MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: Influential Artists of All Time

To say that this post has been stewing in my mind for the last few weeks is really a very big understatement. This series has been swirling in my mind for months. As my brother undertook what I reckon was perhaps one of the boldest decisions he has ever done with regards to this site (unveil a series about his most influential and impacting albums of all time, all in the span of this last year), I have decided to take up a similar, yet different task. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what constitutes a great artist or band, and what makes a band or artist impactful, and impacting in a society that is continuously churning though and spitting out artists as if they’re nothing more than just a stepping stone for record companies to be famous. Which bands and artists are timeless? Which artists and bands evoke emotion amongst old and young, black and white, across races, religions, creeds, beliefs and even sexual orientations, to create a sense of camaraderie and unity, as well as stir up questions that would’ve otherwise not been discussed had it not been for artists and songs, and the space to create freely and without restriction? Can crossover artists succeed without compromising on fundamental and core values that have made them successful initially in the industry they started off in?

All these questions are essential, if not central, to music and the universal impact music can have in the lives of people around the world. Can an artist be followed, respected, admired, advocated, and even championed if their personal lives do not coincide with what they’re singing about? Maybe, maybe not, it’s a hard question to answer. But what I will say is this- artists have come and gone, and artists have stuck around for longer than even they have maybe even realised. Songs transcend the artist, that is a fact. But sometimes, an artist and their discography, can embody ideals and values that can challenge the status quo, and remind us all that it is ok not to be ok, that often the song unveiled by the artist, used as a medium for asking for help and assistance; is all that is needed to bring together people from all walks of life, culture and upbringing.

For me, I’ve been very insular and cultured in what I have listened to. All throughout primary school, I only listened to Christian music. Not a bad thing at all, I love the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) ‘genre’, but when you’re only eating rice for a long time, you think that the only nutrients you can get is from rice, and nothing else. That’s the thing about this little circle of Christian music. CCM is arguably one of the most vulnerable and inspiring ‘genres’, if you could call it a genre, of music; but we must not forget that God doesn’t just speak through Christian music and that is it. He speaks through all music. Mind you, if the music from the outset isn’t glorifying to Him (songs about sex, drugs, having a good time at the expense of everyone else), I can find it extremely hard if someone were to say that God even speaks through that. But, I must understand that God is God, and if He wants to speaks through music that isn’t really glorifying to Him initially, for the listener to gain some conviction about God and themselves, through the process of listening to such music; who am I to judge or even question God’s methods?

Music is a very big sonic landscape, so for me to title this post- Momentous Mondays: Influential Artists and Bands of All Time; can be a bit of a big spoon to swallow. Now let me say from the outset that this list is by no means a definite one. There are hundreds upon hundreds of lists out there about influential artists- Billboard and The Rolling Stone being two publications where opinions were voiced about what the authors of the articles thought should be in included in the top ___ artists of music history. So this year-long post is another such list, and thus, subject to opinion. Because of my own background, and my appreciation for certain music over others, my list of who I reckon should be deemed as ‘influential’ is going to change when you would ask someone else. Still, what I am to unveil and expound upon over the year, is just yet another man’s opinion about an ever-changing music industry and atmosphere. If people disagree with my list, for whatever reason, that’s ok. My music tastes have changed from birth and teenage years, till now, and throughout this year, as I give this year-long (maybe longer) post series a crack, my musical tastes will continue to change as well. They’ll be shaped and moulded, as I’m open to whatever the Lord is wanting to speak to me through these artists, some that I haven’t really taken the plunge to listen to…yet!

So without further ado, here below are artists that I believe have shaped the industry as a whole in creating a space of creativity and honesty, of hope and encouragement, of laying a platform for other artists to follow. Note that this list is as across many genres of music as possible, and hopefully, most time periods. I’ve decided to lean a lot in my list, on the classic and timeless artists- QUEEN, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, U2, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles, ABBA, Beach Boys, Keith Green and Rich Mullins (to name a few), rather than the current landscape of pop right now. While I don’t necessarily need to justify my selections of who I believe is influential and who isn’t (both on a music history level and a personal level), I must make an opinion through observation- that much of the pop artists right now haven’t really made much of a mark on the industry as people have claimed they have. Just in terms of creating music with unique creativity and a space for honest discussion. While many can disagree with me (and that’s ok), in a general sense, the pop industry as a whole isn’t really that inventive. And my lack of inclusion of many current pop artists in my opinion piece of ‘influential artists of all time’, shows the state of music currently. Nevertheless, artistically grounded and unique pop artists from today are mentioned in my list below, from Adele, PINK, Josh Groban and Pentatonix, to Demi Lovato, Lifehouse, Coldplay, Justin Timberlake and Avril Lavigne; so I guess the current state of pop is not in total disarray.

