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100 Greatest Alternative Music Artists

Criteria: Artists are ranked by their influence, impact, and popularity. List includes alternative rock, post-punk and new wave artists, as well as artists in the various alternative subgenres (including - but not limited to - indie rock, Britpop, grunge, shoegazing, post rock, emo, alternative dance, goth rock, dream pop, alternative country, alternative metal, alternative hip-hop and trip-hop).

Newly added names are in Red
Edited By:

Last Updated:
2017-05-02
  1. R.E.M.
  2. Nirvana
  3. Talking Heads
  4. The Smiths
  5. Radiohead
  6. Sonic Youth
  7. U2
  8. Elvis Costello & the Attractions
  9. Joy Division
10. Pixies
11. The Cure
12. Pearl Jam
13. Red Hot Chili Peppers
14. The Replacements
15. Soundgarden
16. Kate Bush
17. Beastie Boys
18. Nine Inch Nails
19. Hüsker Dü
20. New Order
21. The Smashing Pumpkins
22. Depeche Mode
23. Fugazi
24. Pavement
25. Beck
26. Dinosaur Jr.
27. The Jesus and Mary Chain
28. Green Day
29. Alice in Chains
30. Weezer
31. Foo Fighters
32. Echo and the Bunnymen
33. Siouxsie and the Banshees
34. XTC
35. Wire
36. Oasis
37. My Bloody Valentine
38. Jane's Addiction
39. Blur
40. Björk
41. Bauhaus
42. Tori Amos
43. De La Soul
44. The White Stripes
45. Morrissey
46. Public Image Ltd.
47. The Flaming Lips
48. Yo La Tengo
49. Violent Femmes
50. The Pretenders
51. Pulp
52. The Jam
53. Minutemen
54. Guided by Voices
55. Gang of Four
56. Hole
57. Liz Phair
58. Mudhoney
59. Cocteau Twins
60. No Doubt
61. Meat Puppets
62. A Tribe Called Quest
63. Coldplay
64. Stone Temple Pilots
65. Portishead
66. The Fall
67. PJ Harvey
68. Suede
69. The B-52's
70. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
71. Wilco
72. Belle and Sebastian
73. Sleater-Kinney
74. Faith No More
75. Superchunk
76. The Fugees
77. They Might Be Giants
78. Primal Scream
79. Modest Mouse
80. Squeeze
81. Rage Against the Machine
82. The Pharcyde
83. Manic Street Preachers
84. The Stone Roses
85. Linkin Park
86. 10,000 Maniacs
87. Jeff Buckley
88. Mission of Burma
89. Arcade Fire
90. The Psychedelic Furs
91. Midnight Oil
92. Fiona Apple
93. Teenage Fanclub
94. The Go-Betweens
95. Muse
96. The Tragically Hip
97. The Roots
98. Incubus
99. Elliott Smith
100. Massive Attack
Spotify link
Greatest Alternative Songs



Nevermind - Nirvana album cover
Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth album cover
The Queen is Dead - The Smiths album cover
Murmur album album cover
Doolittle - Pixies album cover
OK Computer - Radiohead album cover

