. TOOL Have Always Pushed The Blundaries & Their Albums Sell Units Comparable To In, Close To A Million Units In the Feat Week Usually. And Danny Carey Is One Of The Top 5 Greatest Drummers Alive. Every Single Person In The Band Is One Of The Best In The World. Thinking Of Hreat Drummers, I Just Realized DAVE MATTHEWS BAND Aren’t On The List. That Os Absolutely Insane As Well. He Dreams Awake, Sogur Ros, Jeff Buckley and JANE’S ADDICTION

        • Kurt Cobain accomplished more in music than anyone ever has? What? I’ll give you the fact he may be the grunge king but have you ever heard of a guy named Elvis Presley? Kurt gave us the early 90′s. Elvis gave us the 20th century.

          also, Buddy Holly? A man without whom we’d have no Beatles, or Dylan, or even the Stones I’d argue. The man considered the father of rock and roll and dead at 22.

          I appreciate Cobain’s influence, but he had NOTHING on those two.

      • Kurt Cobain playing Bowie’s Man Who Sold The World Made Me Want To Become A True Artist As A Teenager, So I
        Know How Influential He Was And In 3 Years, He Accomplished More Than Anyone Music Ever Has. So I Agree With You On That Aspect But You Are Saying All Of The Legit
        Reasons Why You Think Nirvana Deserved To Make The List But Then You Turn Around And Question Madonna Being On The List?!! I’m Not A Madonna Fan At All, But There Is No Female Musician In The history Of Music That Not Only Was The Most Successful Artist Of Her Generation, But She Was Extremely Unique And Influenced Countless Artists Dong Their Thing Today. GaGa Is Bascally Just A Massive Ripoff Of Madonna, Especially Alejandro Or Whatever That Piece Of Shit Is Called. She Was An Absolute Pioneer & Architect & The 1st Female Artist To Follow In Someone Like David Bowie’s Fogsteps. I’m Not Even A Hige Fan, But She Is A True Artist. I Don’t Understand How TOOL Didn’t Make The list. They Have A Lot Of These Lists & They Always Focus
        on A Certain Genre Of Mysic. This Is Based On ART!! So Radiohead Deserve Their High Spot And Most Musicians Couldn’t Disagree If They Were #4 or #8. As Far As Art Is Concerned, Tools Guitarist Created All Of Their Sick Videos & Their Last Album Won The Grammy For Best Album Cover Art/Packaging. TOOL Have Always Pushed The Blundaries & Their Albums Sell Units Comparable To In, Close To A Million Units In the Feat Week Usually. And Danny Carey Is One Of The Top 5 Greatest Drummers Alive. Every Single Person In The Band Is One Of The Best In The World. Thinking Of Hreat Drummers, I Just Realized DAVE MATTHEWS BAND Aren’t On The List. That Os Absolutely Insane As Well. He Dreams Awake, Sigur Ros, Sublime, Jeff Buckley (Responsible for putting on a Show in England that sent a young Thom Yorke straight to the Recording Studio to record the Vocals to Fake Plastic Trees in ONE TAKE ad beforehand, he

      • I believe Nirvana does belong list, but I think they a bit too high and Pearl Jam, AIC & STP(not on list) all 3 had many more than 1 Great song IMO.

  29. We took VH1′s list for what it’s worth but then put a music documentary spin on it.

  30. Haha! HAHAHAHA!

    HA! HA!


  31. yup The Beatles will be #1 thank you very much and goodnight! :)

  32. If they had just done the top 5, I would have been okay. Can’t argue with that. After that, it’s total mayhem.

  33. A liiiiitttttlllleeee disappointed that Sublime isn’t on there. BUT! Radiohead, Tom Petty, Pearl Jam, Hendrix, Neil Young, Nirvana.

    Hell yes.

  34. Come on people. There’s absolutely no need to get worked up over some ridiculous list like this.. IT WAS DONE BY VH1 FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!!!

    Now.. inhale… exhale… and simply ask yourself, when has VH1 ever done anything containing the slightest bit of importance? Exactly. Move on.

  35. The fact that Bob Dylan, Tool, Leon Russel, Charlie Parker, Count Basie from the origions arent mentioned makes me fearful for the music industry. The new bands like And You Will Know Us By THe Trail Of Dead and Ghostland Observatory are clearly redefining the genre. No Bob Dylan? SHAME

  36. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • Agree 100%, the voters must have not seen the The Flight 666 Documentary were they played too 100,000 fans on nearly ever outdoor show, and put a record 50,000 plus in soccer stadium in Costa Rico that holds 27,000 max. Had a friend that was at the show he is from Costa Rico and said it was the biggest event in countries history and one the Greatest shows he has every been too even though he was not real favad fan, before he seen them.

  37. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  38. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  39. The most glaring omission from this list is logic.

