Most Influential Figures in Heavy Metal History

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The Top Ten

1 Ritchie Blackmore 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.

Underrated to this day, the best rock guitarist,bar none.

Agreed

2 John Petrucci John Petrucci 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.
3 Rob Halford 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.
4 Kirk Hammett 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.
5 Steve Harris 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.
6 Cliff Burton Cliff Burton Clifford Lee "Cliff" Burton (February 10th 1962 - September 27th 1986) was an American musician, best known as the second bass guitarist for the American thrash metal band Metallica, recording three studio albums. He died in 1986 after getting crushed by a tour bus in Copenhagen whilst promoting Metallica's ...read more.
7 Bruce Dickinson 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.
8 James Hetfield 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.
9 Ronnie James Dio 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.
10 Ian Gillan 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).

Gillan created the combination of elements for clean metal vocals - his powerful voice with a 4 octave vocal range, pretty operatic singing style and his screams. Bruce Dickinson was influenced by him and then Bruce influenced almost every great metal singer with clean vocals. - Metal_Treasure

The Contenders

11 Ozzy Osbourne 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.

He is the most popular metal singer but his singing didn't really influence the next generations of great metal singers. The reason is very simple - to put it politely, his vocal skills aren't impressive. - Metal_Treasure

12 Chuck Schuldiner Chuck Schuldiner Charles Michael "Chuck" Schuldiner 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 as the "Godfather ...read more.
13 Tony Iommi 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.
14 Cozy Powell 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.

Greats in metal drumming start with him (mid 70s in Rainbow). Cozy Powell was a very fast and technical drummer for that era. He even set a world record for the most drums played in under one minute (400 drums). Sounds familiar? Oh, and he did that on a live T.V. show (BBC). - Metal_Treasure

15 Mike Portnoy Mike Portnoy Michael Portnoy is an American drummer primarily known as the former drummer, backing vocalist, and a co-founder of the progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater. Known for his technical skill as a drummer, Portnoy has won 30 awards from the Modern Drummer magazine.
16 Yngwie J. Malmsteen Yngwie J. Malmsteen Yngwie Johan Malmsteen is a Swedish guitarist, songwriter and bandleader who was born on June 30th, 1963, in Stockholm, Sweden. He was known for his neoclassical metal playing style back in the 1980s.

Ritchie Blackmore started the neoclassical shredding in metal but Yngwie took it to a whole another level and made it popular. Most of the fast metal guitarists were influenced by him, even guitarists who don't play strictly neoclassical style. - Metal_Treasure

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18 Kai Hansen Kai Hansen

He has been ruling the German metal scene for over 30 years. He also influenced bands and musicians outside Germany. - Metal_Treasure

19 Lemmy Kilmister Lemmy Kilmister Ian Fraser Kilmister, known as Lemmy, was an English musician, singer and songwriter who founded and fronted the rock band Motörhead.

He's not a metal musician - Lemmy himself said many times that Motorhead had never been a metal band. Which is true - they play a faster Rock N Roll with punk elements. I think they influenced some metal musicians but Queen and Pink Floyd influenced some, too. - Metal_Treasure

20 James Hetfield 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.
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List StatsUpdated 26 Jun 2017

22 listings
313 days old

Top Remixes

1. James Hetfield
2. Bruce Dickinson
3. Steve Harris
zxm
1. Ritchie Blackmore
2. Ian Gillan
3. Bruce Dickinson
Metal_Treasure
1. John Petrucci
2. Ritchie Blackmore
3. Kirk Hammett
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