Most Influential Music Artists Ever

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The Top Ten

1 Beatles Beatles The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The members consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. They were soon known as the foremost and most influential act of rock era. Rooted in skiffle, beat, and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented ...read more.

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 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. - gotlbh

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.

They are the beginning for a lot of things. The beginning of my love of music. The beginning of a new wave of rock 'n roll. The beginning of the British invasion that brought so many great artist into my country. The Beatles have influenced not only regular fans but so many other artist that fall into the category of being influential. Not only do their songs just have meaning, they have social/political/economical meaning. They spoke out for what they believed and that my friends is something that should be praised!

Best ever music artists there legacy lives on & will forever!

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2 Michael Jackson Michael Jackson Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana and passed away on June 25, 2009. Michael Jackson was a singer, songwriter, producer, choreographer, entertainer and humanitarian. He donated (at least) a remarkable 300,000,000 dollars to charity. Michael is also known as The King ...read more.

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 - graciadolinobv

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.

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.

MJ has to be nº1. He changed everything in the music business since the way people perform, videos, how commercials deals were made. No artist ever had such a durable impact in the coming generations. No Elvis, no Beatles, No Freddie Mercury.

Looking at music today most of the great entertainers, singers and producers in pop music will always refer to Michael Jackson as one of the great, if not the greatest, influence they had.

More than that, his influence exploded trough different styles. This is something that his competition has never been able to do. Who else got nº1 hits on disco, funk, pop, rock etc? No one. This is the proof of how incomparable of an all around artist Mj was.

Finally, the immense charity work that MJ has done throughout his life is unmatched to this day. This is also one of the reasons why MJ is so loved and revered all across the world.

Some names are more or less popular in some countries. Some artists are specialists and the ...more

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3 Elvis Presley Elvis Presley Elvis Presley was a American musician and actor. Known as "The King" He was mostly known for his number 1 singles including "Heartbreak Hotel" "Hound Dog" "Jailhouse Rock" "Love me Tender" Elvis debuted in the movie "Love me Tender" and focused less on his music and continued that way. ...read more.

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.

Elvis was an innovator, being able to merge his influences into a new style. He influenced Buddy Holly, among many others. Because Elvis had such remarkable success, others wanted to follow, including the Beatles. Rock and roll is something that needed to happen to help bring blacks and whites together. Elvis was that man. And, if Elvis wasn't around, where would the Beatles get a big inspiration?

Undoubtly number one ever. Like the Beatles said 'before Elvis there was noting, we only wanted to be like him'. He opened the world for black music. In the beginning he was banned, because of the impact he had on young people. The Russian government officially stated that this must be a new weapon from the US, and forbid anybody to listen (no joke). And there's so much more..

Before Elvis it was family favourites after a new world of music was born

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4 Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix 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.

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 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

Do you ever wonder if the musical landscape would be different if Hendrix would have lived another 50 years?

I like his guitar

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5 Queen Queen Queen are a British rock group formed in 1970. Members were Freddie Mercury (Vocals and Piano), Brian May (Guitar, Vocals), Roger Taylor (Drums, Vocals), and John Deacon (Bass Guitar, Vocals). Before forming into Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had played together in a band named Smile. Freddie Mercury ...read more.

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

Queen Rocks

The band that changed my life! Thank you, mom, for buying that first Queen album for me when I was a little one. Now I play guitar myself!

Queen is very good, but let's be real: Not really inflentual

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6 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of Robert Plant (Vocal), Jimmy Page (Guitar), John Paul Jones (Bass, Keyboard) and John Bonham (Drums). The band's heavy, guitar-driven sound, rooted in blues and psychedelia on their early albums, has earned them recognition ...read more.

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!

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.

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.

For rock, there is no better. their interpretation of musical light and shade is the blueprint of what was to come.

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7 Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, artist and writer . he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2016 .

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.

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.

For me there's no question that Bob Dylan is the most inflentual musician since Beethoven.

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8 David Bowie David Bowie David Robert Jones was born in London on January 8, 1947, the son of a fundraiser and a waitress. He died in New York on January 10, 2016 at the age of 69, a hero to millions. ...read more.

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..

He spanned decades, genres, mediums. He's the artist's artist. Almost everything you see is a variation of something he created. Long after the current hits fade from the charts, there will still be David Bowie.