  40. I knew were were in for some bullshit the second Alicia Keys popped up on the screen.

  41. I was Very Pissed that Alica Keys made the list., like really? I knew right there not to take the list seriously?

  42. van halen beats curtis mayfield by a long shot???? that alone should tell you to ignore this list. VH-1 is a shameful display of pop culture

  43. Where the Hell is Iron Maiden?!?! Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers??? And Pink Floyd should be in the top 10 for sure!

  44. I think this list has totally disrespected Hip hop music by making the top artist #47 on this stupid ass list. Tupac and Biggie is in the 60′s on your list thats the craziest thing I have ever seen. Jay-z is the greatest rapper of all-time but Nas should be right behind him. Eminem is a good rapper but if he is any where on this list, Nas should be atleast 15 slots better than him. Who ever thinks Eminem is better than Nas thats someone who does not listen to rap music or just simply smoking crack, and thats not a shot at Eminem, because I like Eminem thats jus how good Nas is. This list just pissed me off. On top of that you disrespect Alicia Keys by just letting her make the list at 100 now thats funny smh. Vhi needs to be taken off the air just because of this stupid ass list.

    • i agree that nas is better than eminem, but hes also better than jayz. and jay as the best of all time? wow that shit is just so nuts

    • How is Jay-Z the greatest rapper? MTV conducted a poll, and viewers voted Tupac as the greatest. More people have bought his albums than any other rapper’s in history. Yet, somehow, he gets placed behind Biggie and Jay-Z. The list as a whole, is awful. It has so many flaws. It’s garbage.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  45. im sorry but how does the best selling female artist of the last decade not make the list…. i mean come on LL Cool J? OUTKAST? Whether you like it or Britney Spears changed pop music, show some respect…

  46. Maynard James Keenan and fellow elite musicians together as Tool and A Perfect Circle not on the list of so called “greatest artists”? Shameful that such natural and unique talents could go unnoticed.

  47. Oh and Billy Tolliver, wtf? Seriously consider professional help or someone might PUNCH you!

  48. They are missing some good ones like Ozzy and Meat Loaf

  49. What else would you expect when “musicians” like John Legend and other modern rappers and shit have a vote. Billy Joel should be higher. It’s sad when the people commentsring during the show say something like “he had so many hits I can’t even count them on my hand!” then why the fuck is he not top 50? Elton John shura been higher, yank Prince out of the top 10, and give some credit to bands like The Allman Brothers, The Eagles, ELO, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Chicago, ZZ Top, and damn the list can go on and on… FUCK Coldplay!!!

  50. Are you kidding me…. where’s system of a down, Slayer, Kid cudi… seriously bob dylan…?!?!?!?!? And how does eminem rank in the 70′s when he’s changed the lives of so many. This is such a dissapointment.

    • Having Eminem in the 70′s shocked me he completely changed rap

    • i completely agree about eminem… he’s seriously the best rapper alive today. the only rappers that should be ahead of him are tupac & biggie (luckily they are) but yea i was pretty pissed when i saw that.

      • Emimem is a great rapper but if he was black he wouldn’t be held in such high regards like he is…I could tell you many rappers better than him and I’m sure he would tell you the same thing himself.

    • I love Kid Cudi, but I totally disagree about him being on this list. Though, since it’s so messed up anyway, why not, throw him up there. But this was supposed to be a list of all time greats. Kid Cudi’s talented but not really HIGHLY known…

  51. The only thing as bad as this list is the myriad horrible comments it has elicited. Double lose.

  52. Coldplay beat out Green Day? Are you F*N serious?

  53. Coldplay got a higher spot on the list than Green Day? Are you F*N serious?!!

  54. OMG how in the heck could the CLASH of all bands(vanhalen,deflepard,) get #22 ,i mean comon who the hell will remember who the heck the clash was after everyone from the 80s is dead, and were the hell was Chicago, good greif Eric clapton, who the heck made this list ?

    • First of all you obviously know nothing about the Clash. I bet the only Clash songs you know are should I stay or should I go and rock the casbah. Let me give you a little lesson on the Clash and maybe you’ll understand why they deserve number 22 on this list. They formed in 1976 and played throughout the 80s but at that point they were no longer what they used to be. The Clash were very inspirational and were one of the bands that led the punk revolution of the 70s. They were the only band, however, to evolve from that and come out with one of the greatest albums of all time, London Calling. They were very eclectic and had music ranging from rock and roll to reggae and even to funk. They were brave enough to speak out against politics and say what they really meant in a time where that wasn’t looked highly upon. So for all of these reasons (and more) the Clash deserve that spot at 22 and in my opinion should be even closer to 1.

    • Your a funny person. Your telling me Def Leopard (who I like) are better than the clash. lol The Clash are heavily deserving of that spot.

  55. did any vh1 people watch or see a patti labelle performance? or do they ever know her at all? im not a fan but she blows me away… watch her on any youtube list and you might change your list (that is if you know the definition of the word ARTIST)…
    and, where’s lionel richie, diana ross and bon jovi?
    how do you rate this list?
    GREATEST ARTIST should be michael jackson (singer, composer, dancer, actor, director, greatest performer on stage i have ever witnessed, best music videos ever, multi awardee, influential, charitable, king of pop, do i need to say more?)

