Rock music has had so many defining moments that it is hard to choose five out of the massive list of musicians who were integral to the genre. The ones mentioned below have been instrumental in helping rock music evolve with their unique personalities, music, and boldness. These are the top five rock artists who have made a lasting impact that is felt to this day.
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1. Elvis Presley
Known as the king of rock’n’roll, Elvis Presley is the second best-selling solo artist of all time and has sold over 146.5 million units to date. He is considered a cultural icon in the United States for the way he promoted his music by giving due credit to the African American singers who were at the core of rhythm and blues, which he fused with country music to create timeless classics that are popular to this day. His voice, music, and sense of fashion, which comprised his image, have left a lasting legacy that is admired and mimicked to this day, making him a true American icon and one of the greatest rock artists to have ever lived.1
2. Bruce Springsteen
Nicknamed “The Boss,” Springsteen’s songs are cherished by his fans for capturing the American way of life through poetic narrations of their stories in his music. His moving lyrics and music had a huge impact on American youth because they were based on societal issues and helped raise social consciousness and spread awareness about real-life problems. His 20 studio albums have won him 20 Grammy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, an Academy Award and a special Tony Award.2 These are just a few brief details from his many contributions and accomplishments that make him one of the greatest rock artists ever.
3. Eric Clapton
Apart from having one of the most recognizable styles and sound in rock music, Clapton’s dedication and contribution to the blues is immeasurable. He is the only person to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame three times and has won or shared 20 Grammy Awards during his extensive career.3 He has an extensive touring experience of over 50 years, which covers 58 countries across six continents and 3000 concerts to date. His sheer passion for music has earned him tremendous respect in the music industry, making him one of the most legendary rock musicians in history.
4. Rod Stewart
His raspy voice is considered the most defining quality that makes him stand out in the world of rock music.4 Since 1969, Stewart has explored a variety of genres through his 32 studio albums, which have earned him the Chopard Diamond Award, Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, and a knighthood from the Queen of England.5 His endless accomplishments as a singer and songwriter, teamed with the look he created to go with his stardom, along with his unstoppable drive to entertain his audience to this day, make him one of the most legendary rock stars alive.
5. Jimi Hendrix
Hendrix is known for showing the world what was possible with an electric guitar and all the other music equipment that was yet to be fully explored during his time. He changed the way guitars were played and made them the lead act of a song with his use of effects and gear in a more controlled manner that added more expression to the sound.6 He kept pushing the boundaries of musical innovation and creativity, which are revered by musicians to this day, which is why he is considered one of the most influential rock artists to have ever lived.
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1. The 50 best-selling music artists of all time | BusinessInsider India. (n.d.). Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://www.businessinsider.in/entertainment/news/the-50-best-selling-music-artists-of-all-time/slidelist/78041957.cms
2. Why Elvis Presley lives on as a cultural icon 41 years after his death | South China Morning Post. (n.d.). Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://www.scmp.com/magazines/style/people-events/article/2158975/why-elvis-presley-lives-cultural-icon-41-years-after
3. 70 Reasons Why Eric Clapton Is An Icon. (n.d.). Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://www.whereseric.com/eric-clapton-news/303-70-reasons-why-eric-clapton-icon
4. 10 Reasons Why Rod Stewart Is a Forever Rock Star. (n.d.). Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://www.aarp.org/entertainment/music/info-2022/rod-stewart.html
5. Facts about Rod Stewart and how his amazing career through the years. (n.d.). Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://planetradio.co.uk/greatest-hits/entertainment/music/rod-stewart/
6. Jimi Hendrix and 9 Other Musicians Who Changed the Way We Play – Berklee Online Take Note. (n.d.). Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://online.berklee.edu/takenote/jimi-hendrix-and-10-musicians-who-changed-the-way-we-play/