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

Changed music history forever, hands down, one of the most unique and coolest songwriters/singers that ever existed

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9 Bob Marley Bob Marley Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley was a Jamaican reggae singer, songwriter, musician, and guitarist who achieved international fame and acclaim.

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

He was one of the greatest people to ever be famous

Not just an influential musician, but an inspiration to mankind.

Motivational king of inspiring music

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10 Chuck Berry Chuck Berry Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. He died on 18 March 2017.

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. - fireinside96

Chuck berry, buddy holly, bill haley. All great singers that people seem to have forgotten, sadly

Should be top 5... And the Beatles are overrated because they wouldn't exist without guys like this

R.I.P mate, never roll on you, just roll on Beethoven

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The Contenders

11 The Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first settled line-up consisted of Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica), Ian Stewart (piano), Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica), Keith Richards (guitar), Bill Wyman (bass) and Charlie Watts (drums). ...read more.

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?

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12 K.S. Chithra K.S. Chithra Krishnan Nair Shantakumari Chithra, often credited as K. S. Chithra or simply Chithra, is an Indian playback singer from Kerala. Chithra also sings Indian classical, devotional, and popular music.

She influenced other singers. They willing to sing like her. This is her success

If you hear chithra voice you easly influenced by her

She is not just so influential, She mean it

Who the heck is this? I've never heard of her.

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13 Pink Floyd Pink Floyd Pink Floyd were an English progressive rock band formed in London . They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. The band consisted of 5 members - David Gilmour (Vocals and Guitar), Syd Barrett (Vocals and Guitarist), Nick Mason (Drums), Roger Waters (Vocals and ...read more.

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.

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 would have voted for the Beatles, but Pink Floyd needed to be higher on this list. - Doom

I love pink Floyd but they aren't the 12th most influential musician of all time

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14 Rod Stewart Rod Stewart Roderick David "Rod" Stewart is a British rock singer-songwriter. Born and raised in London, he is of Scottish and English ancestry.

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? - phr

15 2pac 2pac Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known as 2Pac, was an American rapper and actor born on June 16, 1971 in East Harlem, New York. Tupac sold over 75 million records worldwide and has been referred to in multiple major publications such as Rolling Stone as one of the greatest music artists of all time. 2Pac was ...read more.

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

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).

Most influential artist out. He's still killing the rap game till this day

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16 Madonna Madonna Madonna Louise Ciccone is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. She influenced a lot of singers such as: Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Beyonce Knowles and Britney Spears . She is known as Queen of Pop and at modern pop culture specifically in 2012 "Madge" or MDNA . She has ...read more.

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.

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.

What about Bob Dylan, Paul Mccartney, Mick Jagger and Elton John?

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.

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17 The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground was an American rock band, active between 1964 and 1973, formed in New York City.

There influence is so great and far-reaching that it's comparable to the Beatles.

Um, you can thank these guys for punk music, and any band that got influenced from this genre.

Very underrated... They influenced more than you think

I think people got wrong the name of the topic. It is list of most infuential musicians, not the best. So, who is infuenced by Michael Jackson? There must be artists who were the source of inspiration for many artists, not for listeners. That's why VU and Dylan should be in top 3.

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18 Buddy Holly Buddy Holly Buddy Holly, born Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959) was an American musician and singer-songwriter who was a central figure of mid-1950s rock and roll. He was a rising star when a tragic plane crash struck him down at age 22. ...read more.

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

He influenced the Beatles and he was one of the first people to play a guitar like he did, it's known that John Lennon had the same guitar as buddy holly

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

Without him, the Beatles probably wouldn't exist. (Not like I would have a problem with that)

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19 Prince Prince Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 - April 21st, 2016) was an American musician, best known for being one of the most popular and influential artists from the 80s, with songs such as "Purple Rain", "Little Red Corvette", "1999", and "When Doves Cry" .

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

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?

Prince was definitely then most interesting male musician that ever existed

Him and MJ, they are the tops of the 80s to NOW, hands down.

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20 The Who The Who The Who is an English hard rock band formed in London, England in 1964 . The members are Roger Daltrey (lead singer), Pete Townshend (guitarist), John Entwistle (bassist), and Keith Moon (drums). The genres they were associated with happened to be rock, soft rock, hard rock, and soul rock. They are ...read more.

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 - VaticanCameos

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