Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Rock Revival's Ten Greatest American Musicians of All Time

Recently I posted a list of the Best Concept Albums Ever on WNEW Where Rock Lives ! and got some stick for saying it was the best rather than 'my best".

Fair cop I say, but I can't stop posting lists as they are so much fun to think of and my statcounter tells me they are amongst your favourate posts on Rock Revival

So here's the big one: 'my' assessment of the Ten Most Influential American MUsicians of All Time

1. Robert Johnson

The father of the blues, without whom we would have no rock to speak of. He is the central mythological figure in rock, the man who sold his soul to the devil, something musicians did quite alot of themselves, at least in the late 60's and early 70's. I say mythological because who he really was and how he contributed is a little blurry. He was deified by Clapton and the rest is history

2. Bob Dylan

The man who popularised folk, who has been a mainstay of integrity since and arguably 'the' songwriter of his generation.

3. Cole Porter

Without Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Hoagy Carmichael there would be no jazz; they provided the standards which jazz has improvised with ever since

4. Chuck Berry

The man who brought the guitar forward as the main instrument of rock rather than the vocals. The man who helped make the transition from blues to rock and roll as we now know it

5. Jimi Hendrix

The natural inheritor of Chuck Berry, he used Johnny B Goode to define himself as compared to Chuck as did the Sex Pistols who established Punk. Jimi added psychedelia and made sure the guitar hero stayed centre stage until the 80's

6. John Coltrane

Clearly the Hendrix of Jazz; destined to burn himself out but more on fire than any other jazz musician of his generation. Listen to Afro Blue live; he comes in like Hendrix, worshipped as a deity by some in the Us (literally)

7. James Brown

He took rhythmn and blues to a whole new level; no James no Parliament, no hip-hop, maybe even no MIck Jagger swagger, given he learned it directly from watching James Brown

8. Miles Davis

One of the few artists who spearheaded two genres in his lifetime; Bebop and Jazz Fusion.
He pioneered the blend of jazz and psychedelic rock and nearly got JImi involved at the same time

9. Ray Charles

One of a few masters who took the religion out of Gospel to breate Rhthymn and Blues and Soul

10. Elisha Gray

This ones abit cheeky but he invented the first sythesiser late in the 19th century; it would go onto to become the moog in the late 60's influencing psychedelia, prog and now electronic music

Tell me what do you think, what's on your list

Image: Courtesy Impulse

No comments: