The Ten Most Important Modern Musicians
Nirvana was a huge deal in the nineties and completely rocked the music scene boat when Nevermind was released. They changed music at the time from pop-craziness and countless one hit wonders and gave the industry back some credibility. They really kicked off the Seattle alternative movement which has had lasting repercussions to this day.
9. Black Sabbath
Heavy Metal began with Sabbath. They changed the face of rock and brought a really dark edge to the music. Paranoid was a game-changer and really kicked off a whole new genre which would grow and develop over the next four decades.
8. Neil Young
The Godfather of grunge. Young may not be as obvious of a choice on this list, but he has had a massive influence upon much of the music that came after him, especially the alternative and indie rock scene. He has inspired countless new bands who, like him, set out to create great, solid songwriting.
7. Johnny Cash
Cash’s musical influence wasn’t just restricted to country. He defied categorization and broke through boundaries. He influenced many people, some who would go on to be musicians themselves, and others simply through the deep themes and messages in his music. He was a troubled soul seeking redemption, and many people were able to relate to his music because of this.
6. Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson changed the face of popular music by making it a spectacle and by really making it global in a way that music wasn’t before. You can almost trace the over-commercialization of music back to Mike, you can claim that he really shaped pop music into what it is today. Despite his bizarre behaviour in the latter couple of decades, its hard to deny the profound impact he has had.
5. Bob Dylan
No one has brought political and social messages through music quite as effectively as Dylan. He also ushered in an era of truly great songwriters, which was refreshing after the “do-wop” cookie cutter groups of the 50s. Dylan’s power comes through his words, hard-hitting poetry combined with musical notes. He is a huge figure in the history of modern music and his legacy will likely last for a long time to come.
4. Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry is one of the great trailblazers of Rock and Roll. He brought rhythm and blues together with pop music and helped to create the defining musical genre of the latter half of the twentieth century. His emphasis on the guitar sprung a tradition which would create a pantheon of legends, such as Hendrix, Clapton, Beck, etc. Chuck Berry is a music legend, plain and simple… even if he did just rip-off Marty McFly.
3. Louis Armstrong
A pioneer of modern music, Armstrong led the way with the call of his trumpet. He brought jazz to the forefront and kicked off the movement of popular music would would be a prominent component of the century. Armstrong is one of the founding fathers of modern music and therefore one of our most important musicians.
2. The Beatles
I’m not sure that I really need to say much here. This one seems pretty obvious. The Beatles revolutionized the pop music scene on a scale that no one has since. Their anthology is vast and the quality of their music is at the highest level. They are probably the most famous musicians in the world and their legacy is likely to last for decades to come.
1. Elvis Presley
Elvis pretty much created rock and roll. He brought high energy music to the forefront and brought music into popular culture so convincingly that it would be a very important part in that culture for sixty years. He is the most important musician of the last century without a doubt.