Originally posted by rking00
M. Gira seems a bit too obscure to be widely influential. What about Lou Reed, Bo Diddley, or Can?
A bit obscure, perhaps, but only a few thousand people bought "The Velvet Underground & Nico" when it was released. Maybe he won't be so obscure in a decade or so, when more people realize the genius of SWANS. The list of genres inspired or (co-)created by SWANS is quite impressive: industrial (rock and metal), gothic rock, neofolk, post-rock, grindcore, ...
As for Lou Reed, I don't think so. You just have to compare the quality of the first two records of the VU to the last two to realize the decisive creative impact of John Cale. After the VU's collapse, Lou Reed made some decent singer-songwriter stuff (and that godawful Metal Machine Music), while John Cale's work was much more interesting. Also, Cale produced the debut records of the Stooges and the Modern Lovers, helping define punk rock. (though perhaps just mentioning the Velvet Underground as a whole would be better - after all, Moe Tucker's drumming style was influential as well)
As for Bo Diddley and Can - yeah, they are up there as well. Tago Mago is really a brilliant masterpiece. Though I should really check out more of Bo Diddley.