[[TropeMakers Influential]] and [[Administrivia/ThereIsNoSuchThingAsNotability notable]] music [[JustForPun of note]], [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment usually with notes, in successive order]]. See also MusicTropes.

For exemplary [[ScoreAndMusicTropes Score And Soundtrack]], see NotableOriginalMusic.

[----''HAHAHA GET IT? MUSIC? [[{{Pun}} OF NOTE]]? [[DontExplainTheJoke HAHAHA]]!''----]


[[folder:Classical and Orchestral]]
* Music/JohannSebastianBach. Countless musicians of all genres, from his death in 1750 to the present day, have listed him among their influences.
** His Music/ToccataAndFugueInDMinor is the StandardSnippet for a HauntedHouse.
* Music/WolfgangAmadeusMozart. The Requiem.
* Music/LudwigVanBeethoven, ESPECIALLY after he started going deaf. His Ninth Symphony, a magnificent composition by any account, [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome was written while he was totally deaf]].
** From Wiki/TheOtherWiki: "Over time, his hearing loss became profound: there is a well-attested story that, at the end of the premiere of his Ninth Symphony, he had to be turned around to see the tumultuous applause of the audience; hearing nothing, he wept."
* Music/HectorBerlioz's ''Symphonie Fantastique'' was one of the first symphonies with an accompanying storyline and may have possibly invented the {{Leitmotif}}.
* Music/RichardWagner's ''Theatre/RingOfTheNibelung'' Operas.
%% * [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM ''Pachelbel's Canon'' (in D)]]
* Music/SergeiRachmaninoff, especially his piano preludes and concertos. Just pick any of the movements from his piano concertos, and you have instant CrowningMusicOfAwesome.
* Music/JohnWilliams has composed some of the most memorable film scores in the last 40 years, including ''Franchise/StarWars'', ''Franchise/IndianaJones'', and ''Film/{{Superman}}''.
* The name Music/JerryGoldsmith alone is noteworthy enough.
* Likewise, Music/HansZimmer's scores have proved themselves both amazing and timeless.
* ''Greensleeves.'' Very popular in productions based on the Robin Hood version of medieval England, as well as ''VideoGame/KingsQuest.''
* ''Music/CarminaBurana'': Famous example of OminousLatinChanting.
* ''The Planets'' by Music/GustavHolst has formed the basis for much music composed following it.
* [[Film/TheMagnificentSeven The Magnificent Seven theme]] by [[Music/ElmerBernstein Elmer Bernstein]], the score that defined Western film scores for 20 years.
** Also, Elmer Bernstein's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_t98LWNwUhI score for the film To Kill A Mockingbird]] is still a timeless piece that modern composers emulate all the time.
* "Music/RideOfTheValkyries" deserves a mention.
** Music/RichardWagner deserves a mention apart from the "Music/{{Walkuerenritt}}", not only for his own music (which has seen a lot of use in film scores), but for his pervasive influence on film composers particularly in popularizing both the Late Romantic style and the use of leading motives and themes to characterize characters and ideas in dramatic music.
* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2WRQBdAZEo Russian Christmas Music]] by Alfred Reed, notably the Cathedral Chorus at the end. There's a reason that this is one of the most-played wind ensemble pieces ever written.
* Phillip Glass, pretty awesome, don't care what people think about minimalism.
* Music/EnnioMorricone. One of the most prolific soundtrack composers ever, who's put music on everything from Spaghetti Westerns to Science Fiction, from prestige films to sleazy exploitation flicks. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY6PV5MeEpU The quality of the movies may vary]], but you can always count on a kickass soundtrack.
* Lalo Schifrin. ''Film/{{Bullitt}}''. ''Film/EnterTheDragon''. ''Series/MissionImpossible''.
* "''Music/AlsoSprachZarathustra''"
* The 1812 Overture, composed by Music/PyotrIlyichTchaikovsky. Ya gotta love a piece of music that was written specifically to be accompanied and punctuated by ''artillery fire''.
** Tchaikovsky is also the best-known ballet composer, including Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, and especially ''Theatre/TheNutcracker''.
* Arnold Schoenberg. Although he himself never composed for the movies, many of his students did and his music had a huge influence on the scoring of FilmNoir. To this day, when composers want to depict somebody cracking up, they imitate Schoenberg. Some people find his music hard to listen to, for that very reason.
* Rhapsody in Blue, by Music/GeorgeGershwin, successfully melding classical and jazz stylings.
* Samuel Barber, ''Adagio for Strings''. Try to sit through it and not get something in your eye--you will fail.
** There's a reason it was used for the opening, the closing, and the most poignant scene in ''Film/{{Platoon}}''.
** His Piano, Violin, Cello, and "Capricorn" Concerti all deserve mention as well, as does his transcendent Piano Sonata and his three essays for orchestra.
* [[Music/ClaudeDebussy Debussy]], whose ''Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune'' ushered in the era of musical modernism. ''La Mer'' is one of the most enduring symphonic works of all time.
* Edgard Varese, the father of electronic music. He released less than twenty complete works, yet remains one of the influential composers of all time, including to a young boy named Music/FrankZappa...
* Karlheinz Stockhausen ''was'' the 1960s in classical music. As one of the leaders of the Darmstadt School, he and Pierre Boulez were pioneers in both serial, aleatoric, and even spectral music, changing the classical music landscape for years to come.
* Iannis Xenakis. He studied under the famous architect Le Corbusier and then the famous composer Olivier Messiaen. He incorporated all kinds of mathematical ideas into his music. He once wrote a beautiful (if a bit harsh) piece called Metastasis, then proceeded to ''design a building'' based off of it. That building was the famous Philips Pavilion.
* Georges Bizet's ''Theatre/{{Carmen}},'' an opéra comique. Don't mistake it for a comedy though--it's most definitely a tragedy. The most recognizable/popular of parts are [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8Ult8x-doE "Toréador's Song,"]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGFUKsv1epk ''Habanera.'']]
* Harry Partch, who almost single-handedly introduced just intonation [[note]]tuning based upon pure mathematical frequency ratios[[/note]] into the dialogue of modern classical music. A massive influence on musicians like TheResidents.
* Christoper Tin's ''Music/CallingAllDawns'', the leading piece of which--''[[VideoGame/{{Civilization}} Baba Yetu]]''--became the first piece of video game music to win a Grammy. The other songs aren't featured in video games but are equally awesome.

[[folder: Blues]]
* Music/RobertJohnson is certainly the most mythical figure in blues history. He may be the definitive Delta Blues artist, but there are a few runners-up who came before him:
** Son House may be the most powerful vocalist of the Delta Blues era, with his early recordings still one of the most '''intense''' listening experiences in blues, and music in general. He also taught Robert Johnson.
** Charley Patton was the first true star of the Delta blues, and one of its most innovative guitar players, too. He was definitely no slouch in the vocal department himself, with a voice that made him sound like a man twice his size.
* Lead Belly. This HotBlooded folk and blues singer is practically a nucleus of traditional American standards. So potent a performer was Lead Belly that he’s reportedly ''twice'' gotten jail sentences reduced simply by singing/recording a song for the governor.
* Blind Willie [=McTell=], the master of the 12-string. Possesses a fine tenor voice that makes him a standout in the genre's long history.
* Blind Willie ''Johnson,'' not to be confused with [=McTell=]. A Baptist minister with a distinctive guttural wail and a huge devotion to God.
* Peetie Wheatstraw, aka William Bunch, was an interesting case. Understanding what [[NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity a level of notoriety]] can do for a person's success, he spread the rumor that he sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads, and began referring to himself as "The Devil's son-in-law." (Alternately, "the high sheriff from Hell.") Combined with his tales of loose women and the gritty lifestyle of black Americans, this made Peetie sort of a forerunner to the shock rock and rap of the future.
* The melodic sensibilities (not to mention the incredibly prolific body of work) of Lonnie Johnson made him very influential in his own right. He was also one of the first to go electric.
* Ma Rainey, the Mother Of The Blues, one of the earliest blues singers to make records, with a deep singing style and all manner of backup bands to compliment it.
** Her protégée, Bessie Smith, the Empress Of The Blues, was ''the'' first. She even eclipsed Rainey in popularity, with a strong, passionate vocal of her own.
* Lucille Bogan is (in)famous for her "tell it like it is" attitude to writing lyrics, which were blunt, upfront and sometimes obscene. Her 1935 song "Shave 'Em Dry" is still one of the most sexually explicit songs ever recorded.
* Memphis Minnie. There aren't too many women in blues who handle guitar ''and'' vocals, and Minnie did both of those things with considerable gusto.
* T-Bone Walker was the man who first started playing the blues on electric guitars. On top of that, he was an incredible showman; playing the guitar outward, or while doing the splits, or behind his back. And on top of ''that,'' he channeled the sounds of jazz music and swing music, becoming one of the first to widen the palette of blues. Definitely another obvious influence on rock & roll, if there ever was one.
* Muddy Waters. With the help of a strong band behind him, he helped move the music out of the deep South and up north. While T-Bone founded the electric blues, Muddy perfected it. He also discovered Chuck Berry (see the Rock & Pop section for more on him), and set some of the groundwork for rock & roll in his own right - hell, he wrote a song called “[[Music/TheRollingStones Rolling Stone]]”.
* Howlin’ Wolf, and his scratchy, growling voice that’s now iconic, brought out the real sleaziness of the music.
* John Lee Hooker’s minimalist jams, and "talking" style of vocals, gave an infectious boogie to the music like no other bluesman before or since.
* Swamp blues was born out of the Louisiana blues scene, and it was a slack, basic blues groove that was sometimes influenced by Cajun sounds. The two icons of swamp blues are the diverse Slim Harpo, and the refreshingly simple Lightnin' Slim, who were both endlessly covered by rock musicians. In fact, they often toured together.
* Harmonica virtuoso Little Walter, who was the only man ever inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame by virtue of being a harmonica player.
* Willie Dixon is one of the great ''songwriters'' of the blues, an architect of its 40s and 50s sound, and fought hard to get his efforts recognized in his lifetime.
* Jimmy Reed. His music was undeniably formulaic and simple, and yet it became some of the most accessible blues ever recorded.
* B.B. King, ''the'' blues guitarist for many, and often cited as the King Of The Blues.
** By the way, B.B.'s cousin, Bukka White, a slide guitarist, came earlier, and his work is a highlight of the Delta blues era.
* Taj Mahal emerged as a traditionalist blues musician in the late 60s and 70s, and then spun off into a multitude of other musical styles, influenced by Africa, Hawaii and pure Americana.
* Clifton Chenier, the King Of Zydeco!
* Guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn spearheaded a renewal of interest in blues in the 1980s, and would probably still be at it today were it not for a fatal helicopter accident which cut his career short.

[[folder:Vocal Music]]
* Music/BingCrosby, singer, actor, innovator, businessman and consummate "everyman." Had an (at the time) unique approach to vocals that we know now as crooning, which not only fit perfectly with emerging microphone technology, but it made him an American icon. Set the tone for most vocal musicians to come after. Most notably, Perry Como was obviously influenced by him.
* Music/BillieHoliday, not only a powerful vocalist, but a distinctive and influential one, too. Also one of the most [[BrokenBird tragic]] figures in musical folklore.
* Music/VeraLynn, an undisputed icon of the post-war era.
* The Boswell Sisters were one of the most gifted, playful vocal trios of all time. The Andrews Sisters followed in their footsteps to even bigger success in the post-war era.
* Music/NatKingCole; jazz pianist, television personality, and a commanding presence in vocal pop.
* Music/FrankSinatra went from teen idol - he may have been one of the [[UrExample first]] teen idols, actually - to one of America's most charismatic singers of songs. Mixed traditional pop music with jazz, and set a new standard for pop in the process. Plus, he pioneered the concept album along the way.
* Music/DeanMartin, quite simply the coolest guy in vocal pop.
* Music/TheFourFreshmen, inspired by groups such as Music/GlennMiller's Modernaires and Mel Tormé's Mel-Tones, came up with their own style of open vocal harmony that influenced several artists that followed them, most notably Music/BrianWilson of Music/TheBeachBoys.
* Music/DorisDay, much like other singers in this section, made an impact as both a singer and an actress. Her sugary-sweet, personal vocals made her a much beloved figure in vocal pop.
* Eartha Kitt, one of the most distinctive singers by ''any'' measure; a ravenous, powerful singer, fiercely expressive of her wants and desires. She was also a dedicated LGBT activist, [[Series/{{Batman}} the original Catwoman,]] and was generally the baddest bitch.
* Ella Fitzgerald, an exuberant singer who combined jazz vocals, scatting and sheer enthusiasm to charm millions of listeners for decades.
* Music/BarbraStreisand, Queen Of The Divas, is one of the best selling singers in American history, and became a vocal pop legend long after rock and roll made its impact.
* Nana Mouskouri has a distinctive soprano born out of having only one vocal cord. [[DisabilitySuperpower Despite this]], she has sold over 300 million records all over the world, one of the biggest selling women in ''all'' of music, and at the very least, the best selling Greek musician ever. She's sung in a ton of styles ranging from vocal jazz, folk, lounge music, opera, pop, and much more over a [[ArchivePanic ridiculously prolific]] career.
* Music/BetteMidler, a.k.a. The Divine Miss M.
* Music/CelineDion. One of the few singers to successfully cross over from French pop music to English, Celine and her massive, five-octave range became an unstoppable force in adult contemporary music. She eventually reached an apex with her song for the film ''Film/{{Titanic}},'' "My Heart Will Go On," one of the best selling singles ever made. Officially the most popular Canadian singer of all time.

[[folder:Rock and Pop 1950s-1960s]]

!!1950s (the dawn of the rock era)
* Music/RayCharles. He laid down the foundation for Rock and Roll by mixing gospel and Rhythm & Blues. Without him, there would be no Rock and Roll.
* Music/BillHaleyAndHisComets, often forgotten in the wake of the bigger superstars later in the decade. Haley and his motley crew were one of the first ensembles to hit upon the idea of mixing swing music and country music to create a newer, fresher sound, and with the smash hit "Rock Around The Clock," are the first act to send rock & roll to the top of the charts.
* Music/ChuckBerry: He helped bring rock and roll to a huge mainstream audience. Not to mention Outer Space. Chuck was the TropeMaker for many early conventions of rock & roll music, such as the "Chuck Berry guitar intro" which has been imitated countless times (even by no less than Music/TheBeachBoys), not to mention that he crammed rock & roll into the 4/4 beat that's still the standard even six decades later. Chuck is ''crucial'' to the style's development.
* Oh, Music/ElvisPresley. Where do we begin with this man?
** Before Elvis, rock & roll was a radical movement that was thought to be simply a strange phenomenon with teenagers. After Elvis, rock & roll was the biggest thing in music, and you could probably divide the 20th century into what came before Elvis' breakthrough and what came after.
** He established the rockabilly sound as the early template of rock & roll, which carried the movement through much of its first few years, spawning multiple imitators and a boundless influence. Not even content with that, he incorporated [[GenreRoulette numerous styles]] into his music and demonstrated that rock & roll had significant range to it. When asked what kind of music he played, Elvis famously replied ''"I play all kinds of music."''
** With his penchant for putting an emotionally and sexually charged energy into his performances, Elvis set in stone the presentation of being TheRockStar, not to mention shook up a lot of parents and MoralGuardians, and [[MrFanservice wooed]] a ''ton'' of teenage girls, in essence becoming the first true sex symbol in music, for better or for worse. Essentially, when people call Elvis "[[RedBaron the king of rock & roll]]," there's some pretty solid reasoning for that.
* Music/BuddyHolly: In a mere [[ShortLivedBigImpact 18 months]] as a professional musician, he pioneered numerous new techniques in recording and in songcraft (such as double-tracking vocals, and bringing in non-standard rock instrumentation including ''an orchestra''), changed the entire concept of what a rock star was supposed to look like, helped make it the standard for rock musicians to write their own material, crystalized the rock & roll group format (two guitars, bass & drums) with help from his band The Crickets, set the stage for the genre's redefinition in the 1960s and beyond, and, of course, rocked and rolled like nobody's business. Sadly he's also part of one of popular music's most infamous tragedies, when his life (as well as that of novelty singer The Big Bopper and Latino rock singer Richie Valens) was claimed in a plane crash. AKA The Day The Music Died.
** In fact, Richie Valens, most famous for "La Bamba" was an early progenitor of Latino rock that paved the way for the likes of Music/CarlosSantana and Trini Lopez. He was only 17 years old when he died.
* Music/RoyOrbison was another guy who didn't fit an archetype: he didn't have the charisma or dynamic stage presence of some of those other rock & rollers, but he instead ''created his own'' archetype of the helpless romantic and/or the "loser" in his songwriting, and put it over with mournful, operatic vocals that inspired generations afterward.
* "The Killer" Music/JerryLeeLewis, the eclectic wild man of early rock & roll. As far as performances go, this lunatic set the bar impossibly high with his manic, aggressive piano playing and on-stage theatrics (kicking out his stool, standing on his piano, '''setting it on fire'''). Nearly derailed his career with [[KissingCousins one of the first big rock & roll scandals]], then reinvented himself as a country singer.
* Big fan of vocal harmonies? Thank Music/TheEverlyBrothers, who brought them into the RockAndRoll era.
* Music/BoDiddley: Not often recognized for what he did. He was known as "the Originator" for being one of the first artists to start playing Rock & Roll. The Beatles cited him as a favorite, and Hendrix and Clapton were directly inspired by him. His most famous contribution was the "BoDiddleyBeat" that rock bands the world over still use.
* Music/EddieCochran. Alongside Buddy Holly, he was one of the first rock & roll singers to write his own material, and was an early adopter of the overdubbing technique. Had a gritty style of guitar playing - characterized by his use of an unwound third string for bending notes up a whole tone - that guitarists for years afterward emulated.
* Duane Eddy, one of rock's first instrumentalists who forged a distinctive "twang" sound, and one of the first guys to make the electric guitar "cool."
* Link Wray, a guitarist and mainly an instrumentalist, is the guy who invented the ''power chord.'' That's ''decades'' of rock music based on a technique he started.
* Music/DickDale pretty much created the blueprint for surf music, singlehandedly. The TropeMaker ''and'' the UrExample. While [[TheSouthpaw playing his guitar upside-down.]]
** Also brought reverb into the guitar lexicon to create a "wet" sound for his intense, rapid-fire playing style. He was so intense, in fact, that the first 100 watt amp was made especially for him.
* Music/{{Fabian}} (aka Fabian Forte) is notable not so much as a musician per se, as even fans of his music will tell you he couldn't really carry a tune. Fabian is more influential from a marketing standpoint: he was an incredibly handsome young man, and Bob Marcucci - co-owner of Chancellor Records - banked that he could "manufacture" Fabian into a TeenIdol, by electronically lowering the deficiencies in his voice and exploiting the rock & roll sounds of the day around him. The gambit worked, Fabian became a ''huge'' sex symbol, and scored some major chart success until he bought out his contract and moved into acting in the 60s. "The fabulous Fabian" is the archetypical manufactured pop star, and the business model around his success is still liberally used to this day.

