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Most influencial musician of all time?

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 
MJ's death made me wonder who are the most influential musicians of all time? There are different genres though. MJ in pop for instance, LedZep in rock, Mozart in classical, etc. Your thoughts?
post #2 of 82
i don't think mozart had much influence as a musician. maybe his sister nannerl imitated his piano style for a while, but that's about it.

oh, you mean as composer? well, then, MJ is right out.

seriously, i don't mean to belittle your question, but, uhm, could you maybe narrow the scope a little?
post #3 of 82
The Beatles by a wide margin.
post #4 of 82
Quincy Jones - Pop, adult contemp.

Pat Metheny - Contemp Jazz

Chick Corea - Jazz

Miles Davis - Jazz

Alex Lifeson, Eddie Van Halen, Phil Collins, ...too many to think of.
post #5 of 82
There have been many, many pioneers in the music industry. Each one has brought something new, and their combined contributions are still felt today. One example is that of Marty Robbins for his song El Paso. Before this songs were very short, and everyone told him a song over 5 minutes long would never sell or get air play. He broke new ground with this, and blew the paradigm of the music industry single-handed.
post #6 of 82
I think Beethoven is the most influential composer, since his compositions reached a depth that no previous composer's works were able to achieve.
post #7 of 82
Originally Posted by Oistrakh View Post
I think Beethoven is the most influential composer, since his compositions reached a depth that no previous composer's works were able to achieve.
post #8 of 82
Originally Posted by Zanth View Post
Bach is a god among the composers, but as far as influence goes Beethoven is far more influential. Beethoven redefined and revolutionized much of music, while Bach's music is more innovative and clever than revolutionary. In fact Hadyn is more influential than Bach too. As for 'depth' you need to define what depth is, cause while Bach's music is ahead of his time music from the baroque/classical period still does not have the 'depth' of the later period. So I am not sure if you can call Bach's music deep.
post #9 of 82
I'm with the Bach crowd.

But the only known person in Western music to invent a musical genre is Bill Monroe. He is in the country, bluegrass, and rock 'n' roll halls of fame-- which of course hardly matters; it's just an example of his pervasive influence.
post #10 of 82
This is an impossible question to answer. However I really thought about how to answer this if I were to give the most logical answer.

The answer I came up with is Guido d'Arezzo who is the inventor of modern music notation circa 1000 AD. d'Arezzo is to the history of music what Gutenberg (inventer of the printing press) is to the history of literature.

That said, if one were to ask who was the most influential writer of all time and the answer suggested was Gutenberg that would surely be a mediocre answer since Gutenberg's importance however great, is merely from a mechanical standpoint and not a creative standpoint.

If I were to guess from a creative standpoint I would say Beethoven and Bach are at the very top, but I feel The Beatles, James Brown, Bob Dylan, have all been enourmously influential and it is unfair to compare such newcomers to 300 year old legacies. I believe between the Beatles, Brown and Dylan you essentially have the 3 strands of popular music completely at its focal point...... The Beatles are the champion of pop / rock. Brown is the champion of soul / funk / a precursor of hip hop and an awesome showman ala Michael Jackson, and Dylan is the first musician to break into the mainstream who wrote (and was able to chart with) meaningful lyrics and songs dealing in folk, country and blues.

In my opinion those 3 artists are the most influential of the past 100 years.

But Beethoven and Bach are clearly higher up on the ladder, but not really fair.
post #11 of 82
Nobody knows the most influential musician. It was the first person to discover rhythm by hitting two sticks or stones together.

To argue anything else is futile, as it is more about taste, preferences, interpretations, and semantics rather then an objective debate. One can never objectify the infinitely subjective.
post #12 of 82
I'm not a music historian so I have no idea, but I'd like to know.
post #13 of 82
Originally Posted by West726 View Post
I'm with the Bach crowd.
x3--and that even though I'm personally more fond of the late-romantic/20th century composers.

Music before the advent of Even Temperament sounded *vastly* different than what it sounded like after. It didn't even sound anything like what your so-called "period" baroque orchestras sound like playing it now.

There are a lot of other innovations that could be attributed to Bach, but this one innovation "set the tonal stage" for everything that followed.
post #14 of 82
Bach too. He simplified the music so much (it is thanks to him that I can play all this differents pieces on my piano every day), he was amazingly creative, there is no doubt to me.
post #15 of 82
It's different for everyone; as far as I'm concerned, Lennon and McCartney single-handedly transformed pop music into what it is today with its incredibly big variety, and so popular that billions of people listen to it on a daily bases for decades now and there is no sign of it ever diminishing...
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