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Top 15 Influential Musicians

StewWriter . . . Comments

The musical genre, much akin to movies and film makers, is as widely varied as one subject can possibly be. Spanning generations as well as styles; ranging from gospel to funk, from rockabilly to soul, music as a whole has changed lives, encompassed eras, and become, to many, as powerful a messenger as religion. Here are fifteen of the most influential musicians of all time.

15. Bill Haley & The Comets (1952)

Bill Haley & His Comets was an American Rock & Roll band that was founded in 1952 and continued until Haley’s death in 1981. The band, also known by the names: Bill Haley and The Comets and Bill Haley’s Comets (and several variations thereof), was one of the earliest groups of white musicians to bring rock and roll to the attention of white America and the rest of the world. Bandleader, Bill Haley, had previously been a country and western performer; after recording a country and western-styled version of ‘Rocket 88’, a rhythm and blues song, he changed musical direction to a new sound that eventually came to be called Rock and Roll.

14. The Supremes (1961)

One of Motown’s signature acts, The Supremes were the most successful African American musical act of the ’60s, recording twelve American-Number One Hits between 1964 and 1969.Many of these singles were written and produced by Motown’s main songwriting and production team, ‘Holland-Dozier-Holland’, and the crossover success of the Supremes during the mid-’60s paved the way for future black Soul and R&B acts to gain mainstream audiences and success both in the US and overseas.

13. Queen (1970)

Queen are an English Rock band formed in 1970 in London by guitarist Brian May, lead vocalist Freddie Mercury, drummer Roger Taylor, and bassist John Deacon (joining the following year). Queen rose to prominence during the 1970s and are one of Britain’s most successful bands of the past three decades. The band is noted for their musical diversity, multi-layered arrangements, vocal harmonies and incorporation of ‘Audience Participation’ into their live performances. Their 1985 Live Aid performance was voted the best live music performance of all time in a BBC poll.

12. George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic (1978)

George Clinton (born July 22, 1941 is an American Musician and the principal architect of P-Funk. He was the mastermind of the bands ‘Parliament’ and ‘Funkadelic’ during the 1970s and early 1980s, and was a solo funk artist as of 1981. He has been hailed as “The Prime Minister of Funk” as the leader of ‘Parliament’, as well as “The King of Interplanetary Funksmanship”. Though Clinton’s popularity had waned by the mid 1980s, he experienced something of a resurgence in the early 1990s, as many rappers cited him as an influence and began ‘sampling’ his songs. George Clinton is considered to be one of the most sampled musicians ever.

11. Bob Dylan (1941)

Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American Singer/Song Writer, Author, Musician, and Poet who has been a major figure in Popular Music for five decades. Much of Dylan’s most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when he became an informal chronicler and a reluctant purveyor of American unrest. A number of his songs, such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They are A’ Changin’” became important anthems of the anti-war and civil-rights movements.

10. Black Sabbath (1968)

Black Sabbath are an English Heavy Metal band from Birmingham. The original band line up of Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Terence “Geezer” Butler (bass), and Bill Ward.Black Sabbath remain a dominant influence in the heavy metal genre they helped create. VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock ranks them second, behind Led Zeppelin. The original and best known line-up are frequently credited as the inventors of the heavy metal genre. Black Sabbath have sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

9. Led Zeppelin (1968)

Led Zeppelin were (and are, though without John Bonham, as of 2007) an English Rock Band that formed in September 1968. Led Zeppelin consisted of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. With their heavy, guitar-driven sound, Led Zeppelin are regarded as one of the first, and most influential, Heavy Metal bands. Their rock-infused interpretation of the blues and folk genres also incorporated: Rockabilly, Soul, Funk, Jazz, Celtic, Latin and Country. The band did not release the popular songs from their albums as singles in the UK as they preferred to develop the concept of ‘Conceptual Album-Oriented Rock’.

8. Pink Floyd (1964)

Pink Floyd are an English Rock band that initially earned recognition for their Psychedelic music, and, as they evolved, for their progressive rock music. They are known for philosophical lyrics, Sonic Experimentation, innovative Album Cover Art, and elaborate live shows. One of rock music’s most successful acts, the group has sold over 300 million albums worldwide and an estimated 74.5 million albums in the United States alone. The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) spent 741 consecutive weeks on the USA-based Billboard 200 album chart, the longest duration in history. It is also the Fifth Highest-Selling album Globally of all time with more than forty million units sold.

7. The Grateful Dead (1965)

The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965. The band was known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of Rock, Folk, Bluegrass, and Gospel among many others—and for live performances of long Musical Improv. In particular, the band, as one of the first to do so, frequently made use of “long jams”—whereby Jerry Garcia (lead vocals) would spend lengthy periods engaging in rock lead guitar solos that evoked various “depth moods.” Other bands utilized long improvisational jams, but “The Dead” took it to extremes. “Their music,” Lenny Kaye wrote, “touches on ground that most other groups don’t even know exists”.

6. KISS (1971)

KISS is an American Rock Band formed in 1971. Easily identified by their trademark face paint and stage outfits, KISS rose to prominence in the mid-’70’s on the basis of their elaborate live performances, which, as the most prominent band to do so, featured fire-breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, and pyrotechnics. Kiss has been awarded 24 ‘Gold Albums’ to date. The group’s worldwide sales exceed 95 million albums. The original lineup of Gene Simmons (bass and vocals), Paul Stanley (rhythm guitar and vocals), Ace Frehely (lead guitar and vocals) and Peter Criss (drums and vocals) is the most successful and identifiable.

5. The Sex Pistols (1975)

Sex Pistols are an English Punk Rock Band that formed in London in 1975. The band originally comprised vocalist Johnny Rotten, guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook, and bassist Glen Matlock (later replaced by Sid Vicious). Although their initial career lasted only three years and produced only four singles and one studio album, the Sex Pistols have been described by the BBC as “the definitive English punk rock band.” The Pistols are widely credited with initiating the punk movement in the UK and creating the first generation gap within Rock & Roll.

4. Elvis Presley (1935-1977)

Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-1977), was an American Singer, Musician and Actor. He is a ‘cultural icon’ often known as “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, or simply “The King”. Presley began his career as one of the first performers of Rockabilly (an up-tempo fusion of country and Rhythm and Blues with a strong ‘Back Beat’ His novel versions of existing songs, mixing ‘black’ and ‘white’ sounds, made him popular—and controversial—as did his uninhibited stage and television performances. He recorded songs in the Rock & Roll genre, with tracks like “Hound Dog” and “Jail House Rock”, later embodying the style. Presley had a versatile voice and had unusually wide success encompassing other genres, including gospel, blues, ballads and pop. To date, he is the only performer to have been inducted into four music Halls of Fame.

3. Nirvana (1988)

Nirvana was an American Rock Band that was formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen (near Seattle), Washington in 1988. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, with the longest-lasting being Dave Grohl, who joined the band in 1990.With the lead single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from their extremely influential 1991 album Nevermind. Nirvana entered into the mainstream, bringing along with it a subgenre of alternative rock called ‘Grunge’, instantly recognizable by its flannel-and-denim jeans dress as well as its near ‘Emo’ appearance and style.

2. The Rolling Stones (1962)

The Rolling Stones are an English Rock Band formed in London in 1962. The band has released 55 albums of original work and compilations, and have had 32 U.K & U.S top-10 singles. They have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide. 1971’s Sticky Fingers began a string of eight consecutive studio albums at number one in the United States. In 1989 the Rolling Stones were inducted into the American ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’ and in 2004 they were ranked number 4 in Rolling Stone magazine’s ‘100 Greatest Artists of all Time’. Their latest album was released in 2005 and accompanied by the band’s highest grossing tour, which lasted into late summer 2007. The Bigger Bang tour had been declared the highest-grossing tour of all time, earning $437 million and landing them in the Guiness Book of World Records.

1. The Beatles (1960)

The Beatles were an English Rock Band from Liverpool, England whose members were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. They are one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands in the history of popular music.

In the UK, The Beatles released more than 40 different singles, albums, and EP’s that reached number one. This commercial success was repeated in many other countries: their record company, EMI, estimated that by 1985 they had sold over one billion discs and tapes worldwide. The Beatles are the best-selling Musical Act of all time in the US. according to the RIAA. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked The Beatles #1 on its list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. According to that same magazine, their innovative music and cultural impact helped define the 1960s, and their influence on pop culture is still evident today.

Contributor: StewWriter

  • dazednconfused

    But KISS, Nirvana and the Sex Pistols suck…

    • jfauser

      Just because you don’t like them, doesn’t make them any less influential. Although KISS does suck.

  • wowzer

    *"haduken"s RajeshRao home for him*

    xdarkhorsex: Agreed. For example, while agree Bill Haley and the Comets were very influential, I can't stand to listen to them for more than five minutes at a time. Or Earth, Wind, and Fire, along the same lines. And frankly, there are more genres with their own "influential" people in them than would be plausible to post without "WARNING: INCREDIBLY LONG LIST AHEAD" nametag. And even then people would probably still, as my mother put once put it, bitch like a stripey cat.

    • Eman

      I have been browsing onnile more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  • I’m not playing the race card or anything because I happen to be a white guy but including only one black group or musician on this list is just not right. Think about all the white musicians that were influenced by black artists. Elvis Presley included.

    • Eric Cintron

      I.E. Robert Johnson lol…I mean come on people…get your music FACTS on point[youtube qD2jXjV9Z8A youtube]

    • KrisOmari

      ik really tho,, what about James Brown, Aretha Franklin, or MJ? This is really biased.

    • Joey

      I have to agree. Tupac or biggie should be up there

    • Trish

      I agree 100%. And if you’re only going to include one black artist, it would most certainly have to be Stevie Wonder.

  • andy91198

    Great list! I agree with just about all the choices AND spots

  • Denashi

    Great list!

  • wowzer

    Excellent list. At first I was skeptical about introducing new list writers in, Stew, but I must admit, you do a good job following in the footsteps of THE MAN HIMSELF Jamie.

  • dazednconfused

    Oh, come on. Why is KISS, Nirvana and The Sex Pistols in front of Zeppelin, Floyd and Dylan?

    • TheBeatlesAreNo1

      I 100% agree with you

  • wowzer

    Because KISS, Nirvana, and The Sex Pistols really kicked off their genres of music, whereas Zeppelin, Floyd and Dylan merely expounded on them. Though I do think Pink Floyd should be a leeeeetle higher.

  • wowzer

    The fact that they don’t suit your personal tastes do not detract from their impact in the world of music.

  • crashgate

    Bill Haley & The Comets???? Who????

  • PeteFloyd

    What? No Harry Potter and the magical meat wands?

  • Ashley

    What about Michael Jackson? :)

    • TheBeatlesAreNo1

      He was an amazing artist and hugely successful but he doesn’t compare to these guys

  • Bryce

    great list. i knew beatles was gonna be top but i think the supremes should be higher based on there influence in society.

  • Manov

    Oh come on, Jimi Hendrix should be on this list. He probably did more to redefine how we view the guitar more than any musician has with any other instrument.

  • Diogenes

    Who’s Bob Dylan?

    • Jon

      You're shitting me, right?

      • Jon

        The Beatles, Elvis, Dylan, Hendrix, Zeppelin should be the top 5.

      • Dave

        Who’s the Beatles?

        • MIKE

          i think they were a group from the late seventies early eighties from manchester

  • g c

    Here’s what I think:

    I’m astounded KISS is on the list, not to mention surprised at how high they are ranked. If you want influential for anthem rock, I think you have to say it’s Quiet Riot for getting it onto the map in the first place. And really, how many semi-theatrical anthem-rock bands do you see in KISS’s mold? GWAR?

    No love for hip-hop? Eric B. and Rakim, Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Beastie Boys, Wu-Tang, NWA, Young MC (the last one is a joke)?

    Without Jimi Hendrix, you don’t have Zep or George Clinton. Without Chuck Berry, you don’t have Jimi Hendrix. Without Muddy Waters, you don’t have Chuck Berry. Without Robert Johnson, you don’t have Muddy Waters. So I guess the final question is this: Where’s Robert Johnson (or anyone I just listed off for that matter)?

    I feel David Bowie deserves a place on the list somewhere at the very least.

    The Sex Pistols could be on the list, but they really shouldn’t be that high. Where’s the footprint they left today? Modern “punk” references Blink 182 and Greenday. The two bands I just mention cite The Ramones as their primary influence. I could make the same argument for influential English punk band for The Clash.

    Bob Dylan is far too low on the list.

    If we’re also talking about general musicians, we also have to note other non-pop generas like classical (Andres Segovia, Franz Liszt, Glenn Gould, Yo Yo Ma), Jazz (Miles Davis, Glenn Miller, Hoagy Carmichael, Jelly Roll Morton, Scott Joplin, Django Reinhardt), blues (B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Son House, Leadbelly, Albert King, T-Bone Walker).

    • Michaela

      actually, Green Days primary influence is the Clash, they state them first in multiple interviews. the Ramones are in there somewhere though.

  • PeteFloyd

    g c: Go write your own list then. No wait, go kill yourself. Yeah thats better.

  • Jibil

    have you ever heard of classical music? Appart from that, great list.

  • brodog

    KISS eats shit and swallows piss.

  • Idreno

    I have to say, although I’m shocked that ABBA did not make the list – considering that, next to Queen, the fact of the matter is that they were the most harmonically and compositionally inventive group. This list is clearly related only to non-classical music and should be declared as such.

    As much as I enjoy non-classical music – the truth of the matter is that none of these musicians can do anything but bow to the greatness of the likes of Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner and the likes. There is no question that these artists are great in their own rights, but none of this music would exist had it not been for the great composers of the past. To state for the record, as well, that it is arguable (and there are many musicologists, pianists, conductors and jazz musicians who agree and debate this constantly) that Beethoven is the inventor of “Jazz.” We know that Jazz has it’s roots in African music along with older American influences (ragtime for example), but Beethoven (the one who was deaf most of his life and therefore the most inventive and original composer of all time) in the 3rd variation of the 2nd movement of the Piano Sonata 32 in C, Opus 111, is the first example of what can be defined as “jazz.” The swung rhythms, syncopations, and harmonic progressions are all extremely advanced for that period of time and certainly would fit modern tastes over the tastes of the 1820’s Viennese public. Just wanted to lay out this very interesting fact for all those music lovers out there.

    Unfortunately I think this list is incomplete and perhaps lists need to be prepared to discuss individual genres of music, rather than attempt to be all encompassing, which is practically impossible.

  • KKing

    Not bad, but Kiss doesn’t belong in the top 15. They did very little besides letting everyone know that you can get very far in the industry on just image rather than talent. And Michael Jackson should definitely be in the top 5, and Neil Young somewhere in the top ten.

  • You gotta love the music lists to annoy people :)

  • wowzer

    KKing: I like KISS enough, but I’d have to agree. They kinda did revolutionize the whole big-hair and shocking style thing though.

    brodog: There’s a yo momma joke in the making here, but even I’m not that cruel.

  • Noah

    Jimi Hendrix… that’s all i can say

  • Jibil: if you read the about page you will see that I studied classical music at a postgraduate level – so yes – I have heard of classical music and have given over many lists to the subject – and there are many more to come! try for some of those lists. if you have a particularly good classical list do send it in – I am always keen to expose people to more classical stuff. And welcome to the site :)

  • xdarkhorsex

    not a bad list, however yes, Hendrix should definitely be on here, as should Johnny Cash. When Bob Dylan was asked who was his greatest influence, he said it was Johnny. Also, Willie Nelson has had a huge influence on the music industry, both in pop and country. he’s wrote more successful songs than any other writer.

  • xdarkhorsex

    it’s impossible to write a “best of music” list that everyone can agree on, as it all really comes down to personal taste.

  • RajeshRao

    screw you guys, im goin home…

  • Johnny Cash should be on here instead of KISS.

  • Sharki

    My only disagreement with this list is with Queen. Queen is one the most talented bands ever and are still hugely popular today. But I don’t think they were really that influential as far as pushing music in a new directions or redefining a genera.

  • Rob

    What, no Velvet Underground? Didn’t everyone who bought one of their albums start a band?

  • How can this be the most influential musicians of all time when you are only covering two generations of music?

  • Jamie is stirring the pot again i see!

  • zubair kaka

    what no Vanilla ICE? the king of rap!

  • Smartlydone

    Oh, I LUV Queen! Saw them in concert twice–during their Day at the Races tour, and again during their News of the World tour. No new genera, but still–no synthesizers!

    • Ash

      I love Queen too, I’m a bit surprised they’re not higher on the list, considering they influenced some very notable people such as Nirvana, Guns and Roses, Metallica, Lady Ga Ga, the Foo Fighters, and Def Leppard. In my opinion, Queen’s always in some way or another underrated.

