Most Influential Music Artists Ever


Don't agree with the list? Vote for an existing item you think should be ranked higher or if you are a logged in, add a new item for others to vote on or create your own version of this list.

The Top Ten

Michael Jackson
The greatest artist, the greatest entertainer, a superb composer, a brilliant person in terms of business and making music and most importantly a great humanitarian and a good person though a bit odd sometimes but it is what made him magical, cosmic and unique... he broke a lot of records having 31 Guinness world records including best entertainer of all time, an artist who donated most to charities donating not less than $350 million, best selling album of all time, highest paid artist of all time and many more. He is the most popular and the most famous.. Though a lot of elvis and Beatles fans won't agree.. however wherever site you go, still Michael Jackson remains at the top.. moreover some may not say so especially if you're a westerner but the fact is that he is the most famous in the whole world, ask anyone, may it be illiterate, someone from the alps or someone who knows no civilization, if you mention the name "Michael JACKSON" then they'd all smile and say "hey I know that man". while shrugging their shoulders if you ask about Beatles or elvis... undeniably no matter which angle to look at, Michael Jackson is the king of music...


All of the 3 acts listed above this are all amogst the most influetnial (The Beatles being the best artist of all times), however in terms of influence in the world, Michael Jackson is the clear world music icon, followed by Elvis presley, Michael Jackson's unique singing voice and dance moves re-defined the meaning of pop music and is the model most aspiring pop artists follow.
The one - the only king of pop
[Newest]The greatest artist of all time.

Since the 1960's every artist has copied The Beatles, Michael Jackson liked them so much he bought their catalogue and covered their music. No one has been more imitated by top artists than The Beatles. Even the typical rock band format was established by them - most previous stars just sang and had back-up musicians, these guys ran the whole show, even deciding which songs to release and record their own songs when the record label wanted them to do covers.
Revolutionary sound in the music industry generating worldwide attention and appeal in an era when there was no internet. No other artists pushed musical boundaries while at the same time maintaining MASS appeal like the Beatles did. The fact that 50 years later, much of their music has withstood the test of time and continues to capture the imagination of young and old is a sound testament to their genius and deserved status of most influential musical artists of all time.
I don't know actually, but I think when beatles made a song they knew what the history about that song. It's make the song have a powerful feeling to who listened all of the song from beatles.
[Newest]The best band of all time

3Elvis Presley
He continues to touch millions world-wide despite the fact that he has been dead for 35 years and that he had never traveled outside the U.S. and Canada.


I hate most of the music from his generation but I can't help but love the king(:
Elvis is what made rock n roll popular in the first place.

4K.S. Chithra
She influenced other singers. They willing to sing like her. This is her success
She is not just so influential, She mean it
If you hear chithra voice you easly influenced by her
[Newest]Who the heck is she?

QUEEN FOREVER NUMBER ONE. He inspired countless musicians and even till this day, he is acknowledged for his greatness. Despite Michael being slightly more popular than Queen, Queen has had much more influence to today's artists than you think. Maybe the mainstream hail Michael but the mainsteam sucks, if you actually look at the ones who don't suck like the Killers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and blah blah blah... They don't suck and their inspiration's Queen. Sorry, Michael, you were great, but Queen's better.
Queen should be number one on this list. How can you get better than Freddie Mercury's vocals, Brian May's guitar wails, john Deacon's killer bass, Roger Taylor's pounding drums. Just a sheer heart attack.
THE NUMBER 1. Can't get better. They are very influential. I mean, where do you think Lady Gaga got her name? I mean...
"All you hear is... Radio Goo goo... Radio GA GA! " DER

6Led Zeppelin
Classic musicians in their own right. Their music is still popular, and can be heard around the world, on the radio throughout the day. Their timeless style, influencing and drawing in young and old fans alike.
Michael Jackson? Really? Eminem? 2PAC? This list is terrible
Michael jackson is classic and blows led zeppelin away

7Bob Dylan
If you have listened to any music after the 1960s you are listening to music that was affected by Bob Dylan. Go look up on youtube the beatles comments on bob dylan and you can see the effect that he had on the greatest band in the history of music. Behind the beatles, he is the most covered artist of all time. He blended the depth of folk music with rock. He Sung blowing in the wind at the march on washington right before MLK jr gave his I have a dream speech. He didn't just change music He changed the world.
Bob Dylan makes the case for the most influential of all time. His popularity is surpassed by more famous acts such as the Beatles and Elvis but it can be easily argued Bob Dylan has been more influential. If there were a pedigree of musicians allowing influences and styles to be traced to the beginning of modern music, Bob Dylan would be at the very beginning.

