It is impossible to pinpoint the exact birth of rock and roll music. This, of course, is because it was a union of different music genres and styles, spawning an entirely new type of sound. However, while it’s difficult to tell when rock music truly found its footing, it is a lot easier to look back at the musicians  that paved the way for it. Even to this day, some of the most famous rock and legends attribute their music to these individuals. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the biggest influences of rock n roll:

Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters was a firm blues musician, which is why some people are surprised to discover his link to rock music. Despite this, there is no denying that he was a true inspiration to some of the biggest stars of the genre. See, while no one could really replicate the precise sound of Waters’, his music did help many artists find their own sound. Perhaps the most famous of them all is the Rolling Stones who named themselves after one of his songs. His devotees don’t end there, however, as Eric Clapton and Johnny Winter always mentioned the impact that Waters’ music had on their own careers.

Rosetta Tharpe

Once forgotten, the groundbreaking talent of Rosetta Tharpe is being discussed once more, as it rightly should be. On her own, Tharpe was a true trailblazer. She combined gospel songs with electric guitars, gave unforgettable performances, and took music in a new direction. Considering all that she was able to do, it is no surprise to find out just how many people she managed to inspire with her songs. Perhaps the most notable of them is Elvis Presley – yet another member on this list. He was often heard talking about how he loved the way she played the guitar. Bob Dylan is another artist who admired Tharpe, even referring to her once as a “powerful force of nature”.

Chuck Berry

You might have never listened to Chuck Berry’s music, but if you are a fan of the Beatles then you are certainly a fan of Berry’s. Again, while Berry can’t exactly be called the founder of rock n roll, he definitely played a role in defining the genre. He will always be remembered for his fun, story-like lyrics and a beat that made you want to get up and dance. The Beatles, however, claim that it was his music that led them to create their own rock n roll sound. Paul McCartney speaks of him as a magician while John Lennon was quoted as saying, “if you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry”.

Little Richard

Little Richard was a man ahead of his time. His music was considered flamboyant and over-the-top and often had to be toned down for public consumption. Even then, there was no denying that his music was something truly special. In fact, it was so innovative that it moved a number of other artists. This includes Sam Cooke, Lennon and McCartney, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and many more. It wasn’t just his music that was copied by other artists. Little Richard created that rock persona that is now part and parcel of rock performances everywhere.

Elvis Presley

This article has shown that Elvis himself was inspired by a number of other artists before him. Nevertheless, while he may have only joined the rock and roll movement, he certainly changed it forever. In fact, it can be argued that it was Presley who ensured that this genre went mainstream. Considering the role he played, it isn’t surprising to find just how many future artists he encouraged to follow in his stead. Everyone from Bob Dylan and Cliff Richard to the Everly Brothers was influenced by Presley’s music. Not to mention, so many years after his passing, he still remains a household name.

Buddy Holly

Considering how short Holly’s career was, it is astonishing how he was able to change the course the music industry. This, however, is a testament to what a talented musician he was. Long after he was gone, Holly continued to motivate other artists. Some of his more notable devotees are the Beatles, with McCartney and Lennon especially voicing their fondness for Holly’s talents. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones was another musician who mirrored much of his playing style after the late, great man.

Robert Johnson

Johnson is yet another musician who had a rather brief career by modern standards. Still, his resonating and haunting sound combined with his supposed supernatural connections made him a man to remember. Although not much is known about his life beyond his musical talents, the few things people have heard about him is enough. Keith Richards and Eric Clapton are just some of the musicians that followed his music and allowed it to shape and form their own sound. This has further cemented Johnson’s reputation as a great influencer of rock and roll.

B.B. King

Now, King may be predominantly known for his Blues music. Nonetheless, he inspired so many rock bands and acts that he really is in a league all of his own. Countless musicians have attempted to recreate both his guitar playing as well as his classic singing voice. So, who were B.B. King’s disciples? Well, Jimi Hendrix was certainly at the top of the list. In fact, Hendrix would constantly ask King for tips so that he could emulate his sound better. Santana, Cream, and Fleetwood Mac are other musical acts that were greatly influenced by King’s music. So his sound lives on even today.

There were so many great artists that helped to shape rock and roll music. They inspired each other as well as the generations that came after them. So, the next time you listen to your favorite track, strain your ears. You just might be able to catch a guitar riff or some intonation of another artist you know quite well.

Source: The Guitar Pal

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