Music's 5 most influencial people

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by 6stringvince, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. Lets say in the last 100 years. It could be a musician, a band or anyone in relation to the industry. Not just who, but why you feel they deserve a spot. This list would have been easier if it were 500 instead of 5, but 5 is the number.
    If you disagree with anyone elses picks, don't just say so but tell us why you disagree.
    Here's mine in no particular order:

    1) Miles Davis.
    Not just the genius who forever changed the face of jazz, but he is also the institution that brought together all of the most influential. Just to name a few:
    saxophonists Gerry Mulligan, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, George Coleman, Wayne Shorter, Dave Liebman, Branford Marsalis and Kenny Garrett; trombonist J. J. Johnson; pianists Horace Silver, Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett and Kei Akagi; guitarists John McLaughlin, Pete Cosey, John Scofield and Mike Stern, Robben Ford ; bassists Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, Dave Holland, Marcus Miller and Darryl Jones; and drummers Elvin Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Jimmy Cobb, Tony Williams, Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, and Al Foster.
    WOW!!! What more can I say?

    2) Sam Phillips (Sun Studios)
    If you were to put together the family tree of Rock and Roll, Sam Phillips would have to be at root level. A genius in the studio (slapback, distortion) but more importantly a genius at scouting the very cloth of Rock as we know it: Howlin' Wolf, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and last but not least a dude named Elvis Presley. If you take guy's like Carl Perkins out of the Rock equation, you may as well take out The Beatles. Unfortunately he was also the birth of the ruthless music label industry. Carl Perkins on Christmas Eve had to work the cotton fields so he could provide his family with a Christmas meal, this while he had a #1 hit record on the radio...

    3) Jimi Hendrix
    "When I die, I want people to play my music, go wild and freak out and do anything they want to do." And so we have Jimi... If there was ever a musician who opened a window in to his own soul Hendrix was that guy. 100% from the soul, no music theory, no inhibitions, from his heart to his fingers, through an upside down Strat, a smoking Marshall, and then forever imbedded in to your brain...

    4) Leo Fender
    Without Leo you can erase much of the above. Every guitar, bass, or amp ever made is a tweaked copy of what Leo Fender first created. 64 years after the first Telecaster, it still stands pretty much exactly as first created. Boy did he hit the nail on the head the first time! Followed by the first electric bass (God bless), the Strat, and the sweetest sounding guitar amps money can buy! Even the iconic Marshall was originally nothing more than a copy of the 59 Bassman. All this from a guy who couldn't play a note of music! Truly the Henry Ford of the music industry.

    5) Black Sabbath
    "In the fields the bodies burning
    As the war machine keeps turning
    Death and hatred to mankind
    Poisoning their brainwashed minds,
    Oh, Lord yeah!"
    After 40+ of listening to this I s still get goose bumps when I hear it, you can't help but crank it, nor can you help the feeling of wanting to smash something as you hear it. They put the heavy in heavy metal. No Sabbath, no metal!!!

    Your turn
  2. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Les Paul needs to be nominated for this list.
  3. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Louis Armstrong. Freed jazz from the strict confines of the barline. One of the early great players of swing phrasing.

    Multi-track recording. A lot of peoples work went into this, but modern music making would not be the same. Les Paul probably would be the best name on this.

    Milton Babbitt. And the work of the Columbia-Princeton electronic music lab. The birth place of modern synthesizers.

    Dick Clark. Brought rock and roll into the household. Also tried to clean up the image from its roots in R+B for the middle class run of the mill families in the 50's and 60's.

    Max Steiner. Along with many other composers in the film media in the 30's and later. Movie music today is what concert hall symphonic work was in the 1800's
  4. -Asdfgh-


    Apr 13, 2010
    Terry Riley? He helped give birth to the minimalist movement that was taken further by the likes of Philip Glass and Brian Eno and has become remarkably ubiquitous especially in terms of film scores and incidental music on TV.