This new post series is going to be new for me as well as all you guys reading these posts, so let us all embark upon this journey together, and discover what it really means to be immersed in what music has to offer, and understand that if God can speak through Balaam’s donkey (as shown in the Bible, in the book of Numbers 22:21-39); then he can definitely speak through a certain style of music that you may not like stylistically, or even not agree with from a persona standpoint. Every week on Mondays, I’ll be unpacking an artist/band, and its impact on humanity as a whole, as well as its impact on myself. I’ll discuss the artist’s creativity and how much of their discography relates on a universal level, to current society (and sometimes the society of the world when their famous songs were written!). So let us sit back, and bring on the music that has been impacting generations in the past, and generations to come! Til next time! [Note- the list below is not in order of writing the posts, but rather, random order. The list will update as the year progresses, and links to individual posts will be linked below].

Influential Artists/Bands of Music History (my own personal list…please don’t treat this as gospel!):

  1. Michael W. Smith
  2. Switchfoot
  3. Avril Lavigne
  4. Delta Goodrem
  5. Lifehouse
  6. Josh Groban
  7. Carrie Underwood
  8. Owl City
  9. Martina McBride
  10. Andrew Peterson
  11. Amy Grant
  12. Keith Green
  13. PETRA
  14. DC Talk
  15. Newsboys
  16. Demi Lovato
  17. U2
  18. Steven Curtis Chapman
  19. Michael Buble
  20. The Bee Gees
  21. Spice Girls
  22. Human Nature
  23. Bob Dylan
  24. KJ 52
  25. Phil Collins
  26. Backstreet Boys
  27. Ed Sheeran
  28. Carman
  29. Coldplay
  30. Michael Jackson
  31. Lionel Richie
  32. ABBA
  33. Queen
  34. Adele
  35. Keith Urban
  36. Crowded House
  37. John Legend
  38. Rascal Flatts
  39. Mary Mary
  40. Jason Crabb and the Crabb Family
  41. Creed
  42. Jason Mraz
  43. Prince
  44. Jars of Clay
  45. Snow Patrol
  46. Larry Norman
  47. Delirious?
  48. Lecrae
  49. Kirk Franklin
  50. Ray Charles
  51. Elton John
  52. Billy Joel
  53. Arethra Franklin
  54. The Beach Boys
  55. Destiny’s Child (and their subsequent solo careers)
  56. Whitney Houston
  57. Elvis Presley
  58. Celine Dion
  59. Johnny Cash
  60. Taylor Swift
  61. The Beatles
  62. Guy Sebastian
  63. Rich Mullins
  64. One Direction
  65. AC/DC
  66. Hillsong (All Its Facets and Incarnations)
  67. The Police
  68. Mumford and Sons
  69. Natasha Bedingfield
  70. SEAL
  71. Evanescene
  72. Nickelback
  73. Selena Gomez
  74. The Eagles
  75. Skillet
  77. Chris Tomlin
  78. Simon and Garfunkel
  79. Fleetwood Mac
  80. Johnny Farnham
  81. David Bowie
  82. Lady Antebellum
  83. Rolling Stones
  84. Pentatonix
  85. Flyleaf
  86. Rebecca St. James
  87. PINK
  88. Needtobreathe
  89. Casting Crowns
  90. Plumb
  91. Ronan Keating
  92. OneRepublic
  93. Kelly Clarkson
  94. Daughtry
  95. Sara Bareilles
  96. Bruce Springsteen
  97. Cliff Richard
  98. Shania Twain
  99. Justin Timberlake
  100. Kasey Chambers

And now, here are 20 more up and coming influential artists, whom we will blog about separate from this series at various points this year and next year!

  1. Maren Morris
  2. Lauren Daigle
  3. Kelsea Ballerini
  4. NF
  5. Dami Im
  6. Cimorelli
  7. Alessia Cara
  8. Rachel Platten
  9. Tori Kelly
  10. Jess Glynne
  11. Shawn Mendes
  12. Charlie Puth
  13. PEABOD
  14. For All Seasons
  15. Jana Kramer
  16. Apollo LTD
  17. Meghan Trainor
  18. OBB
  19. Branan Murphy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>