Most Influential Music Artists Ever
The Top Ten
The Beatles are not influential at all in my country South Africa. Most people here do not listen to them or care but we have a very big Michael Jackson fanbase here. Honestly I believe the Beatles do not have much influence out of the U.S.A and U.K and they are over hyped in their music publications which is why everyone is so convinced they had this massive influence when they did not outside European nations.
Creative studio geniuses is what this group really were. This is their legacy and how they should be remembered and revered. Their commercial success was almost in spite of what they were doing rather than because of it. Don't forget they only toured for the first 3 years of their career and for the rest from the end of 65 until their split at the end of 69 they just locked themselves in the office. Yes they had to keep the record labels happy so they would throw out a number 1 every few months to achieve that. But it wasn't their focus and isn't how they should be assessed. Their ground-breaking studio recording techniques and song writing experimentation are the core of this group, and they laid the foundations for the 50 years of rock and pop music that has followed, leaving no area of music untouched by their influence. They belong in a category entirely on their own.
John Lennon had the greatest voice of all time, and was the greatest lyricist of all time. Strawberry a Fields a Forever, A Day in the Life, In My Life, and Girl are some of the greatest songs ever. Paul McCartney is right behind Brian Wilson when it comes to melody. I mean Hey Jude, Let It Be, Blackbird, etc. George Harrison is behind Hendrix and Berry when it comes to most important guitarist, with songs like something, while My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Here Comes the Sun. And Ringo is a very talented drummer. This is the most important band of all time. They created the album as an art form with the help of Dylan and Wilson. They created the music video, the stadium rock concert, they changed studio recording almost 100%, and they inspired more people to pick up guitars, basses, drums, and microphones than any other musician ever.
I think that the Beatles are so influential. They changed all music forever. So many other musicians after them looked up to them and used them for inspiration on their music. They also showed how you can be free with your own body because they grew their hair out. They truly were great and oh so influential
No dought MJ had incredible talent, but he left us with a horrible past and we all know what that is, I am surprised people can look past that.
Elvis Presley opened the doors worldwide for white people to listen to black music ( in the fifties they were separated at radios for Airplay ). B.B. King, James Brown, Little Richard etc... all said it. Elvis made black music popular. I'm not here to give critics at the talent of Michael Jackson but without Elvis, Michael would never made it in popularity ( not because of his talent but because of racial issues ) and therefore never be able to be influential. I think Elvis should be number one, The Beatles number two and Michael Jackson number three. Since we're not talking about talent or taste on this list but about influence I believe that my statement has some truth when it comes to popular cultural facts in the history of music. Don't get me wrong, I love Michael Jackson ( especcially his late seventies records and early eighties records ) but Elvis Presley deserves to be above him on this list.
Michael Jackson was by far the greatest entertainer in history of Show Business. Michael could do it all: Sing, Dance, Write music for himself as well as other artists, Compose, Organize, Choreograph everything that most artists including the so-called king of rock and roll could never do himself. Michael Jackson accomplished a great many things in his 50 years of life. He would have accomplished a lot more that he lived on. None of this begins to describe the magic and electricity Michael brought to show business and what he brought to the music industry. Not to mention all the money he's generously and selfllessly donated to charitable causes over the years. None of this begins to describe the magic and electricity Michael brought to show business in particular the music industry. In my opinion Michael Joseph Jackson, "The King of Pop" should be ranked number ONE!
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 ...more
I do agree he's better than Elvis but definitely not ahead of The Beatles!
Elvis was paramount in ushering in the new modern post-war music industry, something that all those that followed recognised, including The Beatles. He was important in the breaking down of racial barriers in music: not just vocal style, but clothes and, famously, his extraordinary onstage body rhetoric.
Well he did inspire the Beatles in the first place himself he should probably be above Michael Jackson honestly Michael is probably better but Elvis was the more INFLUENTIAL which is what this list is about.
