Black Artists Music Wouldn’t Be the Same Without


To take a closer look at how Black musicians shaped American music, Stacker pored through historical documents, recordings, Billboard charts, and studied similarities in various musical acts.

Scott Joplin

Scott Joplin grew up along the borders of Texas and Arkansas in a musical family.

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong goes down in history as what scholars call the “first great jazz soloist” and quite possibly the single most influential players in American music.

Anyone who sang (or listened to) the blues since Bessie Smith has been subjected to her influence. She was known for filling a room with her voice sans microphone and depth of what she sang about.

Robert Johnson

The legend goes that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at Mississippi crossroads to gain his guitar-playing prowess that seemed to show up overnight.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Before there was Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, or Jimi Hendrix, there was Sister Rosetta Tharpe inventing rock ‘n’ roll with her electric guitar.

 Is synonymous with Harlem nightlife and big-band jazz, working alongside powerhouses like Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong to push jazz to the masses.

Duke Ellington

Black artist music that won't be the same without