8Chuck Berry
Set the stage for a whole new generation of rock and he was black. In his time this was unheard of! He really is the king, Elvis is #2.


Chuck berry, buddy holly, bill haley. All great singers that people seem to have forgotten, sadly
The single most influential rock musician that has ever lived

9Jimi Hendrix
He was the first left handed guitarist and one of the first African American people or man to be so influential that when he died people were so sad they had many people go on a riot
Jimi the left handed mistro

Though Pac is a great rapper, your missing two who should be way ahead of him, first james brown, the godfather of soul, without him he there would be no MJ or Pac. Your also forgetting the greatest lyricist of them all Biggie- he really grew up in the streets selling drugs and who not, as opposed to 2pac who came from a family of African American extremists, and actually live a middle class live and studied ballet and Shakespeare at a wealthy high school before he realized there was more money in rapping. I'm not trying to take anything away from him, I think he has just be slightly overstated on his influence in the music scene...slightly
2pac has got to be at least in the top 3, he was way more than just a rapper! He fight's for what he believes in and doesn't back down. Fought for women's rights and black rights against the goverment and police. He had a thug side to him because he was raised in the ghetto and at the same time a intelligent side when he tried to get his message across though his songs. His thug side was brought out even more when he was shot in 1994 and went to jail in 1995 for a crime he didn't commit. The system was always out to get him. Live by the gun, die by the gun.R.I. P
If this man hadn't been born then this world would be full of hate and racism. I personally think that he was more influential than Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther-King.
[Newest]He should be top 3 hands down

The Contenders

Madonna is the smartest artist she understand everything that's why she still here and still on top! <3 #QueenOfPop!
Madge is on the same level with Beatles, Elvis or Frank Sinatra.
She makes the music history


12Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd, the greatest rock band of all time on number 16? While Elvis Presley has been ranked higher than them! Pink Floyd deserve to be on #1 or #2

13The Velvet Underground

14Whitney Houston
She is the worlds most famous vocalist ever hands down.


15Linkin Park
The 21st century began with the kickoff of one of the current generation's most influential artists, Linkin Park. With their fusion of modern and classic musical styles, instrumentation, and technology with popular Hiphop and Metal, these pioneers negated the need to fit into a genre and simply pursued the expression of pure art.
Though still young, Linkin Park's wide variety of music stretches across many genre of music. There are constant covers seen by other upcoming artists and youtube sensations
Leading the way in new rock with a modern twist. Great band with amazing sound

16K. J. Yesudas
The Celestial singer Dr KJ YESUDAS is the Most Influential Music Artists Ever. God of music or Voice of God. Greatest singer in the world. Voice of India.
Yesudas he is a living legend who recorded more than 50,000 Songs and sings at concerts around 50,000 songs in multiple languages.
Gaana gandharva Yesudas sir is the most influential singer - music artist. Living legend Gandharva

She's made tonnes of dance crazes which have swept the world into mimicking the dance. Like crazy in love, baby boy and the most influential music video - single ladies.


Bow Down for the Queen. We love Beyonce
She managed to stay relevant for 17 years and she still is. Pop and RnB artists who do that are once-in-a-decade

Nirvana brought grunge into the mainstream. Their story is interesting. They were the soundtrack to teens lives in the nineties. Iggy Pop said, and I quote,"Kurt Cobain was truly a nobody from nowhere who reached out and touched the world. And he may have touched it right in its wound"
Why Nirvana is so low on the list? They are the kings of their genre. They changed the face of music in 90's. Cobain is one of the most influential musicians of all time. Common people!

19Buddy Holly
He influenced bob Dylan, famously influenced the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, he was a very talented person.

