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Most important musician of all time?


MillionLiraMan
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Hey there,

After much discussion of Kurt Cobain's significance, I thought this would be an interesting thread. Personally, I really can't see how Cobain could be the most important musician ever, maybe in part because I wasn't that fussed about his music at the time, but that's just me and I'm not going to go on and on without provocation against anyone who really feels differently. I was having this conversation with a mate the other day as well wondering how other people like John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison might have been perceived had they lived, or whether Blackmore would have been considered alongside Hendrix as a fully recognised legend had he gone the same way as Jimi in his prime (fortunately he didn't at the time).

 

Who then, do you think is the most important musician of all time? Why do you consider them to be more important than others?

 

For my answer, I'm torn between Chuck Berry and Little Richard. I know that must sound ridiculous, as when you say 'of all time' you think about classical composers like Beethoven, Bach and Paganini as well as modern musicians, but for the influence they have had over music today I would probably go with Chuck Berry. Playing a lot of twelve bar blues and rocking riffs, he has influenced many who followed him including The Beatles, AC/DC and The Rolling Stones. Little Richard was more of a direct influence on Elvis (who played some of his songs, Tutti Frutti and Shake, Rattle And Roll possibly being the most recognisable borrowings), plus Prince virtually became a latter day version of Little Richard (with incredible guitar solos!) and although many people claim that Elvis Presley or The Beatles brought about much of modern music, Chuck Berry and Little Richard played a large part in making them what they were. I just think that Chuck Berry narrowly shades it as music that I've heard after him just seems to have a bit more of him in it than Little Richard.

 

If you want to go even further back you could talk about the likes of Robert Johnson and others who influenced them, but for direct impact over music in general Berry gets it for me, followed by Little Richard, even though the classical musicians should definitely get a look in in this sort of thread.

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Dude - asking a flipping hard question why don't you! Most important musician of all time, that's a tough one. I notice you didn't say most influential, otherwise I would have said it was the rock and roll guys from the 50's and 60's (little Richard, Big Bopper, Elvis, Buddy Holly to name a few), without which we wouldn't have most guitar based music (imo). Most important though...trickier to answer.
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i would say its between 3 people tupac a real legend, dr dre best producer ever elvis a true legend but it all depends on the type of music. i think it shud be like this:

rock: never really heard any

rap:tupac

rock and roll:elvis

dance:do they have anyone more than 10mins

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For me its John Lennon and Elvis, simply because they were bigger than the music industry itself, almost all bands in the world took some inspiration from either Elvis or the Beatles/Lennon. I believe Cobain was an important figure in music though, he got alternative music into the mainstream and is fast become an icon on the same level as Elvis and Lennon.

 

At the same time I think in pop Madonna is probably up there, in rap, well i wouldn't really know about that.

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Although Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry and the like influenced Lennon and McCartney making them infinitely influential I still think The Beatles were far more important because they have been the touchstone of every respectable musician for 40 years. They were the first real guitar group of that style, they basically single handedly created the British pop music scene and changed the entire worlds pop music scene forever, they wrote Revolver (which, alone, seperates them from pretty much everyone).

 

The Beatles had so many firts its unbelieveable. They were the first to crack the american market, the first real experimenters with the recording process (although not all of it was in anyway productive. Revolution 9 anyone?), first band to see an album as more than just a collection of possible singles, they are even credited with the first concept album. It's even small things. Sgt Peppers was the first album to include the lyrics in the sleeve.

 

I suppose you could look at it objectively but I think the most influential person will always come down to your preferred music choice. I'm an Oasis fan, pretty much raised on Britpop so I am bound to say the Beatles, The Kinks, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and the like.

 

So Lennon and McCartney have my vote but credit should also go to Buddy Holly, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Pete Townshend and Robert Dawltry, David Bowie, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Ray Davies, Paul Weller, Mark Bolan, Freddie Mercury, Bob Dylan, Burt Bacharach, Kurt Cobain and Noel Gallagher. I think I may have gone overboard with that list and I've probably left so many legends off of it too. Nevermind.

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Most important musician of all time?

 

The Rapping Granny. There IS not substitute for a decrepped old woman in bling-bling chains and Fubu gear telling you to get jiggy.

 

Get onto Kazza/BitTorrent/Napster/Whatever today's most popular download thing is AND DOWNLOAD EVERYTHING THE RAPPING GRANNY HAS EVER DONE. You'll see she makes everyone from Lennon to Elvis look like nothing.

