From the online version of Merriam Webster:
Pillar: a firm upright support for a superstructure
How fitting that the answer is to refer to the support of the superstructure known as Classic Rock. Like the Parthenon, it takes a whole lot of Pillars to carry the weight of its ‘superstructure’.
When was the last time you listened to the Self-titled Bad Company album from 1974? Richly produced, simply played music and pounding beats with just a tease of a ballad (Seagull) yet it stands the test of time. If that album came out tomorrow for the first time, it would still gather the attention it richly deserves. The Beatles great experiment with Sgt Pepper’s (1967) still inspires and in some circles being deciphered to this day. Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival (1967) influenced the extravagances of Metal, Performance Rock and yes-even Punk
Speaking of studio influences, let us not forget Studio producers like George Martin for the Beatles, or Alan Parsons producing Dark Side of the Moon for Pink Floyd.
However, every “Pillar” needs a strong foundation, Jan and Dean, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash to name a few.
Then there are the great interpreters, who covered unknown classics from the early 50’s that charted into iconic Rock singles. The Doors – Who do you Love, Creedence Clearwater Revival – Suzie Q and Van Halen – Dancing in the Streets.
I would not envy the unlucky person the job of having to name each Pillar of the Parthenon with an influential Rock artist. I do not believe there are that many Pillars there.