  56. How could the Grateful Dead NOT be on this list??????


  58. No Smiths/Morrissey? No Jefferson Airplane? No Blondie? But…Hall & Oates?? Are they fuck*n’ kidding? Beyounce?/ Notorious Blubber? Yuck. And, I loved Def Leppard, but they do not belong on this list, nor does Cheap Trick..who i also liked. George Michael??..Good grief. Justin TIMBERLAKE? Who did he blow to get on this list?? What a joke.

  59. I understand this is subjective but…

    artists too close to #1:

    Cheap Trick
    The Beach Boys
    *definitely* Nirvana

    Artists not close enought to #1:

    Alicia Keys (top 80)
    Janis Joplin (top 40)
    Pearl Jam (top 75)
    The Doors (top 30)
    Rush (top 50)
    Pink Floyd (top 10)
    Queen (top 10)

    Where are:

    The Eagles?
    The Smashing Pumpkins?

    The Beatles are always chosen as #1 even when people don’t know why, they just pick them. There is no depth to The Beatles, it’s all fun pop. They have good tunes but that’s it. I’d either put Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin as #1. Prince should not be below Elvis, Pink Floyd, Queen, Neil Young, let alone be in the top 20. Aerosmith, AC/DC, and GN’R should definitely be no closer to #1 than Van Halen. The intelligence of Roger Waters is enough to throw Pink Floyd closer to #1 and Freddie Mercury’s talent.

    Why are Paul McCartney and John Lennon on here and not Eric Clapton? He’s probably had the most experience out of all these musicians.

    I don’t know how some of these guys are even on the list (Justin Timberlake, Green Day, Coldplay, etc.) Some don’t even make their own music! I’m glad to see Neil Young low on the list (one of the greatest).

    Overall a crappy list, oh well it’s VH1…

    • *To avoid confusion, my stating Freddy Mercury’s talent refers to Queen, not Pink Floyd (obviously, but not for those who are not familiar with them)

    • Your entire take is invalidated by your comments on the Beatles.

      • I’d love to argue with you but your opinion is your opinion. Invalid to some, valid to others. They are the history of pop, not rock. Cheers

        • brettb3….. ur my idol

        • What about the Beatles isn’t rock?
          Did they make some beautiful melodies that make you think they weren’t hard enough? I think helter skelter is the first attempt at punk by anyone. They wrote their own shit, they experimented with anything and everything. Yes it’s pop but the music they played was clearly rock and roll.

          Everyone thinks that just because they don’t get the Beatles that everyone else is wrong. Well your opinion isn’t original or valid. Every band on the list that you love would tell you the same thing. And Nirvana is very deserving of this list and their rank.

          • I’m sorry, your opinion is your opinion. If somebody here thinks the other is wrong, it’s you who thinks I am wrong. Proof: “Your opinion isn’t original or valid”. I don’t want to come off as an asshole but you’ve pushed me into a corner and I need to defend myself.

            You’re being hypocritical and narrow minded. You’re just another person that can’t stand to hear that someone feels that the Beatles don’t deserve the reigning position in music. I don’t care if my opinion isn’t original because neither is yours. (You clearly aren’t the first person to try to knock me down and tell me my OPINION is wrong). Opinion is neither right nor wrong. Once again, there’s no need to come off so hostile, I feel as though I offended your mother or something. It’s very simple to get the Beatles, they did start off as wanting to be a rock and roll band but they followed as their producer told them to, which ultimately change their style.

            I love them, but to be unwilling to let anyone think that they get a little more credit than they deserve only proves my point, so thank you.

            If anybody else wants to tell me my opinion is wrong please don’t. I’m sorry if I sound like a prick, but it’s my opinion and I obviously thought it up and felt it myself.

    • You my friend are a moron! You obviously have never listened to ANY Beatles music. Only their early music was pop tunes. Name a band that had more number one hits than the Beatles? Name a band that influenced more people in fashion, hair styles and musical styles? Nobody can ever top the brilliant song writing duo of Lennon and McCartney! They were amazing together!

      • I don’t mean to sound offensive but you are being quite the narrow minded bigot. I love the Beatles, and as you can see by others that posted, not referring to the Beatles as the greatest band ever is simply taboo. Can you prove that I ever said they didn’t have a lot of #1 hits? That’s what a pop band does, make hits. I happen to see Pink Floyd as a band with considerably more depth (best concept albums came from them), but you probably don’t agree. I believe that Roger Waters was a greater songwriter than both Lennon and McCartney, but you probably don’t. I can name many artists that show a similar or even greater musical influence like Eric Clapton, The Yardbirds, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, BB King, Chuck Berry, etc. You’ve probably never even listened to some of them or even know who they are, but that’s fine with me. You have a differing opinion, that’s fine with me. You get my point here? I sincerely mean to offer no harm, just a taste of enlightenment. So, as Mr. McCartney once said, why not “live and let die”?

