The most influential musicians of our time

Music is often a key part of life for many people, who find themselves heavily influenced by music and the artists who create it. But who have been the most influential musicians in the not so distant past? These artists or groups has not graced us with new music in decades but is still a multi-million industry through record sales, licensing and merchandise. Most importantly, the likes of Elvis, Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix is still an influence on today’s music and have most likely had an impact on you as a musician or music lover.

The Beatles

The Beatles formed in Liverpool in the 1960s and they achieved phenomenal worldwide success. The group is often viewed as the most influential act of the rock era. At the beginning of their popularity ‘Beatlemania’ emerged and as the band grew they actually were integral to the evolution of pop/rock music into an art form and they created a shift from American to British domination of the rock and roll scene, paving the way for many other bands.

Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix is still viewed as the most influential guitarist of all time, although his career only spanned over four years. He was a pioneer of new music technologies, styles and techniques, which laid the groundwork for many genres of music that emerged. Jimi Hendrix’s influence on hip hop is an example of how he has pushed boundaries and proved that music can easily transcend race, gender and time if the artist adheres to a musical vision and stays true to it.


Queen was one of the most popular and beloved classic rock bands of all time. They achieved massive commercial success through hits such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Will Rock You,” and many modern bands were heavily influenced by Queen; in particular frontman Freddie Mercury.

The Queen lead singer will forever be regarded as an iconic frontman, who is considered to be the best of all time by many. He has influenced so many others who have taken to the stage after him, such as artists like Kurt Cobain, Lady Gaga and Wiz Khalifa, who all cite Mercury as a massive influence.

Michael Jackson

Thinking of Michael Jackson brings thoughts of his high-pitched shrieks, crotch grabs, moonwalks and twirls. His mark on the music industry is one that will never be forgotten. He changed music forever, but also have a profound effect on many other aspects of life, such as shedding light on world issues such as climate change, AIDS and cancer research.

The most obvious way that he influenced people though was through his music and innovative dance moves, which is why it is difficult to find anyone who is not blown away by his performances.

Elvis Presley

According to Rolling Stone Elvis was the one who made rock ‘n roll the international language of pop. In just the space of a few years Elvis became an international superstar, who was recognized everywhere he went. It is almost impossible to overstate the influence of Elvis on music and culture. His hip swinging and golden voice really did cause a rock n roll domino effect. His legacy stills lives on and his songs are still played throughout the world.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.