Blues. Eric Clapton once spoke about the oddity of a White middle-class English kid loving American Blues music - I've always felt that same sense of peculiarity, I don't know why this music should reach me so deeply when so many of my peers don't seem to 'get' it. I grew-up in the 60s, just toward the end of the first generation of Rock & Roll, when Motown ruled the radio, until the British invasion changed everything. So the first music I loved was Dion & The Belmonts, Sam Cooke, The Four Tops, The Animals, Cream, etc.
But, I could hear something, way down inside, that was the same kind of thing in all these artists. Eventually I discovered the Blues - none of these artists would sound as they do if it were not for the Blues . . . popular music would be totally different without the Blues - everything we listen to today comes from Blues music. And here's the thing; when you go all the way back and listen to Blind Willie McTell and Son House and Elmore James and Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker and Buddy Guy, etc, etc, you discover the heart of all popular music . . . then, when you come back and listen to Tony Bennett, Elvis, Jackie Wilson, Al Green, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Jett, The Sugarhill Gang, Christina Aguilera, Roc Marciano, or whatever, it sounds better than ever.
It's a shame that so many who love and promote Rap or Hip Hop or Rock & Roll or whatever have no appreciation of where it all comes from - you can't properly appreciate and favor and enjoy any kind of popular music if you don't know the Blues. Just listen to this one recording and listen to where everything comes from ~