  • DiscHuker

    i see two huge omissions…

    where are the beach boys? the fusion of amazing harmonies, excellent instrumentation and pushing boundaries with their success, not just cranking out what everyone expects.

    where is anything from the hip-hop/rap genre? eric b. and rakim, grandmaster flash, n.w.a…if we are talking about influence, you really missed the boat, stewie.

    c’mon, you’ve got 6 different bands from the u.k. during the 60’s to early 70’s. how can they ALL be influential in the same place at the same time?

    are you just sucking up to the brits that are on here?

  • Blogball: I could make such a hugely heated debate out of that one comment that would end up with a comment list longer than the Steven King List could ever dream up possible. That said I think I will refrain :)

  • Bad News

    Wow, this is a really ambitious list — sure to provoke twits like me with very strong opinions regarding popular music.

    To wit:

    For the love of all that is holy, can we go back in time and prevent you from putting the Grateful Dead on this list?!?!? It would not be enough for that entry to simply be removed at this time; the fact that they were mentioned, EVER, as being influential, will keep me up tonight in a cold sweat.

    And Pink Floyd sucked (mostly) after Syd left…

    Great list, though. I would have liked to see Chuck Berry and/or Bo Diddley on here — Bo Diddley put the “rock” in “rock and roll”…

  • Monkey

    Awesome, awesome, AWESOME list StewWriter. I don’t necessarily agree with some of your selections, but this seriously made my night. I LOVE Rock music and I have great respect for anyone else who shares my appreciation. Just one question… where’s Janis?!

  • lando

    good list…..agree with just about everything execept dylan should be atleast in the number 2 spot…and velvet underground should be on here somewhere….and KISS? really? KISS?

  • lando

    also…..Bob Dylan’s biggest influence was Woody Guthrie, not Johnny Cash

  • Collin

    Come on, man, kiss? They are just the red headed step child of Alice Cooper. He’s the one who started the idea of stage shows/concerts and was the first to use heavy make-up

  • g c

    I’m sure ol Bobby Dylan had a myriad of influences. Woody Guthrie is a huge one. I’ve also read on numerous occasions that he wanted to be “the next Elvis.” Given that, Johnny Cash was probably an influence as well. I think he also studied guitar with Andres Segovia as well. Talk about influences huh?

  • Reese

    Blogball: I agree with you about the race thing. Where are the black people? The Supremes are great, but I think it’s kind of offensive that Elvis is listed, but not those who influenced him. Almost all of these artists were influenced by black artists.

  • InconsistentAngelThings

    Michael Jackson should be on here somewhere.

    And no way in HELL should Nirvana be before Elvis.

  • Arkz_Archduke_of_Geeks

    what no frank zappa, stevie ray vaughn, ray charles, the who, bb king, i could name so many.. jimi hendrix…

  • NSEW

    is this list based on how influential these musicians were on other musicians? or how influential they were on society?

    if its music, then this list is excellent. if its for society and people, then what about rage against the machine?

  • mariposa

    I would argue that Miles Davis and The Clash definitely need to be on this list.

  • mariposa

    Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry too.

  • aplspud

    My parent’s names are Buddy and Holly. True story. Great list btw.

  • jardojo

    Some of you guys are confusing “most influential” with “first to influence”, big difference. Run DMC really should be up there though, hey…maybe they can replace KISS!

  • crashgate

    Top 3 should be in the order of 1. Beatles, 2. Elvis, 3. Rolling Stones

  • This is a tough list to pull off. Do you put Dylan or Woodie Guthrie, Nirvana or the Pixies, the band that made it popular or the innovator?
    Omissions, in my opinion:
    Buddy Holly – invented the current R&R line up, over dubbing, etc. Paul McCartney owns his publishing rights and was heavily influenced, as was Dylan.
    Velvet Underground – ask 3/4 of rock bands and they’ll cite the VU as a major influence.
    The Pixies – Cobain said Smells Like Teen Spirit is as close to a Pixies Song as you can get without paying royalties.
    Bo Diddley – delivered baby R&R from Momma Blues.
    Chuck Berry – Stones, Beatles, Elvis, everyone since borrowed from him. Introduced diction to R&B.
    Little Richard – Gee, who wasn’t influenced by this guy? David Bowie, Otis Redding, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Mick Jagger, John Fogerty, Dick Dale, Bob Seger, Jimi Hendrix all cite him as a primary influence.
    Queen, Kiss, The Dead, Black Sabbath? Are you just screwing with us? Kiss was just a pedestrian version of the NY Dolls. Queen is great band, who have they influenced? The Dead, who have they influenced other than Phish, and who cares about Phish? Sabbath is great, but you already have Led Zeppelin who defined metal until it became very gay and lame.

  • yodarulz90

    This is probably one of my top 3 favorite lists. Great Job

  • ty

    Pixies and Velvet Underground should be on this list!!!! Most (good) modern rock bands will suggest one if not both as influences.

    As stated below Kurt C. was influenced by the pixies. Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain was clear that without the Pixies, there never would have been a Smells Like Teen Spirit. So i guess they should be more influential then Nirvana.

  • Elvis, Queen, Nirvana, and Led Zepp, I LOVE YOU! I really like the list, my only beef is there is not one representative of country music! One of the following would have been grand: Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Sr., Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, I could go on! That aside I still agree with most of it.

  • shawn

    I gotta agree that the omission of Buddy Holly is HUGE. With the things he pretty much invented, (i.e. overdubbing) and when MOST of he guys ON the list credit him as an influence, I gotta think he’s pretty influential. There’s a reaseon they called it “The Day The Music Died.”

  • Jacooob

    Terrible list. Just terrible.
    I dont mean to hate, and I agree with some of those spots (3). But, may I ask, where is the Jazz? The Classical?
    This just seems to be a list of very popular artists as the years go by. In which case, where is the rap?

    You even write Most Influencial of “All Time”. All Time! Pay tribute to at least one classical composer that forever changed the face of music. Like Bach, with his Well-Tempered Clavier, the very first time someone bothered to write 2 pieces for every key in music. Or Beethoven who at the time was claimed to destroy music! Or at least pay tribute to a Jazz musician like John Coltrane, his ability alone changed the face of music since the standard to perform jazz became so high. Same with Jaco Pastorius. Cmon… not even Louis Armstrong?

  • Black Lutefisk

    What he said. And it’s been said before: you guys are limiting yourself to one or two generations. Kiss is on your list, Bach isn’t . I don’t get it.

  • puddingpuppet

    Definitely should have Velvet Underground on here. They pretty much jump-started the whole punk rock movement with their attitude and lyrical content.

  • Chris G

    This is a very informed list but I would argue that David Bowie is the single most influential popular musician of the 20th century. Without Bowie there would be no glam, without which there would be no punk, without which there would be no new-wave, goth, or grunge, or even the alternative music movement of the 80’s and 90’s.
    Also, much as I am bored by his ambient crap, Brian Eno practically invented electronica.

    • TomC

      David Bowie did not INVENT glam. Everything Bowie did in that respect, Alice Cooper, Marc Bolan (and others) did before him. Check out Alice's orange hair and Spiders band on the 1968 cover of 'Pretties for You'. Check out the back cover of 71's 'Killer'..and then try to call 72's 'Ziggy' GROUNDBREAKING ('Suffragette' is a rewrite of 'Under My Wheels', as an example). Check out Bowie's 1975 GROUNDBREAKING 'Young Americans'..and then find yourself a Hot Chocolate record from 73 or 74. Bowie is doing an Errol Brown imitation. ..and not a very good one.

      Like Madonna, Bowie brings to mind a quote from Mark Twain. 'While your work is both good and original; the original parts aren't good – and the good parts aren't original.

      As Mick Jagger has said, be careful showing Bowie anything…because he will steal it.

  • bp

    With all due respect to the original list, I can’t believe James Brown isn’t on here, nor in any of the comments. Parliment may be one of the most sampled bands in history but James Brown is the most sampled, period. That, as well as the fact that Parliment lends much of their sound to their bassist, Bootsy Collins who was one of the major bassists in Browns bands. James Brown not only took the soul and gospel music of the day and transformed it in to any of the funk or even disco of the seventies or eighties but his song forms and vocal styles pave the way for all of what we know as hip hop and rap today. Even music aside, the impact that he had on society, looking at the civil rights movement, is to be admired in its own right.

  • ed9362

    Im no expert but as far as influence over australian music Nick cave in my humble opinion should be on there

  • Schiesl

    ok…missing the most influencial band of all time….WEATHER REPORT!!! it had miles davis and Jaco Pastorius! fools, they should be in the top five…if not #1

    • miles davis never played in weather report, although it was formed by two musicians that played with him – joe zawinul and wayne shorter.

  • Amanda

    Oh good holy sweet jesus people! MY number 1 would be Dr. John–and not for the “Right Place Wrong Time” BS. You want a kick ass album? Dr. John–Gris Gris Gumbo Yaya. Listen and enough said (esp. Gris Gris, and Walk on Gilded Splinters) although every other song on that album is a trip fest. Respect the man for more than some commercial crap. And being a teen in the 90’s (born in 1983)–I see top 10 with Nirvana, but #3?? Nooo. My Daddy may have taught me better, but Zeppelin, Floyd, and Sabbath did a WHOLE lot more for me than that one note band.

  • Amanda

    Bah, just noticed it’s “Infuential Bands” so I retract my Dr. John (still check out Gris Gris though) but I stand by my anti-Nirvana statement. And who exactly did KISS influence?

  • Tadow

    this list is whack in my opinion. Bill Haley and the Comets??? Yeah they’re still influential (sarcasm) try Little Richard or Chuck Berry.

    James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Parker, Bach, Robert Johnson, an assortment of hip hop cats, I could go on and on

    Kiss before Alice Cooper?

    The Sex pistols have no business at all on this list, they didn’t invent punk rock, you know?

  • Tadow

    When was Miles Davis in Weather Report?

  • EAL

    No Jimi Hendrix???

  • reg123456

    Why isn’t Alice DJ in the list? LOL, just kidding!

  • Korangar

    Uhhh…i think you meant top 15 influential ROCK musicians? except you forgot jimi hendrix. and pixies. and the velvet underground. and now i just realized other people have already said that.

  • Lasse

    No Grandmaster Flash?

  • Movu

    No Velvet Underground?

  • nicci.

    Eh, people are going to complain whatever you do. I’m just thrilled that I’ve seen two of the people/bands mentioned live [dylan and the stones – both of which absolutely deserve to be on this list. oh, and one third of nirvana].
    So, guys, have you seen anyone from this list in concert? Who? I want details!

  • nicci: I have never been to a rock concert – I have seen lots of famous classical musicians though :)

  • nicci: one of the things that depresses me most is the knowledge that I will never see the ‘proper’ Queen live :(

  • dave

    probably the worst list (or the most inaccurately-named list) since this websites birth. So many genres have been left out I can’t even begin to think about what the real list should look like. It seems a whole five minutes of flipping through his cd rack has given the author all the info he needs.

  • evan

    KISS???? really?????
    Wheres Jimi? MC5?

  • evan

    bob marley? (man i want my edit button back, even if it doesnt always work lol)

  • bucslim

    Stewie – Gotta make my plug for The Who. My reasoning is simple, most of the punk bands will tell you that they were heavily influenced by the Who. Not just the music either, the wild lifestyle, pissed off attitude and smashing up shit on stage – all of that started with the Who. Pure punk.

    Jimi Hendrix not being mentioned is also a pretty huge error in my estimation. Also – it is difficult to place these bands if you don’t add some sort of qualifier like – rock, jazz, funk, rap, classical etc. You can’t really list these things unless there is a nod to Dr. Dre, Run DMC, NWA, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and the classical stuff. There’s a hell of a lot of soul artists that go back to James Brown, EWF. The Blues? – BB King, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, John Lee Hooker and a butt-load more. Most progressive rock is snickered at, but that kind of experimental stuff was started by the Beatles, yes, but also the Doors. I mean, I don’t really want to say it but James Taylor influenced a shitload of dudes with a guitar and a single spotlight.

    Also, who influenced some of the heavies you have on your list? Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson et al.

    KISS shouldn’t be anywhere near this list. Who did they influence? Insane Clown Posse? Guar? Wildly popular? Yes, but influential, not really.

    Another impossible list, but nice try.

    What about John Tesh?

  • Cat Skyfire

    I think this list is titled wrong. Except for a few, they aren’t necessarily musicians, but singers, and for the most part, they’re groups, not individuals.

    The supremes, to my knowledge, didn’t play any instrument when they performed. For the rest, they may have played instruments, but it was their work as a group that gave them prominence, not their specific skill with an instrument. (And while some may consider the voice of instrument, it gets its own word ‘singer’ over musician, so I don’t think it counts.)

  • JMurf


  • DiscHuker

    stewie, where is the response? you are not on the top commenter list for nothing.

    this is just alot of people talking if there is no counter-point.

    c’mon, your momma’s ugly and she dresses you funny. (will that get you to come out and play?)

  • Barabas

    Rap doesnt exist at all?

  • bucslim

    Jane you ignorant slut

    Dan you pompous ass

    Disc – how’s that for point/counterpoint?

  • son of a …

    Describing Nirvana: “near ‘Emo’ appearance and style.” Dude!!! How in the hell do you compare Grunge and Emo!? I’m offended! lol Good list other than that :)


    Looks like you might have to extend the list JF.
    You probably should have worded your title better or more precise, like “top 15 ROCK musicians”. And mabey adding more lists to include diffrent genres.

  • zoe

    I would have had Radiohead 9they are AT LEAST as influential as Nirvana!).

    Beach Boys. Pixies. R.E.M.

  • Johnathan


  • kristin


  • mercurymouth

    In terms of influence its got to be:

    1. Elvis
    2. Beatles
    3. Bob Dylan

    I don’t know if Hendrix should get on this list. Definitely an amazing, great creative musician, but how many musicians were directly influenced? What other popular musicians sounded like Hendrix? Same with the Doors. I don’t know, I hope I’m wrong because I love Hendrix (and the Doors). “Kiss should not get on this list”… I concur…

  • Randall

    A list like this that leaves off The Smiths is utterly without credibility. Johnny Marr’s guitar style was copied all through the late 80s and into the 90s by dozens of different groups.

    Bill Haley is *historically* important but no more influential than any other 50s rock and roller and arguably one could have included Jerry Lee Lewis or Little Richard there (or any number of others) and made the same point. No, Bill Haley doesn’t belong.

    But then Buddy Holly SURELY does! And the same goes here as I said for The Smiths… a list claiming to name the TOP 15 INFLUENTIAL MUSICIANS that leaves off Buddy Holly is completely without credibility. Holly was an influence on nearly every British Invasion group there was, and remains an influence *to this day* on popular music. Cripes.

    One could also say Roy Orbison should be here, though his influence was far less important…

    But what about RAY CHARLES? Johnny Cash? CHUCK BERRY?

    QUEEN? Who the hell did Queen influence? Or KISS for that matter? The only thing one could say about Kiss was that they were the best-known “Glam Rock” group—but if you want to name the top “Glam Rock” artists who had the most *influence,* you’d go for David Bowie and The New York Dolls.

    So for that matter—where the hell is DAVID BOWIE? Far more an influence than either Kiss OR Queen!

    It seems to me that whoever wrote this list made some of these selections because they mistook the popular for “influential.”

    Of course, it was hard to get some of these wrong–as much as I’m no big fan of Pink Floyd, for example, I have to admit their influence… but come on—the glaring omissions—and the inclusion of Kiss and Queen—make this list mediocre at best.

  • Emily

    well, i guess i’m showing my age… or just my ignorance… but the only thing I know about Buddy Holly is the fact that Weezer mentions him (or it? is it a band or a person) in that song.

    Yeah, I guess I am that dumb :(

  • Randall

    I’m sorry, I’m so thrown by this list that I have to follow up my own previous posting… and I hate to use Wikipedia as a source, but it was the most convenient available… here are quotes from it on just THREE of the artists who SHOULD be on this list… bumping off Queen, Kiss, and Bill Haley, let’s say:

    “Considered by some critics to be the most important alternative rock band to emerge from the British indie scene of the 1980s, the Smiths have had a major influence on subsequent alternative music, including the Britpop movement and bands such as The Stone Roses, Radiohead, Blur, Suede, Oasis, The Libertines, The Verve and Doves.”

    “In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #13 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Although his career was cut short, his body of work is considered among the most influential in rock. His works and innovations were copied by his contemporaries and those who were to follow, including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and had a profound influence on popular music.”

    “Chuck Berry is an influential figure and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s website, “While no individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry comes the closest of any single figure to being the one who put all the essential pieces together.” Cub Koda wrote, “Of all the early breakthrough rock & roll artists, none is more important to the development of the music than Chuck Berry. He is its greatest songwriter, the main shaper of its instrumental voice, one of its greatest guitarists, and one of its greatest performers.” John Lennon was more succinct: “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.””

    Now come on. That’s just THREE. CHUCK BERRY should be in place of Bill Haley.

    And frankly I don’t think Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd *really* belong here either. Pink Floyd was an influential group… but again—more than Bowie? I’m not even sure they were more influential, than, say, Roxy Music.

