Who Made The Biggest Impact On Today's Rock Music?

I think it would be easy for someone to say that the Beatles had the most influence on today's modern music. But is that true? What does today's modern music sound like and what band from the past does it reflect the most?

The answer is going to be very subjective on who influenced modern music the most because there are so many different genres of music. We have pop, rock, grunge, rap, blues, jazz and really an endless list of variations. When asking a question like who has influenced music the most, one would have to consider all the different varieties of music out there and come up with a band that influenced the most categories. In the end it really becomes subjective, but all things considered I would have to believe that Led Zeppelin influenced today's music even more than the Beatles.

Some of the reasons I believe this, is because of the impact that was made by each band member, beginning with Jimmy Page, the guitarist for Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page often makes the very top of greatest guitar players of all time lists. Jimmy Page was a session guitar player back in the mid 60's and also played for the Yardbirds about that time. The Yardbirds also had band members like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.

Out this mix there was a single made in 1966 called Beck's Bolero. It had Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Keith Moon (drummer of the group The Who), John Paul Jones (bass for Led Zeppelin) and and Nicky Hopkins on piano (who was a session player that quite literally played for everyone). I use that example because that's quite a lineup of players, that would make a huge impact on just about as many genres of music as there are. How much these players influenced each other is of course debatable, but keep in mind that Jimmy Page is there and John Paul Jones is there. In that one example you have two members of Led Zeppelin, you have Keith Moon of The Who and Nicky Hopkins who played for everyone.

As I noted before, in that Jimmy Page is considered one of the all time top guitarists, the same may be said that John Bonham is one of the greatest drummers of all time. Not very many bands can make the claim that they have one of the top two or three guitarist and one of the top two or three drummers of all time, all in the same band. Now Robert Plant and John Paul Jones (singer-bass) were very influential as well. Robert Plant in my opinion is archetype of what is called a frontman for a band. When taking these things and many more into consideration, I have to believe that Led Zeppelin had the most influence on today's music.

Led Zeppelin started making an impact from the 60's and are still playing today some 50 years later. They have so many achievements they're just too many to list and are often in the top e.g best selling albums worldwide, greatest albums of all time, greatest songs of all time as well as hall of fame's and lifetime achievement awards.Their songs can be technical, professional and elaborate, and this is still so today. Their songs are not simple ballads or pop songs that fade quickly from the radio. They stand the test of time. I think the band Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin's very popular songs have influenced the most varieties of today's modern music and each band member influenced the most individual musicians, in today's music.

An Argument

I guess an argument could be made that the Gibson guitar company had the most influence on modern music. It is difficult to define what the phrase "modern music" even means, because it has a pretty wide range or connotation.

The way I looked at it was or what defines it for me is, radio play and album sales. Another determining factor would be time itself. For instance, it wouldn't be logical to say Lady Gaga influenced modern music because she wasn't born until 1986. Just with these few criteria you can eliminate a lot of potential influences or claims of influence.

Also another criteria or aspect for me would be: is the band popular and everyone across the board likes them? Or are they the type of band that is popular and bands/people later will mimic them until they look like the bands we have today? Elvis is/was popular. To me he seems more "popular" than many, but did he influence modern music today or was it more that people loved to listen to him? I think the former than the latter.

I think it was out of these 1960's-late 1960s bands that influenced what one might think of as "today's modern music" the most. Later, when you look at the bands that have sold the most albums, you will start to see a lot of rock bands, some are soft rock like the Eagles and then harder rock, like the band AC/DC. These hugely successful bands are sprouting up like crazy in the early/mid-1970s and continued to grow in numbers up until today.

Does AC/DC or Van Halen remind you of the Beatles or Led Zeppelin? I can almost see the largest influence on modern music today from one album alone that came out of 1971, Led Zeppelin IV. A multi-platinum album that contains songs like- When The Levee Breaks, Rock and Roll and Stairway to Heaven.

