Joey’s Top 10s: Influential Black Musicians

Celebrating black history month with these historic and iconic artists.



Prince, one of the most influential artists of all time


At the end of Black History Month, I wanted to highlight some of the most influential Black musicians. This is not a “Top 10 list,” like my usual countdowns, it is rather spotlighting ten of the most influential Black musicians, this article is in no particular order nor is it a representation of favoritism in any way.  

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder has some of the most iconic and well-known songs, such as “Superstition” and “Isn’t She Lovely.” Those two songs have withstood the test of time, and have continued to be two of the most played songs on classic rock radio stations.

Robert Johnson

Johnson also made my top 10 acoustic guitarists list, he is known as one of the first blues musicians ever. Almost every musical genre can be traced back to the blues in one way or another, so Johnson was a major player in the course of music history. 

Ray Charles

“Hit The Road Jack” is probably the most well-known song by Charles, but his song “I Got A Woman” is another popular song that has been sampled quite a few times in modern music for example “Gold digger” by Kanye West and Jamie Foxx. Another one of Charles’s best songs is “What’d I Say;” the R&B style of the piano and bass, matched with Charles’s vocals creates an awesome song. 

Whitney Houston 

The singer for the classic song cover of “I Will Always Love You,” Houston has an incredible voice and an incredible vocal range. Dolly Parton the original “queen of the south” created the song originally. However, Houston’s performance of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl in 1991 is probably one of the best renditions of the song ever, bar none. A Huston original songs is the ever-classic “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” brings the house down every time I hear it.

James Brown

Brown’s energy is infectious, I highly recommend watching live performances of him on YouTube. His voice is incredibly soulful and he always dances around the stage when he’s not singing on the mic.

Miles Davis

One of the most talented jazz musicians and trumpeters of all time, Davis was a true trial blazer in the music industry. Jazz can be a hard genre to get into, but Davis’s trumpet playing is so bluesy and is an excellent representation of music at the time.

Aretha Franklin

Franklin was a real pioneer, her song “Respect” brought an awesome message of women’s rights and the need for equality. Her voice is incredibly powerful and simply needs to be heard and felt rather than read about.

Chuck Berry

Berry was one of the catalysts of the rock and roll movement. “Johnny B. Goode” is one of the rock ‘n’ roll songs. If I had to make a list of best rock ‘n’ roll songs, “Johnny B. Goode” would crack the top five, if not the top three.


A force like no other, Prince was a musician unlike any other. His onstage performances were incredibly unique and just flat-out incredible musicianship. He released legendary songs “Purple Rain,” “When Doves Cry,” “Raspberry Beret” and many more.

Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix truly revolutionized the guitar and helped transform rock music into what it is today. The fuzz tone that Hendrix popularized with his blues tendencies shows in the next four decades. His legendary cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” is arguably the most well-known song of the classic rock era.