    Come off it. This list was written by someone who knows *the popular* groups, but doesn’t know the real *history.*

  • bucslim

    Hello Randall! I buggered off for a while (because you told me to)

    I do agree with you this time. Ommissions galore, read my earlier post. But I wasn’t really into the Smiths, so I can’t really comment on that. I’ll have to take your word for it.

    And by the way, did you know that David Bowie said he was trying to imitate Syd Barrett from early Pink Floyd?

    This list is reminding me of the Beatles list.

  • bucslim

    But I do disagree with you about Floyd. First in space and all.

    They had a shitload of heavies going to their sound experimentation concerts in the late 60’s. (like the aforementioned Bowie)

    I never really got into Roxy, so I’m not sure where your coming from there. Floyd definitely had a much bigger impact – but I can’t really say about influence.

  • Randall

    “And by the way, did you know that David Bowie said he was trying to imitate Syd Barrett from early Pink Floyd?”

    No, I never heard that, though it’s possible. As I said in both my postings, I acknowledge Floyd’s influence… but the more I think about it, placing them in the top 15… not so much. Bowie may have based some of his style on Syd, but I’d argue that Bowie ended up being the more major influence on subsequent musicians.

    But that’s a minor point–what bothers me much more is the inclusion of Kiss and Queen—two mediocre, non-influential groups—and the terrible omissions I pointed out.

    And no one has to take MY word on The Smiths—they need only look it up… *practically anywhere.*

  • Randall

    Buclsim: “I never really got into Roxy, so I’m not sure where your coming from there.”

    Well, my point was, there are lots of groups you could pick out of the air that had some pretty heavy influence on subsequent groups and artists… Roxy would be one of them. But just because you didn’t get into them, doesn’t mean they didn’t have their influence.

    But I’m not stumping for Roxy Music… I AM saying that several of these selections just plain don’t belong here, and there are several that should *definitely* been on here, and were left off.

    I would not have included Black Sabbath–again, not because they *lacked* influence—but the question is, should they be in the top 15? On a list that leaves off The Smiths, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry and Johnny Cash? Or Ray Charles? Or cripes… Bo Diddley for that matter? Come on.

  • Emily

    jfrater: geez, nothing like a music list to get everyone pissy, is there?

  • AnotherEngine

    Who did Hendrix really influence that is of any importance today? Lenny Kravitz? Gee….thanks, Jimi.

    I don’t feel Queen is that influential & feel a band such as Nirvana is too modern to make the list. They have surely influenced plenty of musicians, and not-so-much musicians that exist these days but again, what are those bands contributing to the long term? We’d have to wait to see. The VU & Beach Boys do belong as does a representative of the early blues greats that then influenced Zep & Sabbath, who then in turn influenced Nirvana, etc…

    To me, to have a list of true influences you have to go back to the original sources and what their contributions were, if you’re only going to pick 10 or 15 to start with. That’s where Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Elvis, Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc etc come into play. That’s when you get someone like the Beatles or Stones, who take those artists, combine it with their own take, and spit it all out entirely new & original.

  • Emily: yep – I am in hiding in case someone tries to lynch me!

  • JMurf

    Have to agree with Randall on his suggestions, even tho I hate The Smiths, but Pink Floyd should definably be there. You may not hear their influence on musicians but they completely changed the way a song could be shaped, as did The Beatles.
    Their live performances were also a first in the way they put on a show and a performance instead of just a performance

  • Randall: Queen mediocre? I think you may be listening to the wrong band!

    What everyone should be doing is going right back to the monks back in medieval times. They influences the renaiccance composers, who influenced the baroque composers, who influenced the classical composers, who influenced the romantic composers etc. It goes on.

    Same with the original african musicians. They brought their music over to america, which then evolved yada yada yada.

    So what this list should be is a list of 15 medieval monks and African cheiftains. None of this ‘The Smiths’ or ‘The Beatles’.

  • Randall

    Jamie… *tell* me you didn’t write this list. Please.


    There are a couple groups on here I don’t like, myself–The Grateful Dead, for instance. But I acknowledge their influence. The Smiths, whether you like them or not, *were* a tremendous influence.

    I also don’t want to make this a debate about Pink Floyd–I do acknowledge they had an impact. I question the *extent* and *depth* of their influence—but that’s almost nitpicky.

    I’m far more bothered by the inclusion of others on this list, and by the omissions I’ve mentioned.

    AnotherEngine: THANK YOU! I totally forgot about the Velvet Underground! I’m ashamed. (Seriously, I am).

  • Randall

    Another Wikipedia quote (this makes the most times I’ve even looked at that site in a single month, let alone a day):

    “Although never commercially successful whilst together, the Velvet Underground are often cited by critics as one of the most important and influential groups of their era. A famous remark, often attributed to British musician Brian Eno, is that while only a few thousand people bought the first Velvet Underground record upon its release, almost every single one of them was inspired to start a band. Their sound influenced many later musicians in many genres, including experimental, post-punk, new wave, and gothic rock.”

  • Hobolad

    Nice list! I’d have put the Beatles/Dylan/Elvis as top three- but that’s just me.

  • Randall


    Yes, Queen was a pompous mediocrity. I’m quite sure I’ve got the right band, thank you.

  • evan


    says Contributor: StewWriter

  • Randall



  • bucslim

    Another engine – uh dude, try just about every fricken guitar god on the planet and under the ground. Stevie Ray Vaughn, Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, Ted Nugent, James Hetfield, Slash, Carlos Santana, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani – it all boils down to Hendrix.

    Yeah, Lenny Kravitz too.

  • bucslim

    John Tesh influenced me to pour gas on myself, tear my ears off with a pair of pliers, gargle with Draino, eat glass, shoot my parents, kick my dog and drive my car of a bridge into a ravine ending in a twisted ball of metal and flame.

    Does that count?

  • Randall

    John Tesh just makes me gassy. Sometimes gives me acid reflux.

  • JMurf


    I hope you mean KISS, what the hell are they doing there????????

    Bit off topic but has anyone heard of Rory Gallagher? He went on tour with hendrix and b.b king, but was kicked out as he regularly outshone their talents. I was told himself and hendrix had a guitar-off at a concert in leeds and hendrix was played off the stage. This might also have been due to jimi being off his head :P.

    video of him playing:

  • Randall


    You lost me. Yes, I was also against Kiss being on this list… I thought I made that clear. (?)

  • fivestring63

    I hate to disagree with you on my first post…but,

    I agree with Beatles, Elvis, Grateful Dead, Zeppelin, and possibly Bill Haley.

    Some additions I would add are Bach or Beethoven, Louis Armstrong, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, The Who, Hank Williams SR.

  • Yogi Barrister

    This is the most demented list I’ve ever seen here. You’ve got Kiss instead of Frank Sinatra, and you don’t have the Kinks, that’s not kinky, that’s perverse.
    Actually, I re-read the list and out of the fifteen, I would only seriously argue Kiss and Queen.

  • No Miles Davis? No Hendrix?? Blasphemy!

  • Okay, no way in hell I’m reading all of these comments (sorry.) but I think Buddy Holly should have made it on here! I think it could have been a pretty good Top 20 too, it’s so hard to pick, but I think this is a good list. =)

  • Umm….why is Queen so low on this list?
    They started out as hard rock and stuff, but seriously, they were so different!
    They wrote in all genres. Metal, pop, dixie-land, rock, hard rock, classic rock, skiffles, rock-opera, jazz, everything!
    they got people listening to Rock-Opera!
    (Um, yeah. Bohemian Rhapsody, that one rock-opera song that is consistently voted best song of all time)

    And their performances! C’mon now, they’re famous for their live concerts! They had almost 700 of them!

    Ergh. This is why I don’t like your music lists.

  • ddazednconfused

    I listen to all genres of music; rock, rap, classical, jazz, blues. Here’s my list of then 15 Most Influential Artists.

    1. Elvis Presley
    2. The Beatles
    3. Johann Sebastian Bach
    4. Bob Dylan
    5. Run-DMC
    6. Led Zeppelin
    7. B.B. King
    8. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    9. Miles Davis
    10. Robert Johnson
    11. Jimi Hendrix
    12. The Clash
    13. Chuck Berry
    14. Eric B. & Rakim
    15. N.W.A.

  • dazednconfused

    ^ That was me by the way. It wouldn’t let me log in or use my name, so I added an extra ‘d’ to ‘dazed’.

  • dick shoes

    the beatles inspired boy bands. i dont think that deserves number 1.

  • James

    Come on, Velvet Underground should be in the top three…I can’t believe they’re not on here. Pixies should probably be here too.

  • tony

    new york dolls
    blink 182

  • addmyster

    no doors? /cry

  • AndyB123

    People that should make the list:
    The Stooges. Invented Punk Rock in the 60’s.
    Bing Crosby. No kidding. He should be among the first 3, if anything.
    Buddy Holly. Omitting him and keeping Kiss is just not kosher. At all. Because Kiss means nothing.
    David Bowie. He invented 70’s rock music, basically.
    Janis Joplin. A tremendous influence on female rock n rollers.
    Black Sabbath. Good call. Every hard rock band knows the Ozzy-era sabbath albums inside and out. Huge Influence. More so than Led Zep, for sure.
    Elvis should be first. He just cannot be denied that spot, because without him, no Rock n Roll.
    Bob Marley. The one Reggae artist everyone knows. Say Desmond Dekker, and you get a blank stare.
    Deep Purple. It’s a toss up between Sabbath and Purple. DP’s In Rock WAS the first real hard rock album, though.
    And I just have to mention Al Jolson – not a guy you’ll hear everyday on the radio, but his impact was so great that he deserves a place on the list.

    The Smiths ? Wasn’t that whining rock for yuppies ? Grateful Dead, a huge influence ? I certainly hope not. People who love them, REALLY love them – as for the rest of us…Nah. I never got the whole Nirvana thing. Perhaps they were some kind of trailblazers. Not to the extent that they should be on the list, in my opinion.


    I can’t NOT BELIEVE u didn’t include 2pac….easily one of the most influential artist of all time…he’s right up there wit Cobain,…anyone who has really listened to his music would agree…i like Jim Morrison as well.

  • Martin L

    I think I like DDazedandconfused’s list at #120 better than yours, Stew. And I will agree that KISS and the Sex Pistols have no place on a list of influential musicians. Influential showpeople, maybe, but that’s a whole different category.
    Really I don’t think you can easily hold a list like this down to twenty. I like the addition of Bowie, Roxie Music, and the Stooges, except that it’s hard to pick out their heirs in the modern scene. (Has there ever been, and will there ever be, anyone like Bowie?) I think you do need to go back to Mozart, Bach and Beethoven — and while you’re at it, Berlioz, who, as well as being a thunderous composer, also devised the symphony orchestra as we now know it. How’s that for influential? Then there’s John Dowland, and even earlier there’s Palestrina.
    Oh, and Dick Shoes, stay out of the comments until you’ve grown a brain. The Beatles were not a “boy band.” They took rock music and recording technology, and the very CONCEPT of what a band could be, lightyears further than anyone on the list. And in some ways, THEY are the originators of heavy metal and hard rock. Everyone from the Stones to Zep to Bowie to Floyd to the Beach Boys and dozens more freely admitted they ripped off the Beatles … who freely admitted their heroes were Chuck Berry, Elvis and Little Richard.

  • Mario

    ok ok ok…..this list sucks……..some of them….zep…floyd…beatles……they stay…..others gots to go…ok the stones stay too…..but they dont have rush………um…did we forget lynyrd skynyrd……..and no one seems to add a bit of hendrix…k..zep(1) floyd(2) beatles(3) rush(4) and then who ever you want…dont matter from there….

  • Ryan

    Where is:
    the clash….
    The who….

    come on those are a given.

  • Tjgrs

    my list….

    1. Elvis
    2. The Beatles
    3. Frank Sinatra
    4. Johnny Cash
    5. The Clash
    6. The Sex Pistols
    7. Eric Clapton
    8. Bob Dylan
    9. Bob Marley
    10. Robert Johnson
    11. Led Zeplin
    12. Run DMC
    13. Jimi Hendrix
    14. Chuck Berry
    15. Nirvana

  • 20Fan20

    This was a great list!!!!

    But of course there might have been a slight oversight. I think you forgot to put Robert Johnson on the list. :)

    My goodness how many bands have not covered this guy? Heck, we even get the whole idea of selling your soul for rock and roll from him. How many people have gone searching for the crossroads and the devil?

    Zep, Stones, Clapton, Aerosmith, Zevon, Dylan, Dickey Betts have all been signifcantly influenced by this guy. You could even make a list called “top 20 musicians influenced by Robert Johnson!”

    And of course his recordings are excellent!

  • mooster

    Wow. Poor, poor Mozart…

  • I hadn’t commented here because I don’t have a lot of knowledge of rock music/pop music, but this is a list of influential modern musicians – it was not meant to include classical composers. So – as so many people have bemoaned their absence – I will write a list of the top 15 most influential composers sometime soon! :)

  • Dawn Bearer

    How about Chuck Berry ?

  • NZSpringy

    I went to the menu on the Bill Haley one and watched Swing Dancing to Bill Haley and the Comets (1956) was great to see the dancing. Wow bring it back! Trouble is it was before my time then and now I’m too old lol.

  • Shadowmire

    This list is clearly based on a blinded view of what is “influential” when all most of the artists did is sell a lot of albums with mediocre music (K.I.S.S is quite possible one of the most terrible rock artists in the history of music, and they do not deserve a spot on any “positive” list). Now, I agree that Black Sabbath, Nirvana and Elvis Presley extremely influential, but there are other artists that should be there, but aren’t because the entire list is limited to only the most famous artists. Venom, Korn and Metallica should be on the list, and I expected the latter two even if Venom didn’t have a chance, but I wasn’t even granted the chance to see Metallica on the list.

    And to avoid sounding like a closed-minded metalhead, I also think artists such as Tupac, Frank Sinatra and Madonna (I hate all three, but my opinion fails to make them less influential on the music industry) should be up there.

    So, if you ever decide to make a list of the most influential artists of all time again, I would suggest renaming this one “My own opinion that I try to pass off as a relevant list”, and going from there.

  • bucslim

    How about a list of the top ten most influential musicians who don’t like Led Zeppelin and voted for the worst presidents favorite Beatles songs?

    (and you have to look at the list cross-eyed until it becomes one image)

  • bucslim: if you put that together I will strongly consider posting it :)

  • Randall

    Upon further reflection (see my postings up above at #92, 94, and 105) I honestly think this is one of the worst lists I’ve ever seen on this site. Badly conceived and clearly written by someone without a *clue* about the history of modern music.

  • Randall

    oh, and in my humble opinion, the list should be yanked.

  • alext

    i cannot believe jimi hendrix is not on the list he perfected the guitar. i go to this site often and usually enjoy the lists but i’n outraged that hendrix was left off. he is one of the best performers of all time and influenced everyone, even people who don’t play music. he is a person hero of mine and should be on this list.

  • Bill Mazzoli

    There’s a pitiful shortage of black artists on this list. Considering they invented rock and roll, that’s an egregious error. How about Ray Charles? Little Richard? Ike Turner? Rufus Thomas? Get Bill Haley out of there: nobody ever sounded like him or wanted to. As for artists who retailored black music for white audiences, forget the Supremes – Sam Cooke blazed that trail, and Nat King Cole before him. Rock divas? Don’t forget the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Queen is just warmed over Led Zeppelin, get rid of them. Jimi Hendrix is the guitar god, no player doesn’t have him as an influence. The Grateful Dead couldn’t keep up with the Allman Brothers on their best day. Forget the Stooges and all the other punks and grunge acts – the Velvet Underground has all that covered. Kurt Cobain is Lou Reed with a tenth of the talent and without the guts to stay alive and take on middle age. Kiss is music for people who don’t like music: give them an award for best makeup and send them home. And where’s the hip hop? Ice T, NWA, Public Enemy – one of them should get a mention. But speaking of that – WHERE’S JAMES FREAKIN’ BROWN? For God’s sake, even Zeppelin bowed to him.

  • Bill Mazzoli

    While I’m thinking about it: the Byrds deserve a mention for electrifying folk music and paving the way for Dylan and all his followers. And the Beach Boys are gods to any group that wants to approach the state of the art in vocal harmonies. And every female singer acknowledges a debt to Joni Mitchell – surely there’s room one woman singer-songwriter on this list? And then there’s Buddy Holly, who gave the Beatles and Bob Dylan permission to be singer-songwriters. And the group who reinvented the rock concert as theater – the Doors, without whom David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, and all the rest would be working at Wal-Mart. And Talking Heads, who made it okay for nerds to be rock and rollers. Hm. Don’t think we can limit this list to just 15.

  • dick shoes

    “QUOTE – Martin L.