Obviously the most influential of all time. All of the artist that are above and below would tell you that. That voice, charisma, those hips & lips. The remarkable ability he had to connect with an audience. One billion people watched aloha from Hawaii - on average half a million people from around the world visit Graceland ( the most visited residence, 2nd only to the whit House) He mixed multiple genres to create a sound, even thoug, it was just instinct. Humble, fun loving and loved all over the world to this Day. Hard to believe that he has that much influence globally, both then and today. He's the most imitated, impersonated man there is. Yep, he's the king. I'm only 40 so don't presume I'm a baby boomer.
The greatest music influence in the history of this planet. He changed the world with his fantastic voice and persona. They all wanted to be like him, to look like him and to sing like him, but nobody could ever or will eer achieve such greatness as elvis, the king, a gift from God.
Freddie had a unique/special singing voice in his expression of emotion, his range, and his use of vibrato and subharmonics. He was a talented pianist who, as Brian May said, played as if a drummer sat down at a piano and learned it; he had perfect timing. Roger Taylor's falsetto in the 70s is like no other, Brian May has always been a skilled (I love his runs and bends) with a pleasant warm tone to his singing voice, and John Deacon wrote several iconic bass- heavy hits in Another One Bites The Dust and Under Pressure, among others. These four really revolutionized music, even the music video, with their MV for Bohemian Rhapsody. I'll love them always
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.
I hear artist talk about Freddie's voice and ability to hold stadiums in the palm of his hand. Great musicians, song writers and composers.
You guys are the real Deal! I put only Elvis ahead go queen.
Even Michael Jackson just adored Freddie and of course Elvis.
As John Lennon said "before Elvis there was nothing
Generic, pseudo-innovative pop band for the dumb masses.
If Queen never existed, music nowadays would be more or less unchanged.
Jimi Hendrix played from the heart, his soul was channeled through his music. He revolutionized the guitar sound and techniques. Inspired many of latter-day's great guitarists and musicians in general and continues to be an inspiration. Even 45 years after his death, he is the greatest guitarist that has ever lived. I unfortunately wasn't born yet to witness his powerful, beautiful and genuine performances, but I'm appreciative to be able to hear and watch him jam in videos. What a blessing to the whole world! Rest in peace, Jimi.
He played from the heart, his soul was channeled through his music. He revolutionized the guitar sound and techniques. Inspired many of latter-day's great guitarists and musicians in general and continues to be an inspiration.
Even 45 years after his death, he is the greatest guitarist that has ever lived. I unfortunately wasn't born yet to witness his powerful, beautiful and genuine performances, but I'm appreciative to be able to hear and watch him jam in videos. What a blessing to the whole world! Rest in peace, Jimi.
Do you ever wonder if the musical landscape would be different if Hendrix would have lived another 50 years?
Hendrix should be #1 on this list. This list is a JOKE.
In my opinion he and elvis should be above the beatles as they both influenced the Beatles as well as being very influential themselves.
I really respect the beatles and I know they were extremely influential and creative... But one of the main things people always say about the Beatles is that most music since then wouldn't exist without them, and I agree... But would the Beatles have existed without guys like Dylan, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash and Justin Bieber? No they wouldn't so rose guys also deserve some recognition and a shot at challenging the Beatles for first.
by the way... I'm not saying I necessarily think the Beatles shouldn't be first and the justin bieber thing was a joke.
And also I'm pretty sure Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and whoever were very influential too
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 is more than a musician, more than a poet, more than "influential." He is one of the greatest story tellers in American history. His talent is unprecedented. He ushered in the hippie movement of the 60s, then quickly abandoned it. Didn't matter. He reimagined himself, and created some of the best music of any time: "Blood on the Tracks."
His poetry, his tale spinning, his musical prowess, is a treasure, and he has touched the imagination of countless artists in his wake.
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.
Influence to queen (who are higher on this list), guns n roses, white stripes, Kings of Leon and many many more. They also wrote what is regarded as the best rock song in history.
Jimmy pages riffs are powerful and bluesy but also formed the basis for what is now metal.
Robert plant vocal range is immense and his lyrics at times are pure poetry.
Not many true musicians are around anymore that match up to this collective group.