!!1960s (British Invasion, folk rock, psychedelia and the rise of the hippie era)
* Music/TheBeatles redefined pop music with ''Music/RubberSoul'', ''Music/{{Revolver}}'', ''Music/SgtPeppersLonelyHeartsClubBand'', ''The Beatles'' (commonly known as "Music/TheWhiteAlbum") and ''Music/AbbeyRoad''. They also redefined pop music with every single other album they released, just not as much. Also responsible for a unique fandom phenomenon: what other band has ever been so popular that they had to ''stop touring'' for fear of widespread riots? Their music went from '50s-influenced rock to folk-rock to swirly psychedelia to acoustic pieces to blues, soul, jazz, pop, music-hall, country, rockabilly, the avant-garde, reggae/ska, Music/TheBeachBoys influences, proto-punk, proto-metal, proto-prog, proto-funk... and yet, they developed their own distinctive style(s), and distinctive slant on the styles they tackled.
** Not only is that not unique, but they weren't even the first to have riots at their shows. The first showing of Igor Stravinski's ''The Rite of Spring'' in 1913 actually incited a riot because of the music itself.
*** The difference is probably that most music-related riots tend to be because of fan disappointment, either due to a poor performance, or failing to show up, not zeal and joy. The Beatles could show up, do their thing very politely, and still have thousands of screaming fans going insane.
* Music/TheRollingStones, arguably the UrExample, if not the TropeMaker, of HardRock, elevated the three-minute riff-oriented rock song to an art form, and were a major part of blues roots becoming such a prominent part of the classic rock lexicon. Threw blues and pop in a blender, and everyone knows what came out - "Satisfaction." Counterculture icons of the 1960s, they were proudly bad boys during an age of the Beatles' more clean-cut image. Fronted by the archetypical rock & roll vocalist, Mick Jagger.
* Music/TheBeachBoys: the Sixties' masters of memorable melody, and the band that brought the surf style to the pop audience[[note]]along with their contemporaries, and running buddies, Jan & Dean[[/note]]. ''Music/PetSounds'', arguably the band's finest album, is a masterpiece of songwriting and production by Music/BrianWilson; they'd still be going strong today if Wilson hadn't suffered a massive CreatorBreakdown while working on ''[[Music/{{Smile}} SMiLE]]''... and if manager Murry Wilson (father of the three Wilson brothers) hadn't created a massive tangle of royalty- and copyright-related red tape that took the judicial system twenty years to resolve.
* Chubby Checker didn't have much in the way of longitivtiy compared to other artists in this section, but "The Twist," one of the biggest dance crazes of all time, was designed to be done ''without'' a partner, reestablishing the whole atmosphere of the dance floor. The Twist was so popular, he had ''two'' hit songs about it!
* The Ventures are quite possibly the most successful instrumental rock band of all time. With dual guitars and a great knack for a groove, the Ventures started by indulging in surf music, and over the course of their career, they'd put their own spin on all sorts of styles of rock and pop, such as blues, psychedelia, garage rock, Latin pop, spy music and much, '''much''' more. Even when America had grown out of instrumental rock music, it didn't hurt the Ventures too much, as it turned out they were BigInJapan.
* Music/{{Cream}}, in their live material, for setting the whole twenty-minute jam era of rock and roll into motion and beginning the golden age of rock & roll supergroups.
** But that's nothing compared to Music/EricClapton and the legacy he built by himself. He's seen as the UK's answer to Jimi Hendrix.
* Music/TheFugs are the first underground rock band, simultaneously the beginning of indie rock and AlternativeRock. This was out of necessity, as they sang explicitly about sex, government, drug use, and war. They were the first band to [[PrecisionFStrike use the F word on record]], and were so confrontational that their lead singer got death threats, and the band were shadowed heavily by the FBI. Without the Fugs forging the path they did, we wouldn't have Music/TheDoors, Music/MC5, Music/PattiSmith, Music/TheResidents, Music/NewYorkDolls, or even...
* The Music/VelvetUnderground. Hippie-era {{Beatnik}}-punks who wore black clothes, wraparound shades and played noisy songs about illegal drugs, illicit sex and guys who mail themselves to their girlfriends. Female drummer, with John Cale and Lou Reed up front. Their four albums collectively sold very few copies, but as Brian Eno famously said, everyone who bought their 1967 debut formed a band. Immeasurably influential, particularly on punk rock and the 1980s 'indie' scene.
* Music/JimiHendrix: extremely experimental musician who invented a whole series of revolutionary new electric guitar techniques, most notably incorporating electronic distortion such as feedback loops and static noise into the music itself. (Also helped create the rock-industry superstition around the number 27 by ''dying'' at that exact age, just like Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and later, Kurt Cobain, and most recently Amy Winehouse.)
* Speaking of Music/JanisJoplin, in the [[TheSixties 60s]], she raised the bar '''big time''' for women in rock music thanks to her aggressive stage presence and ''incredibly'' powerful blues vocals. Former EnsembleDarkhorse of Big Brother & The Holding Company, she became a legend after going solo, and influenced countless women in rock & roll music for future generations, like Grace Slick, Music/StevieNicks, and even Music/{{Pink}}.
* And if you're talking powerful vocals, you have to talk about Music/TomJones, who came to define what it meant to be a pop star over a decades-spanning career. Since the 60s, he's changed with the times by singing all sorts of different styles of music, from classic pop to show tunes to country, and carried it all off with an intensely deep baritone voice and a sexually-charged stage presence that has become his trademark (to the point that, famously, women began throwing their panties on stage during his shows).
* ''Music/{{Cher}},'' speaking of definitive pop stars. Beginning in her career partnered with Sonny Bono (you may remember their partnership for the legendary "I Got You Babe"), Cher and her strong contralto voice showed an ability to change with the times that maybe dwarfed even Tom Jones, hopping from flower-power pop music to arena-ready rock & roll to dance music, meanwhile becoming a fashion icon, a ''successful'' actress, becoming one of the biggest LGBTQ icons of all time, and (as Music/WeirdAlYankovic once referred to her) the [[TropeCodifier O.G.]] of AutoTune. She's pushing 70 and still putting out music in the 2010s. You'd be hard-pressed to find another career with that kind of impact.
* Music/TheMonkees began as a wholly manufactured British Invasion pop group, complete with their own [[Series/TheMonkees TV show]]. After finding huge success, asserted their independence to become a more authentic band. This had mixed results, but the Monkees remain a beloved [[TheSixties 60s]] artifact.
* Music/TheWho, brought a rougher side to rock that hadn't been seen before and led to the punk genre, as well as influencing 70s rock greatly. Also famous for ''Music/{{Tommy}}''; the first "rock opera". Their followup album, ''Music/WhosNext'', was also influential for its use of synthesizers, which would become increasingly common in '70s rock.
* Music/CrosbyStillsNashAndYoung: A SuperGroup consisting of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Music/NeilYoung who were very influential.
* Music/NeilYoung. Pioneer of folk-rock, but also willing to experiment with different styles like hard rock, jazz and even grunge, and arguably one of the best acoustic guitarists alive. Lots of personal lyrics abound in his work.
** Buffalo Springfield, although rather short lived, proved no less influential.
* Music/PinkFloyd emerged from the psychedelic era and survived a change in frontmen to become one of the most evocative bands in rock history. They didn't invent concept albums, but they proved to be masters of the form - most notably with ''The Dark Side Of The Moon'', ''Animals'', and ''The Wall''.
* Music/LedZeppelin, arguably one of the definitive HardRock bands - in fact, they're the highest selling hard rock band ''ever.'' They're also the {{Trope Codifier}}s of [=AOR=] (album-oriented rock) and four of the finest musicians of their time. ''IV'' is the album that set the foundation for modern rock and roll.
* Music/KingCrimson, whose guitarist, Robert Fripp, is one of the most influential people on Alternative music of all time, are notable for having done everything in their career. Examples include an anthemic song that they refused to play, shouting at audience members for being too loud, releasing a Prog Rock album, a jazz album, and a metal album, a new-age album, an invisible album, and an acoustic album within ten years, and publicly stating that they don't give a rat's ass about their public image.
* The Plastic People Of The Universe: A late '60s Czech avant-rock who faced constant pressure from the communist regime (even getting some of their members arrested at one point), and one of the few rock bands that can be said to have a true historical impact. Few bands inspire both the punk movement in music AND a revolution in Czechoslovakia.
* Music/TheByrds: Besides Music/BobDylan, they were {{Trope Maker}}s and {{Trope Codifier}}s of FolkRock (1965), then helped popularize psychedelia (1966-67), and country-rock (1968-69), as well as the jangly 12-string guitar sound that a million power-pop and alternative bands would imitate in later years. Their guitarist, Clarence White, is quite popular amongst guitar aficionados (and within that circle, Tele enthusiasts) for his invention of the B-bender, meant to imitate the sound of a pedal-steel guitar by raising the note on the B string by one whole step.
* Music/TheBand: Used timeless lyrics and a rootsy sensibility to introduce Americana to rock music. Which is kind of ironic, considering that all but one of them is Canadian (although in fairness, the one American ''was'' the FaceOfTheBand) and they met in UsefulNotes/{{Toronto}}. They got their name from being Music/{{Bob Dylan}}'s backing band for a while in the late 60s and early 70s.
** Actually, their record company gave them the name because no one could figure out what to call them after their first album. The guys themselves were partial to The Honkies or The Crackers. You can see why that wouldn't go over so well...
* Music/SimonAndGarfunkel showed us how much you can do with a harmony and guitar chords. Sing "Hello Darkness my old friend" and see how many eyes light up. They also are responsible for the most equally haunting, and most recognized version of "Scarborough Fair." Also responsible for the powerfully emotional Music/BridgeOverTroubledWater". It should also be noted that Paul Simon himself had a fruitful solo career as well.
* Music/TheKinks. Masterful pop craftsmen and standouts in the British Invasion, their first hit "You Really Got Me" ''alone'' is cited as the genesis of dozens of genres and subgenres of modern rock. In many ways, the Kinks are the quintessential British rock band.
* Music/FrankZappa: Used xylophones and kazoos on a rock album in the mid sixties, inspired everything from Music/CaptainBeefheart to Music/TheyMightBeGiants, and explored everything from blues-rock to jazz fusion. Politically vocal, musical omnivore, satirically pointed and to top it all off blessed with a good sense of humor that often attacked the pomposity of classical music and rock 'n' roll itself.
* The Wrecking Crew, a collection of legendary studio musicians in 1960's and 70's Los Angeles. Helped producer Phil Spector create his renowned "wall of sound" signature style, and are also the guys you hear adding all those layers of music on top of the Beach Boys' best songs.
* Music/TheMamasAndThePapas, ''the'' definitive sunshine pop band, known for their strong harmonies and the brash lead vocals of standout member Mama Cass.
* Music/TheDoors represented the other side of psychedelia; the darker impulses of the human psyche. Concocted a twisted, trippy sound that stood in contrast to the peace and love era, punctuated by the distinctive keyboards of Ray Manzarek and put over by ravenous frontman Jim Morrison.
* Music/TheBeeGees, a beloved British pop band who wrote a string of hit singles that embodied the style of the time, then changed direction once they hit the mid-1970s to become the {{Trope Codifier}}s of {{Disco}}.
* Music/CreedenceClearwaterRevival. As the hippie aesthetic widened the palettes of much of the rock world, CCR became a massive success simply by going the other way and getting in touch with rock & roll's roots, namely rockabilly, rhythm & blues and good old driving rock music. They wound up with a distinctly American sound that laid the groundwork for the southern rock and heartland rock movements. Just check out ''Music/WillyAndThePoorBoys''.
* Speaking of distinctly American rock & roll, there's Music/BobSeger, who slowly rose to prominence to define the style of heartland rock as well as anyone else, and has a slew of radio mainstays to show for it.
* Music/TheGratefulDead, anyone? Between their highly influential jam-band music, revolutionary live performances, rabid subculture, and having their own ice cream, it's shocking to see the page go so long without them.
* The Guess Who! Elder statesmen of Canadian rock music, heavily indebted to rhythm & blues and soul music, responsible for a ton of radio classics that are still in constant rotation today, and the beginning of the careers of Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman (the latter of whom would later form Bachman-Turner Overdrive).

