They influenced generations and their cultural impact was strong.
Controversy followed them because it was difficult to succeed in a world of contrasts and bring a new spirit in music. They rose to the top through their own power, managed to change mentalities and revolutionize music. Unfortunately they left us too soon.
InRumor challenges you to choose the artist that you think left us with the greatest musical legacy in the past century. If you have other options please share them with us.
Voting is open until Thursday, and there are two ways you can vote:
1. Vote one of our choices.
2. Express other options in a comment.
From the first sounds of the song “That’s All Right”, most listeners thought Elvis was black. Many people were convinced that his music was either stolen or derived from African American singers of rhythm-and-blues from the late ’40s.
Some singers rejected these claims. Jackie Wilson defended Elvis: “A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man’s music, when in fact, almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis.”
Through performances and videos, Jackson popularized a number of physically complicated dance techniques, such as the robot or moonwalk. His vocal style, musical timbre and his choreography has inspired numerous pop, rock, R & B and hip hop artists, breaking cultural and racial barriers and between generations.
Mercury had a special and distinctive voice, including a 4-octave range. While speaking on a baritone, he sang most songs as a tenor. Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé, who recorded an album with Mercury, said that “the difference between Freddie and almost all the other rock stars was that he was selling the voice”.
She adds, “His technique was astonishing. No problem of tempo, he sung with an incisive sense of rhythm, his vocal placement was very good and he was able to glide effortlessly from a register to another. He also had a great musicality. His phrasing was subtle, delicate and sweet or energetic and slamming. He was able to find the right colouring or expressive nuance for each word.”
Mercury wrote ten of the seventeen songs on Queen’s album “Greatest Hits”: „Seven Seas of Rhye”, „Killer Queen”, „Bohemian Rhapsody”, „Somebody to Love”, „Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy”, „We Are the Champions”, “Bicycle Race”, „Don’t Stop Me Now”, „Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and „Play the Game”.
Besides music, Jim Morrison published two volumes of poetry (An American Prayer in 1970 and The Lords and The New Creatures in 1971).
The lyrics written for The Doors reflected the period in which the band developed. The antiwar movement, avant-garde art and drug culture were the main sources of inspiration for songs by Morrison.
Morrison saw music as a way to deliver his poetry to the masses and added a lot of theatrical art during live performances.
Despite the public’s attraction to Morrison, band members were always considered equal. At a concert, a presenter went on stage and announced them as “Jim Morrison and The Doors.” Morrison took him aside and asked him to present them properly.
The presenter was surprised, wondering where he went wrong. Morrison replied: “We are The Doors”.
Artist, pacifist, activist for equality between the sexes and races and, more than that, a true symbol of an entire generation of young people: that was what John Lennon represented.
Lennon was a convinced pacifist who vigorously campaigned against the use of military force, especially during the Vietnam War when his songs that became anthems for the pacifist movement. He played an important role in the manifestations of the young generation from that period against the conflict in Vietnam and the Nixon administration.
Queen – “The Show Must Go On”
“The Show Must Go On” is considered Freddie Mercury’s most genuine musical accomplishment. The song was released as a single on October 14, only in Britain, six weeks before his death.
The video was compiled and edited by Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher and evokes the best moments spent by Freddie Mercury with Queen during 1981-1991.
Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
The most notable aspect of his music is that he introduced various styles of music in the songs, which included rock, heavy metal, pop and disco. Compared with many rock music writers, Mercury tended to write complex songs. “Bohemian Rhapsody”, composed of many notes, is such an example.
Michael Jackon – “Beat It”
The song was written by Michael Jackon and included on the album Thriller. The guitarist from the band Van Halen was chosen to bring a rock sound to this pop song.
The lyrics for “Beat It” talk about fear and courage, about the human nature. The song also addresses the use of violence and the star’s childhood when he was abused by his father.
Michael Jackon – “Billie Jean”
The song “Billie Jean” was released in 1983 and was included on “Thriller.” The song received two Grammys in 1984.
The story behind the song is derived from MJ’s life experience. In 1981, Michael Jackson received a letter from a woman who claimed that he was the father of her child.
She asked Jackson to commit suicide. She would have done the same thing, after killing the child. She said that they would be together in the afterlife, as they failed to do so in this life. Finally, the woman was identified and sent to a psychiatric hospital.
“Billie Jean is kind of anonymous…[and] represents a lot of girls…they would hang around backstage doors, and any band that would come to town they would have a relationship with.”, Michael said at the time.
John Lennon – “Mother”
“Mother” is John Lennon’s desperate cry. His obsession with mutilation was caused by the violent death of his mother Julia Lennon in a car accident that took place in 1958.
John Lennon – “Imagine”
“Imagine” is a song associated with Lennon. It was voted among the songs of the millennium, being seen by many as a message that will remain forever imprinted in our minds, regardless of generation.
The Doors – “The End”
“The End” was originally written by Morrison about his breakup from girlfriend Mary Werbelow. It became a nearly 12-minute track on their self-titled album.
The Doors – “Riders on the storm”
“Riders on the Storm” is a song included on their 1971 album L.A. Woman. Band member Robby Krieger said that its source of inspiration was the song “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend”.
Elvis Presley – “Don’t Cry, Daddy”
This emotional song is about the pain of divorce or separation. It describes a little girl talking to her crying daddy, asking him to stop crying he still has her and little Tommy and they can find a new mommy. The lyrics mention that the children are usually the ones who suffer most.
With the help of modern technology, Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie recorded a video of Don’t Cry, Daddy as a duet with her father.
Elvis Presley “Hound Dog”
On July 2, Elvis recorded a cover of “Hound Dog”, making it the best-known version of the song. Presley sometimes changed the lyrics. His movements during the performance were energetic. The song always got a big reaction from his young female audience.
Which artist had the greatest impact in music over time?
- Michael Jackson (84%, 587 Votes)
- Freddie Mercury (3%, 19 Votes)
- Elvis Presley (8%, 54 Votes)
- John Lennon (5%, 32 Votes)
- Jim Morrison (0%, 4 Votes)
Total Voters: 696