Led Zeppelin was early enough to have been capable of influencing modern music beginning in 1968. They had the sales multi-platinum albums and radio play as the vehicles to initiate the influence to modern music. They were a band that were not only just popular to listen to, such as Elvis, but what influenced what we think of as actual bands. Bands that would also go on to greatness, such as AC/DC and Van Halen. Think of the commercial success of a band like Def Leppard, who's very name sounds like Led Zeppelin. Once again, does AC/DC and Van Halen look and sound like the Beatles or Led Zeppelin?

More by this Author


Comments 39 comments

giocatore profile image

giocatore 4 years ago

The Beatles wrote their own music very early in their careers. This was highly unusual at the time, and it changed the dynamic of pop groups to this day.

Cream consisted of three virtuoso musicians. Ginger Baker was certainly more talented than John Bonham; he was a jazz player making rock music. He did an amazing job of filling in the sound of the trio. Clapton was Page's equal. Jack Bruce was also a jazz musician and virtuoso bassist, not to mention a fine singer.

As regards influence, even though I'm not a Beatles fan, I have to say that writing their own material, and doing it quite well when very young, has had more influence on rock music in the past 50 years than anything else. They removed the external writers and song pitchers from the equation.


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 4 years ago from USA Author

I looked at it this way: If the Beatles and Led Zeppelin came out as new bands tomorrow, the Beatles would be playing on easy listening channels on the radio, whereas Led Zeppelin could be on a lot wider range of stations. As far as Bonham I do not think you are aware of his kit compared to other drummers like Baker.


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 4 years ago from USA Author

Bonham gets warmed up at 4:25 into the song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjUgPhH0Wlw

Yes, I believe that if the Beatles were brand new and got on stage right before Puddle of Mudd or ACDC and played "love me do" people would wonder what was going on no offense, whereas Led Zeppelin could play Kashmir and everyone would like it. Conversely if Led Zep, got on stage before a pop singer like Bieber, and played "that's the way" people would like it.

Its like Elvis, very influential but nobody sounds or looks like that. The bands today look and sound more like Led Zeppelin than Elvis or the Beatles, see what I mean? Zep also wrote most of their own songs.

I enjoy debating it with you though, thanks for every comment. You can still make the case and I would agree that most people would agree with you about the Beatles, who by the way has been one of my favorite bands of all times.


giocatore profile image

giocatore 4 years ago

I'm one of the fortunate who has never heard Bieber. Agreed that bands sound more like Zep today. I hadn't thought about Elvis, who certainly changed everything in his day, although the Colonel soon changed that.


giocatore profile image

giocatore 4 years ago

By the way, I listen to Pandora a lot, and one of my constants is a channel whose only seed is King Crimson. That channel plays a lot of Led Zeppelin. Pandora bases its play lists on analytic characteristics of the music. I'm not sure what Zep has in common with KC, but it works out OK. (It does play Cream, but not nearly as much as Led Zeppelin.)


giocatore profile image

giocatore 4 years ago

I always enjoyed Phil Collins' drumming with Genesis, and he was very good also with Brand X. Never liked his solo material. He has had some physical problems recently, making it hard to play drums.


KF Raizor profile image

KF Raizor 4 years ago

When you ask who had the most influence on modern music I think you need to narrow it down. Music is more fragmented and sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-categorized now than ever before ("math rock"?? "Crunkcore"!?! Seriously?!?!?), so it's impossible to say about "music" overall.

However, for modern mainstream music the answer is easy: Harry Wayne Casey. Beginning in 1975 KC & the Sunshine Band proved that people could have hit after hit with songs that sounded exactly the same. That gave rise to the cloning of mainstream music in the early 80s, a curse we've been dealing with since.


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 4 years ago from USA Author

Yes, KF Raizor it's a pretty wide topic "modern music". I added to the hub here starting at-An Argument- that the Gibson guitar company probably influenced- in general- modern music.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 4 years ago

Without a doubt, The Beatles.