[[folder:Rock & Pop 1970s-1980s]]
!! The 1970s (the classic rock era, singer-songwriters, disco, and the punk and new wave movements)
* The Beatles may have collapsed at the dawn of the 70s, but that didn't slow down the former members too much. In particular: Music/JohnLennon went on to become of the most iconic {{Singer Songwriter}}s of all time, cultivating the famous "Prince of Peace" persona and raising the bar for political activism in music. And Music/PaulMcCartney barely missed a [[{{Pun}} beat]]: he formed a new backup band, Wings, and went on to be one of the biggest {{Arena Rock}}ers of all time.
* ''Music/{{Eagles}}''. Originally the backup band of Music/LindaRonstadt (who's quite notable in her own right), they struck out on their own to enormous success, simply because for many, the entire motif of Classic Rock is summed up by the Eagles. In truth, their good-time Southern Rock influences and crowd-pleasing, polished songwriting firmly established the 1970s template for ArenaRock (and, for their harshest critics, corporate rock). Want an example of how crowd-pleasing the Eagles are? ''Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)'' is one of the highest selling albums in the history of mankind, surpassing forty million copies.
* Music/{{Yes}} (Not as "in agreement with the previous item," but the band called "Yes," (''Owner of a Lonely Heart''), the quintessential art-rock band, who's twentyminute long songs and guitar/synthesizer duels inspired music geeks for a generation.
* Music/JethroTull: Famed for being the only well known band with a flute driven sound. They combine hard rock, the blues, jazz, English folk music and progressive rock styles, and combine electric, acoustic and electronic instruments on the same tune at the same time.
* Music/SteelyDan, known for convoluted, erudite lyrics that [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar masked a lot of the content]] and a distinct jazz-rock fusion sound. Not the only fusion act out of the decade, but probably the most recognizable.
** Not to mention being one of the most successful artists to never tour or promote their music much.
* Music/{{Rush}}, which took Zeppelin-esque hard rock and added philosophical lyrics, science fiction themes, and a level of musical virtuosity rarely seen in popular music. It's no surprise that drummer/songwriter Neil Peart is often called one of the greatest musicians of all time, and Geddy Lee is one of the most influential bassists of all time. Generally, one of the most influential Canadian bands ever.
* Anything by Music/{{Queen}}, which further incorporated theatrical and operatic themes into rock & roll without alienating John Q. Rocker, and recorded the soundtracks for ''Highlander'' and the 1980 film adaptation of ''Flash Gordon''. The ''Wayne's World'' movie featured a highly memorable scene acted out to the tune of the band's "Bohemian Rhapsody", the after-effect of which is that head-banging during the guitar solo is ''mandatory'' - yes, even if you're driving. Notably, Queen had one of the greatest rock frontmen of all time in the operatically-trained showman, Freddie Mercury.
** And who did America respond with? A little group called Music/{{Kiss}}. They were responsible for bringing harder rock to much larger audiences, and were American rock's biggest spectacle during the early 70s. As their fame grew, they began embarking on more and more capitalist ventures in an attempt to secure more money and fans, ranging from a widely-derided film to a comic book series, and culminating in their attempt to cash in on the disco era.
** Of course, if ever there was a ''true'' American version of Queen, Music/{{Styx}} would be a candidate. Fronted (during their peak years) by high-voiced keyboard virtuoso Dennis [=DeYoung=] and lead guitarist/co-songwriter Tommy Shaw, Styx were progressive rock gods, prone to huge rock operas, epic power ballads, musical theatre and concept albums, and tethered it all with some solid HardRock chops. Proof that you could be arty and still be a mainstream success.
* Music/{{Journey}}, who emerged out of the prog-rock scene of the 1970s to put out some of rock's greatest anthems, such as the now-legendary "Don't Stop Believing."
* Music/TheAlanParsonsProject may have used heady subject matter and leaned heavily on the ConceptAlbum, yet they were still one of the most accessible and radio-friendly ProgressiveRock bands ever.
* The heavily jam-oriented [[Music/TheAllmanBrothersBand Allman Brothers Band]], the {{Trope Maker}}s of SouthernRock. They grew out of the blues-rock of the late 1960s, adding some old country flavor and the jam sensibilities of the psychedelic era and ProgressiveRock bands. A major hand in setting the scene for the sound of 1970s rock.
* Music/LynyrdSkynyrd: Quintessential Southern rock, and the {{Trope Codifier}}s of the style in general. Where the Allman Brothers had an improvisational, expansive approach, Skynyrd were blue-collar rednecks who were more of a song-oriented rock & roll band. The original incarnation ended in tragedy, but a version of the band still tours today.
* Music/ElvisCostello, especially his catchier first few albums.
* Music/CheapTrick. By bridging the gap between the chiming rock sound of the British Invasion and the oncoming punk rock movement, these guys wound up becoming pioneers in PowerPop.
* Music/PeterFrampton's time as a hitmaker was relatively brief, but it was long enough to make him one of the preeminent guitar gods of the time. Put out the definitive ArenaRock live album, ''Frampton Comes Alive,'' and popularized the [[IconicItem talkbox,]] a device allowing the user to "speak" through their instrument.
* ''Music/DavidBowie.'' Released definitive albums (or at least songs) in a vast variety of genres, including glam rock, ambient music, electronic music, industrial rock, heavy metal, and folk -- with a constantly shifting look and approach to match. A highly theatrical artist, his elaborate stage shows made him one of the first performers to bring {{Spectacle}} to rock in TheSeventies; also a key figure in the rise of the ConceptVideo. In part, it's that flair for spectacle that makes Bowie one of the most pivotal figures in music.
* Music/{{Neu}} helped establish the whole Krautrock movement in a very striking way; their style strips rock & roll music of any pretense of structure, preferring to forge ahead with an extremely minimalist sound fueled by what's now called the "motorik" beat (or the "Apache beat"). That is, when they aren't doing dark electronic experiments - infamously, they filled up side two of their second album with songs from side one again, played at different speeds. Punk rock bands, synth-pop bands and any rock outfit that leans on that motorik beat are heavily indebted to Neu!
* Music/BrianEno: glam rock figurehead, influential producer, inventor of ambient music, creator of Oblique Strategies... the list can go on longer.
* Music/MeatLoaf, and his frequent songwriting partner Jim Steinman, belong here thanks to the album that encapsulated everything glorious about the rock & roll excess of the 70s: ''Bat Out Of Hell.'' It spawned two sequel albums, and Meat Loaf's long career.
* Music/TalkingHeads: this outlet for David Byrne's weird arthouse funk poetry is possibly the only "New Wave" band that is still considered good music. They were one of the many bands to come out of New York's CBGB club, and combined esoteric lyrics with African polyrhythms, helping to spread the interest in African music. Their concert film Film/StopMakingSense is considered the definitive work of it's genre.
* {{Music/Blondie}} was one of the first bands to be called [[NewWaveMusic New Wave]] (a term invented by their record label to differentiate the group from the punk scene) and were also one of many bands to play at the now legendary CBGB club. "Heart Of Glass" was their breakthrough single, cashing in on the disco craze of the era, and "Rapture" was one of the first songs to introduce rap to a wider audience.
* Speaking of New Wave, Music/{{Devo}} are the godfathers of the scene. Built around the idea of "deevolution" - man is in many ways regressing rather than evolving - they reflected their cynical, subversive views with tense, tightly-structured (and often flat-out bizarre) rock music, and became one of the first bands ''not'' playing ProgressiveRock to integrate the synthesizer (many of theirs were ''intentionally wired incorrectly''), not just inspiring New Wavers but [[TropeCodifier giving rise to the]] SynthPop era. Briefly became a sensation in the 80s based off the hit "Whip It," and conceived the idea of music videos as short films (a concept Music/MichaelJackson later ran with).
* Music/GaryNuman. This eerie, ghostly figure was formerly the lead singer of Tubeway Army, but as a solo artist, when he started running his synthesizers through guitar pedals to make strange, hooky songs (many now classics), he became an icon at the end of the 70s and dawn of the 80s. He's one of the biggest names in new wave, but he's also another TropeCodifier for SynthPop, plus an early influence for {{Industrial}} music as we know it today. Musicians all over the popular music spectrum credit Numan as an influence.
* Music/TheCars, and their tight, mechanical form of rock & roll music, created some of the most successful music of the whole New Wave movement - certainly some of the [[EarWorm catchiest.]] A permanent fixture on classic rock radio if there ever was one.
* Music/{{Television}} were another group that came from CBGB's, and were probably the most technically talented group to have ever played there. Though they initially fronted by Richard Hell, they only achieved recognition under the leadership of Tom Verlaine a few years later.
* Alex Chilton and Music/BigStar have been credited with influencing dozens of artists and bands from the Replacements to REM, Beck, and Wilco. Chilton also wrote the 1967 hit "The Letter" when he was sixteen.
* Music/{{ACDC}}: One of the largest pub-rock bands and one of the few to gain massive support outside Australia. How massive? They've sold more than Music/TheBeatles and ''Back In Black'' is the world's second best selling album. Probably ''the'' dividing line between hard rock and heavy metal - you don't rock harder than [=AC/DC=] without crossing over into heavy metal. Angus Young is one of the most instantly identifiable musicians in the world, from his schoolboy outfit to his rock-solid riffs, and the band also miraculously survived the death of original lead singer (the hedonistic Bon Scott), thanks to the recruitment of Brian Johnson, and went on to be superstars.
* Music/ZZTop, the lil' ol' blues band from Texas. Instantly identifiable by their [[MemeticOutfit sunglasses and massive beards]], they were blues fanatics to the core and showed that off through a hard, dirty BluesRock boogie, suggestive lyrics and a hell of a good-time party vibe. They embraced synthesizers in the 80s, but that just made them even bigger icons than before - maybe one of BluesRock's biggest.
* Music/{{Aerosmith}}: The Boys from Boston. Hard rock, considered to be the all-American rock band by many. Really, they were America's answer to the Rolling Stones, right down to Steven Tyler's bluesy vocal leanings and showmanship. Aerosmith were one of the first bands to come up with the power ballad, with the immortal "Dream On" from 1973, which paved the way for more to come later, such as [[Music/{{Kiss}} "Beth,"]] [[Music/{{Poison}} "Every Rose Has Its Thorn,"]] "Love Hurts," [[Music/{{Foreigner}} "I Want To Know What Love Is,"]] and many, many, many more. They also had one more notable achievement: see Music/RunDMC's entry.
* Music/BlueOysterCult: They started out as a band of college students from New York who called themselves the Stalk-Forrest Group and Soft White Underbelly. But with the release of ''Blue Oyster Cult'' in 1970, they tapped into something stranger and became founding fathers of American heavy metal. They occasionally borrowed imagery from H.P. Lovecraft, and Michael Moorcock wrote the lyrics to their songs "Black Blade" and "Veteran of the Psychic Wars". Their 1988 album ''Imaginos'' is an out-of-print classic concept album. Their most recent album is ''Curse of the Hidden Mirror", and they are still touring today. Notable hits include: "Cities on Flame with Rock 'n Roll," "Subhuman," "Astronomy," "Career of Evil," "Godzilla," "Burning for You," "Black Blade," "Veteran of the Psychic Wars," "(Don't Fear) The Reaper."
* Music/BruceSpringsteen! One of if not the most inspirational live performers of all time. Springsteen is one of the most influential and important singer/songwriters in modern music. 40 years into his career his top grossing epic 3 hour concert marathons cross generation gaps as audiences of young and old alike travel around the world to partake in what many consider to be the most communal concert going experience on the planet.
* Music/VanHalen, the band that started the craze of 80's rock. They had a larger-than-life, over the top attitude that helped them. Eddie Van Halen is a guitar god, for good reasons. The song ''Eruption'', which is basically just a guitar solo is probably the only song of it's kind to enjoy extensive radio-play.
* Music/RodStewart, who blended folk, rock, and R&B to become one of the most well-respected and original singers of his time...until the disco period, that is. Along with Music/EltonJohn and James Taylor, he headed the singer-songwriter boom of the early 1970s.
* Actually, Music/EltonJohn deserves his own entry, as he's also credited with bringing the piano to the forefront in rock music, and, with the help of longtime friend and collaborator Bernie Taupin, was still racking up hits into TheNineties.
** Music/KateBush also deserves credit for bringing the piano back into the limelight, albeit in her own way, with elegant songs and her ghostly vocals. You know all those female singer/songwriters of the 90s who sang brooding songs on piano? They all have roots with this woman.
** And America's answer to these British piano-thumping singer/songwriter virtuosos? None other than the Piano Man himself, Music/BillyJoel, a masterful pop songwriter who racked up hit after hit for the better part of two decades.
* Daryl Hall and John Oates, or simply Hall & Oates. A mixture of blue-eyed soul, contemporary rock and pop, these two slowly but surely proved themselves to have strong ears for pop hooks, of which they had lots over a decades-spanning career.
* Music/LeonardCohen, up there with [[Music/BobDylan Dylan]] and [[Music/BruceSpringsteen Springsteen]] as the gold standard of the SingerSongwriter, with an enigmatic personality, the soul of a poet and an everyman sort of voice that got '''much''' deeper as his career progressed. Maybe not exactly the biggest mainstream success, but a much beloved lyricist.
* Music/{{Carpenters}}, a.k.a. Richard and Karen Carpenter, with their lush, expansive production and airy melodies, are easily the most beloved soft rock band of all time.
* Music/TheRunaways weren't the first all-female rock group - they were preceded by bands like Fanny, or to go back further, Goldie & The Gingerbreads and the Liverbirds - but they ''were'' the first widely successful all-female rock group.
* Music/{{ABBA}}. They're the fourth highest selling artists ever, selling 1-2 million records per year nearly 30 years after breaking up. They refused a one ''billion'' dollar offer to reunite. Many of their songs are instantly recognizable all over the world.
* For as much as people crack about {{Disco}}, it produced some of the most fondly remembered musicians ever:
** Music/DonnaSummer was ''the'' disco diva, such a beloved figure in dance music that she far outlasted disco itself.
** KC & The Sunshine Band showcased the R&B influence in the style and had a string of hit singles showing this off in spades. One of the preeminent party bands of the time.
** Music/{{Chic}}, the ultimate disco band, with a winning formula of dance music infused with relentless funk. One of Chic's songs, "Good Times," was SampledUp in "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang, which kickstarted the hip-hop movement.
* Grace Jones. Before Madonna established the more colorful image of pop stardom in the 80s, there was Grace Jones, an androgynous alto who blazed a trail for powerful pop fashionistas, could rival the best of them in terms of [[IntercourseWithYou singing about sex]], and was no slouch in the music department either, commanding all manner of disco, funk, reggae and synth sounds. An LGBT icon, and paved the road for a ''ton'' of pop icons to follow, yet somewhat under-appreciated these days.
* Music/AliceCooper is ''[[TropeMaker the]]'' shock rocker for all time. Mixed an androgynous, demonic look with a concert straight out of old school horror films, all put over by a primal HardRock sound. Let's just say [[MoralGuardians religious groups]] didn't take too kindly to Alice's brand of rock theatrics...

!!The 1980s (the MTV era, new wave becomes synth pop, stadium rock, the beginning of alternative)
* Music/MichaelJackson and Music/{{Madonna}}; the King and Queen of Pop, respectively.
** Michael, who as a commercial force has been described as "an unstoppable juggernaut," was '''THE''' de facto [=MTV=] superstar. His videos made the biggest case for the music video as its own art form, while Michael himself was easily the most dynamic singer and performer of his time (who ''hasn't'' tried to imitate that Moonwalk?) He also has some of the most cross-sectional appeal of any pop singer, ever, demonstrated by the blockbuster ''Thriller,'' and add to that the fact that his success helped break color barriers in mainstream music. Michael has sold over 400 million records worldwide.
** Music/{{Madonna}}, expanding on David Bowie's "chameleon" reputation in music, changed her image countless times over a three-decade career, challenging ideals and conventions for women in music. Through all this, she set the tone for most mainstream pop music to come after her, and paved the way for the more image-centric, provocative image of the pop landscape as time went on. Madonna (or "Madge" as critics like to call her) has sold over 300 million records worldwide.
* Music/KylieMinogue could be considered a less grandiose Madonna, but definitely a spectacular success in her own right. She only had a select few hits in America, but her native Australia, Europe and other corners of the world have celebrated her steady stream of dance-pop since the mid-80s, and she shows no signs of slowing down in the 2010s.
* Music/WhitneyHouston set a new standard in mainstream pop music with her huge, dramatic, melismatic vocal style, solidifying the "diva" archetype and inspiring countless singers in pop and R&B.
* Music/TheB52s are one of [[NewWaveMusic new wave's]] weirdest outgrowths. They had a love of [[RummageSaleReject tacky, second-hand clothing,]] liberal use of {{Camp}} (vocalist Fred Schneider is walking, talking camp by himself), and a curious mixture of ironic {{Genre Throwback}}s and circa-early 80s dance music. (Also Music/JohnLennon's favorite band before his death.)
* Music/TheCure, who emerged out of post-punk and new wave to become perhaps the most beloved goth icons of their time.
* Music/TheSmiths, a founding band in the British indie scene of the 80s and cited as a key influence by practically every Brit band from the 90s on. Ditto Music/TheStoneRoses.
* Music/JoanJett, the woman that founded the Runaways, became a '''big''' star in the 80s. Joan Jett was the gal that proved without a shadow of a doubt that women could rock just as hard, if not moreso, than men, thus influencing countless female rockers, not to mention pointing the way towards the RiotGrrrl movement. ''"So why should I care 'bout my bad reputation?!"''
* Music/TheCramps fused old garage rock, rockabilly, surf rock and a love for trashy American pop culture into a singular experience that laid the groundwork for psychobilly.
* Music/MyBloodyValentine, the quintessential shoegazing band, famous for their ability to make mountains of raging distorted guitars sound beautiful.
** And the only band I can think of to give out earplugs to concert attendees. They do, because they ''have'' to, for insurance reasons.
* Music/{{REM}} grew out of the post-punk movement to popularize celebral 'alternative' garage rock in the late 'eighties. (Radiohead took over in the '90s.)
* [[Music/ThePolice Sting]].
* Music/TheyMightBeGiants - "The official unofficial band of TV Tropes Wiki."
** Music/TheyMightBeGiants is the only band that has an accordionist (and keyboardist, saxophonist, bass clarinetist, [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs saxonettist]]) as [[strike: a permanent member]] a leading member.
*** Allow me to introduce you to [[http://www.myspace.com/turisasofficial Turisas]] and [[http://www.myspace.com/korpiklaani Korpiklaani]]... though not as noteworthy as TMBG, if you like accordion, definitely worth a listen.
* Music/SonicYouth: rose from simple 80s No Wave alumni to being the pioneers of noise-rock as we know it with a narcotic haze of feedback, detuned fuzziness, deadpan vocals and strangely composerly mid-song breakdowns.
* Music/NickCave and the Bad Seeds produced some brilliant, disturbing post-punk albums in the 80's. Cave's lyrics are fantastic - hilarious and wise and powerful and weird, all at the same time, and he has a talented band behind him. Recently, the Bad Seeds have softened up a bit, but most of these softer songs are quite beautiful, and their most recent album, ''Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!'' and Cave's Grinderman side project have brought them a bit more of their 80's sound.
** And before them, Music/TheBirthdayParty, who (inadvertently) pioneered GothRock.
* Music/ThePixies, often described as the Music/VelvetUnderground meets Music/TalkingHeads, formed in the mid-1980s and released several albums now counted among the greatest to come out of the decade. They had a unique sound formed mostly from the [[SopranoAndGravel contrast]] between the two main vocalists voice and the chaotic, "angled" music of the lead guitarist. They influenced many bands that followed, with Music/KurtCobain listing them as one of his favorites, and citing their influence as evident in Music/{{Nirvana}}, especially the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
* Music/PeterGabriel: Co-founder and former frontman of one of the most famous and influential prog-rock bands of all time, Genesis; helped pioneer the use of African influences in popular music and was confronting topics such as disease in Africa and elsewhere long before it became vogue. His solo career has made him even more popular, with hits such as "In Your Eyes," "Big Time," "Games Without Frontiers," and "Sledgehammer," the music video for which helped pioneer the medium, and is probably second only to "Thriller" as the most-played and most famous music video ever.
** For that matter, his old bandmate Music/PhilCollins, whose contemporary pop talents made him a surprise success in the 80s.
* Music/{{U2}}. Well known for their massive live tours. Their 1987 album, ''The Joshua Tree'', was a huge success and got them a load of Grammys and the title of "biggest band in the world". They continue their success today with albums such as ''Music/AchtungBaby'', ''Pop'' and ''How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb''.
* In the late 80s, the producer of Music/NewEdition - a very popular R&B group who are rather notable in their own right - decided to replicate their success by assembling ''white'' teenagers instead. The result was the Music/NewKidsOnTheBlock, who were, for better or for worse, the biggest teen pop sensation of the 80s and the forerunners to the boy band explosion a decade later.
* Music/GeorgeMichael, former vocalist from Wham!, went on to a successful solo career where he became one of the finest contemporary pop artists the UK had to offer; teeming with ambition, blessed with a soft, smooth voice, and up there with Michael Jackson as one of the few teen pop idols to become even more successful as an adult.
* Music/BryanAdams, Canada's answer to guys like Seger and Springsteen, was equally at home doing a straightforward rock anthem and a tender ballad, and made huge splashes in both fields. Still one of the best-selling Canadian musicians ever.
* John Mellencamp, aka John Cougar, aka [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs John Cougar Mellencamp]]. Whatever his name, he's one of the most passionate, earnest American musicians of his time and an early MTV favorite.
* Music/LivingColour. Their funk/metal/R&B hybrid was a fresh sound that inspired a more diverse rock landscape; at the very least, they brought elements of funk back into mainstream rock.
* The Music/RedHotChiliPeppers are pretty much the definitive funk-rock band. They exploded in the late 80s and dominated the 90s with tons of hit singles and albums that gathered audiences across the board.
* If [=REM=] laid the seeds for the alternative rock movement, Music/JanesAddiction took the style to an entirely new level. Thoroughly paved the way for funk-metal, alt-metal, and the 90s alt-rock scene in general.
* Music/TracyChapman was the person who renewed interest in classic SingerSongwriter music, after a lull in the early 80s (though Music/SuzanneVega is up there as well).
* Music/GunsNRoses. ''Music/AppetiteForDestruction'' is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appetite_for_destruction the best-selling debut album of all time worldwide]] and required listening for hard rockers. They also gave us an iconic guitarist with Slash. [=GnR=] is possibly the last band that can be considered "classic rock" (see below).

