#5- Pearl Jam:
The importance of Pearl Jam can't be ignored. It seems like there were dozens of Eddie Vedder rip-offs running around after Pearl Jam jumped on the scene. Their sound is, quite simply, one of those things that is often imitated, never duplicated.
#4- Red Hot Chili Peppers:
While Pearl Jam hasn't seen very lucrative record sales with their recent albums, Red Hot Chili Peppers have seen very consistent sales dating from 1990 up until today. Hell, "Stadium Arcadium" is one of their highest selling albums yet. While I don't see a whole lot of bands trying to steal their style, this may be due to the fact that it is pretty fucking hard to duplicate. When you hear a Chili Peppers song on the radio you can always tell by the first words out of your speakers that it is them.
#3- Green Day:
They have everything needed to make a legendary discography. The underground success, the hit album, the follow-up album that sells 4,000,000 copies but somehow still doesn't equal the success of their last, the next album that is considered solid but not as good as "Dookie", the quintessential flop album that becomes nothing more then a blip on the musical radar, the near death sentence of releasing a "Greatest Hits" album and a B-Sides album at the same time, and their latest resurgence at the hands of a rock-opera with political undertones and a plotline that is strangely reminiscent of something by J.D. Salinger. While they've won and lost and won back some fans along the way, there is no denying their staying power and ability to adapt to the times yet remain true to their music at the same time.
After the death of Grunge(a.k.a. Kurt Cobain) Weezer was the first big band to emerge and set the tone for the next wave of Alternative music. But their impact, while big at the time with their revival of the "geek rock" style, would not be felt until a distant twelve years later when the entire genre of "EMO" would be attributed to them. ??? What? Well, apparently all of these "EMO" bands of today were really big fans of the album "Pinkerton"(which had emotional and raw lyrical content) and they took that to mean that by complaining about every little problem in their songs that they were somehow following in Weezer's footsteps, despite the fact that Weezer actually did have legit problems that they were making songs about, unlike all of these knock-offs that have dubbed themselves "EMO". So for better or for worse, Weezer comes in at number two for influencing an entire genre of music a full twelve years in advance.
I know, you saw it coming a mile away. You already know the story. A band from Seattle makes it big, influences every aspect of the youth culture, makes two great albums, Kurt Cobain kills himself, big legacy, Generation-X, Dave Grohl starts Foo Fighters, Foo Fighters become huge, there's a happy ending after all. But in all seriousness, while Weezer influenced a genre of music twelve years in advance, Nirvana created a genre of music in their own time. For that, they have more then earned the top spot.