THE BEST BAND EVER, objectively all band member are the best technical wise in their categories. Combined with their love for hard rock and blues and creativity in later years they are unprecedented and visceral almost enigmatic as gods of rock. I don't consider the Beatles a Rock Band they are more than that, but as the best rock band the throne goes to the hammer of the gods: LED ZEPPELIN!
Where would we be without legendary Led Zeppelin? Their music is so diverse and truly inspiring. You never get sick of Bonham's thundering drums, page's singing guitar, plant's bluesy screams and Jone's funky bass. In a relaxed mood? Zeppelin. In a workout mood? Zeppelin. In a mood where you want to punch through a drywall? Zeppelin. Want to be truly blown away? ZEPPELIN.
Pretty much started that whole hard rock sound. I say hard rock because although they were considered heavy metal, they really were only heavy metal compared to other bands before and during their time. Bands like AC/DC and Kiss were heavier than they were, but this band no doubt set the standard for what hard rock could be and became.
Bowie changed musical direction at an amazing speed( especially in the 70's and early 80's), influencing entire musical movements in the process but still managing to stay ahead of the curve. Bowie is up there with The Beatles for me, compared to Michael Jackson, Bowie was a lot more inventive and groundbreaking, Jackson did not constantly change musical direction while still influencing the main stream industry.Jackson was a better dancer that's it...but this is about music not dancing moves..
David is the most influential artist of all the time I think. He was always creative even when he was 69 and fighting cancer. he had an incredible imagination and he was obviously gifted. He taught us that being different is not that bad. What is more important than that?
David Bowie has been around for decades, continuously changing and adapting his music style, experimenting with new things nobody would have otherwise touched. His lyrics are beautiful, and he has inspired many on his way. RIP
Bowie was something different. He came from the district of South London, but he was so serious with his music. He had so much character.
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
I think this list is very genre biased (90% of the options have some sort of rock basis). Also this list incredibly "baby boomer" biased, meaning the vast majority of artists on this list became popular during the baby boomer generation. This list speaks more on the demagraphics voting as opposed to who was truly was most influential in their genres, and in rap, no man is truly more influential than Tupac Amaru Shakur. (Kanye West and Radiohead are heavily slighted on this list due to the baby boomer bias).
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
Simple once in a life time artist. You can't put into words the impact that this man brought in music and culture, even today artist take from his music legacy and use his wise words. He change the way the music industry and artist should work. At the young age of 25 Tupac did more in a quarter of his life that most artist have done in there life time.Tupac his music, voice will live on forever.
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!
Nirvana was the last band to shake the world. All bands that followed were just a joke. Best band of 90's and the greatest icon of Generation X.
Kurt Cobain changed the music industry like no other artist had before. Undeniable. Should be in the top 5
I love Pink Floyd ( especially their psychedelic period ) but to say like one of the comments that they should be higher than Elvis Presley is ridiculous. The start of modern music begins with Elvis Presley in the fifties ( " Before Elvis there was nothing " said John Lennon once ) and when raw rock started to fade away in the sixties came the British invasion. The Beatles and many other groups came with a new sound based on raw rock ( Them, The Animals, The Kinks, The Yardbirds etc... ). Even Pink Floyd ( just listen to their Demos from 1966 ) were influenced by that. Later on Pink Floyd developed their own sound. But you can't in historical chronology put Pink Floyd before Elvis Presley in matter of influence because that doesn't make sense.
It's totally my opinion.I am not writing this to disgrace Pink Floyd, as I also want them to be higher on the list. But it's wrong to say that they should be above Elvis or Beatles. Yes there is no doubt they are great, even I listen to them more than any artist after Beatles and Eric Clapton. (And two of the Albums from my top 5 favourite albums are : "Wish you were here" and "Dark side of the moon")
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
I love pink Floyd but they aren't the 12th most influential musician of all time
Modern music owes everything to Chuck Berry. He was arguably one of the first, if not the first, storyteller in music. It should also be noted how he incorporated a social movement in the song "Roll Over Beethoven", a song that signiefies rock and rolls increasing popularity, at the time. Without Berry, it's extremely difficult to see where music would be today.