    Woody Guthrie? Not for his politics but for making folk music a potential pop form which led to Bob Dylan, laid ground for Euan McColl (spelling?) and the late 1950s and early 1960s folk revival and arguably a lot of guitar-based singer-songwriting to this day.
  5. The Beatles - Pushed rock and roll into the main stream and influenced practically every band within a decade of their breakup.

    Led Zeppelin - The greatest rock band made their mark on nearly every genre from rock to blues to jazz to metal and most of all the prog bands of the 1970's and 1980's.

    Leo Fender: With the creation of the P and latter J bass was really the mastermind behind solidifying the role of the bassists in modern music as more than someone who can just be overlooked and replaced by another guitarist. Also created some pretty kick ass guitars in the Strat and Telecaster.

    Les Paul: His humbucker would forever divide guitarists into to groups: the Fender Followers and the ones who swear by Gibson.

    Rush: The greatest band of all time and the kings of prog rock. Have influenced bands from Metallica to the Foo Fighters and will forever astound fans with unearthly abilities in song writing and the mastery of their instruments.
  6. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    Great lists, however FYI to the OP and others who aren't aware...

    Leo Fender did not create, or even market and sell to the general public, the first electric bass. Not even close, chronologically. He wasn't even 2nd.
  7. I think you're right, but would it be fair to say he was the first to succeed at it?
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...IMO, that's fair.
    In the day, guys were credited in the liner notes as playing "Fender bass".
    When someone (e.g. Jazz bandleaders) wanted an electric bass, they might have asked for "Fender bass" (sometimes an electric piano was requested as "Rhodes").
  9. 1. Elvis - Took "black" R & B and made it acceptable for the white kids.

    2. Mel Bay - Who didn't have a Mel Bay music book when they were a kid?

    3. George Martin - Since someone already said The Beatles, I'll throw George out there for giving them their sound and breaking new ground in the studio. (Double tracked Vocals, backwards tape, etc...)

    4. Berry Gordy - Created the sound of the sixties with his Motown label.

    5. Jerry Kasenetz & Jeff Katz (Super K Productions) Created the sound of the seventies: Bubblegum!
  10. George Martin was a BIG part of the Beatles success. Amazing what he accomplished with just 4 tracks!
  11. FilterFunk

    FilterFunk Everything is on the ONE! Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2010
    IMO, James Brown has to be in the top five. Chuck Berry and Little Richard could be in there, too. And perhaps a shout-out to Scott Joplin?
  12. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    I'm definitely correct. It's very and widely well-documented fact. Leo was preceded by decades on the electric bass.

    He was most definitely the first to succeed at it, and he may even have "invented" it in the sense that he possibly didn't know about previous iterations however if I recall correctly Fullerton says they were aware of, and discussed, past attempts when developing their own design.
  13. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    True. I still run into old jazzers that call any brand of electric bass a "Fender bass". Same as most people call any tissue a Kleenex, and that brand probably wasn't the first either.
  14. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    I would definitely put Beatles and Led Zeppelin ahead of Sabbath and also of pretty much any other post 1960 band or artists except Hendrix. I don't really care for either of those bands, but they're still the most frequently quoted influences.
  15. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    First of all, this is a fun thread and I want to play. So I hope I don't come off as all "get off my lawn-ish" when I point out that narrowing this list down to 5 people in a century is pretty much impossible. I mean, there were well more than 5 important genres created in that century.

    I am an American, and although I am white, I tend to prefer African-American music. So these choices do reveal that bias. At the same time, that bias is a useful tool for narrowing down my choices. So here's an attempt at some kind of logical, if America-centric, approach.

    1. You gotta have a blues guy in here. Blues is the common DNA of almost all modern day American popular music. Even Miley Cyrus traces back to disco, which traces back to RnB, which traces back to blues. OK? So blues. Who can adequately represent, in terms of influence? I nominate Robert Johnson. Sure, he didn't invent the blues, but he was arguably the first blues virtuoso, and although he only wrote about 30 songs, they have virtually all become standards.

