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Rocks Most Influential Artists

It is a debate that rages on with no definitive answer, but there has to be one most influential artist of all time.  One that spans across all genres to inspire all.

Kurt Cobain is arguably the most influencial artist of his generation. Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Whatever is here now, had to have something that came before it to influence what it is.  Jazz and blues inspired rock n roll, which inspired punk, metal and everything between.  The question that always seems to come up is who is the most influential artist of all time?

Each generation and genre has it’s own that they call the god father of it.  Motor Head may in fact be to most influential artist as far as thrash metal goes, but Black Sabbath is what inspired Motor Head.  The Beatles inspired Sabbath and Elvis inspired the Beatles who was inspired by country and blues from the south in the USA.  So who inspired it all?  Who among all genres can be considered the most influential.  Someone who no matter what you do, you can connect with.  So let’s go deep into rock n’ roll history and see what we can come up with.  This is in my opinion the list to end all lists, but like all things, it is only my opinion. Here we, the top 10 most influential artists of all time.

10. The Beastie Boys
Hard to argue that these guys didn’t usher in an entire genre of underground rap-rock.  They are not only an influential rock artist, but hip hop as well.  I don’t know if they knew at the time that they would be regarded as that, but the Beastie Boys songs and influence has stood the test of time.

9. The Kinks
These guys inspired some of the greatest bands of all time.  Without the Kinks, we would have no Van Halen, Clash, Ramones and even artists like Pete Townsend of The Who said that they would not be where they were if not for The Kinks paving the way.

8. RUSH
Tom Sawyer, Limelight, Working Man not to mention one of rocks greatest albums, 2112.  Rush has been influencing prog rockers since the early 1970s.  If there was a favorite bands for nerds to love, Rush is it.


Rush – “YYZ” from ’2112 & Moving Pictures Classic Albums’
Uploaded by netreach. – Explore more music videos.

7.  The Clash
Punk rock pioneers.  They might be the most important band to the punk rock movement.  They brought politics into music that was regarded as simple and their 1977 debut album is regarded as the most important punk record next to the Sex Pistols.



6.  Stevie Wonder
Where would we be without Stevie Wonder?  Everyone has tapped into his music from Stevie Ray Vaughn to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  In fact one of the Chili Peppers first hits was a cover of “Higher Ground”.

5. Nirvana
Talk about making some noise. Nirvana came in and blew America and the rest of the world away.  Forever an image of teenage angst, Kurt Cobain continues to inspire years after his untimely death.  Some have called him a poet, and some a genius.  Whatever the case, there is a reason why Nirvana continues to gain new fans year after year.

4.  Elvis Presley
He is really the first rock n’ roll rebel who with, we would not have any of what we have today if Elvis hadn’t of taken the world by storm in the 1950′s.  I have almost all of his stuff on my ipod because to this day his music is still awesome.

3.  Black Sabbath
The quintessential sound of heavy metal came from the fingers of Toni Iommi, and without that we are stuck with bubble gum pop.  Gross.  Ozzy went on to do his own thing, but they still get back together every now and then to the joy of heavy metal fans everywhere.

2. Led Zeppelin
When you talk about the biggest band on the planet Zeppelin is definitely in the conversation.  Their work is regarded as some of the best in rock.  The first 4 albums are so awesome, but 1975′s Physical Graffiti is my all time favorite album by them.

1. The Beatles
Hands down the most influential band of any genre in music.  Everyone knows who the Beatles are.  There is a reason why it was such a big deal when they were finally brought to itunes.  Every band from 1965 to now draws some influence from the fab 4.  If they say the don’t they are lying.

Now I have to include a few honorable mentions because there were just way too many bands to include.  Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, The Doors and Deep Purple.  They would have all been tied for number 11.

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