Most Influential Rock 'n' Roll Artists

The Top Ten
1 Elvis Presley Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the "King of Rock and Roll", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines during a transformative era in race... read more

The undisputed unequalled king of rock n roll, the fabulous Elvis. Had massive influence in the music world and still does in 2019. The most loved and admired artist the world has ever known, he has the most loyal fans of any star. He was is and always will be the brightest star that has ever shone. God bless his wonderful memory.

If not for Elvis, there would not have been the Beatles and many, many others. Rock-n-Roll may not have even caught on. Elvis opened the door that everyone else went through.

Elvis Presley is a legend that will live on forever. What an amazing 24-year career he had. He did more things from 1954 to 1977 than most people do in there life.

2 The Beatles The Beatles were an English pop 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 with several genres, ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard... read more

However, The Beatles influence on music is much broader than Elvis Presley.

The Beatles music influenced songwriters, on how music was produced, presented and instrumentally.

Ignorant Beatles fans quit whining! They often claimed Elvis as their single most influential figure! In Lennon words No Elvis=No Beatles hence No Rock music revolution!

The Beatles clearly had more influence on music and artists than did Elvis. They should be number one, and Elvis second or possibly third.

3 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin was an English hard rock band formed in London in 1968 as the New Yardbirds. The group consisted of Robert Plant (Vocal), Jimmy Page (Guitar), John Paul Jones (Bass, Keyboard) and John Bonham (Drums) and was very much the child of Jimmy Page who even financed their first tour. He had tasted some previous success with The [original] Yardbirds and was friendly with some big names in rock... read more

He spat bars like no one else. I think he was one of the most influencial rappers of the late 15th century

4 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.

Why he is at number 8? Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry were both important for rock music. Especially rock n' roll music. However Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Beatles and most other artists here are not rock n' roll but rock artists.
Even if you consider them rock n' roll artists, still Chuck Berry outstrikes them. Elvis Presley was important for his rock n' roll voice/vocals. Chuck Berry was important for his rock n' roll guitar. Any rock guitarist who is using distortion, bear Chuck Berry's distorted guitar playing.

Should be much higher. Elvis Presley was important for rock n roll music. But Chuck Berry was also very important. His solos are considered as one of the oldest rock solos of all time.

5 Michael Jackson Michael Jackson (Michael Joseph Jackson; August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, dancer, and songwriter. He passed away from cardiac arrest caused by a propofol and benzodiazepine overdose on June 25, 2009. He donated (at least) a remarkable 500,000,000 dollars to charity. Michael is also known as The King of Pop (a title given to him by Elizabeth Taylor) or under the initials MJ. Dubbed the King of Pop, he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. ...read more.

He is not rock 'n' roll.

6 James Brown James Joseph Brown was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th century popular music and dance, he is often referred to as the "Godfather of Soul".
7 Bob Dylan Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author, and artist who has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades.

No one's better than Bob. His lyrics stand the test of time, and always will. The best song writer of all time. Hands down.

8 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).

Their best works include songs like Paint it Black, Sympathy for the Devil, Satisfication (Which ranked no. 2 in The Rolling... read more

The best rock and roll band ever!

9 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 musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music". Hendrix is consistently ranked on lists of musicians who died too soon.

The Mozart of electric guitar have to be higher!

10 Queen Queen are an English rock band formed in London in 1970. The original lineup was Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, 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 was a fan of Smile and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate... read more

One of the most inspiring in the music industry!

The Contenders
11 The Beach Boys The Beach Boys are an American pop rock band formed in Hawthorne, California in 1961. The group's original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and their friend Al Jardine.
12 Fats Domino Antoine "Fats" Domino, Jr. was a French Creole pianist and singer-songwriter. He released five gold records before 1955 and had 35 hit records in the U.S. Top 40. He died on October 25, 2017.
13 David Bowie David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie (January 8, 1947 - January 10, 2016) was an English singer born in London, the son of a fundraiser and a waitress. He is credited for his experimental and creative musical discography which has won praise and accolades for many critics and fans. The man who the world knew as David Bowie was an actor, a painter, a philosopher, and many other things. But first and foremost, and what he was known for most, he was a rock star, covering every genre from psychedelic folk to industrial. His influence on fashion, music, and pop culture in general remains as his legacy--along, of course, with his unforgettable music.

Without a doubt most influential!

14 Ray Charles Ray Charles Robinson, professionally known as Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer.
15 Pink Floyd Pink Floyd are an English progressive rock band formed in 1965 in London, England. 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 Guitar), Nick Mason (Drums), Roger Waters (Vocals and Bass), and Richard Wright (Vocals and Keyboard). Barrett was replaced by Gilmour in 1968... read more
16 Little Richard Richard Wayne Penniman, known by his stage name, Little Richard, was an American musician, singer and songwriter. He is widely regarded to be one of the most influential rock musicians of all time.

The guy who started rock 'n roll. He influenced all of the upcoming rock stars incl. The Beatles, Elvis, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury etc.

17 Madonna Madonna Louise Ciccone, known professionally as Madonna, 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 ...read more.

She is not rock 'n' roll.

18 Nirvana Nirvana was an American grunge band that was formed in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. Nirvana disbanded after Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994. The drummer of the band, David Grohl, went on to start the Foo-Fighters, an alternative rock band.

The band was comprised of Kurt Cobain (Vocals, Guitar), Dave Grohl (Drums) and Krist Novoselic (Bass).

Nirvana is most well-known for their... read more

Nirvana? Really?
How comes a majority of the artists on this list are as far away from the rock'n'roll genre as an artist can be?
Rock'n'roll = Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richards,...

Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles,... are other genres of rock. Maybe one can argue that some LZ songs, e.g. Black Dog, have a rock'n'roll resemblance, but the band overall is a hard rock group.

And Madonna, David Bowie and Michael Jackson are not even rock musicians.

I could as well add Tupac Shakur, Frank Sinatra or Pink Floyd, because yeah, they were without a doubt influential.

19 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.

During his short career, Holly wrote, recorded, and produced his own material. He is often regarded as the artist who defined the traditional rock-and-roll lineup of two guitars, bass, and drums. Holly was a major influence on later popular music artists, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and Elton John. ...read more.

He set the model for bands from Britain that followed.

20 John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (9 October 1940 - 8 December 1980) was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. He was assassinated by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980 at age 40. Lennon was characterised by the rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, writing and drawings, on film, and in interviews. His songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney remains the most successful in history.
21 Elton John Sir Elton Hercules John (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight; 25 March 1947) is an English singer, pianist and composer. Collaborating with lyricist Bernie Taupin since 1967 on more than 30 albums, John has sold over 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He has ...read more.
22 AC/DC AC/DC are a Australian hard rock band, formed in November 1973 by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who continued as members until Malcolm's illness and departure in 2014 . They were fronted by Bon Scott until his untimely death due to alcohol poisoning in 1979, after which they hired Brian Johnson to front the band. Commonly referred to as a hard rock or blues rock band.
23 Rage Against the Machine Rage Against the Machine is a rap metal band formed in Los Angeles, California. The band consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk.
24 Nine Inch Nails Nine Inch Nails is an American industrial rock band, founded in 1988 by Trent Reznor in Cleveland, Ohio.
25 Black Sabbath Black Sabbath were a Heavy Metal band formed in Birmingham, England in 1968 by guitarist and songwriter Tony Iommi, singer John "Ozzy" Osbourne, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward.

The band became mainstream after improving after their debut album got panned. In 1978, Osbourne was fired and replaced with former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Who went to release... read more
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