Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Top 100 Acts of All Time

First posted 1/13/2013; revised 9/7/2017.

Below are the top 100 acts of all time according to the DMDB. This list is an aggregate of multiple best-of lists, including specialty lists, such as those focused exclusively on a certain genre.

This information is combined with various awards, chart success, and sales figures (click here for a link to the resources). A great effort has been made to find lists that represent numerous genres and eras of music. Even so, this list still leans almost entirely on the 20th century, or roughly the era of recorded music, meaning classical music, such as composers Ludwig van Beethoven, are absent from this list. Still, this list does do something very few “best of all-time” lists can claim – acknowledge music from before the rock era (although this list still favors acts from the rock era).

Links below connect to the act’s entry in the Music Makers A-Z guide, which offers a short bio about the act and lists significant works. In some cases, the act has a more detailed DMDB page which can be linked to via the A-Z guide entry.

1. Bing Crosby
2. Elvis Presley
3. The Beatles
4. Frank Sinatra
5. Billy Murray
6. The Rolling Stones
7. Bob Dylan
8. Michael Jackson
9. Ray Charles
10. Elton John

11. Madonna
12. Paul Whiteman
13. Benny Goodman
14. Stevie Wonder
15. James Brown
16. Aretha Franklin
17. Led Zeppelin
18. Louis Armstrong
19. Jimi Hendrix
20. Chuck Berry

21. Glenn Miller
22. Prince
23. Guy Lombardo
24. Paul McCartney
25. Perry Como
26. Tommy Dorsey
27. David Bowie
28. Bob Marley
29. Bruce Springsteen
30. Nat “King” Cole

31. Fats Domino
32. Marvin Gaye
33. The Beach Boys
34. Eric Clapton
35. Queen
36. Rod Stewart
37. Johnny Cash
38. Pink Floyd
39. U2
40. Hank Williams

41. Buddy Holly & the Crickets
42. Little Richard
43. Al Jolson
44. Henry Burr
45. Billy Joel
46. The Bee Gees
47. The Who
48. Mariah Carey
49. Fleetwood Mac
50. Whitney Houston

51. Eagles
52. John Lennon
53. Neil Young
54. The Supremes
55. Sam Cooke
56. Duke Ellington
57. Billie Holiday
58. Byron G. Harlan
59. Neil Diamond
60. Aerosmith

61. The Temptations
62. The Doors
63. Chicago
64. Roy Orbison
65. Smokey Robinson
66. Simon & Garfunkel
67. Willie Nelson
68. Diana Ross
69. Dolly Parton
70. B.B. King

71. Ella Fitzgerald
72. Arthur Collins
73. The Jackson 5/The Jacksons
74. Barbra Streisand
75. R.E.M.
76. Miles Davis
77. The Kinks
78. Kenny Rogers
79. Tina Turner
80. Four Tops

81. The Peerless Quartet/Columbia Male Quartet
82. The Everly Brothers
83. Jimmy Dorsey
84. AC/DC
85. Santana
86. Janet Jackson
87. The Andrews Sisters
88. Harry MacDonough
89. Sammy Kaye
90. Ben Selvin

91. Genesis
92. The Police
93. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
94. Phil Collins
95. Nirvana
96. Otis Redding
97. Al Green
98. Earth, Wind & Fire
99. Gladys Knight
100. Fats Waller


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