[[folder:Rock & Pop 1990s-early 2000s]]
!!The 1990s (punk goes mainstream, the alternative rock era, Britpop and the teen pop takeover)
* Music/{{Nirvana}}, with the unique vocal stylings of Music/KurtCobain, changed the rock scene forever by bringing AlternativeRock into popular consciousness. The famous ''Music/{{Nevermind}}'' album is adrenaline-pumping {{Grunge}}, the release of which arguably ended the "classic rock" era and put the final nail in the coffin of hair metal. Overplayed [[HypeBacklash at the time]]; now it can be enjoyed again.
** After [[AuthorExistenceFailure Kurt was found dead]], drummer Dave Grohl went out and formed his own band, the Music/FooFighters. Their no-frills, hard rock blitzkrieg wound up carrying the alt-rock flag long past the time the wave ended. They're still one of the biggest rock bands in the world, and have cemented Grohl as one of rock & roll's true renaissance men.
* Music/PearlJam was at the time even bigger than Nirvana, their debut ''{{Music/Ten}}'' outselling ''Nevermind'' ten-times. They had a grunge sound with a strong influence from classic rock, for example playing with Neil Young. They were also one of the few bands not to die out by the end of the "grunge era".
* Music/{{Pavement}}, 90s lo-fi legends. Defiantly noisy and jagged, they (and their famous album ''Slanted And Enchanted'') were one of the bands that really set in stone how indie rock and alt-rock sounded for the decade.
* And when talking about grunge, we can't ignore Music/AliceInChains or Music/{{Soundgarden}}, either.
* Music/PJHarvey. Undoubtedly, one of the most influential and inspirational female rock musicians of the 90s.
* Music/{{Weezer}}, ''the'' American PowerPop group of the 1990s, with a gawky, open-hearted approach fuelled by gawky, open-hearted Rivers Cuomo. Their latter-day albums are controversial, but their 90s output is universally beloved. The CultClassic album ''Pinkerton'' in particular has been cited as having laid the groundwork for the second wave of emo music.
* Keeping with the power pop theme, there's Music/{{Sloan}}, who helped spread the alt-rock craze into Canada, and became one of Canada's biggest exports for guitar-based pop/rock music.
* The Music/BarenakedLadies are another. Coupling naggingly catchy hooks with a cheeky sense of humor (as evidenced by possibly the goofiest band name on this page), they steadily grew a legacy in Canada with much beloved radio staples before they hit it big internationally by the end of TheNineties. No less than Music/PaulMccartney has praised their songwriting gifts.
* Music/{{Jellyfish}} are [[ShortLivedBigImpact lesser-known, but surprisingly influential.]] Jellyfish were one of the great {{Genre Throwback}}s in AlternativeRock: they revived old school pop and rock sounds, most notably psychedelia, and are also notable for their lead singer playing a standing drum kit. Sadly, they only lasted long enough for two studio albums.
* Music/StoneTemplePilots smoothly took AlternativeRock and made it into ArenaRock, and while they faced [[CriticalDissonance critical scorn]], they are well-remembered as one of the best singles bands of the grunge era.
* Music/{{Radiohead}}: British group largely responsible for bringing alternative rock to worldwide attention. Also, they put on a kickass live show. In terms of Last.fm play counts, more popular than the Beatles (amongst the younger demographic of course). The more sedate sounds of British rock (such as Music/{{Coldplay}} and Music/JamesBlunt) would never have happened without stuff like ''Music/TheBends'' coming beforehand. Cementing their huge impact on alternative music was their fascination with innovation and electronics, which blossomed on the famous ''Music/KidA.''
* Music/TheSmashingPumpkins, one of the most successful bands of the alternative rock era, musically and commercially. Their music had a more intricate, poetic approach, reflecting a refusal to be pigeonholed into any of the scenes of the time. To this end, they combined early heavy metal, psychedelia, prog-rock, grunge, a few electronic influences and [[NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly a bunch of other indescribable stuff.]] Lead by the (''[[ArchivePanic very]]'') prolific Billy Corgan, your go-to guy for theatrical doom & gloom in TheNineties.
* Music/ToriAmos, considered a SpiritualSuccessor to Music/KateBush, was a piano-playing monster who mixed haunting melodies with emotional lyrics. ''Little Earthquakes'' set the bar ''really'' high for women in rock music for the rest of the decade.
* Former pop starlet Music/AlanisMorissette refashioned herself with a hard-edged pop/rock sound that made her one of the most famous {{Singer Songwriter}}s ever, and the unlikely success story of 1995.
* The numerous hits of Music/SherylCrow were the sound of 90s radio pop in a nutshell: breezy, feel-good roots rock that wasn't shy about getting eclectic.
* The Reverend Horton Heat, the man who proudly carried the psychobilly flag into the 1990s.
* Music/{{Oasis}}, love 'em or hate 'em, were the epicentre of the whole {{Britpop}} craze - they stood in direct opposition to America's alternative scene, unashamedly took influences from Music/TheBeatles, and were proudly Rock Stars playing big arenas, just as that archetype was starting to fall out of favor. "Wonderwall" remains one of the biggest singalong songs in rock history.
* Music/{{Blur}}: They started out as Britpoppers, then in 1997 they changed direction to a more rockin' sound. Like Oasis, but with more than two strong albums.
** Their lead singer, Damon Albarn, deserves a special mention not only for Blur but also singing in 'Gorillaz' and 'the Good the Bad and the Queen' and also composing the music for the operatic version of 'Monkey: Journey to the West'. Every single one is a complete and utter gem and their songs should all be heard at least once.
** Blur and Oasis seem to the major influences on most of the major british bands of the 90's and 00's, with a new resurgence of Britpop as well as a few influential indie bands who claim heavy inspiration from the two bands. Recently, this trend has even extended to the US with increasing influences on popular alternative rock bands.
* Music/NeutralMilkHotel: Basically the Descartes of the indie scene, they combined your usual fuzzy lo-fi guitars and unusual vocal style with brass, accordion, musical saw, bagpipes, and some of the most mindwarpingly odd yet strangely poignant lyrics ever created.
* Music/{{Swans}}, for whom [[NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly genre is]] [[GenreRoulette no object]] [[GenreBusting or restriction]]. They are also known for being [[MindScrew incredibly]] disturbing.
* Music/DeadCanDance
* Music/FaithNoMore: Though they weren't the first to do it, not to mention the term came much later, they pretty much defined the Rap/Rock genre that many artists like Music/RageAgainstTheMachine and P.O.D. would eventually display. Not to mention they are very influential to many current Rock artists.
* Experimental band Music/MrBungle has been influential on many artists as well as inadvertently inspiring most bands of the NuMetal genre.
* Music/RedHousePainters are usually considered ''the'' go-to band for {{Slowcore}}, a subgenre that consists of lengthy, depressing songs to counteract the {{Grunge}} scene. Mark Kozelek's later project, Music/SunKilMoon is also a great example.
** Codeine is often considered another top contender for the best {{Slowcore}} band, although they lack the consistent critical appeal and longevity of RHP.
** The TropeNamer of slowcore is Music/{{Low}}, who applied the term as a joke to their quiet, spacey sound. But the band itself is a very serious project, notable for their minimal arrangements and minimal production, plus Mimi Parker's drumkit consisting only of a floor tom and a cymbal. Recorded one of the subgenre's most beloved albums with ''Things We Lost In The Fire,'' and are still going strong after over 20 years.
* Music/{{Kyuss}} forged a path for "stoner rock" with their fuzzy guitars and love of spacey, heavy jams, and became an underground sensation.
** Also one of the leaders of the stoner rock subgenre was Music/MonsterMagnet, who were heavily influenced by 1970s proto-metal, psychedelia and space rock, and chock full of WordSaladLyrics and weird imagery. They wound up becoming somewhat VindicatedByHistory, selling poorly while {{Grunge}} was in fashion, and scoring their biggest hit, "Space Lord," after that wave was over.
* Idlewild. Unofficially known as "the most popular unheard-of band in the world".
* Music/GogolBordello, [[JustForFun/XMeetsY punk meets gypsy polka]]!
* Music/NoDoubt. From the ska scene of the 90s came a catchy, danceable pop/rock band who infused ska, punk rock, and later reggae and hip hop. They were also blessed with singer Gwen Stefani, one of the most dynamic, distinctive and outright girlish singers of her time (and quite a fashion icon, too).
* Music/{{Slint}}. Their landmark album, ''Spiderland'', is the beginning of PostRock in earnest. That one album laid the seeds for such luminaries as Music/SigurRos, Music/ExplosionsInTheSky, Music/GodspeedYouBlackEmperor and of course the style's TropeCodifier, Mogwai.
* The success of Music/MatchboxTwenty - who were blessed with Rob Thomas' strong baritone and a solid batch of radio favorites - was probably the point where the willful eclecticism of the 90s began funneling into post-grunge, a slicker, more {{Everyman}}, blue-collar approach to radio rock. Which, of course, lead to the success of bands like Music/{{Creed}}, Music/{{Nickelback}}, Music/ThreeDaysGrace, Music/ThreeDoorsDown and [[FollowTheLeader a hell of a lot more.]]
* The Music/SpiceGirls, the best selling GirlGroup of all time. If you're ever wondering when TheNineties started the transition from the days of {{Grunge}}, {{Britpop}} and GangstaRap into the Teen {{Pop}} era, the rise of the Spice Girls marked that point. They were instrumental in unveiling a whole new market of young girls for pop music, which is why, nowadays, they are considered one of the decades' greatest GuiltyPleasures.
* The Music/BackstreetBoys were far from the first white boy band, but in the 90s they became the definitive one, helping to put teen idols back in the spotlight and unleashing leagues of imitators to flood the marketplace.
** The most notable follower was Music/{{NSYNC}}, itself who became best known as the starting point of one Music/JustinTimberlake.
* Say what you will about Music/BritneySpears, but she changed mainstream music to the point that we still feel her effects today. Her ''overwhelming'' success reestablished the power of the pop diva, and made "scandalous" part and parcel of the whole pop star experience. She also thoroughly ended the alternative rock era, with one critic commenting that she was Music/{{Nirvana}} "in reverse; pushing all those adventurous sounds back to the fringes." In essence, Britney wound up laying the groundwork for the glamorous pop star world of today. How big was Britney, exactly? The Britney backlash actually kickstarted a brief "anti-Britney" movement in pop. (See next section.)
** Don't forget about Music/ChristinaAguilera, Britney's main rival. She tried to keep a more ''adult'' sound than Britney so she ultimately had a smoother transition to maturity.

!!The early 2000s (pop dominates, alternative goes indie, revivalist bands)

* Music/{{Pink}}. Pink hated being pigeonholed as another teen pop singer like Britney, so on her second album, ''M!ssundaztood,'' she completely revamped her sound, combined pop, rock, R&B and dance music, let her colorful (pardon the {{Pun}}) personality hang out, and upped the ante for the whole pop star game. Many pop stars enjoying success today (including Music/LadyGaga and Music/KatyPerry) owe their careers to Pink and her trailblazing approach to pop music.
** On a similar note, Music/AvrilLavigne. Avril adopted a "punkier," more down-to-Earth image (to great controversy), and cemented PopPunk as fully mainstream music along the way.
*** Music/MichelleBranch was the original "anti-Britney." When she didn't work out people switched to Avril.
* Music/{{Shakira}}, the most popular Colombian musician to ever live, and one of (if not the) only South American pop singers to ever successfully cross over to the North American market, with her first English album ''Laundry Service'' selling 13 million copies. Her song "Hips Don't Lie" is the world's best-selling single of the 21st century. Shakira has a distinct approach to pop, drawing influence from dance music all over the world. Also, she's a hell of a belly dancer, and music videos as well as live performances are often [[MsFanservice a masterclass in fanservice.]]
* Music/{{Gorillaz}} is known for being a band comprised of cartoon characters (one of the first virtual bands), each with their own tastes in music. This is reflected in their songs, which are notoriously difficult to pin down to a particular genre. Their influences range from Electro to Punk to Hip Hop to Dub to Disco to Reggae and many more styles. They are also known for the veritable army of collaborators they have had working with them since the birth of the band, as well as the special techniques employed during live performances to visually bring the characters to life. Outside the music, there is also a plot between albums that chronicles the misadventures of the different band members.
* Music/TheStrokes used a tight, pulsing, old school rock sound and a dual-guitar attack to set the tone for AlternativeRock and Indie Rock in the 2000s, as well as bringing on the brief "garage rock revival," made up of bands like Music/TheHives, The Vines, Music/TheDarkness, and.....
* Music/TheWhiteStripes, made up of "brother and sister"[[note]]actually [[AmicablyDivorced ex-spouses]][[/note]] Jack and Meg White. Their obsessively minimalist approach to rock and blues (Jack's guitar riffs over Meg's undauntedly simple style of playing) and general mystique turned them into one of the surprise success stories of the 2000s, inspiring tons of BluesRock and GarageRock outfits, and spawning one of the biggest rock anthems of the decade, "Seven Nation Army."
* Music/TheKillers. Viewed as a SpiritualSuccessor to the likes of U2, their music was an indie pop-rock style that was very catchy and popular. 2004 album ''Hot Fuss,'' in retrospect, was the beginning of the 2000s' fixation on 80s loving, danceable pop-rock (or, to detractors, rock for people who don't like rock). The album ''swiftly'' turned them into one of the most popular bands of the mid-00's. Other rock bands like Music/ThirtySecondsToMars, Music/KingsOfLeon, and Music/ImagineDragons would be influenced by this approach, and dominate afterwards.
* The music of [[TheMusical Musicals]] had grown into true wonders and since the popularity of the genre spiked in the '90s have been becoming hits in their own right. Original songs from these shows that are particularly noteworthy include "Music/DefyingGravity" of ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}'', "Seasons of Love" of ''Theatre/{{RENT}}''.
* When Kyuss fell apart in the mid-1990s, singer Josh Homme moved on and formed Music/QueensOfTheStoneAge, a more modern, radio-friendly update on the Kyuss sound (with no less of a penchant for jams), and made an even bigger commercial impact.
* After Radiohead went electronic, Music/{{Coldplay}} stepped up to the plate and picked up where Radiohead's original sound left off. Instead, though, they wound up going in a more melodic, pop-oriented direction, turning introspective power ballads into U2-influenced, ArenaRock anthems, while downplaying the heavy guitars that characterized the previous decade of Britpop. Coldplay faced their share of critical backlash for it, but their sound actually inspired the next decade of rock music.
** If Coldplay can't be considered Radiohead's successor, than certainly people found it in Music/{{Muse}}.
* [[Music/ArcadeFire The Arcade Fire]] came out of Montreal with a huge, arena-ready sound full of singalong hooks and notably earnest songwriting, which made them an overnight success and one of the most popular indie bands of the 2000s. Debuted in 2004 with one of the most beloved albums of the decade, ''Funeral,'' and beget various imitators on indie labels and major labels alike.

* Music/ScottJoplin, the king of ragtime music.
* Music/LouisArmstrong: The man who comes closest to the TropeCodifier for this genre. His innovative and influential trumpet solos essentially created the role of the modern jazz performer. Not to mention he also sung and [[TropeCodifier popularized]] the singing style known as [[SingingSimlish Scat]].
* Music/JellyRollMorton is renowned as an excellent composer of early jazz and a distinctive pianist. Also infamous for his bragging (no, he did ''not'' invent jazz himself).
* Music/FatsWaller epitomized the technique of "stride piano" and proved to be a template for many jazz pianists to come, plus a hell of an entertainer in his own right.
* Music/DukeEllington: One of the greatest popular composers of all time, and a damn good pianist and bandleader too.
* Music/CountBasie: Jazz composer and bandleader (and pianist as well) at the same time as Ellington, Basie's unique styles mark him solidly as a quintessential Big Bandleader, along with Ellington.
* Music/GlennMiller. He's one of the most famous big band leaders, and his Glenn Miller Orchestra made a tighter, slicker interpretation of big band (to some controversy at the time). They put out essentially the most popular music on Earth for the first half of the 40s, and continued in tribute after Miller's untimely passing.
* Music/RaymondScott, a relentless visionary who's most famous for his bouncy compositions that became the soundtrack to many a cartoon. Like Glenn Miller, he and his Raymond Scott Quintette were more about tight arrangements than the improvisational skills that jazz made its name on. He also helped pioneer ElectronicMusic, including the invention of the Electronium, the world's first synthesizer. Between all this, he scored tons of television shows and advertisements, and made three extremely experimental albums designed for infants.
* Music/ArtTatum, despite being legally blind for nearly all of his life, was absolutely ''dazzling'' on the piano, and still hailed as one of the best piano players to ever live.
* Music/MilesDavis: jazz trumpet virtuoso started in bebop, went on to pioneer multiple styles of jazz (Modal jazz, cool jazz, and fusion, among others). Check out ''Music/KindOfBlue'', ''Music/BitchesBrew'', ''Music/SketchesOfSpain''.
* Music/CharlieParker: Saxophonist whose virtuoso approaches to rhythm, harmony, and tempo laid the foundations of bebop.
* Music/JohnColtrane: Master saxophonist and spiritual thinker who covered nearly every jazz style of his time (even creating a few); many great jazz musicians, from the 50's to the 70's, and beyond went through his band for at least a short time. Check out ''Music/BlueTrain'', ''Music/MyFavoriteThings'', ''Music/GiantSteps'' and ''Music/ALoveSupreme''.
* The Dave Brubeck Quartet: Redefined what could be done with bebop, bringing avant-garde polyrhythm and polyphone to the masses with such oddly-timed instant classics as "Take Five," "Blue Rondo a la Turk" and "Unsquare Dance."
** All of the members proved to be influential, not just Dave. Joe Morello was more or less the Neil Peart of jazz; Eugene Wright showed future bassists how to play polyrhythm; saxophonist Paul Desmond's laid-back style is instantly recognizable -- he used to say he wanted to ''sound'' the way a dry martini ''tastes''.
** They were also racial equality pioneers, refusing to play any gigs where black bassist Wright would be treated unfairly.
* ''Thelonious Monk:'' Best known not for his beard, his odd onstage antics, or his collection of unusual hats, but for his idiosyncratic style of playing -- you have to be a really good musician to play that haphazardly and still make it come out ''exactly right''. Check out ''Music/BrilliantCorners''.
* Music/OrnetteColeman: Made the legendary ''Free Jazz'' which broke every single musical rule possible. Check out ''Music/TheShapeOfJazzToCome''.
* Music/VinceGuaraldi: Jazz pianist who wrote and performed the music in the early ''WesternAnimation/Peanuts'' specials. The piece "Linus and Lucy" is considered the ''de facto'' theme for ''Peanuts''.
* Jaco Pastorius: Widely considered to be the most innovative bass player ever. Pretty much every modern jazz bassist cites him as a major influence.
* Music/HerbieHancock: Wrote three of modern jazz's standards -- "Cantaloupe Island," "Dolphin Dance" and "Watermelon Man." His lineup on the ''Music/HeadHunters'' album more or less ''created'' jazz fusion by adding funk influences into the mix. The first artist to have a jazz-hiphop crossover hit with "Rockit", memorable now for its MindScrew of a video.
* Medeski Martin & Wood: Brought fusion into the 21st century with a mix of funk and hip-hop. Known for packing audiences in at their live appearances, and for a level of instrumental virtuosity comparable to Rush.
* Art Blakey: Brilliant drummer whose band, the Jazz Messengers, created almost as many big names as Coltrane's various lineups.
* Music/BennyGoodman: Master clarinetist and band leader, he brought hot swing with a big focus on improvisation into the mainstream at a point when most big bands were almost exclusively using arrangements. He also made a major effort to include the best musicians he could find regardless of their race when most jazz orchestras were officially segregated. When he was booked into Carnegie Hall, it was the first time that the whole bill would include nothing but jazz.
* Music/Charles Mingus: The angry man of jazz, absolutely brilliant and over-opinionated in every place that counted. Known for taking pot shots at other jazz musicians, being a brilliant social activist, and writing a [[http://www.mingusmingusmingus.com/Mingus/cat_training.html guide for how to toilet-train cats.]]. Check out ''Music/MingusAhUm''.
* Albert Ayler: Brought together the big band themes of early jazz and freeform improvisation at its most primal, later adding funk elements. [[WildMassGuessing May or may not have]] [[DrivenToSuicide committed suicide.]]
* Music/EricDolphy: Cult musician, known for his highly unorthodox music. Died at a young age. Check out ''Music/OutToLunch''.

