41. The Buzzcocks
Why: They’re pop-punk pioneers who brought a little polish to the early anti-establishment scene.
Essential track: “Orgasm Addict”
40. Amy Winehouse
Why: The troubled neo-soul songstress’ hard-living ways echo throughout her music. There have been dozens of copycats since she burst onto the scene, but so far none have matched our beehived heroine.
Essential track: “Rehab”
39. The Zombies
Why: Colin Blunstone’s airy vocals were a Summer of Love staple, and The Zombies’ dreamy psych-rock could turn even the squarest of square into groovy flower children.
Essential track: “She’s Not There”
38. Echo & The Bunnymen
Why: Post-punk icons that appeal to the angsty teens in all of us. “Fate, up against your will” ranks among the best opening lines you’ll ever hear.
Essential track: “The Killing Moon”
37. Nick Drake
Why: A legendary singer-songwriter who, before ultimately succumbing to his own demons, managed to craft some truly striking songs in his all-too-short career.
Essential track: “Day is Done”
Why: Mathangi Arulpragasam, or Maya as she’s known to the world, was born in London from Sri Lankan Tamil parents, and is as much the symbol of multi-cultural globalism as anyone, creating a sound and persona all her own.
Essential track: “Paper Planes”
35. Gang of Four
Why: Always political but never insufferable, this group’ll get you thinking and dancing at the same time.
Essential track: “Damaged Goods”
34. New Order
Why: After Ian Curtis’ tragic suicide, everyone assumed Joy Division was over, but the remaining members bounced back to become an equally-stellar band.
Essential track: “Blue Monday”
33. The Slits
Why: One of punk’s first leading ladies, Ari Up proved she could hang with the boys at the ripe old age of 14, incorporating reggae and ska influences into a sound that remains unique to this day.
Essential track: “Typical Girls”
32. Nick Lowe
Why: His material features some pop mastery of its own, but perhaps most impressive is the production work he did on Elvis Costello’s first five albums.
Essential track: “Cruel to be Kind”
31. PJ Harvey
Why: Polly Jean’s never been one to rest on her laurels. She’s constantly reinvented her sound, adding new instruments and styles along the way.
Essential track: “Dress”