When discussing the greatest pop artists of all time there is a lot of subjectivity involved, but there is also a sort of short list that most people can agree upon. I am going to focus on that and discuss 3 artists on that list that I think have had such a profound impact on not only pop music, but also pop culture as well. In no particular order:
1. Michael Jackson, aka the King of Pop
Michael is the undisputed King of Pop music. He embodies everything that any pop male singer, pop female singer, pop band, and any pop artist in general need to make an impact. The thing is though – he has all of that and so much more. The term X factor should just point to a picture of him. He was innovative and the way he danced and invented so many signature moves was just one aspect of his genius.
Michael was also a true musician. He could hear the melodies, feel the grooves and was so in tune with his inner self – he naturally just knew when it was cool and when it wasn’t. His pop songs such as “Rock with You,” “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “Thriller,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Black or White,” “The Way you Make me Feel,” and so many more have become the gold standard of pop music and music in general.
2. Whitney Houston
Whitney had a voice that was otherworldly. The way she was able to channel so much in that voice that you could hear the pain and the joy and truth and tragedy. She also had that fearless X factor quality where she stepped on stage or walked into a room and the vibrations changed. Her pop albums were unrivaled in the late 80’s, early 90’s and despite her troubled personal life, she is remembered most for her amazing music contributions. Even in 2016, on shows like American Idol and The Voice, young pop artists are competing with pop covers of Houston’s catalog and they still sound as fresh today as they did then because great music is timeless.
3. The Beatles
The Beatles are my all time favorite band without question, and while some people may consider them as more of a rock band, they redefined modern pop music. They really pioneered the 3-minute pop song that is still the standard today. Their early pop hits such as “She Loves You,” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” gave you everything you need in a great pop song (catchy melody, great harmonies and memorable lyrics) all packaged in a perfect 3-minute package.
However, the Beatles really are at the top of the pack because they evolved and colored outside the lines. With the help of George Martin, they really created the modern pop and rock music landscapes. Albums such as Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, and Let it Be really are master class for all pop artists and especially for any aspiring songwriter. Study these!!