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Most influential artists in rock music history

Do a column on the most influential rock music artists, I thought. You did it on country music, why not rock? Yeah, that’s what I thought to myself.

And then you look at all the different flavors of rock music through the years and the thought kicks in, “I could be here all night. I could write a book.”

I’ll have to make things short and sweet.

Some of the roots of rock started around 1949, and Bill Haley and the Comets doing cover songs started kicking in around 1952.

But who had the biggest impact right from the start? Let’s discuss.


It was 1954, and Elvis’ cover of Arthur Crudup’s blues song “That’s All Right (Mama)” was his first single for Sun Records. The rock-and-roll baby that had been in infancy suddenly grew by leaps and bounds. Elvis put rock on a long-lasting roll.


Chuck brought the electric guitar to the forefront of rock music, and it would be awfully tough to even try to rein it in from then on.


Ray opened a few doors – bringing a tasteful combination of rhythm and blues and gospel which helped launch a soulful sound, turning into … soul. And Ray even had the guts to take on country music a bit too.


When people think of surf music, many might think of the Beach Boys first. But Dick Dale laid the groundwork with his style. Dick passed away in mid-March, and serious rock-and-roll fans mourned his death like another king had just left.


A guy named Cliff Richard who regained some fame in later years was one of the first huge stars in Britain, before these guys from Liverpool made it big. But these guys took it to a higher level. They ushered in the British Invasion, which gave us bands like Herman’s Hermits,

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