It’ s a hard call …
Amassing arsenals of music executed to the utmost of rock band’s abilities and narrowing them down to ten. Daunting yes – impossible? Not really …
Beauty is in the ‘ear ‘ of the beholder, a full agreement can never be reached with lists like these. The only certainty is the top two on the list must be forever linked as 1-2 or 2-1 for obvious reasons.
This iconic Canadian band is responsible for more popular air guitar and drum solos than anyone aside from Led Zeppelin. The softness of ‘The Trees’ to the hard rockin ‘Tom Sawyer’ all the way back to Lakeside Park and a return to 2112. This Canadian trio surpassed the Guess Who many moons ago as Canada’s number one band of all time. Unlike the Guess Who – Peart, Lee and Lifeson have talent beyond three chords. Three nerds – four decades … do the math!
9. The Velvet Underground
Has there been a band which leaned toward decadence and the rock n roll lifestyle more than the Rolling Stones? Yes … The Velvet Underground combined r and b, pop, blues and lovely romantic poetry with a lust for the drug culture at a time when the world was learning to ‘achieve satisfaction’. Lou Reed and John Cale observed the New York seedy elements from the inside looking inside. Nico joined the mix and Warhol kicked their habits onto a unsuspecting mass of bohemian tramps searching for a home.
8. Black Sabbath
The pre- cursor and major influence for every Def Leppard, Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper wannabe. Satanicly – induced and proud of it, the lads dipped deep into the Hades and came up with decades of bat – eating, cloak – wearing gothic- inspired followers. Paranoid? Of course … Fairies wear boots and such strides may induce fear and indulge parents to lock the doors on their non -bible stompin’ offspring!
The only post- 1980 group to claim global domination and retain the crown. Sometimes over- indulgent via Bono’s over the top preaching and waning messages, the group from Ireland remain intact. ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’, ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’, ‘ I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For’ and even the more recent ‘Vertigo’ – will outlast and remain ‘poignant’ for years to come. Something few bands can claim on such a scale.
No band is responsible for progressive rock more than Genesis. Starting with Peter Gabriel and the iconic ‘Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’ and ‘Selling England by the Pound’ all the way to the eighties and pop – genius Phil Collins leading the way, Genesis was near the top of the heap for almost twenty straight years. Unheard of on most basement turntables.
5. The Who
Smashing guitars, thematic albums with entire storyboards, punk – rockish antics before punk rock and some of the greatest rock songs of all time. Add a show which delivered chaos weekly amid vocals bordering on operatic melodies – deaf dumb and blind kids knew they would die before they got old. Who are you indeed …!
4. Led Zeppelin
Considered the forefathers of heavy metal and the first to blend blues with hard – driving beats and tender ballads. Owning and operating a timeless vehicle by the name of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and driving it through paths partnered with Physical Graffiti, Zeppelin spawned three generations of air guitar and pretend drummers. Page – an innovator on guitar and Plant; a symbol of sexiness with a voice unmatched to this day. Some guy named John Bonham led and continues to lead the way as Zeppelin remain near the top of awe – inspiring conversation and sing – a-long choruses …
3. Pink Floyd
If someone was afraid to utilize their ‘doors of perception’ and indulge in L.S.D – Pink Floyd did it for them. Logically, musically, lyrically and properly. Starting with Sid Barrett and continuing into realms meant for candidates of induced mind control experimentation – the British group dated the extremes normally associated with insanity. The only band in history able to transcend worlds and shape imagery into a fascinating trip understood by few yet admired by many.
2. The Beatles
The band which started it all. The band which made every kid in the world believe that music, their very own music could be delivered to a mass audience. The most successful prolific songwriting duo in history unfortunately done in by the love of a woman. Live? An enigma as the amps and sound equipment not yet formed by the time of their demise. Number one on the list if longevity remained an acquaintance and not a foe. Number one on the list if a beginning period of fluffy love songs did not exist.
1. The Rolling Stones
No band put up with the ‘attacks’ of government while trying to start a career. Fighting drug busts, the popularity of the Beatles, the death of the founding member, the death and chaos of Altamont, the changes in music landscape, the ‘ death’ of guitar rock, the video age, punk rock, disco and age – the Stones continue to survive. The only group to be sucessful in every genre – a musical juggernaut blessed with an insatiable appetite for the blues. A common denominator which strays not from a catalogue of six hundred plus songs. Jagger – the poster boy for every lead singer and Richards – the poster boy for every guitarist and decadent human being living with a middle finger to rules and regulations. Critics of the latest song have said; “Its great except for Jagger’s voice …” In 1964, critics adorned the pages of music reviews with the same vowels and syllables. Composers of an album considered best of all time – Exile on Main Street, responsible for one of greatest live albums of all time – Get Yer Ya- Ya’s Out and owners of five of the biggest grossing tours of all time.
Time is on their side …