Johann Strauss, Sr.
If Johann Strauss, Sr., were as nutty as Caligula and a devout follower of Zeus, he may very well have destroyed his son before the latter could be born. The son eclipsed the father; even during Strauss Sr.'s lifetime, the Viennese watched and waltzed as Strauss the younger supplanted Strauss the elder to become the toast of the streets. But the son only expanded upon and popularized a form that his father had already championed. Although not as many of the elder Strauss's pieces are as commonplace to Pops orchestras as "On the Beautiful Blue Danube," songs such as "Radetzky March" are absolutely familiar, and are played with a joyous verve that is positively infectious. Strauss, Sr., is not merely important for his compositions -- he also helped modernize the orchestra, bringing into being the idea of the conductor-as-master and the idea of the orchestra as a well-oiled machine capable of giving performances night after night. He also introduced subtle polyrhythms into his music that were influential for many other composers of the era.