    Oh, and Dick Shoes, stay out of the comments until you’ve grown a brain. The Beatles were not a “boy band.” They took rock music and recording technology, and the very CONCEPT of what a band could be, lightyears further than anyone on the list. And in some ways, THEY are the originators of heavy metal and hard rock. Everyone from the Stones to Zep to Bowie to Floyd to the Beach Boys and dozens more freely admitted they ripped off the Beatles … who freely admitted their heroes were Chuck Berry, Elvis and Little Richard.”

    bro that would be the stones not the beatles.. how old are you. back in the day beatles fans were 8 year old girls and stones fans were the men. The beatles were the first boy band period they are a joke and always will be a joke. The media and VH1 are the ones who made you think they were inspirational or even good. Please explain to me how Love me do, i am the eggman, and i want to hold your hand, can be taken seriously and held with any artistic merit. they are a joke and will always be a joke. I throw a party everytime one of them dies because fuck ups like you hold their dumbasses up on a pedistole and never did research to find out what kind of media whore’s these talentless twinks were.

    god bless

  • dick shoes

    and martin..

    i dont think you are going to find one heavy metal group that will ever say they were inspired by the beatles. That’s like saying Picasso was inspired by shit stains drawn on paper by 3 year olds. The originaters of heavy metal is and always will be BLACK SABBATH. period end of discussion. go filatiat paul’s rockstare son jessey. oh wait he himself did the same thing his dad did. sing to 6 year olds

  • Randall

    dick shoes:

    Are you for real, or is this some kind of a bizarre joke?

    Yes, you are a total moron. That’s clear.

    How old are YOU, “bro?”

    It’s obvious you’re some teenage/twenty-something punk who hasn’t got a clue. And yet you pretend to speak with authority about historical events that occurred WELL before you were probably born.

    Your statement that the Beatle’s fans were “8 year old girls” is laughable. The Beatles fans ran the gamut in age, doofus. *BOB DYLAN* was a fan of the Beatles from the moment he first heard them.

    But oh yes, The Beatles’ music has only survived these last 45 years because VH1 has forced them on us.


    “Retarded” is the word that comes to mind as I read this post of yours.

  • Martin L

    THANK you, Randall. Thank you.

    Dick Shoes: I’d liketo point out that you, not I, are a sad dupe of MTV and VH-1. I grew up with the Beatles, and know that their fans cut through practically every demographic, as Randall says. You a) confuse the Stones with the Beatles in terms of greatness, and b) can’t even spell pedestal, or fellatiate. As far as Beatles prefiguring heavy metal, listen to “Helter Skelter” or “I Want You/She’s So Heavy.” And when Plant, Page and Jones were first getting their little band together, they played for the Beatles and ASKED THEIR OPINION. At which time John said opined it would go over like a lead balloon — from which response the band took their name.
    How pathetic that you throw a party every time a Beatle dies. It’s YOUR opinion of Black Sabbath that’s been informed solely by cable TV. Deep Purple was in there ahead of them, as were MC-5 in the 60s, a time period concerning which we need to hear no further pearls of your wisdom.

  • Martin L

    Okay, now that I’m calmer: one more candidate for the list. Nobody’s mentioned Les Paul, inventor of multitrack recording and the solidbody electric guitar, besides being an excellent guitarist in his own right for over fifty years. Of course it’s his inventions more than his playing that have enriched modern music, so maybe he belongs on an inventors list … there is one around here someplace, isn’t there?

  • dick shoes

    why the beatles were bad

    WHEN I was growing up one thing was patently obvious: young people were either this or that. Not a bit of this and some of that. It was black and white with no Grey.

    It was whether you were a fan of ‘The Beatles’ or a fan of ‘The Rolling Stones’. It was that simple.

    The end of the 1950s ‘mods’ and ‘rockers’ era, had a shift, such that if you were a ‘rocker’, you generally liked ‘The Rolling Stones’, and if you were a ‘mod’ you liked ‘The Beatles’. Prepubescent, good, and white girls were usually in with ‘The Beatles’, gathering around ‘Dansette’ record players and ‘Radiograms’ to listen to the new ‘Pop’ music on ’45s’, while boys liked ‘The Rolling Stones’.

    Sure, that is an over-simplification, for example, boys seemed to either like football or music, and the division between ‘The Beatles’ and ‘The Rolling Stones’ was not merely about gender, but about attitude, clothes and youth identity and culture.

    As a family, we were ‘cool’ (like ‘The Fonz’) — we were more ‘The Rolling Stones’ than ‘The Beatles’. And I am comfortable with that, in fact I am glad for that.

    To this day I think ‘The Beatles’ are an over-rated pop group. They were in existence from what, 63 to 70 — 7 or 8 years? And they went from ‘She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah’ to ‘Revolution No.9?. It was a mess.

    I HATE ‘Oblidioblidah’ almost as much as I HATE ‘Yellow Submarine’.
    Oh! How could anyone rate this group? They were awful, they had zero ’street cred’ and they were merely the first to be exploited. If there is one thing that can be said about ‘The Beatles’ is that they were manufactured through-and-through. Because of ‘The Beatles’ we have the record business, the teen-pop marketing machine, the fashion tie-in, the posed magazine photograph, and the cheeky interview.

    The crowds of screaming teenage girls invented by Sinatra’s people and groomed by the Presley camp, were simply moved on to the next thing — and this tradition continues yet.

    On the other hand, ‘The Rolling Stones’ have continued — they still tour, they still sell lots of recordings, and they stuck to what was honest and truthful — themselves and their music.

    ‘The Beatles’ tried to be ‘cool’ and failed. They refused to accept their gongs from the Queen (what happened to those ideals, SIR Paul McCartney??). McCartney formed ‘Wings’ with his sad-looking wife, and launched with the worst and most childish gibberish ever imposed on the public. Lennon was even less talented, and his child-like endeavours were even less-well received than Mccartney’s. Ringo Starr did children’s TV voice overs and Harrison had a decent enough career away from the others.

    * From their solo careers, it is patently obvious that ‘The Beatles’ were a creation. Whatever talent they may have had musically was early, manipulated and short-lived.

    Probably the most amazing time in the history of music is the mid 1970s — when people could record on cassette tape from cheap radios and music centres, when synthesisers appeared, when types of music merged, when Progressive Rock was invented along with Punk, when the music business felt threatened by illegal taping, bootlegs, and the independents.

    ‘The Rolling Stones’ went onto even greater success, they exploited the laser shows, the big stadium gigs, the new instruments and recording techniques. The solo careers fitted the expectations and qualified ‘The Rolling Stones’ as a band of talent. Compare that with the same period for the solo careers of each ‘Beatle’! ‘C Moon’? ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’? ‘Hi Hi Hi’???

    Like so many manufactured pop bands, ‘The Beatles’ were short-lived and essentially cheap-throw-aways. They were cartoons, they were hairstyles, their songs should have been thrown away too; they are pop and therefore worthless.

    George Martin was very talented musically and he managed to take whatever was chanced upon and make something of it. He has milked that cash cow long and hard ever since — and is a crashing bore as a result. It is a great pity he cannot take the credit he is due. On the other hand I wish he would just leave it all alone to fade away as it really should.

    I am not advocating ‘The Rolling Stones’, but I am trying to correct the rewriting of history: people seem to have forgotten the ‘Stones vs Beatles’ thing. People seem to have forgotten that ‘The Beatles’ were not cool.

    Sorry world, but ‘The Beatles’ were made out to be more popular than they really were. They milked the media machine dry. They had no competition (unlike the world today). Their fanbase was preteen girls.

    We were cool; we didn’t like ‘The Beatles’ in our neighbourhood. Boys went on to like Led Zeppelin, Cream and Jimi Hendrix — album bands, and girls filled the vacuum left by ‘The Beatles’ with ‘The Bay City Rollers’ a couple of years later.

    Pop acts like ‘Sweet’, Alvin Stardust, David Essex, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Leo Sayer, ‘Bony-M’, Gary Glitter, The Osmonds, The Jackson Five, David Cassidy and ‘Abba’ took over the pop scene.

    Girls and the preteens were the ones buying pop — they listened to (and recorded) the BBC pop chart every week. Teen Boys refused to have anything to do with pop music — they NEVER watched ‘Top of The Pops’ — they watched ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ and ‘The Tube’.

    Now you know why ‘The Beatles’ were bad — they had little talent individually and musically, they were pretentious and fake and created all that is pretentious and fake in the pop world. Time to step out, stop believing the bullshit and hype, stop following the revisionism, let the truth be told! ‘The Beatles’ were bad!

  • dick shoes

    the truth hurts martin and randall.. it hurts.

  • Randall


    Clearly this is taken from SOME article or essay. CITE what you quote, kid—otherwise it’s called plagiarism.

    Now… this bit of vitriol was obviously written by some Brit of the day (which you just as obviously, from your previous syntax, are NOT—I have no doubt you’re some pimply American 17 year old, or thereabouts) who has an axe to grind; someone, clearly, has issues they haven’t resolved since they were a teenager themselves in the NINETEEN-Freakin’-SIXTIES.

    And just as obviously, “dick”, you’ve yanked out this solitary acidic article in some hopeless attempt to make your case—and worse, it’s probably the ONE article in the entire world that you’re basing your view on. And yet you accuse others here of being “duped.” Real smart, kid.

    Because we could pull out DOZENS of essays and articles with an ENTIRELY opposing view—written ALSO by people WHO WERE THERE.

    This is moronic; A) there’s nothing wrong with “pop” music—-people who make a show of despising music simply because it’s pop are poseurs, pure and simple—and B) this writer’s idea that the Beatles were made out to be more popular than they were is so laughable it can’t even be credited. The author of this piece is obviously off his nut, and never having grown up out of his “rocker” hatred of the Beatlesm, he has crustily grown to a point where he can’t even see straight anymore.

    He obviously SO DESPERATELY wants us to believe his twisted version of reality that he keeps making over-the-top statements averring that “Teen Boys refused to have anything to do with pop music” and so on—as if he and HE ALONE knows what EVERYONE else in Britain was doing and WHY they were doing it.

    “dick,” you’ve fallen for the writings of someone with an essentially authoritarian “only I can be right” mindset, like the kind of softbrains who fall for conspiracy theories.

    Since we could cite for you a virtually *endless* series of statements and opinions that would totally contradict this clown’s words, your postings–and his thoughts–are worthless.

    45 years later, the music of the Beatles survives and is still hugely popular. That alone is proof enough that–regardless of whether they were “the greatest” or not–they certainly weren’t “pretentious and fake,” nor were they “bad.”

    Grow up and get some critical thinking skills, “dick.” Getting all your information from a single, nutbrain source is no way to advance yourself in life.

  • bucslim

    Martin L – good points, but I believe it was Keith Moon who coined the led zeppelin comment.

  • bucslim


    Congrats, I think you’ll probably win some prize for being the stupidist person to comment on this site. Your farcical comments make absolutely no sense whatsoever. He doesn’t have to quote, Randall, he’s making it up as he goes.

    If you wanna say you don’t like the Beatles, fine. Calling them talentless is intergalactically fucking insane.

    Either it’s time to up the meds or you need some serious Jungian throwdown pal.

  • JMurf

    I’m gonna say it………… Elvis Presley, completely overrated, pretty much stole everything from Chuck Berry and other black rock’n’roll musicians at the time who weren’t getting there name cos of their colour

  • Martin L

    Bucslim: I think you’re probably right there — though I recall somebody attributing it to Lennon once, later I also heard it was Keith. Oh well. :)

    And now, I think, my last word about Mr. Shoes. Randall’s right: compare the comparative subliteracy of his earlier posts with that suddenly at least half-coherent and correctly spelled “essay,” probably from some fifth-rate lad-mag somewhere, and it’s obvious this kid’s spouting off anything BUT original thought. And you’re giving him too much credit when you put him at age seventeen. I think he’s a twelve-year-old whose mommy doesn’t know what he’s up to on the family computer. He’s an immature fraud, and nothing to be upset about.

    Truth doesn’t hurt, you little pipsqueak. It’s horseshit that aggravates.

  • JMurf

    Wait just seen what dick shoes wrote, retard, im 18 and had to find out the beatles music myself, have you even heard A Day in the Life? Not many would disagree with me when i say people will look back at this time many years from now and rate the beatles in the same way we rate classical composers like mozart and beethoven.

    Their pop music was really the commercial side of it, they wrote many innovative, culturally defining songs [All You Need is Love] and pretty much gave the music industry what it is today.

    BTW favorite is ringo :D

  • dick shoes

    as a person who studies music. It is a shit in the face to hear people defend this shit smear of a music. You are the same queens who defend rap music and declare it is poetic.

  • bucslim

    As a person of intelligence, it’s time for me to ignore you.

  • DiscHuker

    here’s some ammo boys, the link to dick’s “original thought”.

    dick, welcome to the site. you don’t have to make the best argument to be heard here. just express how you feel. plagarism makes you look disrespectful, petty and gives us all pause to listen to you any further.

    you have as much right as anyone else to express how you feel, just do it honorably.

  • dick shoes

    QUOTE: JMurf

    Not many would disagree with me when i say people will look back at this time many years from now and rate the beatles in the same way we rate classical composers like mozart and beethoven.

    congrats. Mozart and “beethoven” just shit their fucking pants and are going to haunt your family forever for even thinking about comparing the beatles to the genius of Mozart.

    i give you, according to JMurf, the eqiv. of Mozart.

    Leave my kitten alone
    By: The Beatles

    You better leave my kitten all alone,
    You better leave my kitten all alone.
    But I told you big fat bulldog,
    You better leave her alone.
    You better leave my kitten all alone,
    You better leave my kitten all alone.
    This dog is gonna get you,
    If you don’t leave her alone.
    Well Mr.Dog I’m gonna hit you
    On the top of your head.
    That child is gonna miss you,
    [ Lyrics found at ]
    You gonna wish that you were dead.
    If you don’t leave my kitten all alone.
    Well I told you big fat bulldog,
    You better leave her alone.
    Well Mr.Dog I’m gonna hit you,
    On the top of your head.
    That girl is gonna miss you,
    You gonna wish that you were dead.
    If you don’t leave my kitten all alone, oh yeah.
    Well I told you, big fat bulldog,
    You better leave her alone.
    Hey hey you better leave, you better leave,
    You better leave, yeah you better leave,
    You better leave, oh you got to leave…

    if you can defend these lyrics with the equally shitty 3 chords played over and over and ringo playing off time about 6 times over the course of the song. Then i pity your life

  • dick shoes
  • Bad News

    I have to admit, as a contrarian and a Stones fan, despite Dick Shoes’ poor syntax and plagiarism, I really enjoy someone taking a shot at the Beatles.

    Although I admit they deserve their position on this list.

  • caboose

    Very disappointed to not see Frank Zappa there.

  • 146 Dick Shoes: Daron Malakian of System of a Down says the Beatles are one of his favourite bands and biggest influences.

  • Randall

    I really don’t have time for this little pinhead, so if someone else wants to step in, feel free.

    Just a few quick points, “dick.”

    A) I notice you didn’t answer my last post that was directed at you. Clearly this is because you *have no answer.*

    B) An artistically successful rock and roll song is much more than the sum of its parts, and that goes for its lyrics. Any idiot should know this just from *listening* to rock and roll, but obviously this simple fact has escaped you. You could yank out ANY artist’s lyrics and 9 times out of 10 they’ll fall flat without the melody and harmony that accompanies them. The lyrics of very, very few songs can stand on their own. Now, having said that, it next has to be pointed out to you (why I don’t know) that the Rolling Stones wrote a lot of crap lyrics too, kid. A LOT. As did the Who, and the Kinks, and so on and so on. But then….

    C) You make the mistake of employing the old, shallow and transparent trick of trying to support your argument by grabbing for one of the weakest set of lyrics Paul McCartney ever wrote (and indeed, he wrote his share of weak lyrics… but he also wrote “Hey Jude”). Nice try, but when you play with grownups, you have to have better tricks up your sleeve. At any rate, your argument is spurious; nobody says the Beatles didn’t produce some clunkers, and anyway, as I noted above–lyrics on their own mean next to nothing.

    D) Why all the freakin’ anger and vitriol about this? Why is this such a crusade for you? Find something more constructive to do with your time. And more sensible. Because you come off like one of those guys who claim we never went to the moon.

    Oh, and one last thing—I get the feeling you’re one of these buttheads who think “musicianship” is vital in rock and roll. It isn’t, junior. But you’d know this if you’d turn off your seething desire for attention and your anger for the Beatles (!) and just kick back and enjoy life. Christ.

