12. Dinosaur Jr.
Years active: 1984 -1997, 2005 - present
Influence: Larger than life guitar solos, lengthy, instrumental tracks
Hometown: Amherst, Massachusetts
Jam: "Start Choppin'." Always, always recognize the songs that make guitars more important than the vocals. On this track the guitar speaks more clearly that Mascis' words ever do.
J. Mascis changed the way the world thought about "guitar solos" during his tenured existence as the frontman for Dinosaur Jr. The band, originally known as just Dinosaur, had a strange mixture of punk, garage rock, country twang, metal riffs and even goth darkness—but riding over the top of all of this is just a wave of guitars. If the guitar had ever been on the downturn in popular music, Mascis brought it right back to the top of the heap. Dinosaur Jr. paved the way for a lot of the sound that erupted in the grunge movement—Nirvana even opened for them at one point—and remain an important bastion in the realm of rock in favor of guitar-driven music.