20The Kinks

21The Who

Em shows how you can come from nothing and turn into one of the greatest rappers ever he tells you to never give up and if you listen to his verse on airplanes pt 2 he didn't have friends he concentrated on rap and it paid off
His songs are so deep and full of meaning, listen to "when I'm gone" and "mockingbird"
Best and the most influential rapper of all time


23The Sex Pistols

24Black Sabbath
How is Metallica above Black Sabbath? Don't get me wrong, I like both, but without Black Sabbath there wouldn't be any metal at all.
They created and Influenced the whole Heavy Metal scene. Need I say more?
They created the greatest music genre we will ever see

It is mind-boggling why U2 is not even #3 only behind The Beatles and Michael Jackson, yet they are the most influential live rock band (listen to how some rock bands try to copy their vibe) and rock music overall. With larger-than-life rock riffs/vibe, Bono's powerful voice, and convincing lyrics (about world peace), U2, still to this day, has remained one of the most influential figures in music, as evidenced by their ubiquitous media presence into the 21st century

And who can forget Bono's glasses?
U2 not only was one of the few rock bands to survive through turbulent periods in rock music, but they have stayed together for over 30 years. They rose to superstar status in 1987 and have only climed uphill since. Bono's influence as an activist for ending poverty and making peace has led to his nomination for the noble peace prize. Perhaps only The Beatles can match the influence U2 has had over the entire world.

26The Rolling Stones

27Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams should be in the top ten to be honest
Very influential - most artists copy this one
He should be number one! This man is awesome and sings about current problems that can be very influencial to a lot of people

28Bee Gees

29The Smiths

30Public Enemy


32The Beach Boys

33The Stone Roses

34Britney Spears
Britney Spears Is Amazing! Maybe she hasn't got the best voice in the world but at least after her ups and downs of her past she still making number 1 hits and don't forget that she has sold over 105 million copies worldwide...
from 2000's Britney is the most influential and successful female singer. No one can even compare with her.


35Earth, Wind & Fire


37David Bowie
Is no way less influential than Miley Cyrus!
This is outrageous! Bowie influenced have the artist above him on this list!

38Bruce Springsteen

39Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash should be within the top ten easily, what are people playing at? Vote Cash up now.

40Green Day
How can be Green Day so down the list? Just fell it's influence in songs like "Wake me up when September ends", "Boulevard of broken dreams", "Before the lobotomy", "21 guns" and "Basket Case"...
Come on people, Vote for Green Day...
Green Day should at least be in the top five. They are influential, as they made their own way in the music industry and write their own music. Best band ever!


Green Day made music for 3 generation of youth..
They have influenced many teenagers to live on their dreams

Prince should be in the top ten, his music is amazing


43Frank Sinatra
Without Sinatra, most of this list wouldn't exist. And his body of work is the standard by which all others are measured.

44Bob Marley
Not just an influential musician, but an inspiration to mankind.
He was one of the greatest people to ever be famous
He was world peace

45The Strokes

46Celine Dion

47Red Hot Chili Peppers

48Avril Lavigne


50Bryan Adams

She is a role model & amazing at singing, dancing and being a philanthropist. She is definitely one of the most influential people in the world!
Shakira is very influential just because her IQ is the highest in music industry


52Backstreet Boys

53Tom Waits

54The Doors

55Stevie Wonder

56Taylor Swift

57The Clash


59New York Dolls
Influences of as Kiss, Hanoi Rocks, Blondie, The Clash, Ramones, Dead Boys, Mötley Crüe, Faster Pussycat, JetBoy, Guns N' Roses, The Damned, The Smiths, and Japan.

60Hank Williams



63Duran Duran

64Dire Straits

65The Killers

66Justin Timberlake
Classical plus hip pop music and unique style of dancing



69Jennifer Lopez
successful singer and actress


70Shania Twain


72Belinda Carlisle
Belinda's Heaven is place on Earth is everlasting song


73Kelly Clarkson

74Spice Girls
They were the Bomb in the 90s


75Biggie Smalls

76The Stooges

77Leonard Cohen

78Janis Joplin

79Marvin Gaye

80Beastie Boys

81Bo Diddley
Didn't he like invent rock guitar or something? This man is the start of modern music, just saying.




84Kate Bush

85The Beards

86The Cure

87Depeche Mode

88Miley Cyrus

89Mike Ness
Probaly the most under rated band ever, combining coutry and punk to make grate music.

90Guns N' Roses



93John Lennon

94The White Stripes

95Elton John

96Van Morrison

97Billy Joel


99The Verve

100Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga has changed the music industry, she should at least be in the top 10! #QueenOfPop

Comments About This List

Featured Lists
Popular Lists
New Lists

Top Remixes of This List






see more...

Posts About This List

List Info

This list was created 5 years, 243 days ago and has been voted on over 1,000 times. This top ten list contains 284 items, has been remixed 8 times.

Updated Thursday, January 29, 2015

List Error Reporting

See an item on this list that's misspelled, duplicated, or doesn't belong? Let us know. Click here to report the error.