PhoenixV wrote a hub with this title, and concluded that the answer is Led Zeppelin, for various reasons.
I countered that the Beatles were most influential because they wrote their own songs, something almost unheard of at the time, and that this changed bands forever by removing the songwriters and pitchers from the equation.
(We also got sidetracked by an argument about whether Ginger Baker was a technically better drummer than John Bonham.)
So, have at it if you're so inclined. Remember, we're discussing influence, not who's the greatest.
I think there have been lots of influences on modern music. Most of them American like Jazz, the Blues, Country, Rockabilly etc
But definitely The Beatles were a real turning point. Not only because they wrote their own songs but they just made a quantum leap from Rock n' Roll into a whole new era.
It's no doubt The Beatles! The Beatles changed the world with their music! Their albums were even influencing other artists to follow their lead. In my opinion, I don't think there's any group or artist that came out during or after that hasn't been influenced by The Beatles in some way.
Claude Debussy, french composer (22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918). A crucial figure in the transition to the modern era in Western music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers.
His music and compositions have influenced 20th century composers and many who are the forerunners of the creation of Jazz, which has influenced almost all modern music since the 1930's.
I think Beethoven has influenced 'modern' music more than any other composer. Led Zeppelin was certainly influenced by his music. Even today you hear it on top hit pop songs, hip hop; background symphonies even show up on Katy Perry songs. If you listen closely, you can hear the influence. Beethoven's music adds such fullness and emotion to just about any genre. Listen to the background, tempo, piano of this pop song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahha3Cqe_fk It's also written in E flat major, as some of Beethoven's most powerful (heroic) pieces were written. You can hear strings, etc. really a very beautiful song.
I added a little more in-depth argument on the hub starting at An Argument-->Who Had The Most Influence On Modern Music?
If your look at the larger picture, it is Beethoven, though I can understand many people going with theBeatles
Elvis has left the building.
Although I would put Dolly Parton in the running for two obvious reasons.
This is a tough one but there are a number of bands that you could strongly make a case for. I am going to limit my list to the following five artists.
The Beatles where in many ways the first true modern rock band and there are very few bands that you can not observe at least some form of influence from The Beatles. It is like they started as a boy band and morphed into an experimental rock band. Kind of like N'Sync morphing into Radiohead.
Velvet Underground are widely considered one of the first alternative bands. Even though they never sold a lot of records, it has been said that everyone who bought there records have started a band.
Ramones where important in the development of punk rock and alternative rock. Even though they didn't sell a lot of records many bands they influenced (and even ripped them off)have sold a lot of records.
Sonic Youth was extremely important in the development of indie and alternative rock. One of the reason that Nirvana ended up signing to a major label (Geffen) was because Sonic Youth signed to Geffen, and they where able to release albums on a major label while maintaining creative control and not selling out.
Bob Dylan is an extremely important band in popular music. He helped establish folk rock by plugging in and he wrote some of the best socially conscious music of all time. He also would constantly reinvent himself and march to the beat of his own drummer. Also with in the indie music universe there has been a folk revival and a singer songwriter revival. You can definitely see and hear the Dylan influence with this.
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