  • Martin L

    I don’t know why I’m still doing this, but

    Dick: I don’t defend rap music; not in the slightest. First of all, to me the term is an oxymoron, because most of the time the “music” component is a synthesizer program, or samplings of other people’s music. To me, rap is spoken-word performance. Some of it is poetic, and a lot of it is inexcusable garbage; to me it’s hilarious that 70% of the market for gangsta rap is suburban white kids ages 12-19. But I won’t take away from Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC or even Tupac; they contributed something. As did the Beatles.
    What’s really going on here is a culture war: you’re part of a generation that’s out to dis the lads because you disrespect Boomers — perhaps as in your parents. You don’t know the whole cultural scene of the 60s that a lot of us commenters grew up in. We grew up with Vietnam and bloody corpses on the tube at the dinner hour; I *can* tell you exactly where I was when I heard President Kennedy was shot; I followed what was going on at Woodstock and wished I’d had the guts to try to hitchhike there (I was eleven at the time). I even remember the Cuban missile crisis; picture a five-year-old kid absorbing the idea that any second he could be snuffed out in a nuclear fireball. The winter of Kennedy’s assassination, the whole world went black for everybody. One of the things that came along just in time to relieve that blackness and put a little fun and hope back in people’s lives was the Beatles, and the storm of acts (like the Stones) that came through the floodgates the Beatles opened. John and Paul even wrote songs for the Stones; the reverse never occurred, because the Stones weren’t really good writers.
    The Beatles actually lasted from 1961 (the Munich years) to 1969. They were the first to experience being real superstars; even Sinatra, Marilyn and Elvis weren’t mobbed as wildly as the boys were. They couldn’t go out anywhere; every visit to every city was a mad dash from hotel entrance to limo, limo to stage door, and so on. John makes an offhand remark about the band being more popular than Jesus, and all of a sudden Beatles records are being burned all across the Bible Belt, while Americans with brains shook their heads and laughed. (And I know you’re going to say that a million burned Beatles records is an improvement, Dick, and I really don’t care.) They became trendsetters without even trying; the Beach Boys even had Paul as a guest artist on “Pet Sounds.”
    I could go on and on here. I know I’m not going to convert you or open your mind; I think it would take a jackhammer to accomplish the latter. And I’m going to follow Bucslim’s lead and delete you from my reality. I like the people who speak here, almost all of them. I don’t need you. You no longer exist.

  • JMurf


    The Beatles wrote hundreds of songs in commercial career, yes that song is shit, for fuck sake westlife wouldn’t sing it, but they have a huge quantity and quality of magnificent songs. Your argument is like basing the quality of a soil in field by picking up a lump of shit in a hedge nearby.
    And YES people WILL look back many years from now and rate them as highly as we today rate the Classical composers.
    You said you studied music? My hole you did. The Beatles are practically compulsory learning for everyone studying music appreciation

    By the way I don’t rate rap, it’s like every second line is getting further away from the meaning of a song, it’s only the chorus that realigns it. But I do acknowledge it’s influence even if it is shit

  • JMurf

    Martin L : Don’t agree with you saying the stones are bad writers, they are fantastic writers, it was only the quality of music during that era that might make it seem different. If they broke through into todays music market they’d be seen as a revelation

  • TMo

    I saw Led Zeppelin in London Monday night. Just wanted to put that out there.

  • Martin L

    JMurf: Maybe. Their music just didn’t speak to me the way the Beatles’ did. And really my point was that the Beatles wrote for the Stones on more than one occasion, but the reverse never occurred, to my knowledge. And I don’t think Mick and Keith would have tried to stretch stylistically the way they did without John and Paul challenging them; there was a rivalry there that benefited both bands, and for a while kept the publicity machines for both revved up. Maybe I’ll retract my downgrade of the Stones’ writing, though. Don’t know if they’d be seen as a revelation if they broke today, but that’s such a hypothetical proposition; any outcome you or I came up with would be heavily tinted by our different personal lenses, you know? They were highly influential — I won’t try to take that away from them.

  • evan

    TMo, you lucky lucky bastage :)

  • t_man

    Where is Metallica?!?!? Also Hendrix, Clapton, and Bob Marley. And I couldn’t help but notice that there are no country musicians on this list.

  • JMurf

    Marin L:

    Yeah I agree, it really comes down to your own preferences. I don’t like Black Sabbath, but I note their influence

  • Yarr

    Sometimes I guess it has to depend on what you like or what you know. These music lists and subsequent arguments turn into “Band I Like is better than Band you like” or “I know more about music than you.”
    If you like or play Metal, Black Sabbath is, really, one of the most influential. Love them or hate them, if you’re hearing a tuned-down power chord that has that ‘dark’ sound, Sabbath was there before you, and is probably the reason your favorite band is doing it.
    The Smiths are very influential, but then again, so are The Cure. Bob Dylan changed the way songs were written. I don’t know that KISS has really inspired that many people musically, but they did set a benchmark for extreme showmanship. (Which was inspired by Alice Cooper. It’s an endless web!)
    –>insert band name here

  • Yarr

    Um, only half of my comment showed up.
    I’m not writing it again, which is unfortunate for you guys to be left with only half of my brilliance.

    I did say that Jamie ought to stick to religion and politics because the music lists tend to really piss people off.

  • V

    Um, David Bowie??? Moby declared him as the most in fluential musician of all-time (in his opinion of course).
    Velvet Underground?
    Queen were an amazing band, but they weren’t really influential.

  • Bad News

    What did John and Paul write for the Stones??? I didn’t know that…

  • Hobolad

    I Wanna Hold Your Hand is a Lennon/McCartney song I think?

  • choseanose

    No one ever mentions Hank Williams. The man was awesome and highly influential on Elvis, Dylan
    and Johnny Cash as well as a host of others. Also Woody Guthrie, James Brown, Public Enemy, Miles Davis… I don’t quite see the point of including musicians from sub genres of rock and roll and all from a similar era. I don’t want to diss a band as great as the Stones, but without them a band like the Kinks would be held in the same awe as the Stones are held today. From that I would say it was really the Beatles who were the influential band. Oh and the Beatles gave the Rolling Stones I wanna be your man, which was the Stones first top 20 hit.

  • choseanose

    Also a highly influential band that never gets mentioned because they are more influential in Eastern Europe is Depeche Mode.

  • Ahhh Depeche Mode… I think they are not high considered as influential because most of their music and the music of those they influence is goth/industrial/ebm/techno/dark wave/noize/new age/synth etc,etc,etc.

    which, by the way, is the kind of music I listen to and I love Depeche Mode. They are awesome

  • fivestring63

    I did mention Hank Williams Sr. earlier. He’s imfluenced not only country, but blues and Rock and Roll.

    Also Bill Monroe. The man invented a whole genre of music for goodness sakes.

  • Slammerworm

    Jeeze, a bit ‘open’ this thread, isn’t it? We’re not talking about just rock musicians. How about whoever thought up the European 4/4 military snare beat? Strict, precision timekeeping yet allowing for ‘funky’ human movement, that’s a fundamental development.

  • BDAY55

    The Pixies should be on that list. They influenced the whole grunge/alt scene then broke up before they had a chance to capitalize on their stuff.

  • Max

    I think this list is wrong according to the rolling stone magazine and the time magazine one of the most influencian artist is ARETHA FRANKLIN, JAMES BROWN AND LITTLE RICHARd in the top 10.

  • Max

    In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked her #9 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. To give perspective to this honor, only the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and Little Richard finished ahead of her on this list. Ray Charles finished at number ten, right behind Franklin.

    Franklin has had a total of eighteen #1 R&B singles – a record unsurpassed by any other female recording act – and a total of seventeen top ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Two of them became #1 hit songs on the Billboard Hot 100 as well, “Respect” in the 1960s and her 1980s duet with George Michael, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”.

  • filipinoknight

    no moody blues,smokey robinson, metallica, beastie boys, areosmith, depeche mode, the cure, and i think pearl jam was more influential than nirvana was and weres abba?

  • filipinoknight

    also wheres ritchie valens? the first latino top seller

  • doz

    i LOVE that queen is on this list, but i notice that there’s mainly rock ‘n’ roll bands, and not many other artists from different musical genres or nationalities. what about claude francois? and robert johnson – many mention his as their biggest infulence when it comes to playing guitar.

  • J

    Iggy Pop

  • Bobby the K

    it’s been said that ‘elvis freed our bodies, but dylan freed our minds’ – pop music wasn’t the same after dylan. listen to lyrics before and after he came along. i remember paul
    mc cartney saying that even the beatles wanted to be dylan. and later on george harrison said a funny thing: ‘dylan makes shakespeare look like billy joel’.

  • charlie

    Glad this list is so controversial. Where do we start this list and where do we finish. Beatles yes should be number one for modern rock music bar none but music was around for centuries before the Beatles were born. I would start with Beethoven and Brahms maybe some russian composers thrown in for good measure. We are still listening to that music from 200 years ago.
    All music has progressed over the centuries to what we have now. I think you should break it down into sub categories. Where are all the blues musicians that influenced the english rock scene……. A list like this without Muddy Waters is a travesty. Nirvana wouldn’t make my top 100 influential artists but that is just my opinion. this is a great start to go into bands who were influential to individual musicians. Jimmy Hendrix where does he fit in the master of effects on the guitar. robert johnson the king of the blues. This list could go on and on. anyhow i am just on a rant because i am bored and i love music.

  • Mullaccio

    It is absolutely disgraceful Bob Marley is not in this. I dont usually get this pissed but this list is way too rock biased. No jazz innovators. Fuck man make another list that lives up to its title. Who is with me?

  • Jacob

    The Ramones need to be on this list.

  • Jacob

    And, as mentioned already, The Velvet Underground should make the list.

  • Pingback: influential musicians()

  • Unbelievable…

    One Name…the Man who started it all…


  • tom

    You include KISS and leave off Hank Williams? Are you tarded? Where’s Buddy Holly? Who do you think the Beatles were ripping off? No Beach Boys? No Hendrix? But Nirvana makes the list… Sorry, you missed the boat on this list. I love your site, though.

  • pissed off punk

    WHERE THE FUCK IS IGGY POP & THE STOOGES. They started punk rock.

  • Jet

    Mick Jagger has OBVIOUSLY proved to successfully stand the test of time with the Rolling Stones…A superb organizational buisnessman and singer/composer/lyracist.

    Aerosmith needs a notation here as well.
    The Beatles were and continue to be recognized as the “World’s music”..Yesterday – the most copied song on Earth.

    All of music is an excellent opiate of the masses.
    To say one tops another is sophomoric & naieve… It just IS.

  • Alok

    You should include Judas Priest; they basically revived Heavy Metal when it was dying out and Punk had taken over.

  • JazJ

    Love, love, love the Beatles, but Elvis should definitely be number 1 in my opinion. I don’t think the Beatles would have had the success that they did without Elvis paving the way for mainstream rock and roll. He may not have been and innovator because he had his own influences, but no one can disagree that he opened the door to modern rock. Though I personally would rather listen to the Beatles anyday, Elvis should be the top spot.

  • mkg masheen

    i dont recall hearing a single referance to metallica but i do agree with Alok that aerosmith should be in there because james hetfield from metallica had cited that aerosmith was his biggest musical influence so without them there would be noi metallica and there would be no judas priest or about 70 metal or rock groups around also they fucking influenced world fucking culture including music from previously ‘set in stone’ groups such as kiss and i dont know why they are even in there in the first place maybe exept for the fact that their style of rock spawned punk rock so shut up haters

  • mkg masheen

    also my list is

    2.rolling stones
    4.aerosmith(or metallica not black sabbath)
    6.robert johnsen
    7.muddy waters(continuing of robert johnsen)
    8.velvet underground
    10.van halen
    11.beach boys
    12.ramones(again a continuation)
    13.the supremes
    14.johney cash
    i dont kno about the other watever you want to put in there and this list is only about rock people

  • Josh

    1) It is totally sacrilege to list Pink Floyd above Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.

    2) What about Kraftwerk?

  • lizard king

    wat da fuck?? wherez THE DOORS?… JIMMY?

  • Mike

    Jimi Hendrix?

  • Lishah

    Where the HELL is Jimi Hendrix??!?!!?
    And KISS before Zeppelin?!?!?
    What the hell is wrong with you?!

  • YourListSucks

    WHat the fuck ?

    No Dave mustaine no Slayer no early (83-90) Metallica???
    Your list sux ass hard

  • Tarts

    What??? No MC Hammer, New Kids on the Block, or Bobby Brown :p

  • funeste

    “fifteen of the most influential musicians of all time.”
    Have you ever heard of Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Mozart, Haydn, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Steve Reich, Ravi Shankar …

    Maybe you should listen for some music before trying making such stupid list, little padawan.

  • shep

    KISS. what the fuck?

    try N.W.A!

  • bob young

    I have a vast music list, most of them on yours I agree with,Kiss Isn’t on mine whatsoever,I am amazed at their record sales.I think you should extend it to 20 bands.The doors gotta be there-Beach boys-supremes-4 seasons-temptations-hendrix.what about blind melon chitlin?

  • izzy

    yeah wtf kiss is on here and yet joy division is not.
    that’s messed up.

  • michael jackson??

  • hawkeysk8

    I agree with most KISS doesnt need to be so high, second JIMI! wHERE IS HE! and all of his influences.
    Now, the most famous guitarists from texas, You missed the Eric Johnsons, the George Thourogoods and last but not least Stevie Ray Vaughn, and they could have all been placed under one strand!
    And to whoever said the hip/hop rap eras,I agree with you, but id have to see an arguement to decide on where to put them.
    Now, every arguement on here is a liable one, but they just need to be proved!

  • hawkeysk8

    and at mkg, You cant have a list without Black Sabbath, they started the rock era, exception of the beatles

  • jimmy

    Nobody has influenced more musicians than Neil Young. He should be way up on that list. Isn’t he the Godfather of Grunge? Who makes up these lists anyway?

  • Katie

    Wow, sorry but BAD list. I don’t even know what to say.

  • what about bob?

    What about Bob Marley?

  • Justicejayant

    My reply is to “155. JMurf” Who posted :- “I’m gonna say it………… Elvis Presley, completely overrated, pretty much stole everything from Chuck Berry and other black rock’n’roll musicians at the time who weren’t getting there name cos of their colour”

    JMurf, you don’t know your history, or you just make your own knowledge.

    First record of Chuck berry called “Maybellene” had recorded+released in july 1955.. Where elvis had released following songs before:-

    That’s All Right
    Blue Moon of Kentucky
    Good Rockin’ Tonight
    I Don’t Care If the Sun Don’t Shine
    Milk Cow Blues Boogie
    You’re a Heartbreaker
    Baby Let’s Play House
    I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone
    Mystery Train

    You said he stolen from black, like others say, than listen:-

    “Some people say Elvis stole black music. Those people are fools, Elvis gave black people a voice.” – James Brown.

    Elvis is inventor of rock n roll, also read history of rock.

    Elvis is more influential than these all!

  • what about bob?

    Bob Marley? I think he should be there. Bob, anyone?

  • Tony

    “Hey, dude. Who, was, like, a really influential band?”
    “Um… I dunno. The Replacements once covered Kiss.”
    “Good… good… And a bunch of chicks at my school wear those Grateful Dead T-shirts with teddy bears on them, so I think they’re, like, really important.”
    “Dude! You gotta throw on the Zep and the Floyd!!!! I mean, as long as we’re talking about t-shirts.”
    “I agree. And no band influenced the music I play in my bedroom in my underpants as much as Nirvana. So they’re going on there.”
    “Well… ok, but I think we should think about the really important bands that we’ve never actually listened to. Like Bob Dylan.”
    “Oh, oh yeah. They say that, like, Bob Dylan is responsible for everything we know about modern song-writing. Like, he’s the most influential musician in history or something.”
    “True, but he’s not, like, Black Sabbath influential.”
    “Good point. Put him 11th. Iron Man is a kick-ass song.”
    “I think the bowl’s cashed.”
    “Ok. Take a resin hit and then we’ll pack another one.”
    “Anyway… I guess we should just forget about all the bands that influenced the bands we have on here, like Chuck Berry, Woody Guthrie, the Velvet Underground, Pixies, and the Stooges, because I’ve never seen a t-shirt with any of them on it.”
    “Yeah. And even though R.E.M. single-handedly invented alternative rock, I heard their singer is gay.”
    “Ew! One gay singer is enough for this list, thank you very much!!!!”
    “I know! If I wanted this list to be gay, I would put on (snicker) Jazz and Classical music!”
    “OMG! That stuff is soooooooo lame!!!! Like, Charlie Parker, who condensed virtuoso playing into melodic brilliance? Miles Davis, who invented tonal jazz, and by extension post-bop? John Coltrane, the original avant-garde player? Dave Brubeck, who popularized unusual time signatures? Thelonious Monk, who combined atonality and beauty seamlessly?”
    “Gay, Gay, Gay, Gay, Gay!!!!!! And I would make fun of classical composers, but the only one I know of is Mozart, and I don’t like making fun of deaf people.”
    “Represent, dawg.”
    “Also, bands like Sonic Youth, Radiohead, and Pavement have influenced countless young musicians. They’ve all started musical movements that are blending together and shooting off into new creative territory…”
    “But they’re so WEIRD!!!!”
    “Dude, I was just about to say that!!!! Hella ballin’!”
    “Um… okay. I have everything but the bottom two. Who are the best modern rock bands?”
    “Um… the White Stripes and Oasis.”
    “Fo’ sho’!!!! And who can we thank for those bands?”
    “The Rollingstones and the Beatles.”
    “Those are the top two.”
    “I dunno… man. Where’s Lil Wayne?”
    “Lil Wayne is number one in the list in my heart, Steve.”
    “That’s beautiful, dude. Beautiful.”