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Well when someone says to me "Important Musician" the first person that comes to mind is John Lennon, and then the Beatles as a whole. Lennons writing was amazing, and he created so many fantastic songs by himself and with Paul McCartney. The Beatles as a group were a revolutionary force in the world of music, and without them many of todays artists would not be here.
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Sorry Kurt wasn't a very important musician at all to be honest, he hardly taught anyone anything, apart from that having people "relate" to you is a huge bonus!

 

For the music that I love, it's either Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix. Otherwise, I'm not really bothered... the dude that figured having people playing instruments at the same time would rock... he deserves some credit.

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i think a legend is someone who has made a impact on that knid of music no one else ever will and tupac has been 'dead' for over 7 years and his stuff still sells and dr dre is perhaps the best producer ever which cannot be disputed by anyone i ont wanna seem biased because i have an open view on these things, but i dont see people like johnny rotton and debby harry as legends. what is the big deal with nirvana to? IMO they were very plain
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It upsets me to see people say how much of a legend John Lennon is without mentioning Paul McCartney. Obviously it has to do with his death, dying is afterall a great career move (take Kurt Cobain for instance) but both were clearly the genius behind the Beatles. I will concede that after the Beatles split John Lennon went on to write 'Imagine' while McCartney went on to write 'The Frog Chorus' but still. Paul was the one who wrote 'Hey Jude' and 'Yesterday', highly regarded by many as the two greatest songs the fab four ever recorded. It is a real shame that there is such a gap between the two in legendary status. Maybe when Paul McCartney dies he will get the same recognition, though hopefully that wont be for a long time yet.
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Let me say one thing although 2Pac is undoubtedly one of the greatest if not THE greatest lyricist of all time. he is not the most influential rapper of all time, there are artists who had to pave the way for him to make that kind of music; im tired of people always going on about 2Pac and how he is the most influential rapper ever, there is a difference between 'supremicy' and 'influence'. There was a whole bunch of 'conscience' rappers alive in 2Pac's era, he was by far the best IMO. But not every1 was influenced to make 'conscience' rap because he did.

2Pac is a great musician, and he did influence a lot of people but i would hardly say that he is THE most influential rapper of ALL time. Run DMC inspired more people to make rap then 2Pac ever did, it's artists like them who brought rap to the masses by breakin MTV.

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Great Thread MLM.

 

I think Kurt was a great musician and he influenced my music a great deal, but he just doesnt apply to this thread.

Im torn between many many people here. I can see where your coming from with the Chuck Berry but i think Hendrix was highly overrated. I think to answer this thread youve gotta look at what musicians laid the foundations for future generations of music. For me its gotta be Bob Marley.

Reggae music laid the foundations for what would become Rap and R&B.

Plus i just think the man was a genius. If you know about Bob you will know the things he did for the people in Jamaica. And how he used his music to bring peace to the country is unbelievable. At the time when Island Records asked Bob to record his first album with the Wailers (Exodus) Britain had not been that largely exposed to Reggae and Jimmy Cliff had not been that successful over here. The Punk revolustion was taking the country by storm, but when Bob released Exodus it was just amazing the way a until then practically unknown style of music became so popular in this country.

 

Bob lived for his music and for that he gets my vote.

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Kurt Cobain and Johnny Rotten kicked music in the ass and changed a lot of people's attitudes' date=' Dre, Eminem and Tupac just seem to make people laugh with swear words, I wouldn't say they're anywhere near as important. Maybe that's just cos I think they're shit though.[/quote']

Ive got to disagree with you petr because Dre is the best producer ever because he has sold a lot more records than anyone else like well over 50mil and he changed the way rap is because if you listen to anything pre The Cronic (1992) it all sounds the same wheras every piece of rap since has had the same vibe as the chronic and i cant see it ever changing. I dont see Eminem and Biggie as legends because they havent done that much or changed things in the way 2pac has. I really wish you would listen to 2pac because it really is so much more than guns and violence its about him trying to change things to help others and guide people how to live there lives even after tradgedy like in a song he wrote called Baby Dont Cry about rape and telling people who feel pain like that not to give up. I have downloaded some Kurt Cobain but i dont like it can you reccommend a good song and i would advise you to try Tupac

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Hey I have plenty of friends into that whole thing and I listened and just laughed a lot, I didn't think making good music seemed like an important thing to him and there wasn't a lot that appeals to me. As for Nirvana I'm not saying they're that amazing a band but I think they have more importance in music than Tupac ever could... if you seriously wanna check some stuff out (which is cool) I recommend the songs Beeswax, Downer, Hairspray Queen, Aero Zeppelin, Blew and Swap Meet. They're my favourites.
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Im sorry mate but there is know way in hell Dre is the best producer ever.

