A recent article by Luker Rowe director Peter Tilsed (pictured below), has prompted Access to run a poll asking: who are the artists that everyone should know? (Oh, and you can only pick ten!)

Vote in the poll below the article.

When a new employee joined our company recently who was in their early 20s, I knew that due to our age differences there would be different musical tastes.  I won’t give away my age, but let’s just say I am old enough to remember The Beatles on Top of the Pops

My own son and daughter have an eclectic range of music tastes and, whilst not always appreciating my own choice of music, know the artists and would generally do fairly well at a music quiz. 

I was therefore surprised when I was talking with our new recruit about The Eagles that I received a blank look.  “You do know who The Eagles are?” I asked and received a further blank look.  Hotel California” I said, thinking that everybody must know that song – but another blank look.

Music has of course always been a big part of the event industry, not only for concerts, festivals and tours but also at conferences, theme tunes and even now at sporting events with players having their favourite song played when they score.

So it got me thinking. Regardless of your musical tastes, who are the artists that everybody should know, even if you do not like them, the artists that have influenced the course of music, that in 50-100 years will be named when studying 20th and 21st Century history?

I wasn’t looking for the bestselling artists, or necessarily the most talented, but those who’ve shaped the course of music over the years. Even if you look how music has developed with the artists during the 20th Century, it has moved on from Elgar to Vera Lyn, American swing, rock ‘n’ roll, the start of pop music as we know it, to modern romance and punk.

So I started my list of 20 artists that everybody should know.  Whatever sort of music you like now, these artists have influenced their development.  My own list is below, but there are a further 20 artists I could easily argue should be in it which are also shown. 

The first two artists nobody could disagree with, but after this it is of course very subjective and down to your own taste.  So why not have a think, discuss with your colleagues over lunch or with friends in the pub and see how different your own lists are. 

Remember, this isn’t down to your own favourites, or even the biggest selling artists.  As an example, I have not included Take That despite the millions of records that they have sold as they were purely a new format of something that already existed. 

However, although I don’t think anyone would argue that musically The Spice Girls were the most talented of groups, they did start Girl Power and possibly are responsible for some of the female successes that have since followed.  So my two lists are below and I have started from the 1960s onwards. Enjoy your discussions and if you wish to share your final conclusions I would be interested to hear and please email me at peter.tilsed@lukerrowe.com.

Tilsed’s List:


  • Elvis
  • The Beatles
  • Rolling Stones
  • Michael Jackson
  • Queen
  • David Bowie
  • Abba
  • Oasis
  • The Smiths
  • Johnny Cash
  • Bob Marley
  • The Spice Girls
  • Madonna
  • The Sex Pistols
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Nile Rogers (and Chic)
  • Pink Floyd
  • Spandau Ballet
  • Eminem
  • Bob Dylan


  • The Who
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Diana Ross
  • The Eagles
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Blondie
  • Nirvana
  • Dolly Parton
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Cliff Richard
  • The Specials
  • The Kinks
  • Roxy Music
  • Neil Diamond
  • Frankie Valli
  • Prince
  • The Beach Boys
  • Black Sabbath
  • Kanye West