* Music/BobDylan is ridiculously influential. His politically-conscious style of folk music inspired such contemporaries as Joni Mitchell, Peter Paul & Mary, and the Byrds. He's the TropeCodifier, in many aspects, of the modern day SingerSongwriter. He paved the way for many styles of rock music to come, such as FolkRock, heartland rock, country rock and more. Influenced the latter-day direction of Music/TheBeatles, and rock luminaries such as Music/BruceSpringsteen and Music/BryanAdams would never have become household names without him. Known in some circles as "the most influential living musician."
* Music/BuffySainteMarie, fiercely passionate musician and notable political activist, particularly concerning her Native American heritage.
* Music/NickDrake, definitely VindicatedByHistory, sadly years after his death. His air of mystery, intimate sound, unique (at the time) guitar playing with some curious tunings, and [[ShortLivedBigImpact scant body of work]], has influenced numerous {{Singer Songwriter}}s and bands alike.
* Music/JoniMitchell had a string of nigh-flawless records, from 1969's ''Clouds'' to 1976's ''Hejira''.
* Woody Guthrie, who created both original folk songs and traditional folk and blues songs that hadn't been recorded. He was and is a figurehead in Folk Music.
* Music/ArloGuthrie, best known for the song called "Music/AlicesRestaurant".
* Peter, Paul & Mary, the [[{{Disneyfication}} child-safe]] folk group most famous for "PuffTheMagicDragon," but who also recorded many social commentary and protest songs.
* Gordon Lightfoot: Author of such tracks as "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," "Early Morning Rain," "Ballad of Yarmouth Castle," "Sit Down Young Stranger," and "Ghosts of Cape Horn."
* Music/PeteSeeger, one of the greatest folk musicians and greatest Americans to ever live.
* Stompin' Tom Connors. There are few musicians as fiercely proud of their heritage as Stompin' Tom, and he was a Canadian institution for decades, inspiring politicians, blue-collar workers and athletes, all across the country.
* Music/GreatBigSea, an upbeat folk quartet with a gift for singalong hooks, who hit major crossover success in Canada and worldwide. Possibly the most famous group to come out of Newfoundland.

* Music/BlackSabbath, the first band to be widely referred to as "heavy metal". From their debut album in 1969, they pioneered VERY heavy riffs and portentious, ominous lyrics about war and Satan. They contained multitudes.
* Music/DeepPurple. The other band (besides Black Sabbath) that laid the foundation of heavy metal guitar work. Trademark sound was relatively simple riffs overlaid with virtuoso, orgasmic solos. For reference, the opening licks to "Smoke on the Water" are possibly the most recognizable guitar riffs ever. Also, Jon Lords experiment with piping a Hammond organ through a Marshall amp with distortion was unique, and virtually indistinguishable from a guitar. Meanwhile, "Fireball" and "Highway Star" prefigured what would become speed metal while the non-speedy sort was still in its infancy, and Ritchie Blackmore invented the neoclassical guitar solo.
* Music/{{Motorhead}}, who were officially, at one point, the loudest band in the world. Motorhead's intense formula of speed + metal = speed-metal actually satisfied hardcore punks and metalheads alike, and beget many a sincere emulation. On a side note, lead singer and bassist Lemmy claims that they only play rock n roll (and since [[Film/{{Airheads}} Lemmy]]=[[MemeticMutation God]], he would know).
* Music/JudasPriest. Black Sabbath invented heavy metal, but Judas Priest helped to make metal its own genre rather than a blues rock/hard rock subgenre by removing all of the blues influences. They helped create the speed metal subgenre, which influenced both power and thrash metal in the eighties. On a less music note, they also popularized studded leather among fans of metal and gave us an iconic figure in Rob Halford.
* Music/{{Pentagram}}. The TropeMaker for DoomMetal. Though they started in TheSeventies, drug abuse, inter-member friction, and bad luck prevented them from releasing any official albums until [[TheEighties 1985]], and even then, it took them until [[TurnOfTheMillennium 2001]], with the release of the demo compilation ''First Daze Here'', to get anything resembling attention from anyone other than doomsters.

* Original lead singer of Black Sabbath, Music/OzzyOsbourne, left the band at the dawn of the 80s for a solo career. You wanna talk successful solo turns: his trademark wail is the driving force behind a few of metal's greatest anthems, and he became the archetype for shock rock. Now he's a household name, and commonly referred to by fans as The Prince Of Darkness.
* Music/MotleyCrue and Music/DefLeppard's huge commercial success was where the HairMetal era began in earnest, spawning legions of [[FollowTheLeader similarly styled bands]] like Music/{{Poison}}, Music/BonJovi, and many, many more.
* Music/IronMaiden: One day, some time in the drug-fuelled 1980s, a bunch of guys from London's West End discovered one could play beautifully intricate interlocking guitar figures and complex time-signatures over metal of punk-worthy velocity. Along with Motorhead and Judas Priest, Maiden's arrival kickstarted the NewWaveOfBritishHeavyMetal (without which, we wouldn't have bands like...
* Music/{{Metallica}}. Their ''Kill 'em All'' album was the first example of thrash metal, then they were at the forefront of the move to more progressive metal, then they went mainstream before leaving the metal scene entirely. 20 years later, they made a much-heralded return to their original genre.
** Music/{{Megadeth}} is the less-heralded, more technical incarnation of Metallica. Makes sense, seeing as how Dave Mustaine [[StartMyOwn was the original lead guitarist and a song writer]] for them until he was kicked out.
* Music/NapalmDeath: TropeMaker and TropeNamer of the modern {{Grindcore}} scene, infamous for their two-second punk freakout "You Suffer".
* Music/{{Death}}, the first band to play DeathMetal (although Music/{{Possessed}} were the first to release an album). Their 1987 album ''Scream Bloody Gore'' might not have been the first death metal album, but it was the first to be successful. Directly responsible for the Florida death metal scene, as well as the emergence of death metal as a genre wholly separate from thrash metal and for the separate emergence of technical death metal (with ''Human''). The band also provided the genre's iconic figure in Chuck Schuldiner.
* Music/{{Helloween}}. Before Helloween, power metal was regular metal with added dragons. After Helloween, power metal was an absurdly energetic, impossibly epic genre of speed metal based on powerful vocals, complex compositions, and [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome awesome]] choruses.
** And even before Helloween set the power metal formula in stone, there was Music/{{Manowar}}, the UrExample of power metal, and one of the most [[RatedMForManly testosterone]]-[[TestosteronePoisoning fueled]] bands to ever walk the Earth.
* Music/YngwieMalmsteen, Swedish-American neoclassical guitarist who helped popularize "shredding"... of course, he also set the bar ridiculously high in the process.
* Music/{{Candlemass}}. The TropeMaker[=/=][[TropeNamer Namer]] for Epic DoomMetal and the TropeCodifier for doom metal as a whole. Provided the genre with a sense of epicness with towering guitar riffs and bombastic singing.
* Music/{{Voivod}}, whose guitarist (the late Denis "Piggy" D'Amour) inspired a whole generation of players with his idiosyncratic--and often downright weird--playing style.
* Music/{{Venom}}. The albums "Welcome to Hell" and "Black Metal" are two of the most influential albums in the history of metal. It can be argued that without Venom, Thrash, Death, and Black metal would not exist.
* Music/{{Slayer}}. Classified as one of the "Big 4" of thrash metal in the 80's, their 1986 album ''Reign in Blood'' proved to be one of the most controversial albums of the 80's, and its lyrical content and brutal aural onslaught provided the framework of later death metal bands.
* Music/DreamTheater: The forerunners of the ProgressiveMetal genre (although not the first), they proved the genre's commercial appeal with their early '90s single "Pull Me Under", and, while they have fallen under the mainstream's eye, they have built up perhaps the strongest fanbase in all of modern metal, thanks in large part to the classically-trained virtuosity of all four musicians and incredible Rush-inspired stage shows. Most of their lyrical content is derived from personal experiences and hardships, the most notable being a 12-part suite written by drummer Mike Portnoy about his recovery from alcoholism.
* Music/{{Bathory}}. First-Wave BlackMetal band and the one of the genre's most influential bands alongside Music/{{Venom}} and Music/{{Celtic Frost}}. In addition to [[TropeMaker pioneering]] the genre's signature [[HarshVocals shrieked vocals]] on their early releases, their fourth album ''Blood Fire Death'' created the subgenre of "Viking Metal" and popularized Norse Mythology-based lyrics in metal in general.
* Music/XJapan. They fused ThrashMetal, HairMetal, HardRock, and ClassicalMusic to create an entirely new sound in Japanese HeavyMetal for the time, and either singlehandly or co-created the entire genre and style of VisualKei, as well as being the TropeNamer for it with their band's slogan of the time, "Crime of psychedelic violence, Visual Shock." Unusually for HeavyMetal of TheEighties, they actively embraced HomoeroticSubtext as part of their lyrics and stage shows. Guitarist [[Music/HidetoMatsumoto hide]] would go on to a massively popular solo career (mentioned earlier under TheNineties) and himself define two of the more popular modern Visual subgenres.

!!1990s and beyond
* Music/TypeONegative, the face of GothicMetal for many. Their brand of [[BlackComedy dark humor]] and... well, dark everything, was both a send-up and celebration of the tropes of goth music right down to the "vampire" style of vocals. Their theatricality proved to be an influence on future hard rock and heavy metal bands - for instance, the drone metal subgenre might not have even happened without them.
* Music/{{Helmet}} is considered by some to be the nucleus of AlternativeMetal. Helmet's patented sound trimmed the fat down to chugging stop-start riffs on downtuned guitars, noisy solos and just a brutal, non-stop attack. Although they don't always get the proper credit, an enormous amount of hard rock and metal bands of the 90s used Helmet's sound as a starting point (including many in this very section).
* How about credit to Music/RageAgainstTheMachine for bringing politically agitating music back into the mainstream? Most notoriously for their protest concert outside the 2000 Democratic National Convention, but also acts like their video "Sleep Now in the Fire" outside the New York Stock Exchange, their involvement in the protest concerts against the 2008 Republican National Convention, their attempts to hang inverted American flags on ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' in protest of Steve Forbes and numerous other moments. But you're probably wondering about the music: Rage built upon the influences of 1970s funk, hip hop, and heavy metal, to create a fresh fusion of styles that ''heavily'' influenced the metal scene of the 1990s, and by the time they had three albums under their belt, there were Rage-imitators all over the airwaves. Also notable for Tom Morello, the band's strikingly innovative guitar player.
* Music/CannibalCorpse. The TropeCodifier for DeathMetal, brutal death metal, and {{Gorn}} as it pertains to heavy metal music. You can bet that any given song has a significant body count, and as a result they've earned the wrath of many MoralGuardians (such as being banned from Australia for a decade).
* Music/{{Pantera}}. When grunge almost laid heavy metal to rest, Pantera was one of the few bands that carried the flame until metal's next flowering in the late '90s. Also noted for Phil Anselmo's massive and self-destructive heroin addiction, and the brutal murder of Dimebag Darrell after their breakup, an act that galvanized metal fans worldwide.
** It's hard to say Pantera "carried the flame" when the 90's is more or less the rambunctious adolescence of power metal, death metal and black metal, but they were certainly one of the few metal bands who managed to be ''popular'' in the 90's. Still, they were playing manly, excessive, and dare I say ''----ing hostile'' metal without compromise. Pantera excelled as a mainstream metal act in a time nobody thought such a thing could exist.
* Music/FearFactory! Something of a prototype of industrial metal and AlternativeMetal; their tightly-wound, thrashy attack turned out to be ahead of its time.
* Music/{{Mayhem}}. A Norwegian band deriving influence from extant thrash metal bands (and ''especially'' Venom, above; their name came from one of their songs), who between their demo ''Deathcrush'' and their (infamous) debut album ''De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas'' they defined what would become known as black metal, and inspired legions of Scandinavian extreme metal bands.
* Music/NineInchNails, responsible for popularizing industrial rock, and adding humanity to its formerly cold, mechanical sound. Its sole member is brilliant multi-instrumentalist [[IAmTheBand Trent Reznor]], who eventually pushed the sound of the group into more experimental territory. Trent has gotten a reputation for being one of the premier "doom & gloom" guys in heavy music, most famously on ''Music/TheDownwardSpiral'' (possibly the most bleak ConceptAlbum ever recorded) until his latter-day career when he cleaned up his life and became more vocally resistant against music industry practices. Either way, Trent is now one of rock's great cult figures.
* Music/{{KMFDM}}, one of the most notable and longest-lived industrial rock bands, who struck gold with a blending of industrial sounds and electronic dance music. Recently took a turn for a more heavy-rock sound, but still faithful to its industrial roots. Also known to be very personable, chatting with fans online frequently.
* Music/{{Apocalyptica}} started as a chamber music Music/{{Metallica}} cover band that used four cellos. After three albums of covers (the first was entirely Metallica, the other two were other metal bands such as Slayer and Music/{{Pantera}}), Dave Lombardo of Music/{{Slayer}} met them at a festival and asked to do a set with them, then one of them quit the band, so instead of hiring a fourth cellist, they called Lombardo and started making original songs that still use the three cello and a drummer line-up.
* Music/{{Tool}}, most famous nowadays for having one of the [[FanDumb most obnoxious fanbases]] in existence. Still, the band was one of the most influential of the AlternativeMetal movement, adding darker lyrics and sound to the previously rather happy genre, something that resulted, for better or for worse, in the creation of nu metal thanks to bands like Music/{{KoRn}} and Music/{{Deftones}}, who were greatly inspired by Tool's take on alt-metal. As well as this, the band members are all renowned for their musical skill, and their albums are almost always critically acclaimed as masterpieces. They also brought ProgressiveMetal to a much wider audience, and are regarded as one of the founding fathers of "post-metal" (metal + post-rock), along with Music/{{Godflesh}} and Neurosis.
* Music/{{Burzum}}. [[OvershadowedByControversy Extremely controversial]] [[IAmTheBand one-man]] BlackMetal band from Norway whose [[ThreeChordsAndTheTruth minimalistic]] sound proved highly influential to the genre. Only member Varg Vikernes gained great infamy after burning down three churches, murdering Music/{{Mayhem}}'s guitarist/bandleader Euronymous, and condoning far-right, Nazi- and racism-influenced politics.
* Music/{{Darkthrone}}. Norwegian BlackMetal duo who, along with Music/{{Burzum}}, helped define the [[ThreeChordsAndTheTruth lo-fi]] approach that has become a staple of the genre. Their album, ''Transylvanian Hunger'', is one of the most [[FollowTheLeader copied/ripped-off/plagiarized]] albums in all of metal.
* Music/{{Korn}}, the first NuMetal band. Based their sound on downtuned guitars and sheer catharsis, had a deeply disturbing sense of humor put over by a dark, lurching sound that resonated with millions of disaffected [[TheNineties 90s]] kids, and wore a ridiculous amount of Adidas.
* Music/{{Deftones}}. If ''any'' band transcends the NuMetal era, it's them, thanks to their strong gift for melody and a particularly textured sound that creates an intensity all their own.
* Love them or hate them, Music/LimpBizkit did leave a major impact on the rock world by putting RapMetal in the mainstream spotlight, thus beginning the second and final phase of NuMetal. But when their antagonist antics became too much, Music/LinkinPark took over, with their more ear-friendly, cathartic blend of hip hop and aggro metal. So accessible was the latter band, in fact, that they were not only one of the last major successes of the subgenre, but they maintained a level of notoriety years after NuMetal became DeaderThanDisco.
* Following in the footsteps of KMFDM, the infamous Music/{{Rammstein}}. They overcame the language barrier of their German lyrics to popularize the style of industrial metal. Often include provocative messages in their songs, ranging from songs against American consumerism to songs against German sex holidays. Bear an intensely focused sound, huge, chunky riffs and a flair for the dramatic. Also have quite possibly the most [[PlayingWithFire fiery]] live show in the history of mankind.
* Music/MarilynManson. For a few years, Manson was the 90s' answer to Music/AliceCooper, mixing a gender-bending gothic image with a twisted approach at social commentary to create a level of spectacle that was rarely seen since the end of the 80s, and proving there was still an audience out there for theatrics in rock. Meanwhile, he took a GlamRock approach to industrial metal to create a demonic, heavy metal grind that's uniquely his own. He's fallen from the spotlight in recent years, but in his prime he scared the ''shit'' out of parents and religious zealots.
* Music/{{Slipknot}}, nine lunatics in masks and prison jumpsuits who took the psychosis of Music/{{Korn}} to its most brutal depths, then added some HipHop overtones, doubled the tempo, and won one of metal's most loyal followings (the [[FanCommunityNickname Maggots]]).
* Music/{{Skyclad}}: Although only moderately successful in themselves, their first album, ''The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth'', was the earliest attempt to combine folk music and heavy metal, laying the foundations for the now-popular genre of FolkMetal.
** Bathory's ''Blood Fire Death'' is often counted as the first example of a [[HeavyMithril viking metal]], a related genre which often overlaps in the Nordic countries.
* The "Holy Trinity" of MelodicDeathMetal, comprise of Music/InFlames, Music/AtTheGates and Nusic/DarkTranquillity, are responsible for consolidating and popularizing the genre, blending the harsh sound of death metal with the more melodic sound of the NewWaveOfBritishHeavyMetal. The later output of grindcore/death metal band Carcass is generally recognised as the UrExample of this style, and, depending on where you draw the line, may be seen as the TropeMaker to the trinity's TropeCodifier.
* Music/{{Nightwish}}: Symphonic metal band from Finland. Led the pack of its genre for several years and is still going - and still the biggest band in its genre.
* Music/BlindGuardian: HeavyMithril from Germany, with lyrics about things like [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Tolkien's works]] and [[KingArthur English Legends]]
* Music/WithinTemptation: Started at the same time as Nightwish (though they were oblivious to each other at the time) and is the other "biggest band" in the symphonic metal style, influencing many others, though they went less with the operatic style than Nightwish.
* Music/SystemOfADown. Socially and politically conscious metal may be nothing new, but the way they went about it was seriously unique, with jagged, angular guitar riffs, abrupt shifts in mood and/or tempo, and vocals that range from operatic to deep metal growling. These guys were a huge breath of fresh air during the rap-metal era.
* Music/{{Evanescence}} became notable as one of very few female-fronted heavy metal bands to find mainstream success in America.