Not only for their musical talents but for the whole opening up of popular music to the masses.

Prior to The Beatles popular music wasn't very popular, there were programmes on the radio for the "Young People" and yes they did announce programmes that way.

Popular figures like Elvis actually had a fairly limited appeal and fairly limited exposure.

What passed for popular music was largely bland and anodyne.

The Beatles changed the face of music, suddenly popular music had a very broad appeal, not only for teenagers but also for their parents, they were the lovable mop tops!

Once music appealed to a wider generation it gained respectability.

This was reflected in not only whole radio shows but whole radio stations playing nothing but popular music. On top of this exposure popular music also gained exposure on the TV.

They made it possible for groups like Led Zep to flourish.


TheHeavyReview profile image

TheHeavyReview 4 years ago

I like how it is brought up here in the comments that Led Zep hold their own with modern music better than the Beatles. I've always thought that Led Zeppelin are even harder than the "rock" that comes on the radio these days. It's hard to pinpoint who had the most influence on music, so I can't really take a side. Led Zeppelin certainly had more of an influence on hard rock and metal music, but the Beatles were influential to pop music and related genres. While people argue that the Beatles were very diverse, Led Zeppelin were even more diverse since their different sounds were on opposite ends of the spectrum. I also disagree with the argument saying that the Beatles wrote their songs; many modern pop artists don't write their own songs. So obviously the Beatles didn't influence them in that regard (I'm not saying all pop artists don't write their own songs, just some of them). Led Zeppelin were instrumentally better in every way than the Beatles. Better singing, bass, drums and guitar. Cool debate, guys! Sorry for the long comment, and the hub was awesome PhoenixV!


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 4 years ago from USA Author

I hear your argument Mr Holden, however I would note that Jimmy Page was singing and playing guitar on Television BBC in 1957. The point being in regards to: Popular to the masses, broad appeal, and popular on radio shows- sounds like a "they were popular" -"at the right time and place". My rebuttal is this: The claim is "who was the "most influential on modern music"- not- " who was the most influential in "listening to popular music"


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 4 years ago from USA Author

As a guitar player and friends of guitar players that grew up in the 60's 70's (more of the 70's), we and others didn't aspire to get on stage and perform the Beatles song: Please Please Me, we dreamed of playing Zep's "rock and roll".


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 4 years ago from USA Author

Here, I would also like to go back to what I believe are KF Raizor's sentiments on the matter. And I won't put words in his mouth, but I will speculate on the gist of the good point he made and extrapolate-in that: Had the Beatles been more influential than Led Zeppelin, we probably would have had less cookie cutter rock and roll bands? Less amp and more melody?


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 4 years ago from USA Author

On a personal note. Back in the mid late 70's I was listening to or revisiting really, bands like the Beatles and CCR, Steppenwolf, The Doors. Popular bands at that time were Boston and Led Zeppelin of which I listened to and were my favorites and owned albums. But I had Beatles 8-tracks and CCR and Steppenwolf 8-tracks. Do you know how much flack I got from my friends for playing these Beatles 8-tracks on my car stereo? They believed that the Beatles were too simple and bubble gum pop to listen to. I didn't care because, Baby I'm amazed and while my guitar gently weeps-ruled and I was not influenced by what was popular- I was influenced by "quality". I think I can claim that I am as unbiased as can be.


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 4 years ago from USA Author

Try to look at it this way:

Who is the all time most popular band in the world ever? The Beatles of course.

Who "popularized" (made music popular in general) listening to music on the radio or TV etc? I would give that to Elvis.

Who influenced today's modern music the most? Led Zeppelin. Just my opinions.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 4 years ago

PhoenixV you said "My rebuttal is this: The claim is "who was the "most influential on modern music"- not- " who was the most influential in "listening to popular music"

I don't think you can separate the two that easily, a wider audience for the music must have had some effect on the music itself. Without that boost, music may well have stayed in the background, or at least come forward in different way.

