1 Ritchie Blackmore
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.
I agree with him at #1 - his music DNA is everywhere in metal. - Metal_Treasure
2 Tony Iommi
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.
3 Ian Gillan
Ian Gillan is an English singer and songwriter. He originally found success as the lead singer and lyricist for Deep Purple, and the original singer on the rock opera concept album Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber, where Gillan had the leading role (Jesus Christ).
I think he should be at #3 after Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi because Ian Gillan created the biggest part of the metal singing style, which is very important. - Metal_Treasure
4 Ian Paice
Ian Anderson Paice (born 29 June 1948) is an English musician, best known as the drummer of the English rock band Deep Purple. He has been the band's only constant member since its foundation.
5 Ronnie James Dio
Ronnie James Dio (born Ronald James Padavona; July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010) was an American heavy metal singer, songwriter and musician. He fronted and/or founded numerous groups including Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven & Hell. He is credited with popularizing the "metal horns" hand gesture ...read more.
6 Geezer Butler
Terence Michael Joseph "Geezer" Butler is an English musician and songwriter. Butler is best known as the bassist and primary lyricist of heavy metal band Black Sabbath.
He wrote mostly lyrics and not music though. - Metal_Treasure
7 Rob Halford
Robert John Arthur "Rob" Halford is an English singer and songwriter, who is best known as the lead vocalist for the Grammy Award-winning heavy metal band Judas Priest and famed for his powerful wide ranging operatic voice.
8 Jon Lord
Jonathan Douglas "Jon" Lord was an English composer, pianist, and Hammond organ player known for his pioneering work in fusing rock with classical or baroque forms, especially with Deep Purple, as well as Whitesnake, Paice Ashton Lord, The Artwoods, and The Flower Pot Men.
Ritchie Blackmore was important. But from my point of view Jon Lord was more important than Ritchie Blackmore. Cause Ritchie Blackmore was kinda a pop guitarist. When Jon Lord was more interested in metal music. Though both of them were classical inspired musician, but I saw in a documentary that he got the idea first. - zxm
He deserves the second or first place on the list. If he had played guitar then people would give him credit. Not only he is the inventor of metal but also one of the pioneers of organ solos. He didn't like organ players only playing organ in back. - zxm
9 Glenn Tipton
Glenn Raymond Tipton is an English Grammy Award-winning guitar player and songwriter. He is most commonly known as the lead guitarist for English heavy metal band Judas Priest.
10 Cozy Powell
Colin Trevor "Cozy" Powell was an English rock drummer, who made his name with many major rock bands and artists like The Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, Robert Plant, Whitesnake and Black Sabbath.
11 Bill Ward
William Thomas "Bill" Ward is an English musician and visual artist, best known as the original drummer for the British heavy metal band Black Sabbath.
12 Ozzy Osbourne
John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne was born on December 3, 1948. He is also known as ''The Prince of Darkness''. Ozzy is an English singer, songwriter, and television personality. He rose to prominence in the early 1970s as the lead vocalist of the band Black Sabbath. Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath ...read more.
Only brought darkness to metal. That's it. (Though Ronnie James Dio also wrote some dark lyrics). He never sounded like a metal singer to me. I don't remember much metal singers who were inspired by this guy. Even singers like Robert Plant (Rob Halford) or Elvis Presley (Ian Gillan) were more influential than Ozzy Osbourne. - zxm
13 Bruce Dickinson
Paul Bruce Dickinson, known professionally as Bruce Dickinson, is an English musician, airline pilot, and broadcaster. He is most well known for being the lead singer in heavy metal band Iron Maiden and his solo career.
14 James Hetfield
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.
15 Kirk Hammett
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.
16 Lemmy Kilmister
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.
I know he's not metal but Motorhead was very influential when it came to speed in metal.
17 Steve Harris
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.
Iron Maiden was one of the bands who took out the blues elements in metal at the time and re-energized it by making it sound rougher and faster.
18 John Kay
The 1968 song "Born to be Wild" was not metal, but did coin the term "Heavy metal thunder".
19 Chuck Schuldiner
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.
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.