[[folder:{{Electronic Music}}]]
* Delia Derbyshire pioneered electronically-made music back in TheSixties. Most famously, she produced [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75V4ClJZME4 the original theme]] to ''Series/DoctorWho.''
* Wendy Carlos progressed from Derbyshire's innovations to make pop and classical music electronically. She famously reinterpreted the works of Bach (and other classical composers) with early synthesizers, and even composed the score to ''Film/{{Tron}}!''
* Music/{{Kraftwerk}} - the archetypal electronic pop music act. Almost single-handedly influenced the evolution of numerous musical genres, ranging from rock to hip-hop to house, to techno, and so forth.
* Producer Music/GiorgioMoroder knew early on that synthesizers were the way of the future, and with them he helped fuel {{Disco}} and the emerging dance-oriented electronic music spectrum as a whole.
* Music/ThrobbingGristle made some of the most uncompromising and downright scary music ever with primitive synths, drum-machines and unnerving echo effects. Produced plenty of genuine musical horror(try 'Hamburger Lady', if you're game) but also capable of sweetness and light.
** They also pioneered digital sampling- with primitive machines of THEIR OWN construction, no less!
* Music/TangerineDream, who like Music/{{Kraftwerk}}, helped define the genre. Christopher Frank has had success using the style as a solo composer for a offbeat variety of projects, including the First Tenchi movie and "Series/BabylonFive".
* Music/YellowMagicOrchestra, arguably the first SynthPop band, was highly influential in electronic music and J-Pop. Their sound also crossed over into America and was used by early HipHop artists.
* Music/{{Suicide}} were pretty much considered an abomination in their day (the late 1970s) for their confrontational live performances, which have occasionally incited ''riots,'' but their minimalist electronic grooves wound up inspiring countless musicians that came afterward in {{Industrial}}, PostPunk and SynthPop. They also created "Frankie Teardrop," possibly the most terrifying song ever recorded.

* Music/TheArtOfNoise, an experimental outfit who fused many genres of music together and set them to synthesized drum machines, brought {{Sampling}} into the mainstream, and generally set the tone for a lot of electronic-based music of the 80s and early 90s.
* Juan Atkins! aka Model 500, aka Cybotron, aka Infiniti. Progressing from Kraftwerk's robotic grooves, Atkins and his 1980s electro beats went a long way in defining {{Techno}}, as it came to be known.
* Music/{{Orbital}}, who were obvious Kraftwerk fanboys to begin with. They were one of HouseMusic and Techno's first crossover acts, attracting rock fans on the strength of their cohesive albums, diverse sound, and powerful live shows.
* Music/NewOrder, mixed Kraftwerk-style electronica with post-punk rock songs.
* Music/DepecheMode and Music/PetShopBoys- both were hugely successful, helped keep electronic music popular during the late 80s/early 90s and influenced HUGE number of later musicians from many different genres, within the fields of electronic music, rock, pop and even Metal (bands like Fear Factory, Paradise Lost and In Flames cite them as influences, for example).
* Music/{{Negativland}}! Mastered the craft of sampling and cutting up tape recordings. Throughout their career, they made obvious their anarchist political agenda with humorous sound-collage masterpieces and booper symphonies. Hard to call it "electronica," but it does fit fairly well enough.
* Music/{{The KLF}}, Justified and Ancient of MuMu, the JAMS, The Timelords = Bill Drummond & Jimi Cauty doing whatever they feel like doing. Very Media savvy and more known for their stunts as their music, but still a notable addition to the genre of electronic music.
** Their music was built on "The Manual," which was their explanation of how the pop music business worked. It's still a must-read for aspiring musician.
* Music/{{Front 242}} and Music/SkinnyPuppy, for virtually inventing modern {{Industrial}} music and influencing later IndustrialMetal bands like Music/NineInchNails, Music/{{KMFDM}} and Music/{{Rammstein}}. Also, numerous other electronic musicians (such as Music/TheProdigy) were influenced by Front 242, at least.

* Music/{{Moby}} - He used samples that no artist in their right mind would use in his day, and he made them work. He's known for being able to bring [[TearJerker a tear to people's eye]] by having a repeated sample looping over and over again to epic beats and touching piano riffs or downright having no vocals at all. And if that's not enough, Moby has also spent his career [[GenreRoulette challenging the form of EDM]] by dipping into alternative rock, ambient and new age, and even courting pop audiences with his most famous album, ''Play,'' still one of the biggest sellers in electronic music at over ''12,000,000'' copies.
* Music/{{Underworld}}. Unleashed a dark, progressive sound of long-winded, exhilarating trance/rave workouts, with heavy breakbeats and scattered, surreal lyricism. Signature track: "Born Slippy (Nuxx)."
* Plastikman, aka Richie Hawtin, pretty much ''the guy'' in minimal techno. Started with an acid house sort of sound, then worked his way into creepy ambient stuff.
* Music/MassiveAttack, Music/{{Portishead}} and Tricky are British pioneers of trip-hop, and have recorded some truly original and startling work since in the 1990s.
** To that we can add Music/DJShadow, the [[strike:sole]] most influential American representative, famous for making excellent albums entirely out of samples. ''Endtroducing'' and ''The Private Press'' should be mandatory listening.
* The Big Beat phenomenon of the 90s met major crossover success thanks to artists like:
** Music/TheProdigy. Began as an Essex-rave act but mixed rave sounds, breakbeats, hip hop and hardcore punk for ''massive'' crossover success. Defied the "faceless" nature of electronic music by pushing Maxim Reality and Keith Flint as prominent vocalists, and their third album, ''Music/TheFatOfTheLand'', is frequently regarded as one of the greatest albums in electronic dance music history.
** Music/FatboySlim, a.k.a. Norman Cook, a DJ who pasted together a wall of samples, acidic synthesizers, infectious melodies, and ''huge''-sounding drum machines, to make some highly-renowned singles for the time.
** Music/TheChemicalBrothers, ''the'' big beat group for some, with their onslaught of psychedelic sounds and booming, clattering percussion.
** The Crystal Method, regarded as the USA's answer to the Chemical Brothers, juxtapose pumping electronic sounds with a strong rock band feel. Their sound is also very movie score-like, and that earned them - for better or for worse - the right to appear in the soundtracks for movies such as ''Film/TheFastAndTheFurious'', ''Film/BladeTrilogy'', ''Film/BallisticEcksVsSever'' and ''Film/{{Cursed|2005}}''. They have also created the theme song for the TV series ''Series/{{Bones}}''.
* Richard D. James, aka Music/AphexTwin, a notoriously introverted (and ''incredibly'' self-indulgent) electronic artist who singlehandedly turned the genre on its ear in TheNineties. He started out making dreamy ambient works, and went on to pioneer electronica genres such as drum'n'bass, jungle, electronic pop, and everything in between. Also goes by Polygon Window, AFX and [[IHaveManyNames a bunch of other pseudonyms.]]
* Music/{{Autechre}}. The word that comes to mind with this English duo is experimental; they didn't make concessions to mainstream electronic sounds, preferring to explore their own darker, more challenging territory. But this didn't stop them from being a huge critical success and spawning numerous imitators.
* ''Music/DaftPunk,'' aka Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, aka "those guys in the robot helmets." If ever there was a group always one step ahead of the game, it's Daft Punk, who started out as an eccentric French [[HouseMusic house]] group, then swiftly rose to prominence to become trailblazers for dance music. Their fondness for {{Disco}} and 1980s electro & hip-hop, blended with an intense focus on album-oriented music, and still gave way to now-legendary singles like "Da Funk," "Around The World," "One More Time," "Harder Better Faster Stronger" and "Technologic." The album ''Discovery'' set the tone for dance music in the 2000s, with a kaleidoscope of colorful samples, bumping dance beats and their trademark "robot" vocals. More recently, they've switched to an EDM take on old school funk & R&B to huge critical and commercial success. Oh, and they scored ''Film/TronLegacy'' along the way. Not bad for only five studio albums.
* Music/{{Goldie}}. Created timestretching, founded one of the most renowned drum'n'bass labels around, and his debut album was a turning point for the genre of d'n'b as a whole.
* Music/{{Bjork}}, one of the most singular experiences in electronica or any other genre, and one of the consummate "weird chicks" of the 90s. Her music incorporates EDM and pop while adding jazz, classical, industrial, ''a capella,'' and whatever else she feels like, and puts it all over with scattered, twisted lyrics and a raw, emotional vocal that's equal parts disarming and compelling. She may have influenced many musicians after, but there will ''never'' be another Bjork.
* Music/BasementJaxx, one of the most critically and commercially successful acts in the history of HouseMusic.
* Music/BoardsOfCanada proved to be a revelation for {{Ambient}} techno, and EDM in general. They plucked eroded old samples out of obscurity, and mixed them with hip-hop beats and haunting melodies made on old synthesizers.
* Music/{{Pendulum}} codified drum and bass with their critically acclaimed debut album ''Hold Your Colour'', and kept on going strong with their later releases. Their second album, ''In Silico'', received mixed reception amongst their older fans, but its clever mix of drum and bass and AlternativeRock opened them to a much wider audience.
* Music/{{Air}}, a curious outgrowth of French electronica, weave together old 60s pop, 70s electronics, prog-rock and a real knack for atmosphere, and carved out a unique place for themselves in pop music as a result. ''Music/MoonSafari'' functions as a [[SweetDreamsFuel chillout record]], a makeout record, or an intoxicating exploration of a rich new sound.

!!early 2000s
* Chromeo, with their infectious brand of funk mixed with synthpop and house, gave a softer, more retro vibe to the electronic music scene that is currently dominated by heaviness and grittiness. They've only managed to be known in the mainstream thanks to their fourth album, ''White Women'', but many are already comparing them to Zapp and Daft Punk, and rightfully so.
* Music/LCDSoundsystem, [[IAmTheBand fronted and masterminded]] by James Murphy, a music historian who let loose all his influences and indulgences into long-winded, relentlessly catchy dance records, creating a fresh template for indie and dance music of the 2000s and beyond. With this project, Murphy helped [[TropeCodifier establish, and become a figurehead of,]] the modern DancePunk sound.
* Music/HotChip are a British group fusing indie/alternative rock sensibilities with house, R&B and electronica influences, taking them somewhere close to Chromeo via LCD Soundsystem and Basement Jaxx... and, as that might imply, extremely hard to pin down as they tend to experiment a fair bit. Their first album, ''Coming On Strong'' was [[ThreeChordsAndTheTruth amateurish]], [[{{Minimalism}} minimalist]] electronica (to the point of, at times, sounding almost unfinished), which their second release ''The Warning'' expanded upon with the addition of more instrumentation. This was followed up by ''Made In The Dark'' and its hooky yet experimental synthpop, ''One Life Stand'' (downbeat and serious electronica/dance songs [[ConceptAlbum based around the general theme of love and companionship]]), ''In Our Heads'' (similar to One Life Stand but even more serious and with more obvious influences from 80s synthpop) and their latest ''Why Make Sense?'', consisting of pared-back synth-pop R&B/funk numbers.
* While he first began spinning records in the 90s, Music/ArminVanBuuren's career really took off in this decade with the release of his debut album ''76'' and establishment of his [[LongRunner long-running and ongoing]] radio show ''A State of Trance''. Thanks to ASOT, his many contributions to the electronic music scene, and being crowned the Number One DJ in the World by DJ Magazine for a record number of five times, he's frequently cited as the GenrePopularizer and [[GatewaySeries "gateway" artist]] for {{Trance}}.

!!1960s-1970s (punk rock's rise to prominence and infamy)
* Music/{{MC5}}, a energetic late 60's hard-rock band that first paved the way for punk with their loud, raw and political music. Also notable for: getting the Stooges a record deal, and for being the first band ever to release a song, ''Music/KickOutTheJams'', that included the word "motherfucker."
* Music/IggyPop and Music/TheStooges. They actually invented abrasive three chord PunkRock music in the late 60s, though it wasn't called that at the time. Nowadays, they're considered the archetypical "proto-punk" outfit. As for Iggy himself: between vomiting, exposing himself, stage-diving before it was a thing, smearing stuff all over his [[ShirtlessScene shirtless body]] and bloodying himself with glass, Iggy Pop brought outrageous stage antics to a whole new level.
* The Music/NewYorkDolls, a deliberately provocative (as in crossdressing) GlamRock band, was a bare-bones approach to HardRock. They, and Richard Hell's song "Blank Generation," were very influential on Malcolm [=McLaren=]'s eventual creation of the Sex Pistols.
* Music/TheRamones are the first punk rock band ever. The Ramones' crucial synthesis of buzzsaw thrash and bad taste lyrics was a reaction to what they saw as rock & roll becoming too indulgent for its own good. In distilling rock down to its essences as much as possible - in essence, the poster boys for ThreeChordsAndTheTruth - they became the first true examples of 1970s punk proper. Signature tracks: "Blitzkrieg Bop," "I Wanna Be Sedated" and "Rock & Roll High School."
* The Music/SexPistols crystallized and exemplified the social outrage of UK punk, and became one of the most shocking bands ever seen up till that time. Their swift collapse, and the horrific end of bassist Sid Vicious, is now a famous chapter in rock & roll folklore.
* Music/{{Television}} was different from most punk rock that sprung up around this time. Instead of a blast of power chords and speed, Television had two interlocking guitars, extended solos and a rigid rock structure that helped inspire the [[NewWaveMusic New Wave]] movement. You can still hear their influence in bands like Music/TheStrokes.
* Music/TheClash: If the Ramones introduced punk and the Sex Pistols established the UK style of punk, the Clash raised it to an art form. Their album ''Music/LondonCalling'' is widely considered the greatest punk album of all time (and one of the all-time greats in general).
* Music/PattiSmith, New York punk rocker and poet laureate, uniquely confrontational in a genre that tends to favor male aggression. Still one of the style's great icons.
* Punk/Rock n' Roll band The Heartbreakers (not Music/TomPetty's band), fronted by ex-New York Doll Johnny Thunders, who co-founded the band with ex-Television member (and builder of the stage at CBGB's, which helped many early NY punk bands get an audience) Richard Hell, who sang some lead vocals as well before he left/got kicked out and started the Voidoids, a jazzy art-punk band. Also featured fellow ex-New York Doll Jerry Nolan and co-lead guitarist/co-lead vocalist Walter Lure.
* The Music/{{Buzzcocks}}, one of punk rock's catchiest bands, who showed as much as anyone else what an essential element pop was to the punk rock sound. Or, to put it another way, they were, alongside the Ramones, the UrExample of PopPunk.
* Music/JoyDivision, the raw, ragged, emotional core of PostPunk. Led by the perpetually crestfallen Ian Curtis, who ended this incarnation of the band with his untimely suicide, after which the band became Music/NewOrder (see the Electronic section).
* Music/TheGerms, who were primitive even for punk rock. Take the rudimentary attack of the Stooges and turn it UpToEleven, then add Darby Crash, the most haphazard frontman in the history of rock. ThreeChordsAndTheTruth doesn't get much more belligerent than this band, but they are considered the godfathers of the [[UsefulNotes/LosAngeles L.A.]] punk scene.
* The Dickies, quite simply, were the {{Wacky Guy}}s of punk. Covered kiddie show themes and 60s pop songs, took nothing seriously, and were basically punk rock on sugary cereal.
* The Descendents had a goofball wit of their own combined with a strong sense of melody and a ferocious power that made them icons of L.A. punk rock, and they're still cited by many big league bands today as a major influence.