I'm a production student and work at a studio and i can tell you there are lots of producers who have more talent than Dre. Just cos the stuff he produces sells doesnt make him a great producer. Bob Rock is my favourite producer, Bob actually records these things called 'instruments' that are expected to be introduced to Dre any day now.

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IMO peter you need to get beyond the side of rap that is stereotypical and sharpshooter think of dr dre not as just a rapper but a musician because not all music is about instruments madonna britney had no instrumental talent and even elvis the biggest star ever ony played guitar
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In fact Sharpy Elvis could play the guitar, he just more often than not chose not to play it and instead used it for show. He didn't do anything especially complex as that was left up to Scotty Moore, but before he achieved fame he went on the road with only Scotty Moore and his bass player (Bill somebody, his name annoyingly escapes me right now), so he had to be able to play or else the songs wouldn't have worked when Scotty had to play lead.

 

The best example of all of these good and bad aspects of Elvis' guitar playing is shown in the '68 Comeback Special (which I absolutely love especially when coming home drunk wanting something to watch!). Firstly, the choreographed opening has him with a guitar on the Trouble/Guitar Man medley, where the guitar is used for show and he's there to sing. He plays chords along with the music, but there's a part where the guitar playing slides either down or up (can't remember which way) and Elvis mimics the other way. Either he didn't know what to do for that sound at all, or maybe he just hadn't learnt the song through not having had to play it himself previously (those songs in the medley were first performed by him during his film period, so he wouldn't have had to perform them for an audience before the Comeback Special in 1968).

 

However, on the same performance, the best sequence isn't with choreographed music videos or with a huge backing band behind him. It's where Elvis and Scotty Moore have a guitar, D.J. Fontana has 'drums' (in actual fact a very basic couple of things to bash is a more accurate description!) and Charlie Hodge sits there with a guitar case on his lap, tapping it and occasionally adding a deep south 'oh yeah!' or something to that effect. They're just playing Elvis oldies, just blues really, and although Scotty Moore still has a lot of the lead stuff to do, you can see enough of what Elvis is doing to see that he was good at what he had learned on the guitar, playing quite fluently (though hardly rivalling Hendrix or Blackmore). He was a pretty ordinary guitar player, but he could play, plus that performance with just the four of them playing blues is just about as entertaining as any other concert footage I've seen on screen, albeit it entertains in a different way to other live performances by other bands.

 

He could also play piano, at least during his Las Vegas period, even though again he kept it reasonably simple when playing that instrument. His Vegas period was a complete joke anyway, and what everyone who writes him off as nothing tends to cite immediately as if that period of his career were all that he had done. When you think back to how he was in the fifties, during the Comeback Special and even at the very beginning of his Vegas period (1970, basically) it's quite annoying that that seems to be forgotten just because of how he ended his career. Elvis overdoses on drugs and is a joke. Cobain (who wasn't a particularly special guitar player either) overdoses on drugs and becomes a legend. Somebody explain to me how that works. I don't understand the fuss about Cobain anyway, so that's probably just me. I'm not having a go about him or singling him out (as I said at the start of the thread that I wouldn't) because the same could be said about Jim Morrison, I just don't get what the difference is.

 

I wouldn't call him the most important musician of all time anyway, regardless of whether he had played the guitar or not, even though I like some of his stuff. Firstly, he didn't write his own songs (apart from one song called My Happy in 1953 which he only wrote for his mother, none of his 'career' songs were written by him). Secondly, he didn't do anything else with the songs he had that could be construed as innovative in a musical sense (like using a previously unknown guitar technique, or something along those lines). John Lennon apparently said that without Elvis there would have been no Beatles, but without people like Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins giving Elvis his musical style and many of his songs in their entirety, there would have been no Elvis. I think that he was important for the development of image in music, just like I think Morrison and Cobain were more significant in terms of music image than music itself. As far as being considered as the most important musician of all time, however, I don't really see how any of them are possibilities. Of course, that's just my opinion, feel free to differ.

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