        • Yes yes yes! I am a narrow minded bigot! Although your assumption is based on absolutely NO facts and you know nothing about me! Oh and FYI, I love Pink Floyd. The Wall just happens to be my favorite album and actually I have very extended musical taste. I just happen to know every single one of the artists you named because I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to many different genres of music. You make me laugh.

          • The Wall? We certainly do have different taste, I find Animals to be a better album and very overlooked. But anyways, you shouldn’t be so hostile. I made assumptions as you did about my taste in music. Instead of attacking me and fending for the Beatles why don’t you look at what you’ve typed and admit your faults as have I.

            I’m done here, I’ve only wasted my time and yours, but my stance with the Beatles remains. If I had one song to use to describe the Beatles, it would be “Welcome to the Machine” from Wish You Were Here.

            Goodbye and good day.

    • Clapton made as part of Cream

    • Great post!
      While I understand this list is subjective and everyone will want their favorite artists high on the list people need to be realistic.
      I also think that in order to be considered a top artist you need to write your own music, play your own music as well as be influential. That would knock a lot of this list though, especially some of the newer fan favorites.

      If people say the list is judged on influence where is Grand Master Flash?
      How about….

      Lionel Richie? Phil Collins/Genisis?

      Clapton HAS to be up there on the list and I didn’t even see him on the list, that is a JOKE!

      What about Trevor Rabin, how much writing has he done for some popular movies, artist let alone what he did for Yes? Granted he didn’t do anything solo so that is probably why he is not on the list.

      Again it is how you define “artist” because I think Rush in what I define as an artist would be WAY up there on the list. They have evolved over time and they were heavily influential on some of the artists that are higher then them. Not to mention how good they are at playing their music.

      I have to agree that VH1 has some BAD choices when it comes to their lists!

      • Yes alone should be there, Yes is just an amazing band and Steve Howe is one of my all time favorite guitarists. Fragile is a great album and Tales from Topographic Oceans is an amazing concept album. Very unique band.

      • Clapton was an innovator just as Hendrix was, yet no love… Also would have liked to see Styx up there, especially if they are gonna give props to someone like Justin Timberlake almost half way down the list…. Most of these newer artists don’t even write their own music (Beyonce and JT for example). Songs like “Single Ladies” have taken over the airwaves, sending classics like Clapton to a grave in the back of the entertainment department at your local wal-mart… It takes the death of Michael for people to realize how important he was as an artist (not a defendant in court). So from here on out, we must suffer through “waking up in the morning feeling like P.Diddy” until another great passes away, at which point we can hear over priviledged kids talk about how these people inspired them so much that they voted them no. 77 on the best artists of all time, just behind the guy who brought sexy back. It sucks

        • Clapton is so so very overlooked. He is still throwing music out today, and it still sounds good. I just love that he stays out of the limelight. I wish he got more credit, but I wouldn’t change a thing about him.

    • Go buy Abbey Road you fucking twat. The Beatles are the opposite of pop. When they came out, they were the most original band of all time. They are still the greatest band of all time as well, and to argue that would just be fruitless. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the greatest album of all time. You have no idea what you are talking about.

  60. how can the doors be 65? they should be way higher. vh1 is crazy jim morrision was def a icon and an artist to change the music industry forever

  61. hey what about bowie?sade beat bowie?she had one good record he lasted for decades!

  62. i personally love nirvana, they should be at least in the top ten, and ppl, artists, not vh1, voted for the list

    • Nirvana can suck it overated!!! Alice n Chains was before them and better! And what the hell no srv or the eagles. Vh1-assholes

      • Agree 100% Nirvana is probably one of the most overated bands in history, no way a band that made 3 albumns and had really 1 Good or Great song depending on taste should be 1 position behind one of the greatest bands of all time the F-ng WHO, get the f out out here. I also mention AIC, Pearl Jam & STP as bands that had many more great songs and all 3 were much better live as seen them all back in the day. I worked venue security late 80′-to early 2002 and had chance to meet some of these guys and can say this w/o a doubt Kurt Cobain was a complete Jack Ass, Rock Star(which he always claimed not to want), he had no time for fans or staffers who were fans. On other hand I seen Eddie Vedder hang out for nearly 30 minutes waiting for one our female staffers to retrieve CD & Tee-Shirt she wanted signed, complete class act and seemed liked a regular guy, will always respect that, as we were often treated like shit by many bands that came through.

        • Nirvana made three albums yes, but they created a new genre was the biggest, most succesful band during there time and that decade, and they changed the music landscape.. How is that overrated. There fitting in the top 20..

  63. This thread is hilarious. Clearly a popularity contest… but the GLARING tragedy of this list is the complete absence of the blues legends. John Lee Hooker, BB, Muddy etc. They influenced popular music much more then they’re credited for. Drop Mariah, Beyonce and Genesis

    • Yes, I agree completely, where’s BB King and Muddy Waters?

