The top popular music acts of all time

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As teased last week, Jon Dawson, Justin “The Kid” Hill and I taped a podcast (which you can hear in full stereophonic glory here) in which we discussed the top pop music acts in history.

As you can hear in the podcast, there was much disagreement. I’m 43 and a hip-hop fan, so my top 10 was a bit different than 26-year-old Justin’s list — although we agreed on more than our resident musical expert’s list.

It was a fun show and the format is one we’re going to copy in upcoming podcasts — doing lists and such. Let me know what you’d like to hear us rank.

Here’s our top 10s:


1. The Beatles

2. Elvis Presley

3. Michael Jackson

4. U2

5. The Rolling Stones

6. The Who

7. Madonna

8. Aerosmith

9. Run-DMC

10. Chuck Berry

Top honorable mentions: Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, NWA and Queen


1. The Beatles

2. Michael Jackson

3. Elvis Presley

4. Madonna

5. Elton John

6. The Who

7. Stevie Wonder

8. Queen

9. The Rolling Stones

10. Mariah Carey

Top honorable mentions: Jack White, Nirvana, Billy Joel and The Pixies


1. Chuck Berry

2. Little Richard

3. Buddy Holly

4. James Brown

5. Otis Redding

6. The Who

7. Pink Floyd

8. Allman Brothers

9. R.E.M.

10. Beck

Top honorable mentions: Link Wray, U2, Aretha Franklin, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Elton John

My take: REALLY can’t understand how Dawson doesn’t have The Beatles, Elvis or Michael Jackson in his top 15 … but he does know more about music than I do.

The only act all three of us had in our top 10 was The Who.

Bear in mind these aren’t our favorite acts — it’s who we thought were the top pop acts of all time.

I’d love to see yours — post them below or email them to me at and I’ll post them in the comments. Also, check out the podcast to hear explanations of our top 10s.

4 Responses to The top popular music acts of all time

  1. John Q. Awesome says:

    My top 10 would have to be:

    1. Justin Bieber
    2. Hannah Montana
    3. Kris Kross
    4. Rebecca Black
    5. William Shatner
    6. LFO
    7. NKOTB
    8. The Country Bear Jamboree
    9. the band from the commercials
    10. ??

    (I am leaving No. 10 blank for the next yet-to-be-discovered Youtube sensation who will change the face of music forever.)

  2. killdozer says:

    1) Hanson
    2) Menudo
    3) Rico Suave
    4) Falco
    5) Olivia Newton-John
    6) Motorhead
    7) Culture Club
    8) Marky Mark
    9) 2 Live Crew
    10) Weird Al Yankovic

  3. killdozer says:

    I didn’t mean to leave that damn emoticon by Marky Mark…

  4. heelatious says:

    How about the man in black, Johnny Cash? He couldn’t make anybody’s top 10?

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