Thursday, 11 August 2016

A few of the most influential artists of all time...(in my opinion)

David Bowie
David Robert Jones aka David Bowie has been arguably one of the most influential artists in the world of music for over 50 years. Bowie swayed through genres of music from Glam rock to Pop to Electronic. But for me the one thing I love about Bowie is that he never failed to deliver a surprising and fresh take on everything he did, forever pushing boundaries and making it cool to be different. Bowie was influenced from an early age by Beat Literature and Rock music. Bowie's first hit song was 'Space Oddity' in 1969, a product of Bowie watching Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Bowie stated: "I went stoned out of my mind to see the movie and it really freaked me out, especially the trip passage." It is important to note that Bowie was not only hugely influential within the music industry but as a style\fashion icon going from Ziggy Stardust to Aladdin Sane to Thin White Duke. As well, Bowie shifted people's mindset on what it means to be an artist and a performer and has definitely inspired many artists after him and will continue to do so.

''I feel like an actor on stage, rather than a rock artist.''

When one thinks of `Blondie' what pops into mind is the unique vocals, the iconic image and subtle and sensitive lyrics of Debby Harry. However, 'Blondie' is much more than Debby Harry. 'Blondie' showcases the talent of Chris Stein, keyboardist/composer Jimmy Destri, Clement Burke; Drummer and Gary Valentine; bassist. Together these five individuals shook up the punk scene, by encompassing the sounds of garage, disco, hip-hop, rock and many other genres of music into their albums and creating something distinctively 'Blondie'. 

Blondie released their self titled first album in 1976, however the album that really threw them in to the spot light was 'Parallel Lines' released in 1978. This album included the hits 'Hanging on the Telephone' and 'Heart of Glass' my personal favourite 'Blondie' song.

One pivotal moment in 'Blondie''s career was the release of 'Rapture' from their fifth studio album 'Autoamerican' in 1980. 'Rapture' was the first No. 1 song in the American chart to feature rap. 'Blondie' did something no one would have predicted and this side of 'Blondie'; the unpredictable, is what makes me love them the most. 'Blondie' went on to release 5 more studio albums after 'Autoamericn' of which 'No Exit' peaked at No.3 in the UK charts. For me 'Blondie''s iconic style and sound, and their legendary status are what have given them a place on this list and makes them one of the most influential artists of all time.

''I do know the effect that music still has on me - I'm completely vulnerable to it. I'm seduced by it.''

Kate Bush
Probably my favourite pick of the bunch has to be Kate Bush. Her eclecticism and ethereal vocals for me make some of the best music of all time. Whilst watching the documentary 'Kate Bush: A Sensual World' I discovered that she was more than the diaphanous voice, she was really a creator of art - Bush creates the concepts of her music videos as well as directing them and staring in them herself. Bush trained in interpretive dance and mime with Lindsay Kemp, this theatrical training is definitely a huge part of her performances.

Bush's first album 'The Kick Inside' was released in 1978 when Bush was just 19! To me this is incredible, Bush really showed what she had to give and foreshadowed just how amazing her following albums would be. At just 19 she was releasing songs such as 'Wuthering Heights' and 'The Man with the Child in his Eyes' that have the emotion and experience expected of an artist twice her age. All ten of Bush's studio album's reached the Top 10 in the UK album charts and she was also the first ever female British solo artist to top the album charts. Bush has so much under her belt and is a respected artist, for me she is so deserving of her place on this list and is and also will be a massive, massive icon to me and I will forever listen to her songs like 'This Woman's Work' and 'Running up that Hill' with respect and admiration for Bush as an artist, creator and performer.

''I don't aim for perfection. But I do want to try and come up with something interesting.'' 

Smokey Robinson
Smokey Robinson earns his place on this list for his singing, song writing and producing. Smokey met Berry Gordy after a failed audition for Brunswick Records, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles were with Berry Gordy; the founder of Motown, before the creation of Motown, making Smokey a founding member of Motown and a massive influence on all of the Motown artists that came after him.

Smokey's passion for music started in high school and has said his interest in music was sparked after listening to Nolan Strong & The Diablos and Barrett Strong. These influences would go on to spur Smokey to create hit songs such as 'Tracks of my Tears' and 'Tears of a Clown'. Smokey has lead the way for hits like 'Here I come' By Fergie, which uses a sample of 'Get Ready' written by Smokey Robinson for The Temptations. As well as songs like 'Happy' by Michael Jackson.

Smokey Robinson is undoubtedly one of the biggest names to come from Motown and in general a titan of the music industry.

''Motown will always be a heavy-duty part of my life because those are my roots.''

The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys were the most commercially successful band of the 1960's. They came from Hawthorne California, and the beach atmosphere of their hometown was prominent in a large number of their early works. Their biggest hit was the album 'Pet Sounds' released in 1966, this album was the first album where Brian Wilson had fully taken control of their recording career. Brian Wilson essentially created this album by himself whilst the other members of the band were on tour. This resulted in hits such as 'God Only Knows' and 'I Just Wasn't Made for These Times'. The Beach Boys music is undeniably distinctive and unique. I have to say however I have a very high opinion of Brian Wilson in particular having struggled with mentall health issues and addiction, he said ''I felt I had no choice. I was run down mentally and emotionally because I was running around, jumping on jets from one city to another on one-night stands, also producing, writing, arranging, singing, planning, teaching—to the point where I had no peace of mind and no chance to actually sit down and think or even rest." This was the time period when he created 'Pet Sounds'. After having researched in detail about Wilson's struggle with mental health issues and his unethical treatment by Eugene Landy, it gave me more respect for Wilson as an artist and as a person.

The Beach Boy's music and in particular the album 'Pet Sounds' will always remain for me one of my favourite albums of all time and The Beach Boys one of my favourite bands.

''There will always be a Beach Boys. Being a Beach Boy is like being in love.''

These amazing artists are only five of many that I could have picked, artists such as Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, The Stone Roses, Paul Weller, Diana Ross and soooo many more would be included if I could of had an infinite list. I picked 5 artists who were interesting to research, who I love listening to and who have inspired me in one way or another in some aspect of my life.

Thanks for reading :-)

1 comment

  1. Love this Grace!! great choices and really nicely written. No Whigfield??


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