    • How can you have the unmitigated audacity to suggest that Genesis be dropped from this list? This band survived forty years (from inception to the ’07 reunion tour) in an industry that, especially in the last two decades has favored flavor-of-the-moment artists over those with the intellectual capacity to not only write their own material, but play it as well. To add salt to the wound, you uttered their name in the same breath as Mariah and Beyonce. This makes me think that you saw nothing more of their music than what came out in the 80s, trivialized it as trashy pop and never took the time to analyze it further. That is a shame, I must say. Four decades of orginal music is nothing to sneeze at.

      You’re entitled to your opinion, I supppose. However, MY opinion is that Genesis deserves a spot on this list. In fact, they deserve a higher spot on this list. I think a spot in the twenties or thirties would definitely be fair.

  64. I laughed out loud when they went from Ray Charles to Metallica

  65. Radiohead barely cracks the top 40, Madonna barely makes it into the top 20, and Michael Jackson is at #3?

    First off, Michael Jackson has to be about one of the most overrated artists of all time. His career with the Jackson 5 was certainly impressive, and his solo career for a FEW YEARS was stellar…but his career started faltering with the Dangerous album as his videos and music were beginning to have less and less of an impact on pop culture. His albums thereafter were a total mess. HIStory? Yawn. It didn’t even do well commercially. Invincible? That was even more of a commercial and artistic disaster than HIStory. His career had been very weak for going on two decades by the time of his untimetely death. “This Is It” was touted as a return to form, the problem is, none of us got to see it and it was a one-city show, it wasn’t any sort of full blown tour which would’ve been expected of an artist like him…especially a “greatest” artist.

    Michael Jackson accomplished a lot during his career, but he peaked commercially and artistically around 1991 or so, and his last 15+ years in his career was pretty weak overall. Yet, he places at #3? Overrated as usual, especially due to his death.

    However, you then have living legends like Madonna and Radiohead, who’ve both been going strong for over two decades (Radiohead slightly less), have consistently put out material that leaves an impact on music, and you have someone like Madonna who’s touring success is unmatched as a female/solo artist (even doing better than MJ), and you have them at such low numbers?

    Who the heck put together this list? Sheesh.

    • I THINK YOU SHOULD GO DIE . MICHAEL JACKSON IS THE GREATEST. Most of the other artist aren’t together and didn’t have long lasting careers. Stupid bitch

    • There would be no great pop music without him. HE CHANGED MUSIC. So he should be number 1. No one else cam be as great as him. Not only is his music great, his charity, his caring personality. wow i hate you.

    • I completely agree with you. I was so glad that the Beatles topped Michael Jackson. I would have liked to see about 10 others do the same, but whatever. It seems that having the media over-exploit your death can get you far, but it can’t get you past the Beatles. He was a good artist, had a few hits, had one of the best selling albums of all time. Yea. So did ABBA, but no one gives them the same appreciation. I can’t believe people are saying to put him at number one. I feel like having the same gagging fit I had when his death was said to be the most shocking thing in music history. That’s right. Not John Lennon being shot, not The Day the Music Died. MJ’s overdose.
      And the people defending him are the same idiots that wouldn’t even listen to him before he died because they didn’t want to listen to a pedaphile. Seriously. Can anyone think for themselves around here?
      I agree with Madonna as well. I was also pretty upset about Billy Joel being number 51. Billy Joel being behind Sade? Wtf?

    • Haha “living legend”, you are speaking of Madonna. lol.
      How about NO. Michael Jackson DOES very much deserve his place on this list. It doesn’t matter if he had one or two bad CDs towards the end of his life, it’s the TALENT that matters! He is above and beyond more talented than Madonna. He wrote his own songs, was an incredible dancer, and was probably one of the biggest artists of all time.

    • MJ was #2…. learn to read. And he deserves to be #1, every modern act credits MJ as a huge influence! It doesn’t matter what genre of music…they all look to MJ for inspiration. He wrote his biggest hits, composed them (created the beat), was a legendary dancer and vocalist. Enough said, Madonna is better at PR than an actual artist (she hasn’t written any of her biggest hits).

    • Thank god not you…Madonna lol why she in the top 20? She lip sings all the time and she can’t.not sing at all.

    • 1.His career didn’t crack up with HIStory!HIStory is the biggest-selling multiple-disc album of all time(20 million),check it out on Wikipedia.
      2.The HIStory world tour is his best grossing tour!Also the remix album Bloos on the dance floor(1997) is the best sellin remix album of all time(6 million)
      3.Invincible was not a faliure!The fact that you’ve know it says enough.It sold 13 million copies which is very good for 2001.The songs are not very famous because Michael was leaving sony and they didn’t promothe the album.There were only 3 singles and most of the songs didn’t have videos.But if you listen to it you’ll hear that it’s maybe his best albums!
      4.His carrear wasn’t very weak.It practiclly stopped after 2001.But until 2001 not 1 year was weak!And if you think about it he has 2 albums and tons of very good sellin compilations for the last decade so it didn’t really stop!
      I can write and write and write but I’m tired of explaining simple things like idiots to you.Madonna and Michael don’t belong in the same category by a long shot.And a musician is not judged by how many albums he/she releases or how many yers is he on the stage.Otherwise Cher would be on the 1st place.And btw Elvis’s carrear lasted way shorter than Michael’s.And don’t even get me started about Madonna because she doesn’t deserve to be in this top 100 at all!

