This is just something I’ve been musing about lately. Who would you say was the most important American composer of popular music of the first half of the 20th century? There are a number of good candidates including Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and Jerome Kern but I think the best candidate is Irving Berlin.
Now, who would you say was the most important American composer of popular music of the second half of the 20th century? Candidates range from Brian Wilson to Chuck Berry, Smokey Robinson, Madonna, and Lady Gaga. I would say that Carole King would be a very solid pick.