  • bob

    bob marley…

  • Bobby the K

    What? No Chuck Berry?

  • Babs

    holy hell, you did NOT just group together this sad little ’emo’ stereotype with Nirvana…

  • Mark

    Zeppelin influenced music more than you could imagine, the recording techniques, the guitar sound, the vocals (not very original lyrics for the most part though :p), the live shows. So I think that they should be higher. I also think the list is hypocritical, fair enough someone who really “created” genre should go ahead of someone who “merely” expanded on it (like Led Zeppelin or um, the BEATLES – please take note that they didn’t CREATE pop music or anything along those lines). But by that definition, Pink Floyd doesn’t deserve their spot, ELP were making prog albums before them. Nor does Nirvana, I think The Melvins more than anyone should be credited with the birth of grunge and the Seatle Sound in general. And let’s not even get started on why Black Sabbath should be further up the list. Not to mention, no Robert Johnson, are you racist? Or do you just have your head too far up the Beatles’ arses to see some real musical influence?

    I could go on and dispute every band on that list but I think I sound like enough of a dick already. But just let it be noted that I think this list either needs to be renamed or officially noted as one of the worst conceived lists on this otherwise phonemenal site.

  • Razor745

    KiSS are definitely not that influential. Led Zeppelin are way more influential.

  • Mark

    Razor745: Maybe KISS weren’t that influential musically, but have you seen all these metal bands wearing masks and corpse paint since the late 80’s? All because of KISS…

  • LSD.chaos

    where is THE DOORS?

  • Mark

    LSD.chaos: 1/4 Dead….

    Oh burned Jim Morrison…. Ok, that was bad I’ll admit it. But why do you think that they deserve a spot on the Top 15 Influential Musicians??? They weren’t that influential, in, well, anyway at all that I can think of as a guitarist. Correct me if I’m wrong…

  • vir

    There are a few things which confuse me about this list (apart from that I hate these kind of lists).
    The concept is quite unclear.
    What do you mean by “musician”? Composer or performer (or both)? 20th century, non-orchestral, rock music only? Or pop too?
    What do you mean by “influential”? On what? Culture? Art? (Rock-)Music? (certain aspects of)performance?
    If you say on music in general (and definitely NOT on performance), and if you say a musician has to be a composer, and by influence you mean being revolutionary in musical sense (bring in something new, that affects other musicians): half of this list is irrelevant. Elvis was not a composer, Queen was not revolutionary in its genre (one of the best, but not revolutionary), same for Kiss, etc.

    I would like to add: the “lack” of the black musicians from this list is so obvious, it hurts. Putting in the Supremes doesn’t make it better, but worse. Oh well, I love them, but where is the supremes in comaprison to JAMES BROWN in (musical) influence? He had an influence even on the No1 Beatles, not to mention George Clinton, or on the Billie Jean-composer Michael jackson (who BTW also has a right to be on this list) or Prince.
    (If you want to add a Motown act, then add Marvin gaye or Stevie Wonder, or even better, the composers behind many Motown acts: the Holland-Dozier-Holland.)

    The list is more about influential rock performers (- but then where the heck is Jimmi Hendrix???) w/ 2 funny exceptions.

  • Mark

    232. vir : You preach for racial equality on this list and then you don’t mention Robert Johnson…. C’mon, give some credit to your argument. Fair enough the title of this list is a bit off, but you didn’t mention any Jazz or Classical musicians. You want to expand this beyond Rock maybe recommend some people so that if Jamie does look at this he has some people to check out.

    But in saying that, I absolutely despise this list as well – different reasons though. I get the feeling that whoever wrote it really likes the Beatles and – almost as if inherently – hates Zeppelin. With the acts that are in front of them on this list there is just no excuse for not bumping them up, KISS, The Stones, Floyd? What the hell was he/she thinking? They’re all good, but they don’t even get close to Zeppelin on an scale of influence…

  • LSD.chaos

    Mark, i’m correcting you:
    how many musicians do you know (besides kurt cobaine) combined dementd poetry and a voice that sounded like broken vocal chords and make it sound that good. To me the doors gave kurt cobaine a story to live.

  • Mark

    234. LSD.chaos : They didn’t influence Kurt at all, I respect Morrison and I like his music but it’s just not that influential. Look at The Melvins or The Pixies if you want to see what influenced Kurt, don’t even try and claim that it was the Doors, that’s just embarrasing.

  • nounas

    jimmy hendrix
    all bands in the world that have a tiny piece os lead guitars in their music have been inspired by him

  • Gary Busey Is God

    How on Earth could you leave out Frank Zappa?

  • LSD.chaos

    Mark, i see your point kind of

  • Bob

    YOU RETARDS! Bob Dylan is the most influential and the Beatles #2, Dylan not only influenced music he influenced society like the Civil Rights movement and sadly the Hippie Movement, which he didn’t agree with. He was so influential “Blowin’ In the Wind” was made into a Hymn. That is influence.

  • Jamie3039


    Bob Dylan should be number one
    American music would be so differet if he didn’t plug in

  • sarozena

    It says “all time.” Where is Mr. Beethoven?

  • thinjim

    What no clash!!!!
    Far better and more influential then the pistols.

  • Mark

    242. thinjim : Better music, yes. Better musicians, definitely. More influential, not a chance my friend. Punk was the attitude, not the skill or even the sound to an extent. I prefer The Clash, but The Pistols were much more influential.

  • JesusChrist

    Nirvana need to be number 15, if any. They came at the very end of music and are one of the three things that contributed to musics death in 1991. Since they were at the very end, they influenced nothing, unless you consider the stuff after 1991 music, which i of course dont, i think it is all pop emo myspace ipod screaming noisy boring dull wall of sound bullshit, but thats not me talking, thats unfortunate fact. Music Died in 1991, Nirvana are a third responsible. ROBERT JOHNSON SHOULD BE ON THE LIST. AND AS FOR ZEPPELIN AND SABBATH, PICK ONE, BOTH ON THE LIST IS REDUNDENT. KISS DIDNT DO ANYTHING, RAMONES INSTEAD OF SEX PISTOLS, OR MORE TO THE POINT, VELVET UNDERGROUND INSTEAD OF THE SEX PISTOLS. personal note i would like rolling stones and neil young on, but dylan and beatles/zeppelin cover that influence enough. and Bob Dylan numba 1, Elvis numba 2, Beatles numba 3

  • aspyr

    EXTREMELY biased towards rock. did i miss something or was every other genre excluded?

  • bearglove

    No way in hell should Nirvana be number three on this list. They may be influential NOW, but they didn’t actually influence anybody back in the 90’s. I’ve been sick and tired of Cobain’s deification since his death for a LONG time, and everyday it just seems to get worse. It started with the dirty-looking kids in jr. high/high school, and continues now with lists on the internet naming “influential artists” and “great albums”. Nirvana just happened to be the first in a long line of grunge bands, and are far outshined by contemporaries Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots. Where are all of their influential nods? Why the fuck did they get the shaft? Is it because none of their lead singers committed suicide at the height of their genre’s popularity? Total bullshit.
    Equating Nirvana with influential bands(based on their own genre) would be like saying that Korn is a highly influential band. It may be in it’s own right, but when it only influences the shitty music it popularized, it’s hard to take the suggestion seriously. I agree with the Beatles, the Stones, and Presley. But Nirvana is FAR FAR less influential than Elvis, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Bob Dylan. Whoever wrote this list really needs to read up on the definition of “influential”.
    Johnny Cash
    Willie Nelson
    Jimi Hendrix
    Buddy Guy
    Eric Clapton
    Chuck Berry?

  • bearglove

    Michael Jackson also definitely belongs on this list.
    Hell, Prince or even Beck deserve to be on this list more-so than Nirvana or Kiss.
    And what about Brian Wilson/the Beach Boys?

  • Rocktoy79

    If you want a band who’s production quality changed the way albums are recorded and engineered and had a profound affect on stadium rock you need to add Boston to the list. And where’s Elvis, for God’s sake? I think Chicago was unique with their horn section and E.L.O. with their string section. I totally agree with KISS! Nobody did what they did. You may not like them but they were definitely different. I think Led Zeppelin should be #2 on the list and the Rolling Stones booted off the list. The Stones were a clone of the Beatles but nowhere near as talented or imaginative! And where’s Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin? Buddy Holly, anyone? As much as I can’t stand Michael Jackson, I think he needs to be on this list. I’d also argue that Elton John should be on here as well. Just a few thoughts. Can’t believe The Beach Boys aren’t included or The Doors!

  • Rocktoy79

    Sorry, forgot Elvis was on the list. It’s been a long day and I’m getting pretty drunk. My bad!

  • Rocktoy79

    To Dick Shoes-I just read the comments and I feel I need to comment back to Dick Shoes. I’ll try not to make any personal attacks but what you wrote is the biggest line of bullshit I have ever read! You obviously do not like the Beatles. That’s fine. You have a right to your opinion. But to make the claim that the Beatles were bad, lacked talent and were nothing more than a pre-packaged commercialized pop band is ludicrous! The Beatles were absolute geniuses. Do you have any idea how many hit songs they wrote? Not only did they put out at least one album a year, they also wrote music for the movies they were in. You called their music a mess because it had changed so much over the years. Changing their style of writing shows how talented they were. The Grammys created new awards because of the Beatles. You cite how much you like the Stones. You do realize that the great Mick Jagger sat at the feet of the Beatles as they recorded All You Need Is Love live on national television, right? The Stones asked the Beatles to write songs for them. You mention that Beatles were cartoons, hair styles etc.. Why do you think that is? That’s because they were so popular that the market wanted to cash in on them. But you fail to mention that the Beatles were also sold out stadiums, record setting tours, top ten songs in practically every month between ’64 and ’70, mind blowing television appearances, movies, trend setting clothes etc… I think you need to read the bios of pop and rock groups from the early ’60’s well into the ’90’s and read where the Beatles influenced them! The lyrics you quote are from a weak song. I notice you didn’t quote Let It Be or Yesterday or Hey Jude. Why is that? I’ll be the first to admit that the Beatles had some rather odd lyrics but remember how high the Beatles were getting and how many drugs they were doing. Strawberry Fields Forever and I Am The Walrus are clearly drug induced but very good songs. Every musician who laid down background horn tracks or string arrangements walked away from the studio in amazement of the Beatles’ talent. The Beatles as solo acts also put up amazing numbers. Remember, for every Juniors Farm there was a Baby I’m Amazed. And for every I’m A Dark Horse there was a Give Me Life. And for every She’s Sixteen there was a Photograph. The Beatles were and still area lot more talented than what you want to give them credit for!! I think what you have is very simple to explain – YOU ARE JEALOUS THAT THE STONES WILL NEVER, AND I MEAN NEVER, ACCOMPLISH IN 50 YEARS WHAT THE BEATLES ACCOMPLISHED IN 8 SHORT YEARS!!! I feel sorry for you because you are one of just a few people who have ever lived that feel the way you do about the Beatles. Bottom line – You have a right to your opinion but you have made a total ass of yourself in front of the whole world!! And by the way – LET IT BE!!!

  • gabi319

    249. Rocktoy79 – “I’m getting pretty drunk.”
    and long long comment 250

    You’re awfully wordy when you’re drunk. CWI – Commenting while intoxicated. ain’t it great? ;-) Unlike the rest of us, you can still manage to maintain enough lucidity to recall specific musical trivia.

  • Kelsey

    I was extremely disappointed with Bob Dylan’s low ranking on this list. I could easily see him as number one. Personal music tastes aside, no one can deny that Bob Dylan’s influence can be seen well into today’s society. Bob Dylan captured the voice of a generation and has been listed as an influence by everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Jimmy Carter. He was not only a singer/songwriter, he was a poet. He transcended the boundaries of folk, rock, and country music and more often than not combined them into tantalizing combinations. Paul McCartney has even been quoted listing him as an important influence, and it makes no sense to me that the “most influential musicians” would name him as an INFLUENCE, yet he sits far behind them in eleventh place. His song, “Like A Rolling Stone” is listed as number one in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time, and he is among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the Century. I could make my case for hours on end, but it’s late, and I plan to lay on my big brass bed. ;)
    And yes, Woody Guthrie was Bob Dylan’s biggest influence. He visited him in the hospital and was Dylan’s reason for moving to Greenwich Village.
    And also yes, Bob Dylan gave the Beatles marijuana.

  • LSD.chaos

    David Bowie? Jimi Hendrix? Maybe not on this list in perticular but atleast in consideration right? Their is more I could mention but is there really a limit of people who are influentail and what exactly does it take to be influentail……. I know the dictionaty deff. for inflentaial but that isn’t the point I’m trying to make. Also I should have replaced Jimi Hendrix with Nine Inch Nails (Trent Reznor). I think you have to do something music meaningful to be “influentail”. Some of the them on the list just arn’t what I would consider influentail.

  • Mark

    244. JesusChrist : Lol, how is having Zeppelin and Sabbath here together redundant? Have you ever listened to their music at all? Or did you just read the wiki page and when you saw both were “heavy metal” you decided that maybe you could get away with claiming they are similar? I mean, they’re old sure, but listen to them and give them a bloody chance, Sabbath still rocks harder than a lot of the “metal” of today.

    KISS didn’t do anything hey? Ever heard of corpse paint? You seen Mayhem? Slipknot? Don’t be an idiot mate, KISS were great – musically until the disco era and theatrically right up to today.

    Ramones instead of The Pistols BAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! You *are* joking right? ’cause that’s the hardest I’ve laughed in a while thanks for that :D

    What’s all this crap about “covering that influence enough”, did you understand what influence is? Look up a definition before you “grace” us with your braindead presence again.

  • Mark

    246. bearglove : Lols, you call on the author of this list to look up the definition of “influential” and then you put Willie Dixon and Johnny Cash on your list of proposed influential artists, FAIL!

    People like you might have fun going off at Nirvana, but you’ve got no reason to. Kurt died because he couldn’t cope with the pressure of fame. If all of these young kids liked The Doors I bet you wouldn’t be complaining – yes, I picked The Doors for a reason. Nirvana were *never* outshined by their contemporaries, or else all the teenagers would be walking around with Soundgarden t-shirts on.

    “…would be like saying that Korn is a highly influential band. It may be in it’s own right, but when it only influences the shitty music it popularized…”

    Are you mentally challenged, or does your brain just not grasp logic well? If Korn are influential, they are influential *period*, it doesn’t matter whether or not *you* – being only one person – like their music, because there are more than enough people – including yours truly – that do. And don’t say “Yeah, but they’re stupid teenagers, the music is still crap.”, wanna guess what age group the majority of Zeppelin fans were back in the day? All you are is a modern day father of a Zeppelin fan back the 70’s telling his (her?) son that “That Led Zeppelin stuff is crap, now Franky, there’s a man…” Just fuck off with your bullshit arrogant, elitist attitude.

  • Deziner

    To Mark (255)

    “Kurt died because he couldn’t cope with the pressure of fame.”

    I prefer to think that Kurt couldn’t live with a wife who was jealous of his fame, and a bunch of record promoters that would rather have him hooked on heroine and producing top of the charts product, than off the junk and taking the quiet road to inner peace.

    And on that note, I believe the entire fanbase, My household included, helped Kurt to his ultimate demise.

  • Mark

    248. Rocktoy79 : “…I think Led Zeppelin should be #2 on the list and the Rolling Stones booted off the list. The Stones were a clone of the Beatles but nowhere near as talented or imaginative!…”

    Love the first sentence, loathe the second. I LOOOOOVE Zeppelin, to the max. But the Stones are great and are far from Beatles imitators. They’re music was and still is just simple rock and roll. The problem is that with people around like Zeppelin rock fans are used to more. The Stones took a punk-like approach to their rock music, keep it simple. It worked, and their songs are good for what they were initially meant for, just rocking out, having a good time. Most people miss that though, they expect to be wowed by great musicianship and complex song structure. The Stones were great, just as the Beatles were and Zeppelin.

    Incidentally, my pick for No.1 is Sabbath, have you heard all the metal around these days? But how much Led Zeppelin sounding stuff do you really hear? To me that’s a matter of degree of influence, you can HEAR Sabbath in everything they influenced. Zeppelin may have influenced more, but you can’t always pick it.

    I’ll be back to comment some more here later, but I’m buggered at the present moment so I’ve had it.

  • Mark

    256. Deziner : I’m pretty sure Kurt even admitted that the fame was what was getting to him. I can’t be bothered sourcing that at the moment though, but if you could be bothered looking you’re more than welcome. Because Grunge was anti-mainstream straight from the outset. When Kurt got himself a deal and he was doing what he loved – writing and playing music – he was happy, until Nevermind. Then the pressure was on, and he was never quite the same again :(

  • Deziner

    Yeah Mark,(258) You try coming home to a pissed off prima donna, who feels she isn’t getting her due. (Fame can do that.) And his final, successful, bid to the otherside was not his first attempt by a longshot. It was his fame, and constant company of others that held off his success at suicide for as long as it did. On the other hand, he was quite public in his desire to leave heroine behind, especially publicized on the event of his previous suicide attempts. Rehab existed in the 90’s., he had the money and the capability to enroll in a program.