  66. wtf ever happened to the sex pistols?fuckin kiss is on this list but the sex pistols arent??

  67. Kate Bush needs to be on this list!!! Seriously. How many musicians have named her as an inspiration? Not only the female singers, but fecking Big Boi and 2Pac have said they love her! Hell, about half the singers/bands on this list have either cited her as an inspiration or claimed she’s incredible. John Lydon says she’s “fucking brilliant” too, and she sure is. Amazing voice, writes all her own songs, plays piano beautifully, deep moving lyrics, delightfully quirky, and she’s absolutely drop dead gorgeous. She is one of a kind, and a real musical trailblazer. There is a HUGE difference between a “singer” and an “artist”. Guess which one Kate is.
    She should’ve been on this list…
    And a lot of the other musicians on this list should’ve been higher up. Radiohead higher than Fleetwood Mac? And Peter Gabriel way back at #55?! The people who compiled this list are morons.

  68. Where is Lauryn Hill? Ne-Yo? R. Kelly? MICHAEL JACKSON?

    • did u seriously not see michael jackson on the list, let alone think VH1 (the station that loves him the most) would include a greatest artists list, and not include him?

    • Ne-Yo and R. Kelly. R.Kelly urinated on a 14-year old! why would you want someone who is not only untalented but also a pervert on the list?

    • This is a joke. Ne-Yo and R. Kelly? IN THE LIST OF TOP 100 ARTISTS OF ALL TIME? That is so…wrong not to mention offensive. R. Kelly has done absolutely nothing for music and neither has Ne-Yo. As catchy as their songs may be, they are not musical pillars in the SLIGHTEST.

  69. ummmmm…. Chicago and Alice in Chains two of the best bands ever made… not on the list… eminem should be MUCH higher than 78, same for pac, … guns n’ roses is #1 in my mind

    My top 10 is …. 1. Guns n’ roses 2. Chicago 3. Eminem 4. Notorious BIG 5. Ozzy Osbourne 6. Black Sabbath 7. Pink Floyd 8. 2pac 9. Led Zeppelin 10. Alice in Chains

    music doesn’t get any better than GUNS N’ ROSES people!!!

  70. Where is Jeff Buckley? I think he certainly deserves a spot in the top 100 for the sheer raw passion he brought.

  71. UHHHHHHHHHHHH…..Buddy Holly isn’t one of the top 100 artists of all time??? Absolutely ridiculous.

  72. MJ should be number one without a doubt

  73. bob dylan #2?hmm maybe top five but DEFINITELY not better than michael jackson, it’s not even a question. and eminem not in the top 50? is that a joke?? there are SO many artists missing from this list too… i can’t even list them all, the funkadelic group was influential & all but they didn’t have a lot of hit songs… i mean where is RHCP?? they are AMAZING and have so many huge hit songs. & journey being at 96 is ridiculous. journey has the most downloaded song EVER and they are such a classic and amazing group. bleh!

  74. What about Dave Matthews?

  75. No love for Dave Matthews

  76. NO BEATLES???

  77. This list is shit! VH1/MTV gets it wrong because there is no order for greatness… each era has its own great’s. What strikes me completely is how is it that there is not one Latin artist on this list? Are they kidding me? Tito Puente? C’MON, How is he NOT considered. Along with many of others, RHCP, Grateful Dead, E. Clapton. etc.

    As far as the Jay-Z placement debatable depending on who you rock with…doesn’t matter if he was 100, 50, or #1 Dude is one of the greats! Better than Marshall, yeah I said it, Pac, and BIG!!! “11 straight summers, Critics might not admit it, but nobody in rap did it, quite like I did it, if you did I done it before, you get I had it, got mad it and don’t want it no more… “Hovi Baby”

    Now imagine had HOV stayed retired, y’all wouldn’t be saying that BS, I guarantee it!!!

  78. Can someone please explain to me about this 2pac thing? WHY IS HE ONLY 69 and jayz and biggie are higher?? This is so crazy, THOUGHTS?!

  79. Justin Timberlake is better than Rush? The Holy Triumvirate?? Seriously?!

    This list was written by morons..

  80. I bet Scott was happy to see the Genesis nod.

  81. this list lost all credibility when Cold Play was on it. There’s no way Cold Play is one of the greatest 100 artists of all time.

  82. I gotta say…Boyz II Men…most successful r&b group of ALL TIME…but yea they probably shouldn’t be on it? what the hell??

