Great idea, though this is pretty hard.
Willie Dixon: Pretty much the foundation of the Chicago blues, which is the bedrock upon which rock n roll is built. White people have been ripping him off for 50 years.
The Beatles: The standard by which all pop bands are judged. Also, and they don’t get enough credit for this, they popularized the album. Pop music was based primarily off of singles and full play LP’s were just collections of singles. The Beatles eventually got enough clout to release fully imagined albums and then picking singles from there. Not just Sgt. Pepper’s, but Help! is pretty radical.
Rolling Stones: The rock n roll archetype. Pretty much every rock cliché… they did first. It’s only a cliché because they did it.
Bob Dylan: Popularized the idea that pop music could do more than just simply entertain. He is the first major pop artist who truly got people to accept the idea that pop songs could be ABOUT things. He gave pop music its “importance”.
Velvet Underground: Only 100 people bought their album, but they all formed bands. You can trace all “alternative” to them, as well as the idea that pop music could be truly counter-cultural.
Parliament: You can trace the roots of disco, funk, and hip hop all to George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.
NWA: It’s hard to pick out the one rap act that truly solidified it as the dominant form of pop music now, but I’m giving the nod to NWA mainly because A) their first album pretty much invented gangsta rap and B) the successful solo careers of their members. Dr Dre was in NWA, recorded the Chronic, and discovered Snoop and Eminem. His influence is staggering.
REM: The blueprint of American independent rock. They are the moment “post-punk” became “alternative”. There is no indie without them.
T Rex: Never quite got the fame, but they are at the center of glam rock which would heavily influence metal and rock for the next 20 years. For those of you pimping KISS, this is the band they are copying their sound from. Only, ya know, they could actually play.
Pixies: The most ripped off band of the past 30 years. softLOUDsoft.
This post was edited on 11/21 at 2:27 pm