It is often fun to listen to popular music and try to identify what stylistic influences the artist had. In the last fifty or so years the musicians on this list influenced and inspired scores of acts that followed them. They are among the most significant blueprint creators for many successful hit makers and cult favorites alike. Of course they were also influenced by the music they heard and identified with in their early years, but without going back any further and attempting to untangle what is often a complex formula of a little bit of this and a little bit of that, these list entries can certainly be identified as majorly influential.
This is by no means a complete list of innovators, and cross pollination between some of the folks on this list is not uncommon. (Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly influence The Beatles, The Beatles influence The Rolling Stones, etc.
Sometimes the influence can be heard in musical composition, sometimes in lyrics, sometimes in image, and often in all these areas.