When I say important, I mean the bands driving force, main songwriter, occasional producer, etc. So don't go around adding Kurt Cobain, Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson. Or anyone like them.
1 Steve Harris (Iron Maiden)
Stephen Percy "Steve" Harris is an English musician and songwriter, known as the bassist, occasional keyboardist, backing vocalist, primary songwriter and founder of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.
2 Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)
David Scott "Dave" Mustaine (born September 13, 1961) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor and author. Mustaine is best known as a pioneer in Thrash Metal, being the former lead guitarist of Metallica before his dismissal in 1983, leading to finding and becoming the front man of his own ...read more.
3 Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree)
Steven John Wilson is an English musician, singer, songwriter and record producer, most closely associated with the progressive rock genre. He is best known for his band Porcupine Tree.
This guy is just a legend. Him and Porcupine Tree are one of my favourite bands. And his solo career is pretty amazing as well. Hand Cannot Erase is easily the best album of the year so far. - IronSabbathPriest
4 Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth)
Lars Mikael Åkerfeldt is a Swedish musician, prominently known as the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter of progressive death metal band Opeth, as well as being the former vocalist of death metal supergroup Bloodbath for three albums up until 2012. ...read more.
The leader of Opeth. The guy who does everything. He writes most of Opeth's material, and is a fantastic songwriter. - IronSabbathPriest
He puts effort. Deserves to be at the top - EpicJake
5 Chuck Schuldiner (Death)
Charles Michael "Chuck" Schuldiner (1967-2001) was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known as the founder and vocalist, guitarist and bassist of the American heavy metal band Death. He is considered the most influential figure in Death Metal, with some publications referring to Chuck ...read more.
Sorry if I spelt it wrong. Chuck and Death produced almost 20 years of pure awesome music. And when he died, we had the saddest musician death. And the end to the greatest death metal band. - IronSabbathPriest
6 Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains)
Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. is an American musician, singer-songwriter and guitarist best known as the founder, lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist and main songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains.
This guy is unbeatable! Even when Layne Staley died. He reformed the band with Willem Duvall and they still kick ass today. - IronSabbathPriest
7 Jon Schaffer (Iced Earth)
Jon Ryan Schaffer is an American heavy metal musician. He is best known as the guitarist and last remaining original member of the Florida-based heavy metal band Iced Earth, which he formed in 1985 under the name "Purgatory".
Yes, he's the driving force there. His songwriting is the most important part. - Metal_Treasure
8 Kirk Hammett (Metallica)
Kirk Lee Hammett is the lead guitarist and songwriter for the heavy metal band Metallica and has been a member of the band since 1983. Before joining Metallica he formed and named the band Exodus.
9 Robert Fripp (King Crimson)
Robert Fripp (born 16 May 1946) is an English guitarist, composer and record producer. As a guitarist for the progressive rock band King Crimson, Fripp has been the only member to have played in all of King Crimson's line-ups from their inception in the late 1960s to the present. He has also worked ...read more.
10 Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia)
Tobias Sammet is a German metal musician, best known as the vocalist and primary songwriter of the power metal band Edguy, as well as the founder, main singer and bassist of the metal opera Avantasia.
Tobias Sammet and Jeff Waters are #1 and #2 for me - nobody does what they do.
Tobias Sammet runs 2 successful bands in parallel! He sings for 2 bands, writes music and lyrics for 2 bands, tours with 2 bands, etc. He's been doing that for 15 years!
Sometimes he plays bass.
Tobi founded Edguy when he was 14.
Then he founded Avantasia - a superband that includes many famous singers from all over the world and it's difficult to coordinate. This type of projects also need lots of talent and versatility to write songs that fit the styles of so many different singers. Besides, Avantasia is a metal opera and the stuff is not easy.
Tobi is a top 10 metal singer and overall a super-talented musician. He is also one of the smartest and coolest guys out there. - Metal_Treasure
11 Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull)
Ian Scott Anderson is a Scottish-born musician, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist whom is best known for his work as the lead vocalist, flautist, and acoustic guitarist of British rock band Jethro Tull.
12 Jeff Waters (Annihilator)
Jeff Waters (born February 13, 1966) is a Canadian metal musician and founder of the metal band Annihilator. He's best known as the guitarist for Annihilator, appreciated for his fast riffs and solos. Waters is also the primary songwriter in the band. Very often he has taken on the role of lead singer, ...read more.
Annihilator = Jeff Waters. He's one of the most multi-talented metal musicians. Definitely a guitar virtuoso.
He's basically a lead guitar player but his roles in the band are more than that:
Founder, leader, songwriter, lyricist, and when needed - rhythm guitar player and even bassist and lead vocalist. He founded his own studio and became a producer.
Annihilator didn't have a bassist for their debut album (which is a masterpiece) and Jeff Waters created and played all the original bass lines (besides creating everything else).
He also did lead vocals on several albums - he's not a songbird but he's not bad (ex. - King Of The Kill, 21). - Metal_Treasure
13 James Hetfield (Metallica)
James Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963. He is an American musician, singer and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica.
He has good voice, good musics everything that a band needs.
14 Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead)
Ian Fraser Kilmister, known as Lemmy, was an English musician, singer and songwriter who founded and fronted the rock band Motörhead. He was a bassist and a singer known for his raspy voice. He died in 2015 from cancer and other health problems.
RIP Lemmy, you will be missed.
15 Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray, Helloween)
Kai Michael Hansen is a heavy metal guitarist and vocalist. Hansen is the founder, lead guitarist, and vocalist of power metal band Gamma Ray. He is also the co-founder and former member of German metal band Helloween.
