Who are they and what makes them so influential?
He has mastered and mixed and produced dozens of albums from artists like David Bowie, Talking Head, Peter Gabriel and more.
Additionally, he technically invented Ambient Music as a genre.
His own musical works have influenced artists from Laurie Anderson to the Sex Pistols.
His work is generally not mainstream, and yet has contributed a steady subtle influence on Rock, alternative and popular music for nearly 50 yrs.
I know who Brian Eno is and I’m not even a big music buff… so, by definition, it’s virtually certain he’s the wrong answer.
I would guess the answer is probably a major movie studio executive or producer who stays in the shadows. How many people know who Avi Arad is?
I know who he is, from a crossword puzzle.
Assuming we’re not choosing executives but talent, I would say that Max Martin ranks up there in the “powerful but obscure” category.
The opening to his Wiki article lays the case:
Here’s his discography. Pretty impressive list of big-selling songs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Martin_production_discography
And I know Brian Eno from many, many crossword puzzles.
In music, one of the heavy hitters that the general public knows almost nothing about is Desmond Child. His nearly-35 year career is impressive as hell; the average American prolly knows a couple dozen of his songs by heart but will have never heard of him.
I don’t personally like her songs, but Diane Warren would have to be up there.