101. Sloan 102. Queens of the Stone Age
103. The Wedding Present
104. The Cranberries
105. Built to Spill
106. Stereolab
107. Uncle Tupelo
108. Galaxie 500
109. Ride
110. This Mortal Coil
111. The Feelies
112. The Specials
113. Slowdive
114. Soul Asylum
115. Spoon
116. Camper Van Beethoven
117. Garbage
118. Lush
119. The Sisters of Mercy
120. Killing Joke
121. Throwing Muses
122. Sunny Day Real Estate
123. Sebadoh
124. The Lemonheads
125. The Church
126. The Chameleons
127. Sinéad O'Connor
128. Neutral Milk Hotel
129. The dB's
130. Love and Rockets
131. Talk Talk
132. Afghan Whigs
133. Alanis Morissette
134. Death Cab for Cutie
135. The Pogues
136. The Sugarcubes
137. The Offspring
138. The Verve
139. Mother Love Bone
140. Jimmy Eat World
141. The Happy Mondays
142. Butthole Surfers
143. Gin Blossoms
144. The Breeders
145. The Alarm
146. The Strokes
147. Sublime
148. Primus
149. My Chemical Romance
150. Let's Active
151. The Birthday Party
152. Arctic Monkeys
153. Blink-182
154. Gorillaz
155. Catherine Wheel
156. Beat Happening
157. Social Distortion
158. Super Furry Animals
159. Franz Ferdinand
160. Common
161. The Jesus Lizard
162. Screaming Trees
163. The Killers
164. The Sundays
165. The House of Love
166. James
167. Soda Stereo
168. Silverchair
169. Madness
170. Juliana Hatfield
171. Kings of Leon
172. The Black Keys
173. Placebo
174. fIREHOSE
175. The Soft Boys
176. The Smithereens
177. The Chills
178. Matthew Sweet
179. The Charlatans
180. Morphine
181. Mos Def
182. The Mountain Goats
183. Gene Loves Jezebel
184. Redd Kross
185. The The
186. Swans
187. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
188. The Dismemberment Plan
189. The Housemartins
190. Spiritualized
191. Blind Melon
192. Talib Kweli
193. Broken Social Scene
194. TV on the Radio
195. Slint
196. LCD Soundsystem
197. Fall Out Boy
198. Young Marble Giants
199. Mogwai
200. Eels
201. Pylon
202. At the Drive-In
203. Red House Painters
204. The Magnetic Fields
205. Urge Overkill
206. Magazine
207. Jawbox
208. The Call
209. Big Black
210. Robyn Hitchcock
211. Paramore
212. Godspeed You! Black Emperor
213. Bush
214. Daniel Amos
215. Aimee Mann
216. Game Theory
217. M.I.A.
218. Steve Earle
219. AFI
220. Snow Patrol
221. Tears for Fears
222. Lucinda Williams
223. Ash
224. Bad Religion
225. Ween
226. Bright Eyes
227. Royal Trux
228. Spacemen 3
229. Silversun Pickups
230. Low
231. Thirty Seconds to Mars
232. Digable Planets
233. Cap'n Jazz
234. Green River
235. Deftones
236. Tegan and Sara
237. The Mekons
238. Refused
239. The Beautiful South
240. American Football
241. Felt
242. Broadcast
243. Orange Juice
244. Cage the Elephant
245. Buffalo Tom
246. The Jayhawks
247. Fountains of Wayne
248. Belly
249. Ultra Vivid Scene
250. Soul Coughing

100 Greatest Influences on Alternative Music

Criteria: Includes which perform non-alternative genres (including some artists which pre-date the genre) which have had a noticeable and long-lasting influence on alternative rock music. Includes pre-alternative, 1970's punk, 1960's garage rock, protopunk, psychedelic rock, experimental music and electronica artists. Artists are ranked by influence on alternative music, critical acclaim from alternative music publications and popularity within the alternative music culture and community. The list includes artists that predate the alternative music, as well as artists that are contemporaneous with the genre.
  1. David Bowie
  2. Velvet Underground
  3. Neil Young
  4. The Stooges
  5. MC5
  6. Patti Smith
  7. Frank Zappa
  8. Brian Eno
  9. Scott Walker
10. Tom Waits
11. Ramones
12. The Sex Pistols
13. The Clash
14. Lou Reed
15. Iggy Pop
16. Television
17. Roxy Music
18. Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers
19. Pere Ubu
20. Blondie
21. The Sonics
22. New York Dolls
23. Big Star
24. Suicide
25. Can
26. Leonard Cohen
27. Kraftwerk
28. Captain Beefheart
29. Sparks
30. Love
31. Warren Zevon
32. Richard & Linda Thompson/Richard Thompson
33. Nick Drake
34. Glenn Branca
35. The Stranglers
36. Syd Barrett
37. Throbbing Gristle
38. Cheap Trick
39. Devo
40. Silver Apples
41. Black Flag
42. Buzzcocks
43. Dead Kennedys
44. The 13th Floor Elevators
45. Robert Wyatt
46. Peter Gabriel
47. Nick Lowe
48. This Heat
49. T. Rex
50. Richard Hell and the Voidoids
51. The Residents
52. The Seeds
53. Swell Maps
54. Cabaret Voltaire
55. The Damned
56. Todd Rundgren
57. John Cale
58. The Red Crayola/Red Krayola
59. X
60. NRBQ
61. Stiff Little Fingers
62. The Undertones
63. Dr. Feelgood
64. Radio Birdman
65. The Slits
66. Hawkwind
67. The Cramps
68. Bad Brains
69. INXS
70. John Cooper Clarke
71. Graham Parker
72. Henry Cow
73. The Adverts
74. Brinsley Schwarz
75. John Cage
76. Herbie Hancock
77. The Prodigy
78. Laurie Anderson
79. Moby Grape
80. Squarepusher
81. Public Enemy
82. The Selecter
83. Negativland
84. Fatboy Slim
85. Billy Bragg
86. Kirsty MacColl
87. DJ Shadow
88. The KLF
89. Faithless
90. Vic Chesnutt
91. The Art of Noise
92. Boards of Canada
93. Gil-Scott Heron
94. Grace Jones
95. Psychic TV
96. Victoria Williams
97. Amy Winehouse
98. The Chemical Brothers
99. The Avalanches
100. R. Stevie Moore
David Bowie









Velvet Underground









Tom Waits




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