<p>You&#39;d think all the tarnish on Phil Spector&#39;s name —the marriage-as-prison and spontaneous adoptions recounted in Ronnie Spector&#39;s memoir <em>Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness</em>, the paranoia, the gun obsession, the procession of wigs, the creepy mug-shots, the small fact he&#39;s currently serving an 18-year stint for murder— might, these days, taint Spector&#39;s music. But, due to their greatness, Sepctor&#39;s pop-song productions remain unsullied by scandal. Spector&#39;s pioneering approach was dubbed the &#39;wall of sound,&#39; with guitars, orchestras, echo chambers, and reverb built up into mini-symphonies inspired by Wagner. His most eternal contribution may, however, be the simple drumbeat to &#34;Be My Baby,&#34; one of the most imitated in music history.</p>Though the Beach Boys dwell in the realm of &#39;straight&#39; pop music, there&#39;s no one band whose specter so hangs over the musical underground. It begins with their singular vocal harmonies, dazzling five-part performances of tonal purity and bittersweet quality. Then there was the studio devotion of Brian Wilson; the brains behind the bubblegum band a classicist —a student of 19th century composers— but also a progressivist, loading his songs with innumerable sonic details and component parts that, somehow, existed in harmony. <em>Pet Sounds</em>, the Beach Boys&#39; 1966 magnum opus, is an eternal wellspring of inspiration, fueling the dreams of every home&#61;producer with a multi-track, ambition, and a sense of the psychedelic.What&#39;s more iconic: the Velvet Underground, or the Velvet Underground&#39;s influence? Their music is amazing; 1967&#39;s immortal <i>The Velvet Underground and Nico</i> a landmark —a pop-cultural rupture— that continues to be felt to this day. But the Velvet Underground&#39;s influence has become so pronounced that it is its own influence; a stock short-hand to explain the legends of unpopular yet enduringly meaningful artists in all disciplines. The much-repeated refrain goes like this: though the Velvet Underground didn&#39;t sell many records in the years (1965-1970) they were together, every person who bought an album started their own band. And the wise thinker who first made such a sage claim? Brian Eno.<p>A more obvious pick would be David Bowie, but so much of what audiences think of as classic Bowie —constant reinvention, concept-driven, studio-tinkering, sexually-ambiguous— ably applies to Brian Eno, the one-time Roxy Music keyboardist who was Bowie&#39;s collaborative partner on that classic run of Berlin albums in the late &#39;70s. Admittedly, much of his career time has been sunk in making mediocre U2 records, and his recent digital experiments have been more miss than hit. But Eno&#39;s legacy is mighty: a string of awesome singer-songwriter albums in the &#39;70s (highlighted by <i>Another Green World</i>), the &#39;invention&#39; of ambient music, and his Oblique Strategies Cards, lateral-thinking aids for stuck studio musicians that never go out of style.</p>The influence of Kate Bush is inescapable. She&#39;s an artist constantly covered by an array of bands —from disco to noise bands and everyone in between— and eternally cited as a source of inspiration, and her idiosyncratic voice is on hand as a constant comparison for any female with a slightly kooky, odd delivery. But beyond those basics, why is Bush such a persistent figure? Y&#39;know, aside from the fact that she&#39;s amazing? It&#39;s likely in the way that Bush casually united high and low art realms; authoring chirpy, melodic, audience-friendly pop-songs whilst working with intellectual lyrical concepts and overarching themes. She was also a music-video pioneer, seeing it as another medium through which she could forge arch-artistic ideas. And, like, I mentioned that she&#39;s amazing, right?Peter Hook is almost deserving of his own entry, here. The Joy Division bassplayer&#39;s unique approach to his usually-anonymous four-stringed instrument —playing urgent melodic patterns with a brutal pick, the instrument resounding loudly as opposed to fading into the background— is instantly identifiable as his style, even when it&#39;s being played by someone else. And Peter Hook bass-lines are often played by someone else: they&#39;re widely imitated to the point of omnipresence. Beyond that, there&#39;s also Martin Hannett&#39;s masterful production, <i>Unknown Pleasures</i>&#39; near prefection, Ian Curtis&#39;s dead-zone moan, the band&#39;s stylish wardrobe, and a host of snarling, spartan songs covered by bands brooding and obscure from here to eternity.<p>The least famous name on this list are, in such, the most disproportiantely influential. Gang of Four&#39;s early run of records are undoubtedly really good; their debut, 1979&#39;s <i><a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/top-post-punk-albums-94484" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="1">Entertainment!</a></i>, is really great. But its influence has been utterly spectacular. Who did it influence? Well, how about the entire American rock underground of the &#39;80s: Fugazi, Big Black, The Minutemen, REM, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Nirvana all amongst the band&#39;s most vocal fans. When the &#39;00s came around, the influence of Gang of Four was suddenly everywhere: disco-punk acts like The Rapture, Out Hud, !!!, and LCD Soundsytem were obvious devotees, and English post-punk revivalists Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party bordered on Gang of Four tribute bands.</p><p>Plenty of people loved <a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/the-pixies-artist-profile-93954" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="1">The Pixies</a> in their day: they were one of the most successful indie-rock bands in America, had a rabid following in Europe, and made fans of folk as famous as U2. But their legend has spiraled radically since they broke up in 1993, with their 1989 magnum opus, <i>Doolittle</i>, now generally regarded as one of the very best records ever made; its worshippers many. But their influence has an interesting wrinkle, too: Kurt Cobain confessed that <a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/nirvana-artist-profile-93940" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="internalLink" data-ordinal="2">Nirvana</a> were out to basically &#39;rip off&#39; The Pixies, which means the millions of moaning imitators that sprung up in the wake of <i>Nevermind</i> were, in all their Cobain homage, really paying tribute to The Pixies.</p>With each passing year, several thousand more press releases make reference to My Bloody Valentine&#39;s immortal 1991 LP, <i>Loveless</i>. And it&#39;s not just shoegaze imitators or &#39;90s revivalists who are in thrall to Kevin Shields &#39;fluff on the needle&#39; sound, but a whole host of bands who don&#39;t really sound like MBV, but still feel like spiritual antecedents of their aura. <i>Loveless</i> is now regarded a classic of studio craft on par with <i>Pet Sounds</i>, and to take influence from it is to imbue one&#39;s own music with a sense of ambition. The record has become a touch-stone for any one-man-band bunkered down in a home-recording studio; layering on instruments in pursuit of the mystic, trying to make their own masterwork via sonic smoke-and-mirrors. Long may <i>Loveless</i>&#39;s reverb ring out.Björk Guðmundsdóttir has spent so long at the cutting edge of songcraft that now <em>anyone</em> making pop-songs from avant-garde electronic elements is compared to her. While any female singing over crinkly beats is bound to be compared to Björk, not to mention any with a strange voice, her cultural influence seems grander than that. For any artists interested in wedding innovation and experimentation to accessible modes of song-form, Björk is a monumental figure of worship; a veritable goddess of the secretly-avant-garde. She also stands as a defiant, undeniable example of an artist who continues to seek out amazing, idiosyncratic, brilliant collaborateurs whilst forever remaining in charge of her output; her every LP a study in her own eccentricities.