I had no idea

Artists that you had no idea about how truly great they were.

Here's my entry.

Goofy side kick in goofy movies including "Smokey and the Bandit", author and singer of countless goofy songs like "When your hot your hot". He even stared in a Scooby Doo episode... This pretty much describes my previous impressions of Jerry Reed.

Then after a friend emailed me a youtube link I was flabergasted.

I had no idea that Jerry Reed: Wrote and played guitar on four of Elvis's biggest hits, one of only 4 people to be given the title "Certified Guitar Player" by Chet Atkins and was quoted stating "Jerry was a better finger style player than myself". As far as singing goes, just check out his cover of "City Of New Orleans" in the link below. World class song writer, guitarists and vocalists... I had no idea.

Chet and Jerry

City of New Orleans
Shelby Lynne. Just a Little Lovin was such an unexpected pleasure. I had no idea she could sing that way. That album has joined my favorite Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Holliday albums as all time favorite vocal albums.
I've had that happen a bunch of times.

I liked the two monster Fleetwood Mac records when they were released in the 1970s, but thought they were just fun, well crafted pop records. It was only when I heard Lindsey Buckingham's 1992 solo effort "Out of the Cradle" that I went back and discovered that Fleetwood Mac/Lindsey Buckingham was as good as rock music gets (for me). He/They have continued to be my "go to" choice for RnR ever since.

Same deal with Todd Rundgren. Liked him in the 60s, but mostly forgot about him after "Something/Anything". I didn't really "get" the impact of his overall catalog 'til a friend pointed it out to me in the late 80s or early 90s.

And I had a similar experience with both Jerry Reed and Shelby Lynne. It wasn't till I developed a taste for country music in general, and Chet Atkins in particular, that I learned that Reed was a serious player. And I wasn't crazy about the pre-"Lovin'" Lynne records, but love that one.

There are a LOT of country and Cajun musicians I originally dismissed, but later developed a great taste for. If a listener is not "calibrated" for a genre (and country music was the perfect example for me for many years), it's easy to miss the point of the music (and the talent of the musician). Later on, in a more receptive state, it's "How did I NOT hear that?"

I count these "rediscoveries" as one of life's great pleasures.

I had no idea Glen Cambell was such an accomplished session guitarist and considered to be very good by his peers.
Roy Clark is a stringed instrument wizard.Don't be put off by the country bumpkin "Hee Haw" persona.
I'd have to say that Elvin Bishop probably falls into that category. He's best known for the one-hit wonder song "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" but he's done so much more great music. Give "Raisin' Hell: Live! or "Juke Joint Jump" a listen. He cut his teeth with the "Paul Butterfield Blues Band" and is quite an accomplished blues guitarist.
Totally agree with Tpreaves. Search on YouTube “Odd Couple Roy Clark” and be amazed!

Also, I was never a George Michael fan (still not) but search on YouTube for his live performance with Queen (tribute to Freddy Mercury concert) of “Somebody to Love”.

The first time I saw this on MTV years a go, I was blown away by his vocal ability and stage presence on this song. I had a new respect for his talent—not easy to sing this song and nail it like he does—while making it look easy.
Duane Allman (his brother is no slouch, either) but he hadn't died at age 26; he may have rivaled slow hand for kudos. Check out his Anthology , esp. the Janpanese remaster. Also who he sessioned for in the New Orleans' studios (Aretha and the like). Just a great string man, humming it along with a cold medicine bottle on his slide fingers....
because I'm a jerk, I have to say: 'The Beatles.'

I was so busy not liking what was popular (the Beatles were the sonic wallpaper of my youth), I completely blinded myself to their polyglot genius.

Needless to say, the 'rediscovery' of that catalog was a phenomenal pleasure!
Soundgasm- Funny. I was also a Beatles jerk but enjoying them immensely these days. It only took me 40 years to figure that one out.

A condition that begs a thread titled, "Bands too popular to like but are actually really good." Fleetwood Mac probably belongs on the list as well.
Hazard mentioned Elvin Bishop. I'll have to dig out "Rock My Soul" and give 'er a spin...