I take your point that Elvis was strong influence in the States but not so strong in the UK.


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 4 years ago from USA Author

I can appreciate what your saying Mr. Holden, but I would want to dispel what I believe is an erroneous notion that all music from that time period was spawned from the pop/ culture/music Beatles. I have this feeling that you see it as just one tree with no roots. But we do know or aware of Elvis as potential roots, and we know that the Beatles were not the only tree growing. I point to TheHeavyReview's comment:

________________

While people argue that the Beatles were very diverse, Led Zeppelin were even more diverse since their different sounds were on opposite ends of the spectrum

____________

I would add that while the Beatles were literally taking the "pop world" by storm- Led Zeppelin was developing the rock/hard rock/ metal/rock/ glam rock/ and becoming the predecessors of New Wave of British Heavy Metal that we see in the - important here- majority of successful bands from the later 70's entire 80's 90's and today.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 4 years ago

Time is playing tricks with you, by the time Led Zep was formed the Beatles were just about at the end of their life. While the Beatles were taking the pop world by storm, Led Zep weren't even in existence.

I don't say that all music was spawned from the Beatles, far from it, I do say though that they were the heaviest influence on music, and not just pop music as opposed to popular music.


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 4 years ago from USA Author

In 1969 Led Zeppelin put out their first album, although yes the Beatles had formed 8 years earlier, Led Zeppelin hit the scene with sophisticated rock and roll that would endure vicariously throughout the majority of successful rock bands in 70's 80's 90's and today. Led Zeppelin didn't do bubble gum pop with puerile lyrics or ballads that would later appeal to old people. Yes, the Beatles would eventually mature and become more sophisticated they did not start out that way.

Their forte was pop. And a quick look at billboard top 100's before Beatles shows that they didn't invent pop, nor could anyone reasonably claim that they influenced pop today because of the nature of pop. Pop is pop. One day its Elvis the next day its Frankie Avalon. One day its Bobby Vinton the next day its Jerry Lee Lewis.

Led Zeppelin didn't bring MORE pop like the Beatles. They brought something that -Had The Most Influence On Modern Music- in the widest sense.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 4 years ago

Beatles and Led Zep, chalk and cheese.

I was a big Beatles fan in the early to mid sixties but by the time Led Zep came along I'd matured, as had many others.

Even then, when the Beatles had become passée to me, I could still recognise their influence.

And why no mention of the greatest rock and roll band in the world, the Rolling Stones, an influence on Led Zep as well.

I'd hate to call stuff like the White Album pop.


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 4 years ago from USA Author

I look at the Beatles as a pop sensation "in their beginning". Then we can look at the amazing songs and melodies of all their songs in entirety. The Beatles have a vast collection of the greatest songs ever done. Then on the other hand we can say that Led Zeppelin didn't invent rock and roll by no means.

But here is the point. Do the bands that came afteward, the big ones,for decades later do they look like they came from the mold of the Beatles or Led Zeppelin? Pop is still pop, Lady Gaga is still Lady Gaga, Bieber is Bieber, Elvis is Elvis, but the majority of successful bands for so long since Led Zeppelin, have the same amplification, same guitars, same frontman, same drummers as Led Zeppelin. The rock and roll bands we see today, the metal bands we see today, the Alice in chains we see and that type of grunge, ACDC, Bush, Stone Temple Pilots, Van Halen's, Rush, Collective Soul, SoundGarden, Nickleback, Candlebox, Foo Fighters ad infinitum,

Do they sound or look like the Beatles or Led Zeppelin?


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 4 years ago from USA Author

Well you definitely make compelling arguments Mr. Holden and I appreciate every comment and all of your input. A couple of nights ago I actually went to bed and fell asleep struggling with the fact that the Beatles were very influential, they were truly one of a kind and still today even they have no rival.