This guy is fabulous.
Founded 2 legendary bands, wrote remarkable songs for both bands, played guitars, did lead vox, backing vox. - Metal_Treasure
16 Freddie Mercury (Queen)
Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara, 5th September 1946 - 24th November 1991) was a Zanzibari-born British singer of Indian descent, songwriter and record producer, known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the British rock band Queen. He also became known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave ...read more.
He should be on the top. - bzsuzsi0128
The beest singer and frontman of all time. A legend. RIP Freddie, we all miss you.
17 Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
Kurt Cobain was born February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. In 1987, he started the grunge band Nirvana, which became one of the most successful bands ever. He was a talented yet troubled grunge performer. Kurt Cobain became a rock legend in the 1990s with his band. He committed suicide at his ...read more.
Best for ever
18 Quorthon (Bathory)
Tomas Börje Forsberg, known by the stage name Quorthon (1966-2004), was a Swedish musician. He was the founder, songwriter, vocalist and guitarist of the band Bathory, which pioneered the black metal genre and is credited with creating the Viking metal style. A multi-instrumentalist, Quorthon wrote ...read more.
19 Mat Sinner (Primal Fear)
Mat Sinner is a bassist, vocalist, songwriter and record producer from Stuttgart, Germany. He is best known as the bassist and primary songwriter for the metal band Primal Fear.
The guys from Primal Fear are very good and skillful musicians but they wouldn't sound that good without the great songs Mat Sinner writes. Primal Fear just have good songs.
Mat Sinner is also their bassist and co-founder of the band. I always compare Mat Sinner with Steve Harris - both are Grey Cardinals: they exert power behind the scenes, without drawing attention to themselves. Also both are bassists and know how to write good songs.
Songs: Strike, All for One, Diabolus, King for a Day, The Man (That I Don't Know). - Metal_Treasure
20 Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)
Reznor is the band, really - Rorywilbren
21 Jimi Hendrix (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
Jimi Hendrix (born November 27, 1942 - September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter . Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated ...read more.
22 Brian May (Queen)
Brian Harold May is an English musician, singer, songwriter and astrophysicist, best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen.
23 Rudolf Schenker (Scorpions)
Rudolf Schenker is a German guitarist and founding member of the hard rock band Scorpions, being the rhythm guitarist and one of the main songwriters of the band.
He's the founder, guitar player and main songwriter of the biggest German rock band of all time, the Scorpions. - DarkSideOfDragons
24 Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)
Anthony Frank "Tony" Iommi is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. Best known as lead guitarist and founding member of the pioneering heavy metal band Black Sabbath, he has been the band's sole continual member and primary composer. At age 17, he accidentally lost the fingertips of his middle ...read more.
Tony was the only member of Black Sabbath to be on every single album they put out. He is the father of metal - Sabbath
25 Ric Ocasek (The Cars)
He wrote every single song The Cars released, sang most of them, and did a bit of production too. - PetSounds
26 Mille Petrozza (Kreator)
Miland "Mille" Petrozza is a German metal guitarist and singer of Italian descent, who has been the lead vocalist and guitarist for the German thrash metal band Kreator since 1984.
27 Sergio Pizzorno (Kasabian)
Sergio Lorenzo "Serge" Pizzorno is a British guitarist, vocalist, music producer and songwriter, best known for his work with the rock band Kasabian. He is Kasabian's lead songwriter since the departure of Christopher Karloff.
28 John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Who were they without him?
29 Jon Bon Jovi (Bon Jovi)
John Francis Bongiovi, Jr., known as Jon Bon Jovi, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, philanthropist, and actor, best known as the founder and frontman of rock band Bon Jovi, which was formed in 1983. He is famous for his band's hit song “Livin’ On A Prayer“ released in 1986. He ...read more.
30 Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)
George Roger Waters, is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. He is mostly known for being the secondary lead vocalist and bassist of Pink Floyd.
He wrote many songs for the band and his lyrics are the best - DarkSideOfDragons
31 David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)
David Jon Gilmour is an English singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He joined the progressive rock band Pink Floyd as guitarist and co-lead vocalist in 1968.
Don't like pink floyd but dave sems a nice guy - gruppenfuhrer
32 Herman Li (Dragonforce)
Herman Li is a Hong Kong-born, British Chinese musician, record producer, and lead guitarist for the British Power-Metal band Dragonforce.
33 Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra)
34 Noel Gallagher (Oasis)
Noel Thomas David Gallagher is an English musician, singer, songwriter and guitarist. He served as the lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist and principal songwriter of the rock band Oasis.
35 Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park)
Michael Kenji "Mike" Shinoda is an American musician, rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, graphic designer, manager and film composer.
36 Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big)
William "Billy" Sheehan is an American bassist known for his work with Talas, Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, Niacin, and The Winery Dogs.
37 Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple)
Richard Hugh "Ritchie" Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter, best known for his work in the hard rock/metal bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. He was ranked number 16 on Guitar World's "100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time" in 2004, and number 50 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the ...read more.
38 John Petrucci (Dream Theater)
John Peter Petrucci is an American guitarist, composer and producer. He is best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. Compared to his level of skill, John Petrucci is relatively unknown in the modern music industry.
39 Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)
Michael Trent Reznor, known professionally as Trent Reznor, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and film score composer. He is known for his intense music videos.
40 Ray Davies (The Kinks)
Raymond Douglas "Ray" Davies is an English musician. He was the rhythm guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for The Kinks, which he led with his younger brother, Dave.