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.
Why are the Beatles number 1? The Beatles were emulated greatly by Chuck Berry these voters are clueless.
Chuck berry, buddy holly, bill haley. All great singers that people seem to have forgotten, sadly
You can argue these guys are number 1,2,3 or 4. They started Heavy Metal which has become a giant genre or music. You ever go to Metallica, Slayer? These guys sell out everywhere. Underrated for sure
Black Sabbath paved the road for metal. And not only that, they are legends. I think people are forgetting the meaning of this list; it's not the best musicians, it's the ones who influence
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 were one of the first bands to be METAL, and nothing else, so they laid the groundwork for all the metal music to come.
Madonna should certainly be ranked among the top 5. She's up there with Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley as a solo artist. EVERY female pop solo artist since her is directly or indirectly influenced by her. If you removed Madonna from history the whole pop landscape today would be unrecognizable. And I daresay her influence transcends the world of entertainment quite considerably too.
Should be in the middle of the top 10, like closing the top 5.
4th best selling artist, best selling female artist (after Elvis, Beatles and Michael), most dominant music pop icon alongside Michael during the late decades of the 20th century, and defining new artistry and provocativeness with presenting sexiness of appearance in new manners.
History will prove that Madonna is one of the most influential pop artists of all time. She sculpted the fashion, ideology, music and culture of the 1980s and 1990s. This statement may be controversial as she is still viewed from a contemporary perspective. When she is gone her historical significance will finally be realized. Mark my word.
Most influential in the way that if you want it bad enough, you can effectively market yourself and dominate the pop world by being overtly sexual, controversial and self-promoting.
This list is so western-centric. Come on. The question is who was/is most INFLUENTIAL. I am an anthropologist who has lived in more than a dozen countries. Now live in Papua New Guinea. In a remote village in PNG you see Marley t-shirts. Get up! Stand up! The same in villages in Namibia, Thailand, Colombia. Marley t-shirts, Jah Rastafari! Beatles? What social movement did they ever inspire. No t-shirts in Cambodia. Elvis? No one in a village in PNG has any idea who that is. No t-shrts in Chile. Marley died in 1981 - 36 years ago. He only had an international career of less than five years. Think about that! And today he is still the most popular AND influential musician in 90% of the world. If you are really talking about influence, then wake up to the real world. The Beatles, Michael and Elvis together have not had a tenth the influence Marley had - and continues to have.
Not only did Bob Marley fight for the rights of Jamaica and other countries, actively, he also made a career after having to fight his whole life in a violent part of Jamaica. Then with his career he also fought for the rights of the world as his fame increased steadily and eventually, the whole world was his stage. I also consider him the first person in the world to actually Practice what he Preached
What the hell! Marley is a legend he inspired nations. He influence the entire continent of Africa. He also was a social and political activist. He started a religious movement. He is a diety in the music world. This list is the most influential muscians not most influential American musicians.
Bob Marley is the greatest, he was much much more than a musician
He fought all his life for justice,peace,love and unity
His music is timeless,lyrics that not only joyful and uplifting but deep and spiritual,
One good thing about Marley is when he hits you with Music, you feel no pain.
A band that has been performing for over 50 years.
They weren't the originators of blues rock but they made it their own and influenced many others in the process.
Keith Richards is not the most technical guitarist in the world and he knows that, he leaves it to people like Clapton and page. But no on compares to him and his rhythm. His variations in tuning means that when he plays it's the perfect tone for what he wants to achieve. Tom morello said himself that even though he's persisted for many years he still can't achieve the same sound Keith does with his riffs. Bear in mind Keith also did this without all the effects and distortion tricks of many other guitarists.
Mick jagger again another huge influence on music everywhere and has one of the most iconic although jittery dance styles ever(hence moves like jagger by maroon 5)
What other band can you just see a logo and automatically know who it is?
Ladies and Gentlemen...The Rolling Stones! There's a reason why The Stones are known as the World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band.
Honestly I think they were probably more influential than Queen and that's despite preferring Queen's music.
