Talk about a subjective list. Don't look for hip-hop. And we're not talking jazz or Motown. These are the best rock 'n' roll performers who somehow affected the way we view pop culture.
They changed the musical landscape, ushering out '80s keyboard-layered bands like Duran Duran, Flock of Seagulls and A-Ha and establishing the grunge trend for the '90s. They gave Generation X an anthem band and a tragic legendary front man in Kurt Cobain. Had it not been for Cobain, you wouldn't have Hole in your CD collection.
9. Janis Joplin
Clearly the inspiration for women rockers, a tough, guttural blues singer who blazed her own trail in a male-dominated industry. She made it OK for women to be brash and bold, to sweat and have a little fun onstage. Singers like Melissa Etheridge, Chrissie Hynde and Ann Wilson were obviously influenced. Pearl was her own Lilith Fair.
8. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
They set the standard for a live performance, routinely playing four-hour shows night after night. In his heyday, Springsteen was the hard-working, working-class lyricist who left his heart onstage in a pool of passion. With the E Street Band, live performances were magic. In the recording studio, Springsteen was willing to toss out successful formulas, releasing introspective albums like "Nebraska" and "The Ghost of Tom Joad."
7. Bob Dylan
His gravely voice and beatnik poetry defined the '60s, resonating through the Greenwich Village coffeehouse scene and into every baby boomer's bedroom. The fact that "Time Out of Mind" won the 1997 Grammy for Album of the Year is a credit to this legend's creative longevity. No writer's block for this Minnesota boy.
6. The Grateful Dead
Devoted fans? Dead Heads' faithfulness to Jerry Garcia make Parrot Heads' passion for Jimmy Buffett seem as genuine as Ben's devotion to J-Lo. The Dead created the tie-dyed culture and their fans were willing to follow the band around the country, creating a subculture never seen before. The Dead were gifted musicians, spending hours practicing and churning out different set lists night after night.
5. The Rolling Stones
Longevity is why they belong on this list. Lyrically inferior to The Who and no musical match for Led Zeppelin, this is a party band that has endured for almost 40 years. Their catalog of music is impressive, with more than 30 albums and dozens of memorable singles. To see Mick Jagger move like he does today and Keith Richards move at all is a testament to dirty living.
4. Elvis Presley
No one had seen anything like this kid from Memphis, who defined rock star charisma. Like Frank Sinatra, Elvis crossed entertainment genres, finding success in movies as well as music. His charming voice and sexy moves drove women crazy. With the slew of impersonators still making money today, Elvis is perhaps the biggest rock star whose candle burned out long before the legend ever will.
3. Led Zeppelin
From their blues-inspired self-titled debut to the posthumous "Coda," Zeppelin brought a different sound to each record. Jimmy Page is arguably the best rock guitarist of all time—on par with Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Blackmore and Eric Clapton—but what made Zeppelin stand out was the dynamic voice of Robert Plant and the percussion of the late John Bonham.
2. The Who
The best of the late '60s British invasion, with rock's most honest songwriter in Pete Townshend and the quintessential charismatic front man in Roger Daltrey. Add the steady bass work of John Entwistle and the no-holds-barred drumming of Keith Moon (check out the drumming on "Quadrophenia") and no one could touch this band on album or onstage. "Tommy," one of the band's three concept albums, was reproduced onstage and screen and is considered a landmark achievement.
1. The Beatles
They set the musical direction of the '60s and redefined the word "mania." Each of the four band members could sing and write music. How many bands feature four different lead vocalists? The John Lennon-Paul McCartney songwriting team is the best ever. With more than 40 albums and dozens of top 10 singles, their place in history is unmatched.