  83. Where the hell is TOOL? The artistic and musical abilities of all four members of TOOL far surpass the likes of fucking cold play. Come on….seriously? There are many great bands they thankfully did include but not including Tool is like leaving Houdini out of the ‘The 100 Greatest magicians of all time’ list. May be a bad analogy but, fuck this!

    • It’s So FN True. Radiohead made it to #29 and considering who they were ahead of, I’m really happy they made the Top 30 and they definitely deserve it. Unlike other 100 Greatest Lists, this doesn’t say anything about the type of music, but is specifically centered on the actual Art created by The Greatest Artists Of All Time. TOOL are the American Version of Radiohead as far as Artistry, Talent & Insane Record Sales + Massive Amounts Of More Than Dedicated Fans are concerned. Danny Carey is easily one of the Best Drummers in the History of Music; In The Top 5 By Far and actually, now that I think about all
      Of those aspects and one of the Top 5 Drummers of all time, where the F#€K iS Dave Matthews Band At??!!! I Hadn’t Rhought About Them. With All Of

  84. Uhm. Johann Pachelbel should really be #1 if you think about it..

  85. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • Evans Blue, Soundgarden, and Smashing Pumpkins need to be on too!!

    • Yeah, but you need to consider the fact that those artists haven’t been around to make a huge impact on music. Don’t get me wrong, I like most the bands you listed, but just because you like them doesn’t mean they’re the best. The point of the list was to show musicians that have made an impact on the music industry somehow, and in a big way. In terms of impact, The Beach Boys have done a hell of a lot more than Breaking Benjamin.
      Having said that, I still think the list VH1 compiled is a piece of shit…

    • BTW, being dead has nothing to do with it, so I don’t know what the hell that Micheal Jackson statement is about. Half The Beatles are dead, and they’re #1. Oh, but maybe if they were all dead, they wouldn’t be on the list at all…

    • You’ve bested us all.

    • I’ve never seen so much horrible chach rock on one list before. I’m glad you weren’t voting

    • Did you really just consider Nickelback an “artist”…? Let alone a great one?

  86. I really don’t agree with a lot of the artists on here but, I can’t blame people for wanting to make lists, but I mean this is just a such a broad category that no one could it justice. Personally, I would have gone with non-ranked list, just a group of 100 artists. It just too hard to compare some of theses objectively in terms of “greatest”.

  87. the doors and kiss way too low….where is the eagles….bob dylan way too high..he wrote great songs but had 1 of the worst voices ever….more bands you missed e.l.o the sweet boston inxs ..what is all this jay z talk…..2pac was the best rapper ever by far….my top 10 10 elvis 9 the doors 8 michael jackson 7 2pac 6 kiss 5 rolling stones 4 stevie wonder 3 elton john 2 beatles 1 led zeppelin

  88. sade on but eagles not? seriously?

  89. There is a lot of problems I see with this list but Im gonna bring up two problems that bother me the most. Why the hell is Mariah Carey at #94? Mariah should be atleast in the top 20. And why is Jay-Z ahead of 2PAC? 2PAC should be higher on the list.

  90. only on vh1 will you find
    1. beyonce ranked higher than whitney, mariah, and mary.
    2. no lauryn hill or britney spears (i’m not a fan but come the eff on)
    3. the beatles ALWAYS number 1.

    • The Beatles are always number one because they SHOULD always be number one. There is no one, ever, that has surpassed the influence of The Beatles.

      • Sorry but the Beatles were great artists but unfortunately they were not pioneers which makes Micheal Jackson a great candidate for the number one spot. He revolutionized pop and his crossover capabilities transcend any other artist.

        • You can’t be serious. The Beatles are the very definition of pioneers. I really hope you’re a troll.

        • THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING! The Beatles were completely original when they came out. I can honestly guarantee you that Michael Jackson would not be who he was without The Beatles existing. Seriously build a time machine, go back and make sure The Beatles were never together, come back today and Michael Jackson would not be a known figure. I do think that MJ revolutionized pop, but you have to realize that The Beatles revolutionized rock, and invented alternative rock.

      • uh.. plenty have, they said it them selves “before Elvis there was no one” the only reason the Beatles are so famous is because of the time period, John Lennon played the era for his advantage. he used the rebellious youth to his advantage. their music was mediocre. bands like the who and the rolling stones are far better examples of influential music . not saying the Beatles are awful, just overrated. not to mention Lennon was a hypocritical douche

        • You’re entitled to your opinion on The Beatles, but to suggest that they were a mediocre band who merely capitalized on the social climate of the 60s to get big is just flat out wrong. They didn’t capitalize on anything, they created it. Without The Beatles, the 1960s as an era, and all subsequent music, would have been completely different (probably for the worse). If you knew anything about the band, you’d know that all of them, Lennon and McCartney most of all, didn’t give a fuck about what else was going on at the time (Lennon in particular would have rather jumped out a window than subscribe to any popular trend, or make a shameless bid for fame). They did exactly what they wanted, when they wanted, and the fact that their music was genius and more forward thinking than anyone else’s at the time are the reasons why they came to define an entire era.
          Basically, it wasn’t just some accident or twist of circumstance or being in the right place at the right time that gave The Beatles their impact. It was the quality of their music and their commitment to experimentation and desire to push rock forward that set them apart. No other band since has even come close to combining the amount of critical and commercial success that The Beatles did. That fact alone, the uniqueness of their career and accomplishment, debunks your entire point.