They are the best
Pearl Jam, Black Crowes, Rage Against The Machine and even the Sex Pistols claim they were influenced by Rod Stewart and the Faces. Need I say more?
The Rod Stewart troll, again.
I saw him live on so many occasions, but only met him once. He was an interesting guy who had a different thought process to us normals... he remans the most inspirational guy I ever met in my life... he should be number 1
With today's male artists copying his style, it's safe to say that he is the most influential, probably top 5. Plus, couldn't Prince play like 59 (? ) instruments?
Rip to an icon who's shows were the stuff of legends. The soundtrack to my youth. He rocked therefore he was! The very best up there with the greats
How can this guy be after ANYONE? Almost everybody who plays music today is influenced by Prince to a degree...
Basically any on stage pyrotechnics were thanks to these guys. They were the kings of wrecking instruments. Yes, it is true that it doesn't take much skill to destroy an instrument, but the Who were just so good at putting that into shows. Plus, Pete Townsend introduced the Windmill arm for guitarists
Humble, Down to Earth and and an inspiration to many. She's a wonderful singer from India which has produced Great playback singers like Dr.KJ Yesudas, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.
Dear West, please Google & listen to these voices and feel the passion in their singing!
The most popular musician in India, the world's second-largest country.
Nobody cares that American kids keep saying "who is she", because India's 1,000,000,000 people don't care about what those inconsequential brats have, or have not heard of.
Adorable person ever I have seen. Most talented, dedicated and committed Musician. Very down to earth, Very simple person. Simplicity is not a simple to maintain. You are the best Amma...Salute...
This is the "most influential list" yet no one out side India knows her. Everyone knows everyone else on the list. But not her. No offense but it is true.
Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and Prince all claimed him as a huge influence (with Prince and Michael claiming him as their primary influence). That alone should earn him a place on the top 10, but the fact that he's the most sampled musician ever and laid the groundwork for rap & funk should make him top 5. James Browns loops and yells and horn stabs will be featured on rap & electronic music forever, and his dance moves will be and were watched by any credible dancer that followed him. For him not to be in the top 10 is ignorant
Without The Godfather of Soul, there would be no King of Pop.
Without question, this guy HAS to be in the Top 10
He should be #1 with MJ on second! without James brown there would be no funk, hiphop, rap, no MJ no prince no rappers he chanced the whole music industry
Rock and Roll and all subsequent music would not be had it not been for the influence of Buddy Holly. What would music be like today if it weren't for that unfortunate plane crash in 1959?
A lot of people haven't heard of him. But don't forget, rock music came from America BEFORE England. He affected all rock music to come, which took hold in England
He is the one who came up with the format of, you only need a lead singer, lead guitar and a rhythm section of Bass and Drums.
He is the only reason The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Who, and others are what they are/ were what they were.
It sounds strange, but he isn't so inflential for todays music:
Where comes todays music from, let's see:
Rock comes (most) from rock'n'roll.
Rock'n'roll comes (most) from blues.
Blues comes (most) from work songs.
Let's do it with Pop:
Pop comes (most) from traditional pop
Traditional pop comes (most) from swing.
Swing is a form of jazz.
Jazz comes (most) from blues.
And we already know where blues comes most from.
What's about hip hop?
Hip Hop comes (most) from funk.
Funk comes (most) from Soul
Soul comes (most) from rhythm and blues.
Rhythm and blues comes (most) from (you know it) blues.
Blues comes (most) from work songs.
Ok what popular genres are there...
It comes (most) from blues rock.
Blues rock comes (most) from electric blues.
And electric blues comes from blues.
Punk rock? This comes from rock'n'roll... and we already know from what this genre comes ...more
Forgetting about Progressive genres which stem from Baroque Pop which as the name suggests takes huge influence from Baroque.
For sure. Without doubt #1. #2 should be Igor Stravinsky. #3 should be Miles Davis. #4 and #5 should be John Cale and Lou Reed.
How the hell is he not 1
Influenced a generation of musicians and song writers. Gone way to early.
Leader of Nirvana. My second favourite band of all time after The Beatles
He should be in the top 20 no doubt.