Bowie Named Most Influential

November 27, 2000 -- David Bowie, the original pop-rock chameleon, was crowned the most influential musician in a survey of hundreds of recording artists. The yearlong "Under the Influence" survey, conducted by British weekly NME, put 52-year-old Bowie ahead of No. 2 Radiohead, No. 3 The Beatles, and an eclectic mix of groundbreaking rap, jazz, techno, and rock artists.

Bowie, who stretched rock music's boundaries in the '70s with his hits "Space Oddity," "Changes," and "Suffragette City," has had his songs covered by many groups, including Nirvana and Oasis. Bowie also put his image at the forefront and publicly morphed through various identities.

In recent years, Bowie has taken his pioneering to the Internet. One of the first artists to go online, he now has a thriving Web community — including a banking service — at He also authorized his entire catalogue to be used on, in an announcement made today, becoming the first artist to authorize his music to the service, which recently settled lawsuits with the five major record labels.

Voters in the "Under the Influence" survey included such stars as British groups Radiohead and Suede, Irish rock outfit U2, and U.S. artist Marilyn Manson.

"Today there seems to be a lack of icons and rock stars in general," said Manson. "When I grew up, there was David Bowie and Iggy Pop — people who had something to say and had quite an impact on music and society."

Radiohead was second in the poll, while The Beatles — still riding high around the world with their singles collection 1 — was named the third-most influential.

U2 lead singer Bono voted for Radiohead, a group that was called "the Pink Floyd of the 1990s."

"I saw the new Radiohead show and it was beautiful, so beautiful, perfect sound, beautiful songs. … They've made some extraordinary music, and they can do what they like," he said.

The rest of the Top 10: rap group Public Enemy, jazz great Miles Davis, German techno group Kraftwerk, punk pioneers the Sex Pistols, controversial rapper Eminem, singer-songwriter Nick Drake, and moody alternative band the Smiths.

Other big names on the list were Bob Dylan, at No. 16; Beck, at No. 19; and Stevie Wonder, who placed 11th on the list.

"I was brought up with a lot of Stevie Wonder," said Spice Girl Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham. "I think he's brilliant. I've always listened to him, and I always will."

The full list of the 20 most influential artists will be published by the NME Tuesday.

Reuters contributed to this report.