    But not of his promoters didn’t feel it was in THEIR best interest.

  • Mark

    259. Deziner : Can I do that first bit, but do it as a male? If not, it’s all cool, I’ll give almost anything a shot :D

    Maybe his fame delayed his suicide, but it was the root cause no matter which way you spin it.

    “…But not [sic] of his promoters didn’t feel it was in THEIR best interest.”

    Are you seriously trying to pass off Kurt’s suicide onto someone who’s not Kurt? I see numeroud problems with that, maybe you could name a couple. We’ll take it in turns?

  • Deziner

    No Mark, I’m not trying to pass off Kurt’s final decision on others. Nobody can stop a CLEAR-THINKING suicidal individual from taking that final step.

    But in my opinion, a famous artist with unlimited potential might best be served by the folks closest to him, with a time out from the FAME GAME.

    If not his bandmates, then at the very least his promoters should be able to see the toll that the price of fame and addiction is taking upon their meal-ticket.

    The very nature of Kurt’s addiction removes him from the category of CLEAR thinking individuals. And I know that if I had been in his inner circle, I would have moved heaven and earth until I saw him into a program that could restore his piece of mind and stable thinking.

    Did Courtney help him free himself from the drugs and pressure? Did his bandmates? Did his promoters?

    Every major entertainer has been able to free themselves of prior public commitments if their health has been involved. If not by themselves, or a family member, or physician, than most definitely by their promoters.

    If Kurt’s addiction had not been a toll to his health previous to his suicide, what were those previous suicide attempts. Publicity stunts?

    So yes Mark, The ultimate responsible party was Kurt. But was his success at suicide only his fault?

  • Mark

    261. Deziner : “…a famous artist with unlimited potential might best be served by the folks closest to him…”

    Well that was a waste of time. Of course *any* suicidal person is going to be best served by the people closest to them doing what is best for them – which was the next bit of the sentence but it was a bit specific for my point.

    “…If not his bandmates, then at the very least his promoters should be able to see the toll that the price of fame and addiction is taking upon their meal-ticket…”

    If I ever succeed in my endevours I would expect my bandmates to be there for me more readily than promoters…

    “…Every major entertainer has been able to free themselves of prior public commitments if their health has been involved. If not by themselves, or a family member, or physician, than most definitely by their promoters…”

    That doesn’t help all of them anyways *cough* Jim Morrison *cough* What?

    “…So yes Mark, The ultimate responsible party was Kurt. But was his success at suicide only his fault?”

    The blame *must* rest on the person that did it to themselves. I know that when it was crunch time for me a few weeks/months ago, that if I had actually gone through with it I wouldn’t have blamed the girl or my mates or my parents even a little bit – and you don’t know this girl! – I would’ve taken 100% responsibility for what *I* did. I know I wouldn’t have had to live with it, but neither does Kurt. I reckon Kurt wouldn’t even want the blame to be shifted off him. He did write a suicide note, and in that he didn’t express any anger at all, only regret and wistful happiness, in a rather clear-headed manner might I add.

  • Deziner

    Well Duh, Mark. What part of Clear Thinking don’t you get.

    A suicide note does not make the world REAL if you are in a drug haze when you write the note and do the deed. If A depressed, addicted, confused individual takes responsibility for their actions in a suicide note–HURRAH!

    Unfortunately when a depressed, addicted, confused individual signs a legal and binding agreement like a contract or will, that is not a legal and binding document, because the signer is not considered COMPETENT when they sign such a document.

    So, should such an individual be considered COMPETENT when they succeed in suicide. Only in the fact that they were competent at checking out of life. Did they have other options- YES- but they were too incompetent to pursue those options.

    On a personal note to you Mark, If your “Crunch-time” was reference to a question of your own suicide, I’m glad you did not follow that path. I have enjoyed our few words back and forth tonight. And I know that these few minutes can’t possibly be the highlite of the things you’ve enjoyed since you’ve chosen life.

    “Mabuhay” to you– A Philipine toast to long life.

  • Mark

    263. Deziner : We can’t speculate on what his state of mind was. But I can tell you that I was insanely depressed, after the fact it seems so stupid that I even considered it – sometimes at least – but at the time it was what I wanted. And whenever I feel down I start kicking myself over not doing it. I’m not saying it would’ve been the correct thing to do, but maybe it could’ve been the more logical choice in the long run. Unfortunately I won’t know that myself for a very long time, with a lot of that spent in discomfort. Kurt would’ve felt the same way. All I can say that I’ve got to back up my assertions are that I’ve been there and I’m guessing, so I won’t be too overzealous with this particular argument – that’s a nice change :P

    “I’m glad you did not follow that path”

    At the present moment so am I, but in a hour, who knows. It was however good to converse with you just as you mentioned – even if you are an LV idiot :D

  • Mark

    Oh and by the way, you’re right. The highlight of my life since that night – scoring 3 goals at the Pacific Regional Futsal Championships. That was the best Easter Weekend of my life ;)

  • Deziner

    Hey Mark——-I find my 2 thumbs pointing up. And you know you can’t argue with the intelligence of thumbs.

    Catch cha later.

  • BloodSuckingLeech

    It’s always interesting to watch ppl rag on Led Zeppelin and try to deny them their due. They were and continue to be held in the highest esteem as being the top influence to the bands that followed them.

    All guitar players that followed were just trying to be Page.

  • hinkdink1991

    buddy holly should be here ahead of the grateful dead

  • Kennoth

    I fucking knew it that Beatles would be first. Such a cliche…

  • Mark

    269. Kennoth : Amen, brother. Amen…

  • TomS

    Hendrix is probably more influential than anyone on this list. He simply changed the electric guitar and was doing things years ahead of his time in the sixties. Jfrater, I know I’m new here and that you probably know a lot about music in general, but i have to disagree with this list dispite agree with most of your other lists. Dylan is easily top 3, and guys Robert Johnson, the Pixies, the Velvet Underground, and Bowie should be on here. But your lists have been amazing me for days now so its good to know you’re actually human.

  • oouchan

    All of my favorite bands are on here. However, I am surprised the Grateful Dead is on the list. Not sure I would call them influential, but I like their music anyway.

    271. TomS: By the way StewWriter wrote this list, not jfrater. :)

  • Hank

    Worst list ever. number 1 is spot on however. also worst comments ever. check yo’ stats.

  • Hank

    also it is now cliche’ to not like the beatles.

  • janeAsher

    the beatles number
    great influencial band
    greatest band of all time

  • fwdf

    Stupid fucking list if you dont have Bob Marley and the Wailers. wow

  • tpicco

    Who did Queen influence?
    They were a great entertaining and enjoyable band but I don’t know who they “influenced.”

  • usually i don’t write comments in blogs but this time i had to. thank you for the usefull info you give!

  • oouchan

    @tpicco (277): Queen had a unique music style and used opera in their songs. Freddie could sing opera and I happen to have one on CD that he did. Utterly fantastic!
    They also used the audience to fuel the feel of a song. Many artists now do the same because they were amoung the first to do so. They also poured emotion into their songs like no other during that time. Songs like Somebody to Love and We are the Champions. No one at that time could compare. Now we have artists pouring their very soul into a song. I would say the were influential.

  • Mark

    @oouchan (279): I don’t like arguing with you, but I beg to differ on that POV. Queen, among the first to pour emotions into their songs? Maybe in really popular music – although there’s some early Zeppelin that would probably disagree with you there as well – but I think you discout a lot of earlier blues and jazz musicians there. A lot of emotion goes into that sort of stuff.

    But one thing I think we can agree on – like there’s a shortage of them :P – is that Queen were influential. My take on it was the use of really layered vocals, aparantly the Bohemian Rhapsody tape was almost transparent in places, was largely accountable. And I think, the subject matter was quite unique for the time. They wrote a song about girls with big asses, who utilizes similar themes today? And a bike race…???

  • oouchan

    @Mark (280): You love to argue with me…don’t kid yourself. It practically a hobby now. hehe – :D

    Let me amend that…they are one of the first rock bands to do so. Not jazz or contemporary. Rock. Zepplin could have had it, but nothing on the scale that Queen took it to. How about every song on a single album? Can’t beat that. Queen was able to take it to a whole new level.

    As for song lyrics…yeah. They took those to a whole new level too. :D

  • orang keren

    WTF????? WHERE THE HELL IS MICHAEL JACKSON?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!

  • Emanuelle

    Why isn’t Michael Jackson in this list? Im’not his fan or anything, but it’s clear he was and still is very influential. Maybe the most. Queen or Bob D would be the most talented, creative or genius, but speaking of the influence on other artists, you can say Michael J has done an amazing job. So many have tried to do smth that would sound like him!

  • ClarkRaider

    I agree mostly Led Zep was a great band but not that influential musicly i think. Bob Dylan is the most influential out of anyone or anything. Your just missing Prince and Robert Johnson


    1. Beatles
    2. David Bowie
    3. Smiths
    4. Michael JAckson
    5. Pink Floyd
    6. Rolling Stones


    7. The Cure
    8. Pixies
    9. Joy Division


    10. Blur
    11. Bob Marley

  • Walker

    1. Beatles
    2. Dylan
    3. Elvis
    4. Stones
    5. Who
    6. Jimi
    7. Zep
    8. Beach Boys
    9. Pink Floyd
    10. Kinks
    11. Dead
    12. Bruce
    13. Supremes
    14. Doors
    15. Janis

  • Alex

    I think Prince is a genius who writes and play all the instruments by himself. He should be nr 1.

  • Roo

    I think you should all get a life, go out, meet a girl/guy and move out of your mum and dads basement!

  • Asian haircuts Fan

    1. Ayumi Hamasaki
    2. Utada Hikaru
    3. Namie Amuro
    4. BoA

    Yes I mostly listen to Asian music and sadly most of them aren’t famous outside of Asia.

    Asian Wedding Hairstyles

  • lewis221990

    Elvis, mj, jerry lee lewis, buddy holly, everly brothers, and drifters are the most influential.

  • ilovemusicx123

    This is INSANE. He is THE MOST INFLUENTIAL pop artist EVER! You must live under a rock not to put him in the Top FIVE!

    Otherwise, good list. But you should have had Michael Jackson. He is the KING OF POP.

  • Rayan

    where the Hell is Michael Jackson ?!
    he’s one of the most influential musicians in history !

    and I think the Jackson 5 should be included ..

    smokey Robinson is cool : )

    and Ray Charles MUST be listed ! he’s the king of R&B

  • Rayan

    and johnny cash I forgot : )

  • Jack

    It is quite disappointing that Kraftwerk aren’t there and equally disappointing that barely any of the comments here have mentioned them.

    Oh no, they didn’t do much. Apart from of course single-handedly ditching all rock-oriented instruments and making the melodies and beats entirely electronic and influencing italo disco, synthpop, hip-hop, house, detroit techno, electro, trance and post-punk (to name a few) all of which wouldn’t exist had it not been for them as well as stylistically influencing a great number of indie bands. The 6 albums released between 1974 and 1981 made an staggering change which was key to the boom in electronic music in the 1980s (a lot of which was unfortunately poor, some gems though) and which developed in the 1990s and 2000s.

    Looks like there’s a lot of prejudice for electronic music which can range from the rather dated, camp Stock, Aitken and Waterman productions to brilliant stuff from the likes of New Order, Massive Attack and Carl Craig. Very versatile.

    David Bowie and Genesis should probably be up there too. I also agree with whoever said Abba, who are geniuses in the art of cheesy pop music, which no music snob should deny.

  • Very cool list. I would alter a few things here and there, but otherwise pretty good! I agree with the idea that many of these guys like Bob Dylan didn’t start a genre. He did make a lot of breakthroughs with the folk genre though!

  • Natalie

    change the name of this post Top 15 influential rock groups, not musicians.. mj would have to be somewhere on this list!

  • Mark

    @Natalie (298): Why?

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  • Slap

    Hard to take this list seriously when Kiss is included and Jimi Hendrix is absent.

  • Cammie

    I fail to see how Bob Dylan only came in at number 11, he should definitely by in the top 5. I also fail to see how Lou Reed/The Velvet Underground didn’t make the list.

  • You wouldnt believe how long ive been googling for something like this. Browsed through 9 pages of Yahoo results couldnt find diddly squat. Very first page on Bing. There was this…. Really have to start using it more often!

  • Locktopus

    Are you f***ing joking? Do you even understand what influential means? You have omitted some hugely important artists here: Kraftwerk & Robert Johnson for starters. You really need to expand your musical horizons…

  • jon

    Michael jackson was way more popular and influential and talented then any of these people

  • oouchan

    @jon (305): You’ve got to be kidding, right? Way more than the Beatles? Pink Floyd? Wow. He was influential, but not more than these guys.

  • weegmc

    List is incomplete without the Ramones. Malcolm McLaren witnessed the NY scene first hand before heading back to London to ‘create’ the Pistols, every influential British Punk was at the Ramones show in 76 and subsequently formed a band. Style, sounds, subject matter, even song length influenced and still influences Punk bands throughout the world.

    Nirvana? They weren’t an influence as much as they were the first ‘grnge’ band to explode from the genre. The Ramones influenced the genre.

  • This pretty comprehensive.

  • louellrhyle

    where michael jackson? he should be here..hes like one of the bests :V

  • Stumpy

    No rusty cooley? Or John fahey?

  • Patrick

    LMFAO at Madonna and Michael Jackson not being on this list, especially considering a few of the acts that did make the list.

  • fendabenda

    For those who say that Bill Haley doesn't deserve a place on this list: excuse me, but yes he does. In 1953 when Bill Haley had his first rock'n'roll hit "Crazy, Man, Crazy", people were used to pop or smooth jazz or country ballads or mellow blues on their radios… then this band comes along with the attitude: "get off of your lazy ass and DANCE!". It was really something new. Bill Haley was the first rock star there ever was, unfortunately he didn't look the part, so he pretty soon lost the spotlight to Elvis and others who did have the looks. Also, I would drop at least Grateful Dead and KISS from this list (who did KISS ever influence? Lordi? Gwar? Gimme a break!) and include Bo Diddley, Robert Johnson, Fats Domino and/or Buddy Holly instead.

    • Jay

      Thank you, fenda. I was just mentioning the influence of Bill Haley on the newest list (Rockers Better Than Elvis) and I decided to look through the Archives and found this list. And your comment. Thanks again.

  • ..w

    I thought Chuck Berry should have been on here. Also, The Stooges instead of The Sex Pistols, because The Stooges came first and were basically the first punk band out there.

  • Alecsdaniel

    Madonna. Yeah, she sings pop music and she used sex to sell more, but every single pop singer in today's music are recognizing her as an influence, along Michael Jackson. Also, ABBA, Bob Marley should be on the list, not to mention you are only limited to rock music for most of the list.


    Uhh… Kiss? One of the most influential bands of all time? And The Velvet Underground isn't even mentioned? Are you kidding me?

    Okay… enough questions. This list sucked.

  • i was actually expecting some blues guitarist/s. . . . . . .

  • sofie

    Where's David Bowie?

  • Big Al

    No Bowie, New York Dolls, Big Star, Stooges, or Velvets????? why KISS???? Are you retarded? Terrible terrible list.

  • REsenee

    Buddy Holly has to be included on this list. I remember reading that the Beatles said that without Holly there would have been no Beatles

  • Biased List

    Where is James Brown? Prince? Michael Jackson? RUN DMC? The Jackson 5 who influenced every single boy band afterward? I love The Supremes, but in terms of music, there were way other more influential groups and if that's the case you better call out Holland-Dozier-Holland since they were the ones who wrote all the music for those Motown groups in the 60s-70s.

  • yung hollywood

    Okay first off the list is okay Im only saying okay in a polite way I really want to say what in the hell is wrong with you, this list is influential musicians right? You fuckin missed Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors(Jim Morrison) Janis Joplin, Pixies, The Who, The Ramones, MJ (although Im glad he was’nt on there). Im glad you had Nirvana on the list because this is the influential list, but how in the fuck could you have Nirvana and not have the Pixies the band that influenced Kurt Cobain and most grunge bands. Janis Joplin not on the list? Have you even heard of fuckin Janis Joplin? Im sure you have she should be on the fuckin list. And okay dipshit and Im being as polite as I can, why isn’t Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison on this list, they changed forever the way that the guitar is played, and not even mentioning Bob Marley is a big mistake, I like the round out of the list believe me, but you my good sir get a F for go Fuck yourself, UPGRADE YOUR FUCKIN MENTAL MUSIC CATALOG! And I understand you cant have all musical genres on the list or Batoven and classical musicians would be on it hense the reason hip hop is missing.