!!The 1980s (hardcore punk)
* Music/{{X}}, also up there with establishing the L.A. scene for punk rock, and whose blending of punk aggression and old rockabilly elements proved to be pretty influential in their own right. Their debut album, ''Los Angeles,'' was produced by no less than Music/TheDoors' Ray Manzarek.
* Music/{{Crass}}, known for being anarchists, and getting banned in the UK for blasphemy. Godfathers of Anarcho-Punk but due to their use of tape collages, graphics, spoken word releases, poetry and improvisation they are also considered Art-Punk. Still haven't sold out.
* It's been argued over who were the first hardcore punk band. It comes down to either Music/BlackFlag, Music/BadBrains or a little known band from California called The Middle Class.
* Music/MinorThreat: The definite Hardcore band. Known for (inadvertently) starting the straight-edge movement and never ever playing a concert that wasn't open to all ages. Also known for being one of the most awesome bands in the history of the world.
* Music/BadReligion: Credited with singlehandedly reviving the Punk Rock genre in the 80s with their third album ''Suffer.'' Bad Religion is considered by some to be the fathers of modern Punk Rock.
* Music/TheMisfits: probably the most iconic Punk Rock band ever, not to mention the pioneer of what is known as 'Horror Punk.' Like Motorhead, the Misfits are extremely popular in both hardcore punk and heavy metal circles and bands as diverse as AFI or Metallica have cited them as a prominent influences. Their use of the Crimson Ghost (or Fiend) logo is also a well-known example of something that is OlderThanTheyThink.
* Music/ThePogues combined punk rock with Irish traditional music, founding the related genres of folk punk Celtic punk (the latter arguably a sub-genre of the former).
* The Music/DeadKennedys did not create Hardcore Punk, but their hard hitting lyrics and memorable songs make their first album ''Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables'' a must listen to for any fan of punk. Not to forget Music/{{Frankenchrist}}
* Music/{{NOFX}}. Sophomoric hardcore punks that avoided major labels and became legends.
* Music/GGAllin could easily be billed as the most [[RefugeInAudacity controversial]] (or at least insane) hardcore punk musician to ever live. Drug abuse, sexual harassment at live shows, on-stage defecation, and his tombstone being constantly vandalized (so much so that his mother actually ordered it removed) are just the finer points of his career.

!!The 1990s (punk's breakthrough, the riot grrrl movement) and beyond
* Fugazi, the anti-commercial masterminds of post-hardcore.
* Music/BikiniKill: Leaders in the RiotGrrrl movement of punk rock during the 90's, and an inspiration not only for many female punk rockers, but also for the better-known band Music/SleaterKinney.
* Music/{{L7}}, four pissed-off chicks in leather who mixed Joan Jett's punk rock flavor with heavy metal and grunge, thus becoming one of the most badass all-girl bands ever.
* The supergroup Me First & The Gimme Gimmes are basically one of the most beloved cover bands ever. Their discography is solely devoted to doing punk rock covers of the most unlikely pop songs.
* Music/GreenDay: A popular band in TheNineties, a trio of punk revivalists mostly responsible for the rise of PopPunk in the mainstream during the latter half of that decade, thanks to the hugely successful ''Dookie.'' They were willing to be more "mature", and saw a huge revival of interest in the TurnOfTheMillennium with the rock opera ''Music/AmericanIdiot''. Arguably, Green Day are just as influential as Nirvana, with a slew of bands that would never have hit the airwaves without them paving the way, from Music/{{Blink 182}} to Music/MyChemicalRomance to Music/{{Paramore}}.
** Music/{{Blink 182}} are worthy of note in their own right. They brought Green Day's mainstream breakthrough to its logical conclusion: they turned the "pop" in PopPunk basically UpToEleven (with catchy singles like "Dammit" and "What's My Age Again?"), became {{Teen Idol}}s - possibly the first proper teen idols in PunkRock - and with the success of their downtrodden "Adam's Song," laid the groundwork for the second wave of {{Emo}} to hit the airwaves. They further cemented their legacy by expanding their song structures past their usual ThreeChordsAndTheTruth (nearly a year before Green Day did).
* Music/SunnyDayRealEstate: For [[TropeCodifier codifying]] the emo genre, and releasing one of the most influential emo records of the 90's, ''Diary''.
* Time has judged Music/FallOutBoy as the band that breathed new life into PopPunk. They avoided puerile lyrics of earlier mainstream punk bands, and adopted more of a sense of urgency, emo, hardcore punk and other outside genre influences to the music. They also introduced a DeadpanSnarker attitude to the lyrics and song titles, which a few bands afterward (like Music/PanicAtTheDisco) eagerly seized upon.
* Music/HawthorneHeights was pretty much the genre codifier for ''modern'' Emo-Screamo's angsty lyrics and vocals.
* Music/MyChemicalRomance, fronted by 2000s emo icon Gerard Way. They transcended their PopPunk roots in grand fashion, invoked the theatricality of bands like Music/{{Styx}} and Music/{{Queen}} as well as movie soundtracks, and, alongside Green Day, are one of the last flag-carriers of Album Oriented Rock before the overall decline of rock music in the 2010s.

[[folder: Rap and Hip Hop]]
!!The 1970s
* DJ Clive "Kool Herc" Campbell invented hip-hop as we know it today by spinning two records of the same track at somebody's house party, so as to isolate that drumming "break" in the song and make the funkiness last.
** And then, Grand Wizard Theodore, Grandmaster Flash (Music/TheMessage) and Jazzy Jay followed suit and [[TookALevelInBadass took it another level]]. Meanwhile, the Sugarhill Gang made "Rapper's Delight" and twigged everyone else to the fact that a new music style had been born.

!!The 1980s
* Music/RunDMC: It would've been enough if they'd simply initiated some major changes in the sound of rap, shortening the typical song length from 6-12+ minutes to a more radio-friendly 3-5 and bringing a more aggressive, hard-hitting style in both beats and rhyming, usually aided by then-innovative techniques like rapid-fire mic passing and production heavily reliant on drum machines. But they also became the first rap superstars: they were the first group to [[RapRock cross over to rock audiences]] (thanks to Music/{{Aerosmith}} collaboration "Walk This Way"), claim a top ten pop and #1 R&B album chart position, go gold - then platinum - then ''multi-platinum'', appear on MTV, get a Grammy nomination, and appear on the cover of ''Rolling Stone''. Incidentally, "Walk This Way" is considered the song (and video) that revived interest in Aerosmith and launched their second successful period in the late 1980s.
* The Music/BeastieBoys, who have ''quite'' the career narrative: Once referred to as "the first white hip-hop group of any importance," MCA, Mike D and Adrock were hardcore punks who went rap, and capitalized on Run [=DMC=]'s RapRock dabblings with the hedonistic ''License To Ill,'' '''the''' party record of [[TheEighties the late eighties.]] Not taken seriously by many, they revealed an ambitious side to themselves with the sample-heavy kaleidoscope ''Music/PaulsBoutique,'' a popular choice for best rap album ''ever.'' They changed direction ''again'' by picking up their instruments for a couple of ultra-eclectic hip-hop albums rooted in alternative rock and old school funk, and ''then''..... well, to sum it up, the Beasties came to define GenreRoulette and they have one of hip-hop's most diverse bodies of work. They also bear claim to the most ridiculous {{Boastful Rap}}s of all time.
* Herbie Hancock's "Rockit". Watch ''Scratch'' (2000), the quintessential movie about the turntablist movement, and see who the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, the X-Men (now the X-Ecutioners), Mix Master Mike, and everyone else all say inspired them to start fucking up their mommas' records.
* Doug E. Fresh, The Original Human Beatbox. Besides being a hell of an old school MC, he created and popularized the beatboxing technique, and is still one of the best ever.
* Afrika Bambaataa took a Kraftwerk record and invented electro, giving us the basis for the use of synthesizers in hip-hop.
* Music/LLCoolJ.
* Music/QueenLatifah and Salt-n-Pepa both showed up in the latter half of the 80s and rocked the hip-hop world with some seriously powerful feminist statements for the time. But perhaps the Queen herself said it best: ''"Who you callin' a bitch?!"''
* Music/EricBAndRakim, the ultimate DJ/MC combo.
* Music/PublicEnemy, the famous politically charged group responsible for some of the best hip-hop albums ever recorded, including Music/FearOfABlackPlanet and Music/ItTakesANationOfMillionsToHoldUsBack.

!!The 1990s and beyond
* The period from the late '80s to the early '90s is considered to be hip-hop's Golden Age, as it was a time of extraordinary innovation in rhythms, sounds, lyrical styles, and content. The level of self-awareness and intellectual thought makes the music from this time still extremely popular amongst middle-class white college students looking to show how down they are. Notable acts include: Music/ATribeCalledQuest, Music/DeLaSoul, Music/ThePharcyde, Gang Starr, Digable Planets, Music/PMDawn, KRS-One, Music/CypressHill, and Music/WuTangClan.
** This style of hip-hop experienced a resurgence in the late '90s, featuring such acts as Music/TheFugees (Music/TheScore), the Roots, Common, MosDef, Jurassic 5, DJ Shadow, Kool Keith, MobbDeep, and Dead Prez.
* While mainstream hip-hop during the '80s had devolved into a gimmick, West Coast hip-hop (Music/DrDre, Music/SnoopDogg, Music/{{NWA}}) gave birth to gangsta rap and made hip-hop a force to be reckoned with.
** NWA in particular are the nucleus for gangsta (though they themselves called their music "reality rap"), bringing the grittiest of lifestyles to the mainstream just as rap was becoming more socially conscious. Eazy-E is now an icon of the gangsta years, and the group themselves indisputably changed hip-hop forever.
** [[Music/DrDre Dr. Dre]] rose from the ashes of NWA to release ''The Chronic,'' where he pioneered the g-funk sound that became a benchmark for hip-hop for the next several years. Still one of hip-hop's premier producers.
** Music/SnoopDogg, formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, demonstrated a stoned, laid-back flow atypical of most [=MCs=], and yet it fit perfectly with the g-funk era and has made him an icon to this day.
** Creator/DeathRowRecords: Released ''The Chronic'' and ''Doggystyle''; founded by Dr. Dre and Suge Knight.
* Music/MCHammer brought rap music to the pop audience, and showed once and for all that the genre did, in fact, have huge commercial appeal.
* Bad Boy Entertainment: label founded by Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, a.k.a. P. Diddy; home to Christopher "Biggie Smalls" Wallace, a.k.a. Music/TheNotoriousBIG.
* Music/TupacShakur.
* Missy Elliot/Timbaland.
* Music/BustaRhymes, in his prime one of the wackiest, most unpredictable rappers going.
* Everlast, and his group Music/HouseOfPain. Everlast has quite an interesting, eclectic career, starting with House Of Pain, the blue-collar Irish thugs who were among the few white rappers taken seriously in the mid-1990s (mostly known for their classic party joint "Jump Around" and their seminal debut album). When they dissolved, Everlast bounced back, and, with 1998's surprise hit "What It's Like," he pioneered a blend of country, blues and hip-hop that wound up surprisingly influential over the next decade.
* Cash Money Records (Lil' Wayne, Birdman, Juvenile, Big Tymers) and No Limit Records (Mystikal, Master P, Silkk the Shocker, C-Murder) were responsible for bringing the "Dirty South" and bounce music into the limelight in the late '90s.
** Lil Wayne became a superstar on his own in 2008. He formed Young Money and discovered two more future superstars in Music/{{Drake}} and Music/NickiMinaj.
* Music/ProfessorElemental: Pioneer of "Chap-hop".
* Music/{{Eminem}}, who shook up America with his gleefully psychotic "Slim Shady" persona, and in the process proved himself to be one of the most gifted rappers of his time, if not all time. He is the ''top selling musician of the 2000s,'' and he's still raising eyebrows and topping the charts today.
* Music/JayZ is not only one of the finest rappers of the 90s/2000s, with a refined, unflappable flow, he's also one of the most financially successful musicians ever. He and wife Music/{{Beyonce}} later became popular music's RulingCouple. He also discovered Music/KanyeWest.
** Kanye ''ruled'' the hip hop world ever since he broke out. Even when his ego and a bunch of controversies came into play, it did nothing to derail his career. Hell, his 2009 hiatus following his VMA fiasco with Taylor Swift only made him stronger, as the release of ''Music/MyBeautifulDarkTwistedFantasy'' in 2010 clearly shown.
* Music/{{Outkast}}, who were a more melodic, pop-friendly rap outfit who nonetheless showed more innovation than any of their peers.
* Music/KendrickLamar is undisputably the most critically successful rapper of the new Tens, with his major-label albums - ''Music/GoodKidMAADCity'', ''To Pimp a Butterfly'', and ''DAMN.'' - selling millions and receiving enthusiastic reviews thanks to his incredible songwriting abilities.
* British collective/record label Boy Better Know was founded in 2005 by brothers and MC's Jamie and Joseph Adenuga, aka JME and Skepta. It has since then become the single most important collective in the grime scene, releasing albums by notable MC's like Wiley, Frisco and Jammer. While for their first 10 years they never quite managed to break out the UK, everything changed with the surprise success of Skepta's fourth album, ''Konnichiwa'', which exposed grime to an audience even outside Britain and landed in various end-of-year lists of best albums of 2016.

* Music/JimmieRodgers The proclaimed "Father of Country" was one of the first superstars of the genre and would serve as not not only a huge inventor of country music but also a great influence on rock and roll.
* Music/HankWilliams. More or less established the vocabulary for 20th century country music.
* Music/JohnnyCash, a forerunner for the face of country music for over two decades, and one of the early founders of rock and roll (and he always refused to restrict himself to any one genre). Experienced a lull during the early 80's to 2000. Instead of fading away, he used a simpler style and went on to create the emotionally fueled "American" series of albums.
* Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys. As implied by the name, these guys essentially invented bluegrass music. Former members of the band, Flatt & Scruggs, went on to take it to even bigger heights.
* Music/MerleHaggard, one of country's finest songwriters and, alongside Cash, one of the genre's biggest working-class heroes.
* Music/DollyParton. She is one of country music's most recognizable and loved singers; behind the sweet voice is a survivor who wrote many of her hits, including "I Will Always Love You" (yeah, that one).
* ''Music/WillieNelson.'' Leader of the outlaw country movement, a wealthy songwriter and a certified icon.
* Music/{{Alabama}}. In a genre that celebrates solo artists much more than bands, Alabama were a hugely successful country ''band'' - in fact, the most successful country band of all time.
* K.D. Lang began with contemporary country, but added some adult contemporary pop touches in the 90s, and either way was one of the finest Canadian vocalists of all time. Also challenged audiences with her androgynous appearance, which had rarely been seen to that degree in country or most other genres in general.
* Music/GarthBrooks is the man who brought {{Spectacle}} to country music. Period.
* Music/AlanJackson, probably one of modern country's great traditionalists.
* Music/DwightYoakam was written off by many people as just a "hat act" back in the day of his popularity. It wouldn't be until the late 2000s when new, young country artists started listing him as an influence that people found out just how important he was to the genre.
* Music/DixieChicks were nothing out of the ordinary when they started. Then in 1998, they got a new lead singer, started pushing the bounds of Neo-Traditionalism and successfully broke through with their 2002 album ''Home''.
* Music/AlisonKrauss, plus her band Union Station, probably the biggest names in ''modern'' bluegrass music.


* Louis Jordan, saxophonist, bandleader, and the face of jump blues in the 1940s.
* Music/CabCalloway; simply put, one of the most flamboyant, and influential, entertainers in the history of the genre.
* Music/TheInkSpots and Music/TheMillsBrothers were the forerunners of the vocal groups that would characterize the late 40s and 50s.
* Music/FatsDomino, who churned out a powerful, rollicking rhythm & blues sound that pointed the way straight towards rock & roll. Known for his breezy, easygoing sound and for being Elvis Presley's idol.
* Etta James, a ''strong'' blues vocalist who sang R&B with jazzy overtones. Possibly a UrExample of {{Soul}}.
* Big Joe Turner, the Boss of the Blues. Big Joe could belt out rhythm & blues with the best of them, while bringing in influences of jazz, boogie-woogie, and even early rock & roll.
* In the same vein, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She was a guitarist and gospel singer who brought the spirit of the music to the world of pop and R&B in the late 30s and 40s, and while this was controversial at the time, she proved to be one of the first precursors to rock & roll.
* Music/LittleRichard, maybe just behind Chuck Berry for influencing rock & roll, but undoubtedly the first major influence for funk. Actually, Little Richard may be the clearest link between 1940s rhythm & blues and rock & roll, most clearly demonstrated with the energetic "Tutti Frutti." Unquestionably one of the most powerful singers in either R&B or rock music.
* Sam Cooke, the ''TropeMaker'' of {{Soul}}. 'Nuff said.
* Music/JamesBrown, a.k.a. [[RedBaron Mr. Dynamite, The Godfather Of Soul,]] [[IHaveManyNames Soul Brother Number One, and of course The Hardest Working Man In Show Business]]. If Little Richard laid the seeds for funk, and Sam Cooke began soul, Brown brought both to a brand new level, in particular establishing funk as a subgenre in its own right. Almost surely the most charismatic and enthusiastic performer of all time.
* Music/TheIsleyBrothers. Lasted ''half a century,'' and existed in multiple incarnations, through different generations of R&B music, such as soul and funk. They're basically an institution of the genre.
* The doo-wop craze of the 1950s generally produced more classic songs than classic groups, as many one-hit wonders filled up the subgenre. There were a few that stuck around as genuine hitmakers, such as the Platters and the Coasters, but the most revered of the decade was easily the Drifters. The Drifters were at the forefront of the style despite being a RevolvingDoorBand with multiple lead singers, and they're responsible for iconic songs like "Money Honey," the ahead-of-its-time "There Goes My Baby," and "Under The Boardwalk." By the way, Ben E. King, prominent singer in a later incarnation of the group, [[BreakupBreakout struck out on his own]], and scored the hit "Stand By Me," one of the most famous pop songs in history.