  91. How has anybody forgot the greatest singer of all time, FRANK SINATRA. Rap music or rock doesnt even come close to what Sinatra did. He has done songs through out the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s ,70s ,80s ,and 90s. That is SEVEN generations. You mean to tell me that justine timberlake, eminem, tupac, outcast, ll cool j, rage against the machine wut ever the fuck that is or guns n roses have better voices, more talent, and are better voices than Frank Sinatra. This is a bullshit list.

    • yeah frank should be on there

    • I watched it almost in dread. The biggest problem was pool voters, way too heavy with Rap & Hip-Hop Artist, some of these Rap & Hip-Hop Artist had their complete top 5 w/ all African American artist. In no way am I saying that many did not belong, but way too many were way too high when artist like Sinatra, Claypton & Greatful Dead did not even make it. Also, IMO Nirvana way overated, one position behind the the F-ng WHO, and again as other have said Elvis is got to be at the very least, even if you do not like him or that familar wth his music in the top 3, really should #1, he was and is the King. Another band that alway gets short end of these stupid list is Pearl Jam, one of the greatest American bands ever, actually in recent(last couple years)USA Today pole they actually were voted Best American Band of ALL-Time. I will never understand how so many people think Nirvana is/was a better band than PJ, if you go on VH1 own website and check PJ bio, it even says PJ was outselling Nirvana nearly 2-1 by late 92-93 and was a much better live act, and I can vouch for that having seen both in the early 90′s and even now PJ is just a Great show, took my wife(finally, she actually did not even like them, but went for our 17th wedding anny) to Philly 10/31 show closing the spectrum, they played for 3 hours & 45 mins, playing 30 plus songs! Since then we have seen them again in Hartford, another Great show, she now a huge fan!

    • I agree!!!

    • Thank God somebody else recognizes Frank Sinatra’s talent!!

  92. artists instead of voices in last sentence.

  93. Without Sam Cooke there wouldn’t be a James Brown or Ray Charles, he created soul music. That is the most glaring ommision I saw from this list (one of many btw). He should definitely be in top 20.


    • no and how the fuck anyone thinks Radiohead is better than him or Aerosmith is FUCKING Radiohead isn’t even fucking better than REM

    • Johnny Cash no. 35
      john lennon no. 31
      paul mccartney no. 36
      Chuck Berry no. 25
      Aretha Franklin no.27
      Michael Jackson no. 2
      dancing and been crazy is the only way to be recognized
      george harrison in not even on the list.

  95. Wait, BOB DYLAN no. 2? Over MICHAEL JACKSON?? Oh, no, I don’t think so. Personally, I’d have liked to see Michael at #1, although I can totally understand and agree with The Beatles topping him, but he should have been #2 at least. But worse than that is BOB DYLAN being #2???? I personally never liked Bob Dylan, but even so, I just don’t think he changed the world of music and did half as much as Michael.

  96. I actually expected more from VH1, I cant beleive this list. Where did it come from? I mean last on the list are Depeche mode and Hall and Oats? Makes me want to barf.
    Heres the best quote of the day
    “VH1 list makers obviouslly are a bunch of kiss ass muther-fuckers that have no balls and will support whatever their company needs to support. ”
    Oh yea RUSH # 75/ What a joke.
    Go have a nice time listining to Jay Z in 10 years….not.

    • Heres my top 10

      1. Bob Marley
      2. Led zepplin
      3. Marvin gaye
      4. Elvis Presley
      5. Rolling Stones
      6. Ozzy ozbourne
      7. Journey
      8. Areosmith
      9. Nirvana
      10. Rick James

      • Bob Marley is the best singer ever, he came from a 3rd world country and he became one of the best singers and song writers of all time.

        • I’d put Bob as my number 1, great singer and songwriter and how he made so many great albums in such I short time I’ll never know.

      • what about johnny cash he should beon the top 10 a least

      • journey, aerosmith, and ozzy over the beatles?!…JOURNEY?!

      • Bob Marley is ok if you like listening to the same beat in every song. He should definately be on the list, but no way he should be rated above Aerosmith, AC/DC, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Metallica, G’N'R, or even people ignored from the list like Boston & Ozzy Osborne & all the classic country icons that weren’t included on the list either. The only Marley song I really like alot is, “I Shot The Sherriff,” but the remake by Clapton is way better and probably the biggest reason why that song became a rock’n'roll staple. No Woman No Cry is a decent song too.

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