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Who is the most influential musician in history?

Old 04-21-04, 11:31 AM
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Who is the most influential musician in history?

I once had a very heated "discussion" with a friend's girlfriend over this topic. She claimed that Brian Eno was, without a doubt, the most influential musician of all time. I told her, "No way!" While I concede that Eno has been extremely influential in pop/new wave/alternative music for the past 30 years, there was no way you could compare him with the likes of say, Mozart, who has been inspiring people for centuries.

So, I ask you, who do YOU consider to have been the single most influential musician of all time?


In order to keep it interesting, you're allowed to give 2 answers:

1) Most influential of ALL TIME, including classical musicians such as Mozart.

2) Most influential musician in the "Rock Era"...since the 1950's, let's say.

Of course, if you really believe it, they can be the same answer.
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Old 04-21-04, 11:36 AM
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Brian Wilson.

I thought Brian Eno was a producer. Maybe its my stupidity, but I don't consider a producer to be a "musician." I think to qualify for this, "musician" should be someone who writes their own music and lyrics and performs that. But it's not my thread so I'll play by the rules....

Brian Wilson created some of the best lyrics and harmonies we've ever seen. He dove into his creepy side, his depressed and suicidal side, and in the early years his happy side. He was deaf in one ear, so only wrote/recorded everything in MONO for crying out loud. While some Beach Boys tunes might seem to "kiddie", most of them in fact reach so far beyond that. "God Only Knows" is haunting, and "Heroes and Villains" is amazing. Two of my top 10 favorite songs of all time.
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Old 04-21-04, 11:39 AM
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Old 04-21-04, 11:40 AM
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robert johnson, without him, there is no hendrix, no stones, no clapton.
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Old 04-21-04, 11:46 AM
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for me, without a doubt, pete townshend.once again this is my personal view. I know he isn't the Most influential for everyone, but he was for me.
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Old 04-21-04, 11:46 AM
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William Hung.
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Old 04-21-04, 11:53 AM
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^ I change my vote to Ryan Seacrest.
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Old 04-21-04, 12:04 PM
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Originally posted by Toad
I thought Brian Eno was a producer. Maybe its my stupidity, but I don't consider a producer to be a "musician." I think to qualify for this, "musician" should be someone who writes their own music and lyrics and performs that.
Brian Eno was a founding member of Roxy Music, and practically invented the "ambient music" genre through a series of solo albums (upwards of 40 or 50).

He has worked both as producer and musician on many, many classic albums from Bowie, U2, Ultravox, Devo, Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel, etc., etc.
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Old 04-21-04, 12:04 PM
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Originally posted by Toad
I thought Brian Eno was a producer. Maybe its my stupidity, but I don't consider a producer to be a "musician." I think to qualify for this, "musician" should be someone who writes their own music and lyrics and performs that. But it's not my thread so I'll play by the rules....
Brian Eno is a producer, theorist AND musician. He played keyboards in Roxy Music, was a (kinda sorta) fifth member of the Talking Heads during Remain in Light, and released many, many, many solo albums. The man's work is arguably the pinnacle of ambient music.

xpost
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Old 04-21-04, 12:08 PM
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Then there's no way he's #1.
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Old 04-21-04, 12:09 PM
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Why not? (He's not my pick, and I'm not going to make a pick, but I'm curious.)
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Old 04-21-04, 12:23 PM
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Any music producer out there can be considrered a "musician." Granted you are not writing the music, but you are transforming it into a finished product. That takes a hell of a lot of creativity.
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Old 04-21-04, 12:24 PM
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Trogg: the inventor of music

Also famous is Ogg, who lived one cave over and coined the phrase "Turn that shit down!"
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Old 04-21-04, 12:40 PM
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Originally posted by Groucho
Trogg: the inventor of music

Also famous is Ogg, who lived one cave over and coined the phrase "Turn that shit down!"
The Troggs? Wild Thing is good, but they are hardly the most influential musicians ever!
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Old 04-21-04, 12:40 PM
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Old 04-21-04, 12:55 PM
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Originally posted by fallow
Why not? (He's not my pick, and I'm not going to make a pick, but I'm curious.)
I was half-kidding, but a producer and theorist isn't a "musician" in my eyes. If he plays back-up music, that's great and all, and I'm not questioning how good of a backup musician he might be, but that doesn't make him the most influential of all time. I know what producers do - and yes, they do have a lot to do with creativity, but they're mostly used during recording --- not during writing and performing.

There's no objective reasoning going on here, so I subjectively opine that a "musician" in my eyes is someone who, as mentioned above, writes and performs.

If we're considering theorists and producers, then why not also consider label owners, and we can all say that Clive Davis is the most important "musician" out there. That's a joke too you serious weasels.
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Old 04-21-04, 01:02 PM
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Bob Dylan.
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Old 04-21-04, 01:11 PM
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Old 04-21-04, 01:17 PM
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Old 04-21-04, 01:21 PM
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Old 04-21-04, 02:17 PM
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Old 04-21-04, 03:18 PM
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Originally posted by EvilConradBain
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hahaha

but his hit song wasn't about himself.
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Old 04-21-04, 03:25 PM
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1.) Of all time-- might have to play this one safe, yet still a sane choice: Mozart. I may be wrong, but wasn't this the first guy to create hysteria and deep appreciation of music?

2.)"Rock" era-- it'd be easy to say Bob Dylan, but I don't see him so much influential as essential. Even today, not everyone can take something of his and run. Alot of his stuff is genius, but not accessible to the average music fan. Brian Eno is an excellent choice, but he seems more exclusive to the "electronic" music world, if you will.

I don't know if I'm allowed to choose a band/team/group for my choice, since you only asked for 'musician', so I guess I can't say the Beatles... in which case, I'll choose Chuck Berry. Even the Beatles started off using his stuff. Hell, everyone did at first.
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Old 04-21-04, 03:57 PM
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Since we're talking about musicians as opposed to composers or songwriters, I'd have to say...

Jimi Hendrix

People have been copying him for over 35 years.
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Old 04-21-04, 04:12 PM
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Originally posted by Hollowgen
2.)"Rock" era

< deletia >

in which case, I'll choose Chuck Berry. Even the Beatles started off using his stuff. Hell, everyone did at first.
Absolutely.
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