5. Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong was jazz's first superstar. Satchmo's explosive creativity defied conventions of early New Orleans jazz; he was a charismatic showman and dazzling trumpet player who was, literally, too good for his band. His performances were largely responsible for shifting the focus from the group to the soloist, and he was also quite an innovator when it came to scat. Perhaps most importantly, his acceptance by the social elite helped popularize jazz across racial and social boundaries. -Chris Walker
4. Michael Jackson
People made a lot of jokes about Michael Jackson before he died; about the way he spoke, the color of his skin, his fondness for zoo animals and children, the clothes he wore, the women he married, the names he chose for his kids, his penchant for grabbing his nuts, his sentimental streak, his plastic surgeries, and his acting talents, or lack thereof. But when he died people made fewer of those jokes. -Ben Westhoff
3. The Beatles
Precursors to the Prefab Four, aka the Monkees, the Fab Four from Liverpool started with matching haircuts. But then they began growing their hair out, and that's when shit got real. Before you knew it their hair was much longer than the establishment preferred, and the social order began to decay. Next there was a musical called Hair and then later one called Hairspray. It all got to be a little much, especially if you weren't into hair. -Ben Westhoff
2. Ludwig Van Beethoven
Considered the best composer of all time, Beethoven challenged authority by refusing to accept the cultural norms of the day. His soulful sonatas and symphonies broke the boundaries of the Classical Era — defined by technical mastery — and ushered in a new period, the Romantic Era. Being deaf didn't stop him from composing masterpieces that endure to this day in movies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. -Gabrielle Canon
1. William Hung
Truly great musical talents aren't often heard. You won't find one every year, or even every generation. In fact, whole millenniums tend to slip away without one surfacing. No, certain talents only come along once in human history, and that's the case with William Hung. He is the greatest musician of all time — in any genre — because he epitomizes our highs, our lows, and our struggles to make ourselves heard. He's history's best musician because he speaks for anyone who has ever sought a stage, because he expresses life's complexities better than anyone else. That, and because these types of lists are entirely subjective and unaccountable. -Ben Westhoff
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