Listeners have been gifted with a massive explosion of unique talents and bold creativity.
The most influential bands have carved their trail throughout the music landscape as the popularity of numerous genres has grown. So forget about your musical preferences. Ignore critical praise. Set aside debates over the musical quality of their work.
These bands ushered in significant developments not only in music but also in the music industry. You can listen to their songs when you’re on top of the world, when you’re feeling down, out in a club, or while having a girls night in!
It’s no simple task to narrow down the most iconic movers, and shakers in modern music history to a shortlist of the best.
Here are our recommendations for the most significant pioneers and influencers to have shaped the growth of popular music over the past 60 years.
The Beatles were and continue to be a sensation. Lennon is timeless, McCartney’s lyricism and George Harrison and Ringo Starr’s excellent musicianship inspire millions. The Beatles’ exploration of many genres – expanding beyond rock’n’roll to include Indian music and psychedelia, opening doors for pop music that have never been closed, with an eye for cultural relevance. That’s not to mention their artistic risk-taking and studio experimentation. What The Beatles accomplished in their ten years together is unrivaled and inspirational.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Guitar experimentation was at the heart of psychedelic rock, and no one was more remarkable with a guitar than Hendrix. He pioneered techniques like improvisation and feedback that have transformed the way guitars have been used ever since. Moreover, Jimi Hendrix’s experimentation ushered in a new age of rock music in which live performances were given more weight and bands were free to explore new territory.
Metallica released the Black Album on August 12, 1991, even though the band had already influenced people for over a decade. Heavy music had never felt healthier. Metallica set the bar so high that any band that followed had to up their game if they wanted a shot at a mega-successful metal/hard rock career. They still hold the title, and no other rock/metal record has ever moved an entire generation quite like this one.
The Sex Pistols
The Sex Pistols are an English punk rock band credited with kicking off the punk rock genre in the UK. Their two-and-a-half-year career was enough to have a lasting impact on musicians. They are frequently regarded as one of the most influential acts in popular music. Because of the controversies surrounding the band throughout their time together, Sex Pistol’s shows were frequently chaotic. Their songs were critical of both societal conformity and the monarchy in England. This attitude is still present in punk music today. Nevertheless, the Sex Pistols influenced the genre and values of punk rock, which are still in use today.
Each member of Led Zeppelin is among the most influential musicians of all time in their respective fields. As the greatest rock band, their magnificent hard rock sound is unlikely to be dethroned anytime soon. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant’s songwriting ranged from epic balladry to worldly exoticism, mixing blues-rock with old English enchantment. Meanwhile, rock ‘n roll was thrust into heavier pastures by the stentorian rhythm combo of John Bonham on drums and John Paul Jones on bass. Every guitar band worth their salt owes their existence to Led Zeppelin, who laid the roots for what would later evolve into heavy metal.
Pink Floyd is undoubtedly the most well-known band to come out of the 1970s progressive rock trend. It’s also an obvious choice to symbolize the era because the band was founded out of the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. Following the departure of original leader Syd Barrett due to LSD-related mental illness, Pink Floyd struggled to establish their footing as a band for several albums before releasing The Dark Side of the Moon, widely regarded as the band’s and progressive rock’s magnum work. Pink Floyd and other progressive rock bands wanted to transform rock music into something more experimental and artistic.
In the early 1990s, Nirvana took the rules, torched them, and smeared the ashes all over your face. Kurt Cobain’s reckless sloppy approach, along with Dave Grohl’s animalistic tightness and fury, was a recipe for wild joy. Nobody saw it coming, and they took the music industry by surprise with a sound that was so refreshing and organic that you couldn’t help but love them—one of the most influential bands of all time.