It's no secret that the music business can be a cruel and hostile enterprise and one that's known to kick an act when they're down.

In turn, even successful musicians can find themselves without a contract or an audience as soon as the creative well runs dry. Nevertheless, through the mist of one-hit wonders and short-lived careers, there has come a range of certifiable mainstays.

These are the artists who haven't just endured throughout the decades but managed to keep pace with the industry's shape-shifting landscape.

In some cases, they remain relevant by changing up their sound or adopting new production techniques. In other cases, the fanbase is so broad and loyal that no amount of mediocre output can dismantle their careers.

Meanwhile, the longest-running acts are more than mere purveyors of classic tunes. Since music is so fundamental to Western culture, its foremost veterans will be remembered for decades and possibly centuries to come.

In the same manner that contemporary society still pays its respects to Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven, so too will future societies honor The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, and others. To that end, established musical acts carry the torch of history every time they drop an album or hit the stage.

In commemoration of those who stayed the course, Stacker presents 30 musicians with legendarily long careers. The list was compiled using various internet-based sources, including Billboard and Rolling Stone.

Being that there was a fairly large pool from which to choose, Stacker tried to focus on artists who didn't just survive throughout the decades but kept up with or even defined multiple trends.

This article was first published on theStacker.com