  • cole

    hey that list is rubbish!!!

    Weres MJ?
    Weres Bob Marley

  • rachel

    you know you gotta put michael jackson in here
    hes literally one of the greatest entertainers of all time
    and im disappointed that so many of these groups are rock bands
    what about influential people from other genres
    not knocking rock, cuz i do enjoy it
    but i feel like r&b, blues, hiphop, jazz, country
    all these need to be represented too.

  • sharona

    where is michael jackson on this list? I mean no one sold 110 milion copies with one album. And he definitely has influensed the making of videoclips. No one can deny that!
    And elvis should be no 1 or 2.

  • Matthew

    Miles davis,Radiohead ,hell U2…..kanye west?

  • Bill Hailey and the Comets in lieu of Buddy Holly?!

    Wow, I'm just….wow…..I got nothin'.

  • Kiss?KISS?!I'd agree with most of the list but no way to Kiss belong their!And where's Hendrix?He changed the landscape of rock music!

    • Jay

      The List title says "Influential Musicians." I think Kiss had a tremendous influence.

      On movies.

      Let's face it, since Kiss made their movie, no one has made one quite that bad again. Kiss influenced movie makers to do better so they wouldn't end up flogging another piece of crap like the Kiss movie.

  • Vulcan Thee Flagrant

    Ummm BOB MARLEY anyone?

  • bob marley? buddy holly? come on where are they ?!!

  • Eric Cintron

    This list is of influential musicians right???….so that being said….Robert Johnson is #1 hands down…Robert Johnson was the conerstone of Rock Music…he influenced the top 2 on this list lol…I mean its a no brainer really…Other artist that would have been nowhere or at least sounded a lot differrent without Robert Johnson were, Elvis, Led Zepplin, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix.. Also considering Robert Johnson was one man and not a band is also another reason he is #1…..FACTS: Robert Johnson and the blues genre is the corner stone of Rock music…You cant debate that! Meaning if the blues and Mr. Johnson came first..THERE IS ZERO chance any one man or band can be above him in terms of influence

  • TomC

    Kiss? Are you kidding?

  • ?????? ????
  • Jack



    In your list Electronic Music doesn`t exist – in the real world it is ubiquitous. James Brown is the most sampled artist in the world – his beats are everywhere.

    So welcome to reality.

  • paul

    Just how in the HELL can you have a list like this and not include The Ramones?

  • morrison27

    what about the doors, they were substantially more important than the sex pistols.

  • rightingthewrong

    kiss before dylan? KISS BEFORE DYLAN???? kiss before zeppelin, pink floyd and the dead is an absolute travesty. kiss deserves to be on this list as much as i do..not at f-ing all! okay, i get it, it’s not the BEST band but the most influential…but STILL, it’s just not RIGHT!

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  • very nice post! keep it that way

  • fattrucker

    How about John Mayall? Oh, you’re probably too young to even remember that he basically started british rock as we know it, Clapton, Beck, Peter Green (Uh, he started Fleetwood Mac), the Yardbirds, Small Faces, Mick Taylor,(funny how the stones haven’t made even one good album with ronnie wood), oh, and by the way shouldn’t we mention Robert Johnson, maybe a Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters anybody? Chuck Berry fer cryin out loud? “KISS” my ass, Bill Haily and the Comets? His greatest hits album would be one song. Elvis was a retard! He never wrote his own material, he never played that guitar, most over rated in history by a mile.

  • waguwagu and banjakbanjak

    we’re awsm. u suk.

  • Nhadz

    Queen…??? 13!!!?????? what a low-based judgment you have!

  • abhishek kumar

    Great List ..i think The Beatles are way beyond the list…
    they are the prime….the list starts after them


    What about JIMI HENDRIX !!!!,The Greatest Guitarist And Showman of All Time!!

  • Erin

    Huh. I expected Michael Jackson, James Brown, and Madonna to be here too.

  • toesza

    two words “BOB MARLEY”

  • Andy C

    Has no one heard of the Ventures.
    The most influential band of all times.

    Major musicians and bands who identified the Ventures as an influence include:[7][8][9]

    Jeff Baxter (Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers)
    The Beach Boys
    Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac)
    Stanley Clarke
    Jeff Cook (Alabama)
    Dave Davies (The Kinks)
    Ray Davies (The Kinks)
    Rick Derringer (The McCoys and The Edgar Winter Group)
    Al DiMeola
    Elliot Easton (The Cars)
    John Entwistle (The Who)[10]
    Roger Fisher (Heart)
    John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
    Peter Frampton
    Roger Glover (Deep Purple)
    Art Greenhaw (The Light Crust Doughboys)

    The Go-Go’s
    Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith)
    George Harrison (The Beatles)
    Billy Idol
    Billy Joel[1]
    David Johansen (New York Dolls and Buster Poindexter)
    Elton John
    Eric Johnson
    Terry Kath (Chicago)
    Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)
    Robby Krieger (The Doors)
    Cyndi Lauper
    Steve Lukather (Toto)
    Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra)
    Brian May (Queen)[11]
    Roger Mayer
    Keith Moon (The Who)

    Ted Nugent
    Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
    Walter Parazaider (Chicago)[12]
    Joe Perry (Aerosmith)
    The Pretenders
    The Ramones
    Gene Simmons (Kiss)
    Paul Simonon (The Clash)
    Chris Spedding
    Stephen Stills
    Stevie Ray Vaughn
    Joe Walsh (James Gang and the Eagles)
    Max Weinberg (E Street Band)
    Alan White (Yes)
    Ricky Wilson (The B-52s)

  • Name

    Elvis is more influential than Nirvana, and why isn’t Frank Sinatra on here?

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  • Timothy

    What can a music list of top acts be without Michael jackson? I dont agree with the list

  • MovieFreak4702

    What about The Who or Neil Young?

  • jf

    To every naive or politically correct (that’s right) nimrod who bemoaned the lack of Rap/Hip-hop in the list: This is a list of all-time influential MUSICIANS. Okay? What exactly have rappers contributed to the craft of instrumentation, singing, composing? Exactly. MUSICIAN. Also, some of you acting so convinced that you know more than the OP, are laughably implying that there are LESS than 15 influential artists who can be named ahead of a rapper Fucking really? What a joke.

    Wu-Tang Clan and Rakim…surre, certainly my idea of names who belong next to Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, The Beatles or VU. We can thank the politically correct hype machine backing hip-hop in recent years for the fact that rappers (artists whose influence never reaches outside their genre, whose legacies over time are not even kept alive on radio) are suddenly being legitimately exalted next to Blues/Jazz/Rock pioneers.

    Aside from that, a 15 name list isn’t going to include EVERY person’s favorite names, so some of you need to stop making a big deal that your suggestions weren’t included. Certainly there are a few startling omissions, but it’s not like every excluded name thrown out by you guys was an essential (see, rappers). So get over yourselves. It’s only a top FIFTEEN. Make your own list.

  • Rob

    Interesting list…have to agree with the commenters clamoring for jimi…also would think about neil young and james brown

  • Bob Marley
    With out doubt. Had a nation and a religion. I think he should replace KISS.

  • Charys

    Bjork? No? Okay then.

  • jared

    BOOOOO!!!!! this is a JOKE. Bill Haley and the Comet’s and no Jimi Hendrix?? Kiss?????? Black Sabbath?? No no no…all wrong. Knock off those three and add HENDRIX, BOB MARLEY, and yes MJ. Other considerations here….Paul Simon, Van Halen, the Doors, Buddy Hollie,

  • Neel

    I’m a Kiss fan.. but I will have to admit they have been over rated in this list… yes they started making cheesy music later on, which doesn’t erase the impact of their concerts n music in the past,n its adorable they didn’t compromise on their appearance once upon a time despite disagreements with some record labels but still their rank in this list is kinda “ahem”.. some one asked who did Kiss inspire in this thread, well I know the great Dimebag Darrell was hugely inspired by Ace Frehley, still its a bit too much, after all even Hanoi Rocks inspired Axl Rose.

    Mentioning Alice Cooper would have made some sense. This shock-rock stuff was pioneered by Cooper.

    Hendrix definitely deserves a spot in top 7! And lot of music artists owe BIG time to Robert Johnson for being there!He just cant be missed.

    And leaving out MJ from top 5 (not just the entire list) reflects a case of severe amnesia, or sheer ignorance…no matter which genre or music artist you blindly support, disregarding the universal truth that MJ was one of the most influential artists of all time makes this very attempt of making this list a joke.His music spawned a breed of music artists, Usher, Timberlake, Chris Brown and many more (doesn’t matter if we like them or not). He himself was inspired by James Brown i agree, but he raised the bar of concerts miles high, his creative mind sparked ground breaking music videos, he has picked up stuffs and popularized them to a level of frenzy, and has been a sparkling innovator. He never played guitar yet inspired a guitarist of jaw dropping calibre like Buckethead, after all its his affinity for perfection and dynamic stage presence that deserves lot more accolades than what gets garnered these days! He broke boundaries of genres, and the kind of unity his fan base still holds, is enviable and incredible, its like he brought the world together through entertainment only something a few peace preaching personalities could only talk and dream of. And this is off topic i know since the list says “music”, but he has even inspired movie stars of several countries as well. And about popularity, yes legends shouldn’t be compared, but with all due respect, you might find MANY who haven’t heard of Jim Morrison or even Beatles in the third world countries, but don’t be surprised if you find a person living in some remote village of some faraway land who knows the name “Michael Jackson”, lol! Guess if there has been any celebrity as famous as Jesus Christ then its Michael :D We might want to play it safe leaving him off the list to ward off criticism from “we-know-real-music” sort of phonies, but we would be only deceiving ourselves. He has been a wonderful powerhouse of talent since his tender days of Jackson 5, and as a solo artist , he did set the world aflame!

  • Neel

    Few quotes about Michael Jackson by famous artists:

    “The only male singer who I’ve seen besides myself and who’s better than me – that is Michael Jackson.” -– Frank Sinatra

    “I didn’t want to leave this world without knowing who my descendant was. Thank you Michael!” – Fred Astaire

    “He’s incredible. He’s a genius. Just to be in the same room [with him], I felt everything I wanted to accomplish in life has been achieved….That aura … that’s how incredible that aura is….The way he thinks….some artists think regional, some think national, I was thinking international. He thinks planets! It’s on another level!” – Akon

    “This is big. I won two Grammys; but (winning) the Michael Jackson award is major…especially for somebody who always wanted…videos to come across on a different level…like Michael.” – Missy Elliot

    “…he was a talent from on high” – Slash

    “Few” well known names from various genres of music who were influenced by Michael Jackson:

    Lady Gaga
    Mariah Carey
    Snoop Dogg
    Jay Z
    Will Smith
    Alicia Keys
    Janet Jackson
    Alien ant farm
    Green Day
    Justin Bieber
    Queen Latifah
    Lenny Kravitz
    MC Hammer
    James Blunt
    Britney Spears
    Pharrell Williams
    Amy Winehouse
    3 T
    Craig David
    Ricky Martin
    John Mayer

    doesn’t matter if we at all can stand the music of the above mentioned artists or not, the bottom line is if Michael Jackson isn’t considered one of the greatest ,if not the most, influential music artists of all time, then the word “influence/inspire” or “influential/inspirational” should quit existing in lexicon :)

    Black Sabbath in my opinion undeniably comes in the top 5 as well… Led Zep were like the ultimate hard rock wonder,while Sabbath laid down the foundation for metal. Not only that, no other band ever had such sinister vibe in their music like they did.. which became an integral part of the music made by several metal acts in the future!And I think the king of Sabbath is Tony Iommi for those riffs of hell. I am not a huge fan of Ozzy, but all the eras of Sabbath were great in their own way, my most favourite being the Dio phase!

    Even though Metallica went down hill with their music in the later years but they certainly can be regarded as Thrash metal pioneers and their earlier work did influence and still continues to influence lot of metal-heads …may be they could have been somewhere between 13-15 , but on a second thought, may be Motorhead deserves a place instead , I am a bit perplexed.

    Some of the bands and their respective ranks in this list are acceptable, I agree. But still, names like Bob Marley ,Frank Sinatra, The Clash, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin do pop up in mind for obvious reasons. Yeah, we can’t mention all influential artists in a list of 15, but I would definitely put emphasis on MJ deserving a top 5 place along with Sabbath! Kurt was a grunge rebel, and I listen to Nirvana as a guilty pleasure, but Kurt Cobain has to be the most over rated guitarist of all time. Nirvana shouldn’t have been anywhere,even in a top 30 list.

  • Visaliny

    This list is written by ignorant rock fan who thinks other genres are crap…today I don’t hear artist says oh I was influenced by Elvis or Beatles..and KISS on the list is laughable…Michael Jackson not on the list? he influenced artists in terms of performance and making creative videos. 50 percent of today’s artist are inspired by him…u r clearly an ignorant prick…Madonna,eventho an average vocalist, she influenced music too by bringing shock value..and Janet inspired women performers to dance.

  • Matra

    Michael Jackson, Aretha Frankling & Bob Dylan should be up there.

  • nelly eno

    please i will like to see their picture

  • Sky

    I’m sorry i have to be a bit controversial here but I think that Michael Jackson was much more influential on music and society than Elvis Presley. For one, Michael managed to span generations of people – young and old – it’s very rare to find young people who listen to Elvis. Secondly, Michael broke racial barriers with being the first black artist to be played on MTV in a time when the music industry was still iffy about playing black people’s music. Thirdly, Michael was a great icon via his outfits, the white glove and fedora hat becoming trademark….and lets not forget….the moonwalk!

  • jimmy

    How do you not fuckin have Johnny Cash on here? Are you kidding me? stupid losers

  • Predator

    Nirvana influential in music? and MORE influential than Elvis? What have you been smoking after your lobotomy?

  • i actually agree with this one but one thing i would add is the rat pack

  • stoobreRoobre


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  • Liam

    What about Hendrix, Chuck Berry and Robert Johnson? Shoulda replaced KISS.

  • Felix

    No Kraftwerk? Seriously, all electronic music owes its existance to Kraftwerk.

  • G-man Unit Awesomeness

    Pistols suck got that right. everything else wrong except inspiration!

  • conor

    kiss ahead of bob dylan? anyone ahead of bob dylan is inaccurate, but kiss is a joke. neil young should be in there as should chuck berry

  • Logic

    The who is much more influential than most of these bands, especially Kiss

  • I remember when I was young and Black sabbath was held in contempt by music students and mainstream music fans. They were exhibit A for bad over-simplistic heavy metal. …and all that time so many great musicians were learning their chops, inspired by Sabbath.


  • Atigan Davidson

    I like all your famous musicians that has made the American music industry what it were today no doubt listeners are very indeed hearing lovely and inspirational songs. My advice is you keep it up.

  • I like all your famous musicians that has made the American music industry what it were today no doubt listeners are very glad indeed hearing lovely and inspirational songs. My advice is you keep it up.

  • IsThisListSerious?

    The fact that Bob Dylan is number 11 on a list of “most influential musicians” makes me not take this list seriously at all. Truth be told most of the bands listed ahead of him wouldn’t have been what they were had he not existed. I’m sure he influenced many of their influences. Personally I think Dylan should be number 2, you could make an argument for him as number 1 by determining if the Beatles would have been what they were without him paving the way for the rock and roll movement.

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  • Raman Wonder

    1. Beatles

    2. Bob Dylan

    3. Jimmy Hendrix

    4. Chuck Berry

    5. Miles Davis


    7. Pink Floyd

    8. Black Sabbath

    9. The Rolling Stones

    10. Elvis Presley

    11. Bob Marley

    12. Sex Pistols

    13. B.B King

    14. Public Enemy

    15. The Supremes

    • Raman Wonder

      I have excluded Western classical musicians, Film score musicians, Sub genres of Trance/House/Psychedelic musicians and Few very famous/Influential musicians.

  • Graeme

    Bob Marley? I mean look what did for reggae

  • Marcus

    Nirvana was a good band but there are nowhere near the 3 most influential. Also Kiss is not supposed to even be on the list. Sure they made a few good paryrockenrollers. But come on. There are a whole bunch of artist you have left out. Velvet Underground basically created the blueprint for the whole underground/alternative genre. The Who created the foundation for stadium rock, made the first rock opera, made the first power pop songs and was also influential for hard rock, metal and punkbands. The Clash probably the most creative punk band ever. Bob Marley and the Wailers making reagge popular trough the world. A few others are chuck berry, marvin gaye and so on–

  • Lelo Gigi

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  • sunny_phillipines

    where is greatest, the king n god of music “michael jackson”…..shame on you all..MJ was, is n will be pioneer of music world…the greatest artist of all time…

  • Xmus Jaxon Flaxon-Waxon

    Rediculous not to include the likes of Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke or Johnny Cash

  • Rethinkyourstatement

    Influential to what? Change the name of this list to Top 15 Influential Musicians of the 20th Century…

  • Brandon

    Why isn’t Michael Jackson on here? He should be in either first or second.

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