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 4 years ago from USA Author

Well Mr. Holden I have been doing some hubs lately on older bands,and I had no near future intention on doing new bands, except for a Pearl Jam hub, (they arent too new even) but if you do some hubs, I will try to link to them, in my hubs when I get the opportunity.


e-five profile image

e-five 4 years ago from Chicago, Illinois, USA

Take a look at the pop music Top 40 one week before the Beatles debuted in the US, and look at the charts from one year afterward. The change is stark. Before The Beatles, the Top 40 was filled with acts like Andy Williams, Steve & Eydie Gorme, Tony Bennett, Burl Ives, and Bobby Vinton. One year after the Beatles, not so much.


AlexDrinkH2O profile image

AlexDrinkH2O 3 years ago from Southern New England, USA

I love the Beatles (the early stuff, anyway), and I have quite a few Led Zeppelin records (yes, records - much better than CDs!) I also love the earlier stuff that had great influence on these later groups, such as Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and the Everly Brothers. However, I believe a few other gentlemen ALSO had a bit of influence on modern rock groups, although they may have not even realized it: Bach, Beethoven, and (dare I say it) Wagner!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Very interesting hub, really makes one think. what about the Rolling Stones they have Ben around for what seems forever and still going strong.


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 2 years ago from USA Author

You are right Jodah, the Rolling Stones are still going strong they too have made considerable and continuing contributions to music. Sorry to everyone for not keeping up with the comments, by the way. Some girls, is one of my all time favorite albums by the Rolling Stones.


imtii profile image

imtii 2 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

There is no doubt that the Beatles have more influence. And I just love the bands every song. Queen also has very much of it I think. A way I ''Voted Up" For the Hub.... :D


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I love all those old rock groups. I'd forgotten about the Yardbirds. Interesting perspective~!


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

They all were so good and each one a little unique; I would have a very hard time guessing. Don't everyone boo me at once but I think our Saturday Night Fever guys had a big influence too; and a talent that literally never ended but just died with the brothers Gibb.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Good point Jackie, The Bee Gees certainly made their mark as well. There has been no mention of female singers either. What about Petula Clark, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Shirley Bassey for instance?


bluebird profile image

bluebird 2 years ago

Elvis came before the Beatles and more than likely influenced them it would seem, although I don't recall the Beatles ever throwing their hip sockets out of joint. Elvis paved the way for rock, that's all there is to it.


bluebird profile image

bluebird 2 years ago

Also, let's not forget Elvis was the the king of rock and roll.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

All great musicians; love The Who, love Eric Clapton, love the Beatles. Led Zeppelin was ok and their music was certainly influential and it accompanied much of my time at college (Higher Ed here).

Interesting hub, well argued.


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 2 years ago from USA Author

Thanks annart . I had an Eric Clapton SlowHand album on 8 track I bet I listened to for thousands of hours before it quit!


MasterDripper profile image

MasterDripper 2 years ago from Philadelphia

You are certainly playing music to my ears...first you mention Jazz then follow it with The Beatles and Zeppelin...All I need now is a cup of coffee to go with that great music but I do agree in that the influence depends on many factors especially (as you mentioned) longevity...good read...thanks


Mark Tulin profile image

Mark Tulin 24 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

Interesting argument. There were so many seminal bands back in the sixties that it is safe to say that there was not just one band that had the most influence. It was like they fed off of each other or influenced each other in a circular way rather than just one band influencing other bands.


Richard1988 profile image

Richard1988 23 months ago from Hampshire - England

This was really interesting! Voted up and interesting etc :) really enjoyed reading this hub :)


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 23 months ago from USA Author

@MasterDripper thanks!

@Mark Tulin- I have to agree with you Mark Tulin. I feel fortunate to have been born and raised in the era of great rock and roll bands

@Richard1988- Thanks Richard1988!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working