!!1960s & 1970s
* Music/DustySpringfield, maybe the most beloved white soul singer in history. Her contralto voice was as strong as any other in the genre, but she could handle all sorts of pop songs, with a distinctive passion to her vocal. From Dusty's body of work, you can see the nucleus for the music of Music/LindaRonstadt, [[Music/{{Eurythmics}} Annie Lennox]], Music/LisaStansfield, Music/AmyWinehouse and Music/{{Adele}}, amongst others.
* The Funk Brothers, possibly ''the'' ultimate gang of session musicians. You may not know them, but if you've heard even one of Motown's greatest hits, you've heard them.
** And many of the acts they backed up:
** Smokey Robinson and the Miracles: One of the earliest signings to Motown, Smokey is a world-renowned presence in pop and soul, as well as a major songwriter behind the scenes.
** Music/MarvinGaye: Became soul music's TropeCodifier in the 60s and 70s thanks to his seductive, sophisticated brand of R&B that wasn't the least bit shy about tackling social and political issues.
** Music/StevieWonder: Rose from a child prodigy to become one of the genre's most soulful, colorful talents, with a diverse approach that led itself to a plethora of pop hits.
** Music/TheSupremes: The definitive GirlGroup of the 60s, arguably the yardstick by which all others of the era are judged. Diana went solo by the time the 70s rolled around and just kept rolling out the hits, in both pop and soul.
** The Temptations: If the Supremes were the definitive girl group, the Temptations were the definitive male vocal group. Went from powerful, soul-influenced pop to embrace psychedelic soul upon reaching the 70s.
* Wilson Pickett, and his gritty, impassioned vocals and muscular grooves. His music is a must-hear if you like your soul music raw.
* Music/ArethaFranklin, considered by some to be the greatest female pop singer ever. Her big hit, "Respect", is often-parodied, but it's an early establishment of feminism in pop music, and she had a string of hits in the late 1960s and a comeback in the 1980s. Last seen at the [[NiceHat Obama inauguration.]]
* Music/SlyAndTheFamilyStone, who added social awareness to their R&B/funk/rock hybrid.
* [[Music/GeorgeClinton Parliament/Funkadelic]], who took funk to a whole new level.
* Booker T. and the M.G.'s, Memphis's answer to the Funk Brothers, were the house band for Stax Records. They were the architects of the Memphis Soul sound, thanks to both their own recordings and the acts they recorded with, including:
** Otis Redding
** Sam & Dave
** Issac Hayes
** Rufus Thomas, and his daughter Carla Thomas
* Music/BarryWhite. You may know him for his deep bass voice and loverman persona, which deservedly made him an icon, but his rich, sultry production technique helped set the tone for R&B and pop music in TheSeventies.
* The Jackson 5, later simply the Jacksons, a relentlessly funky pop band who were major teen idols in the 70s and the launching pad for Michael's later success.
* Music/EarthWindAndFire, commercially one of the most beloved funk acts of the 70s, and musically one of its more diverse.
* Music/RickJames helped move the style of funk from the looser jams of the 70s and into the 80s, with a slicker, rock-inspired funk sound he called "punk funk."
** Kool & The Gang, themselves a big name in funk in the 70s, pulled this trick off in their own regard, except they did it by embracing ''pop'' instead. Compare "Jungle Boogie" from 1973 to "Celebration" in 1980. It's like two different bands.
* The Commodores, relentlessly funky Top Ten mainstays for Motown in the 70s, and the launching pad for Music/LionelRichie's even more successful, pop-oriented solo career in the 80s.

!!1980s, 1990s & early 2000s
* ''Music/{{Prince}}.'' The only reason he's in the R&B section is because that's where he started and based the better part of his music around, but the man is one of the best examples of NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly of all time. He redefined {{Funk}} for TheEighties. His use of synthesizers set the stage for the early 80s SynthPop sound. His sexually-charged content set a new standard for what could be said on record (which wound up inspiring the Parental Advisory stickers). His music became so textured critics could only call it The Minneapolis Sound. He wrote so much material, he had to give tons of his songs to other artists, and went so far as to create protege acts (such as Vanity 6, Appolonia 6 and most famously The Time) just as additional output for him. This just scratches the surface of his achievements, but let's just say he has one of the richest bodies of work in modern music. Oh, and he plays guitar like a man possessed.
* Music/TinaTurner, one of popular music's greatest survivors, sometimes called The Queen Of Rock & Roll. She and ex-husband Ike Turner were a huge force in the genre in the late 60s and early 70s, with strong, gospel-influenced music, and amazing performances from Tina, a first-rate dancer and singer. But when their relationship [[DomesticAbuse deteriorated beyond repair]], Tina struck out on her own, and her massive success in the 80s vindicated her as an icon unto herself. Even into her 70s she could still keep up with dancers half her age.
* Music/{{Sade}} and her distinctive alto voice would've caught lots of attention on her own, but her band also created a jazz/soul/pop hybrid that made a big splash with contemporary audiences.
* Music/NewEdition, a sensation with teenagers in the 80s, and the group who ushered in the new jack swing era. Boyz II Men picked up where they left off in the 90s.
* Music/JanetJackson eventually became the only member of the Jackson family to overcome Michael's shadow, by combining dance-pop, R&B and a fierce sense of independence. Firmly became a superstar after the breakout success of the 1986 album ''Control,'' and she never looked back.
* The success of Music/MaryJBlige was a definite point at which R&B and hip hop began to rub shoulders. Her style was dubbed HipHopSoul (and thus, she's often called "the queen of hip-hop soul") and it would set the stage for R&B in the 1990s and afterward. She also laid the groundwork for the neo-soul movement, which featured famous figures like D'Angelo, Music/LaurynHill, Music/ErykahBadu, Music/AliciaKeys and many, many more. Of course, Blige was helped in this department by.....
* Music/MariahCarey. Armed with a distinctive voice featuring a staggering five-octave range, she began as a spirited dance-pop singer but soon refreshed her image and sound by transitioning into modern R&B. In fact, while Mariah's diva status is her defining image, she also changed R&B forever with "Fantasy," featuring [[Music/WuTangClan Ol' Dirty Bastard]]. This seemed like a strange combination at the time, but the merging of hip hop and pop wound up redefining R&B (and pop itself, to a certain extent) for the next couple ''decades.'' Through all this, Mariah became ''the'' highest selling solo artist of the 90s, and remains one of popular music's great divas to this day.
* Music/{{Brandy}} deserves a mention here, not just for her willingness to tweak, play with and expand the HipHopSoul sound, but for her soft, husky voice, which showed that you didn't need to do huge vocal gymnastics to turn in a beautiful performance.
* The loose, funky sound of Music/{{TLC}} appealed to hip-hop, R&B ''and'' pop fans, and with that crossover appeal, not to mention their strong personalities, they became superstars, not to mention feminist icons, in the 90s. Still the blueprint for many girl groups to come afterward.
* Music/DestinysChild picked up where [=TLC=] left off in the late 1990s and early 2000s to become the hottest GirlGroup in the genre, despite various lineup changes and legal drama within the group. They had both R&B and pop success, and gave way to the solo career of Music/{{Beyonce}}.
** Beyoncé practically ''defines'' the R&B scene of the 2000s, essentially a demigod of the genre, thanks to her charismatic flair for performance and sheer vocal power. Not far behind, though, is Music/{{Rihanna}}.
* Music/{{Usher}}. For a time in the late 90s he was ''the'' young loverboy of hip-hop soul, with those puppydog eyes and an irresistible, yearning vocal. A top-notch dancer, he also showed some notable artistic growth in the 2000s. He also discovered Music/JustinBieber.
* Music/{{Aaliyah}} didn't live to see her 23rd birthday, but her forward thinking pop blend is up there with [=TLC=] in setting the tone for what R&B would sound like for the next several years.
* Music/AmyWinehouse effectively created the modern idea of the pop music "bad girl." Though she sadly did not leave behind as large a body of work compared to some of the other artists in this section (only two proper studio albums, in fact!) she still nevertheless made a huge impact in a very short space of time. She revived both the popularity of British artists abroad and {{Soul}} music, as well by their own admission paved the way for many prominent female singer songwriters, whether musically or in persona, such as Music/{{Adele}}, Music/LanaDelRey, Music/LadyGaga, Music/PalomaFaith, Music/JessieJ, Music/EmeliSande and [[Music/FlorenceAndTheMachine Florence Welch]].

[[folder:Reggae and Ska]]
* Music/BobMarley, the most famous reggae performer of all time, famous for his many quotable quotes and catchy songs, including, but not limited to, "I shot the sheriff", "Redemption Song", and "One Love."
** Not to mention the early Wailing Wailers who featured him, Music/PeterTosh and Bunny (Livingstone) Wailer, who would both become successful solo musicians in their own right. Whilst Marley's Island stuff is more famous, many fans and critics tend to agree that his Wailers career from 1967-1971 is his best.
* Let's not forget the late-Seventies and early-Eighties bands of the 2-Tone movement, like the Specials and the Beat, who revived ska in the U.K. Not to mention Music/{{Madness}}, who helped to bring it to mainstream attention.
* The Skatalites, arguably the first ska band ever, and ancestor to ''everything'' else in this section.
* Jimmy Cliff and ''TheHarderTheyCome'' were a huge influence on early reggae bands.
* The first reggae heard by American audiences was Millie Small's 1964 cover of "My Boy Lollipop" (actually done in "bluebeat" style), then Desmond Dekker's "Israelites" in 1968.
* The Toasters. The Toasters were the first third wave ska band from the United States and helped to popularize the genre in America.
* Music/ReelBigFish, the first breakout hitmakers of the Orange County ska scene. Their song 'Sell Out' has become a ska/punk anthem.
** And whose live shows are just about the most fun it's possible to have without, y'know...
* Music/FiveIronFrenzy, one of the best Christian bands.
* Music/{{Sublime}}, a beloved mixture of hip-hop, reggae and punk. "Santeria" is one of the most well known modern reggae songs. Sadly, vocalist Brad Nowell wouldn't live to see them hit the big time.
* Prince Buster was one of the most influential members of the first wave ska movement, cited by Madness, the Specials and the Selecter as a big influence. One of his songs lends Madness its name (and he himself is referenced by their very first single, "The Prince").
* If you don't mention Buju Banton, Beenie Man or Bounty Killa, you're doing it wrong. These ARE the legends of 90s reggae, and this is the one genre on this page for which "of note" doesn't only mean "popular in the US".

* Music/SpikeJones, bandleader of the City Slickers, and one of the most beloved novelty musicians not named [[Music/WeirdAlYankovic Yankovic.]] Spike Jones and his band are famous for utterly destroying the pop compositions of the day not with parody lyrics, but with big, goofy sounds - banjos, car horns, kitchen utensils, even gargling. It should be noted that despite all the silliness, the musicians were all excellent players (you'd '''have''' to be to make sense of Spike Jones' songs).
* ''Les Paul & Mary Ford.'' Not so much as a vocal duo (though they were certainly good singers); Les Paul is one of the most notable innovators in music. He brought the technique of overdubbing to a mass audience, as well as tape delay and multi-track recording (the multi-tracked chorus of Mary Fords on "How High The Moon" is a famous example). He also pioneered the solid-body guitar. Needless to say, that's quite a distinctive reputation considering he and Mary emerged in the pre-rock & roll era.
* Music/TheShaggs may go down as one of the worst (if not '''the''' worst) bands to ever record music, yet they're icons of OutsiderMusic and one of pop music's strangest curiosities.
* Music/TheResidents: Bought the 3rd digital sampler off the assembly line, and put pop, anonymity, utter strangeness, and a twisted sense of humor into a blender. Also helped fuel genres such as punk and industrial without even realizing it.
* Creator/DrDemento. Not a musician per se, but a radio DJ, who based his shows around novelty records, as well as the more strange and unusual artists in popular music, Demento won a loyal cult following, and also gave the world.....
* Music/WeirdAlYankovic. It seems easy to dismiss Al as nothing more than a comedy parodist. But to deny that the man is a true musical genius in his own right is to bury your head so deep in the sand as to have it come out the other side of the world. The list of artists he names as his musical influences reads like a Who's Who of musical legends. He's proficient in any genre of music he cares to turn his hand to (from polka to hard rock to pop rock to rap to country to punk... just about the only genre he hasn't done is {{Opera}}), and has actually become a musical influence all his own. Consider that for a second... a guy who makes his living ''making fun of other musicians work'' has become an influence on mainstream musicians in nearly every genre of music!
* Music/BobRivers will take any random (usually rock) song and change the lyrics into a parody that quite often relates to something current at the time the song was rewritten. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGKlIoyno6c Example]] not surprisingly, much of his work is incorrectly attributed to Music/WeirdAlYankovic.
* ''Music/PuffTheMagicDragon'' - A TearJerker of a song that's widely believed to be some sort of extended drug reference.

!!1990s onward
* Music/{{Ween}}, aka Dean & Gene Ween, the embodiment of the willful ''weirdness'' of the alternative rock era. Self-indulgent GenreRoulette on hallucinogenic drugs. They played some of the goofiest, strangest music of their time, and proved themselves as incredibly adept at multiple styles, including an all-country album. The band were summed up by one critic as "the ultimate cosmic goof of the alternative rock era."
* Music/{{Beck}}, whose music popularized a "cut-and-paste" style of production that fuses multiple styles together along with a plethora of found sounds and {{Sampling}}. Like Ween, Beck encompassed the weirdness of the 90s, except his approach was even more abstract and postmodern. His sound could be described as [[PsychedelicRock psychedelic]]-[[FolkMusic folk]]-[[HipHop hip-hop]]-[[{{Funk}} funk]]-[[RockAndRoll rock]]... and even that doesn't quite capture his music. If anyone ever asks you what the alternative era was like, just put on ''Odelay,'' arguably Beck's definitive album.
* Music/{{Primus}}: Most rock bands don't have a bass player as such a focal point of the band, but the wacky Les Claypool and Primus aren't most bands.
* Music/{{Stereolab}}, who lived up to their name with a curious, mixture of 1970s experimental rock, Music/{{Kraftwerk}}, lounge music and 60s pop. Never hit huge commercial heights, but they're a big name in British alternative music.
[[folder: Prominent musicians post-2005]]
* Music/{{Paramore}}, a.k.a. ''the'' biggest female-fronted pop-punk band of the 21st century.
* Music/PanicAtTheDisco. Discovered by Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, and quickly went on to become more of a pop-oriented, theatrical version of that band.
* Music/LadyGaga became a phenomenon by mixing pop music with electronic dance. However her main selling point was her bizarre wardrobe and enigmatic persona. This brought back the concept of pop-divas in a way not seen since Madonna.
* Music/KatyPerry was considered the antithesis to Lady Gaga. Rather, she had a more "girl-next door" persona, and was more relatable to audiences than her rival.
* Music/MileyCyrus, a.k.a. ''Series/HannahMontana,'' led a wave of similar teen female pop stars to the top of the charts in the late '00s and '10s. Following in her footsteps were Music/SelenaGomez, Music/DemiLovato, and Music/ArianaGrande. And she then promptly distanced herself as much as possible for a HotterAndSexier image.
* Music/TaylorSwift started off as a popular country singer before her popularity unexpectedly exploded well beyond what was expected from a country artist and into rare pop superstardom. This led to her ditching her country schtick and going full-out pop for her fifth album.
* Picking up where Music/TheWhiteStripes left off are Music/TheBlackKeys.
* Music/{{Adele}} was very popular in the UK for a few years when her sophomore album ''21'' became a worldwide megahit. She was a very rare type of star with near-universal appeal and kept her music at the forefront rather than her image - not hard to do, since her huge, powerhouse voice raised the bar considerably at the height of an era obsessed with AutoTune.
* After being dormant for a long time, teenage girls reignited their love affair with heartthrob musicians. Most dominant at the time were Music/JustinBieber, then Music/OneDirection, then Music/JustinBieber again.
* Easily the biggest male pop star of the 2010s is Music/BrunoMars. He is seen as a very eclectic pop star whose music is comparable to the likes of Music/MichaelJackson and Music/{{Prince}}. He helped bring old school R&B (especially funk) back to prominence.
* Music/{{Lorde}} and Music/LanaDelRey were very unique female "indie-pop" singers. Their music was very minimalistic at best, but was highly acclaimed and accessible to all types of audiences. When people found out Lorde was only 16, it was quite shocking.
* Music/KendrickLamar is easily rap's fastest-rising star. His 2012 album ''Music/GoodKidMAADCity'' put him on the map and 2015's ''To Pimp a Butterfly'' solidified him as an A-list superstar act.
* Music/{{Issues}} is noted for being among the first bands to combine HeavyMetal with [[{{Pop}} Top 40 music]]. They're also responsible for popularizing the [[NuMetal nu]]-{{metalcore}} trend that's gained a fair bit of popularity in the '10s. In fact, they're seen as one of the contributing bands for the supposed 2010s [[GenreRelaunch revival]] of the former.
* Music/{{Skrillex}} didn't create {{Dubstep}}, but [[GenrePopularizer popularized]] and [[TropeCodifier codified]] it so much that the [[PublicMediumIgnorance general public thinks he did]]. The genre he popularized would become a defining genre for the start of the 2010s, and even after dubstep fell off the map, he still remained one of the most iconic figures in EDM.