Throughout the years, there have been many wonderful musical artists and bands. Some of them, however, have created a lasting impact on not only music, but society and culture as well. These 7 bands shaped the music industry and were true innovators in their art. Here are 7 artists and bands who changed music forever.
What kind of list of influential artists and bands would this be if it didn’t start off giving credit to the King? Elvis Presley was one of the original founders of the Rockabilly/Rock N’ Roll musical genre. Without his influence, perhaps none of the other artists on this list would even exist. His impact on popular music and culture is profound. The way Elvis would get up on stage and gyrate his hips was unheard of during the 50s. Not only was he instrumental in creating a new genre of music, he was also influential for his dance moves and for boundary pushing, which is now a staple in popular music. The King was a true visionary and without him, we wouldn't have the rock genre we know and love today.
Not long after Elvis Presley Pandemonium came Beatlemania. The Beatles are the most famous English rock band and arguably the most famous band of all time. They are regarded as the most influential band of the rock n’ roll era. Not only are they the best-selling band in the United States and hold the record for the most consecutive number 1 hits (20), they are the best selling band in history. They brought over a new rock sound to the United States and were also one of the first bands to really experiment lyrically. The Beatles are the epitome of originality and creativity. They were much more than just a music group; they started a revolution. Their musical impact was great, but their cultural impact was even greater. They were social activists through their music and fueled many movements throughout the course of their career. The Beatles are also credited with innovating the modern music video. The Beatles made music much more than a listening experience, they made it a lifestyle.
Bob Dylan is a true music innovator. Throughout his career, he never felt tied down to a single genre. He began as a folk singer, but everything changed when he released his 6-minute hit, “Like a Rolling Stone.” “Like a Rolling Stone” altered music perhaps more so than any other song in history. Dylan combined electric instruments in his folk songs and showed that blending genres can have an amazing result. Throughout his career, Dylan experimented with nearly every type of music, even jazz and Irish folk music. Dylan is as dynamic as a songwriter as he is a musician. His lyrics often focused on social, political, and philosophical issues. Dylan created a lasting impact on the music industry from the time he released “Like a Rolling Stone” until the end of his recording career.
James Brown is responsible for the creation of many genres, most notably the funk genre. Because of this, he is rightfully nicknamed “The Godfather of Soul.” Aside from his musical style, Brown was the live act to see in his day. In his career that lasted 6 decades, his on-stage energy was unmatched. He also wrote social commentary songs about being black in the age of segregation. Brown is not only an artist who impacted music forever, he is also a cultural icon.
Where would the music industry be today without Jimi Hendrix and his electric guitar? Today, rock music is synonymous with electric guitars, but this wasn’t always the case. Although Jimi’s career only lasted four short years, the impact he made during that time is still in effect today. Not only did he earn himself the reputation as being the most influential electric guitarist, he also is considered by many to be one of the greatest instrumentalists of all time. Hendrix mastered the art of amplifier feedback, distortion, and the wah-wah pedal, which are techniques still used today. The moment where Jimi Hendrix plays The Star Spangled Banner on his electric guitar at Woodstock is one of the best moments in rock and roll history.
The Sex Pistols are an English punk rock band who are responsible for initiating the punk movement in the UK. Their short career of just two and a half years was all they needed to inspire musicians until this day. They are regarded as one of the most influential acts in popular music. Sex Pistols concerts often ended in mayhem as there was tons of controversy surrounding the band during their career. Their music attacks social conformity and also spoke out against the English Crown. This attitude is still alive in punk music today. The Sex Pistols helped shape the punk rock genre and values that still exist today.
Finally rounding out the list is the Material Girl herself, Madonna. Unlike most celebrities, Madonna found the perfect balance of reinventing herself both musically and personally all while maintaining a strong fan base. Madonna pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable in lyrics, music videos, and fashion. Because of this, Madonna is a cultural icon. She reinvented pop music and set a new standard for other pop stars to live up to. You can still see her influence in today’s pop stars. She is referred to as “The Queen of Pop” and rightfully so as she is the best-selling female recording artist of all time.
If it weren’t for these artists, the music industry would not be the same today. The impact these individuals made has impacted not only the music industry, but society as well. What other artists and bands can you think of that drastically impacted music and popular culture? Give us your thoughts in the comments.
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