    2. I would argue that jazz is the most important contribution to world art music that America has yet produced. It is, IMO, our classical music. But to me, the requirement for improvisation pushes it to a level even beyond that. It is unique and important, and made even more so by the historical context: it was music invented by an oppressed minority with limited access to either instruments or education. And what they created was an art form so undeniably brilliant on every level (emotional, intellectual, spiritual, technical) that it smashes to pieces the racist thinking of the day. So who to nominate? I choose Louis Armstrong. He was arguably the first jazz virtuoso, and he taught the world to swing.

    3. Obviously, the major mid-century revolution was rock and roll. There were a number of important figures in the early days. For setting the tone of amped-up anthems, where the guitar is just as important as the vocal, I am tempted to nominate Chuck Berry. But Berry's music, as great as it was, was really just an amped-up form of the blues. For taking that type of blues, and fusing it with amped-up forms of country music, creating a new hybrid that more closely resembles the rock that followed, I hereby nominate Buddy Holly. Plus, he pretty much single-handedly invented ironic hipster nerd glasses. :D

    4. Concurrent with the rise of rock was the rise of what came to be called soul music. This being a bass forum, I should probably cite Jamerson, but I think I'm going to credit Barry Gordy with widely popularizing what previously had been a limited market. As much as any of the rockers, soul music in general and Motown records in particular came to be a huge influence on almost all of the popular music that followed, and although Gordy was not (to the best of my knowledge) a musician, his business acumen put soul music on the map to stay.

    5. The other major development in music was, obviously, hip-hop. And while I do enjoy some hip-hop, I am not knowledgeable enough about the history to suggest some prime mover. But clearly, somebody had to be the first person to put a pair of turntables together, and that person started the last truly major music revolution. Even electronic dance music (arguably revolutionary itself) must trace its DNA back to (in part) hip-hop. But hip-hop itself seemed to come out of nowhere and, within a decade or two, become a dominant force on the musical landscape.
  16. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
  17. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Electronic pop music (as opposed to avante garde electronic music, which came first) would likely exist regardless of whether hip-hop ever came into being. Whether you're talking about Kraftwerk or Yellow Magic Orchestra, the Human League or house music - the DNA lies more in funk and disco than in hip-hop. That's not to say that hip-hop didn't have an influence on a lot of electronic music (it did) but I can't see that electronic pop would not exist if it wasn't for hip-hop.
  18. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    San Diego, CA

    Yes, the popularity of 12 tone music makes this a no-brainer.

    Oh, wait...
  19. So many great nominations! And yeah 5 is tough. The reason I chose 5 was really just to keep the amount of typing minimal for the sake of more participation.

    It's funny how one name leads to the next, and in the end it all pretty much ties in together. I'm really glad that throughout my life I've been able to appreciate many styles of music. While I'm far from being an expert in any, I have studied the appeal of many, and as long as it stirred some sort of emotional reaction (laugh, cry, dance, pump my fist in anger, etc. ), than I would say that particular piece of music has done what music was intended to do.

    A lot of great opinions... lovin this
  20. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    The problem is your blurring composition/performing with technology.

    Tech? Leo, Les and... uh... JVC for inventing the cassette tape... and... oh heck.

    Composition/performance: Here's one: Bela Bartok. Listen to very nearly any movie soundtrack and you'll hear elements of his style, particularly from the 50's through '70s. He had a huge impact on pop music & jazz too. Pick up a disk and check him out. Same could be said for Sergei Rachmaninoff. Brilliant composer/pianist who's influence is completely undeniable.

    Listen to how he just HAMMERs and caresses the piano - and the rhythms - BRILLIANT.

    Aside from those guys... Elvis, Louis, Ray, Miles, Jimi - maybe even some John Cage!