Oddly enough, I realized that I have yet to weigh in on my favorite bands. And since my informal survey shows that the percentage of people actually awaiting this tidbit of information falls somewhere between 0 and .00025%, I figure there’s no time like the present.
I freely admit that these bands lean towards my formative years. Part of the reason for that has as much to do with the fact that I don’t follow current music as closely as I once did, as the idea of having a “favorite band” no longer holds much currency with me. I mean, I was like, 15, when I had a Who poster on the wall.
I’ve always said that if it weren’t for British bands, I would have a much poorer record collection. So here’s yer proof: 70% of my Top Ten bands are British, 60% of the final total are. So, thank you, Brits.
Herewith, sans further ado, my hall of fame list:
- Beatles – surprise! Well, probably not. For creating such great music and for pushing the envelope about as far as they could within a pop/rock context.
- Rolling Stones – The blues/R&B counterpoint to the Beatles’ pop/Buddy Holly leanings. I doubt if The Stones would ever have covered “Till There Was You,” and the Beatles could never have thought up “Midnight Rambler.”
- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – Great songwriting meets perfect execution. These guys all share the same musical roots and are dedicated to Bruce’s vision.
- The Allman Brothers Band – Prior to them, no one – I mean no one – had really blended blues, jazz and even country together. And certainly not at their level of virtuosity.
- The Who – If you think about these guys just as players, each one of them was at the top of their profession. Let alone Townshend’s staggering writing output. There’s literally no one else like them.
- Steely Dan – Are they even really a band, some might argue? Well, Becker and Fagen were together for all those years. So, despite the fact they used a lot of session players, I think, yeah. And I can listen to their stuff over and over again.
- Led Zeppelin. Please. If I have to explain their greatness, you have stumbled onto the wrong blog. I was reading about Prophets of Rage, Tom Morello and Chuck D’s new band. Chuck D said their drummer “hits like Bonham.” That’s even higher praise than “Moves like Jagger.”
- Pink Floyd – Were they a prog-rock band? I guess. Sort of. And they managed to not get too bloated or overinflated. (Well, until Roger Waters took over completely but that was later.)
- The Kinks – I went through a few years of Kinks worship, totally wearing out Kink Kronikles and Arthur. They either totally convincingly convey what it’s like to be British or they confirm my fantasy version of same. Either way, best enjoyed with a cuppa.
- The Police – I can still remember when I first heard “Roxanne.” So much of what they did was so great. Stuart Copeland is one of my absolute favorite drummers of all time.
Honorable mention: Santana, The Band, The Clash, Cream, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Queen, Talking Heads, Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green AND Stevie Nicks versions), Eagles, U2.
Feel free to weigh in, chums.
20 thoughts on “My Favorite Bands”
In my formative years I was into prog rock in a big way: Genesis, Yes, King Crimson. I soon graduated to jazz/rock fusion bands like Soft Machine and Brand X. More recently I’ve added the likes of Alt-J and Elbow – bands I lump under the ‘alternative’ banner. But my all time favourite band is/was Guillemots for reasons that even I find difficult to understand.
I suspect none of those are really to your taste but we’re on the same page when it comes to Pink Floyd, The Kinks, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Talking Heads and (late Peter Green era) Fleetwood Mac. The only one in your list I’d argue with would be Steely Dan (sorry); apart from a single or two they never did anything for me, I’m afraid.
I was also into prog-rock, especially Yes and – to some extent – King Crimson. Yes almost made my list. Very close.I don’t understand why they’re not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I also went to jazz/rock but more of the Weather Report, Chick Corea/Mahavishnu Orchestra variety.
And I confess I don’t even know who Guillemots are/were.
Yes, I’ve seen in following your blog you lean more towards the prog/rock and Renaissance-type stuff. The latter I like, can’t really live there. I grew up with Top 40 but if I have any “sweet-spot” it’s blues-based rock. And given the choice between the songs with meaning and those that just crank it out, I guess I’ll take the AC/DC’s of the world first. 😀 Rock is so visceral to me, half the time I don’t even give a crap what they’re saying.
I recall your saying before that you’re not a big SD fan. Just for fun, if you’re bored someday – and you’ve never heard them -go online and listen to Aja and/or Katy Lied. You may not like all of either of them but you may be pleasantly surprised. And pound for pound, you won’t find better guitar solos anywhere.
BTW, no need to feel the least bit apologetic about not liking something I like. I have exactly zero friends who share my taste 100%. Probably true for you t0o. I swear I was the only person in the States who loved Slade. My friends thought I was nuts. I thought they were great! 😀
I had a lot of work to do today but decided to write a list of favorite bands that I still really enjoy going back and listening to. I also wanted to do a shout-out for some woman musicians. So here is my list:
BEATLES – totally changed how I listened to music. Loved growing up musically with them!
PINK FLOYD – listened to and loved their albums but never saw them in person. Wish I did. Phenomenal genius group!
THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND- this band is so good! Their music was always great driving-your-car music. Looking forward to your post on these guys.
CREAM – saw Cream in Philly in 1968. Ginger Baker did a solo drum set for 15 minutes. Told my Dad his drum playing reminded me of the great drummer, Gene Krupa, who I sometimes caught on the Tonight show (truly great musicians on this show). Dad agreed. He heard Cream on the radio. I was flabbergasted. He said, “Good musicians are good musicians regardless of what time period they are playing in”.
SANTANA – growing up I used to hear my Dad playing Latin music so hearing a Latin sound come from a group playing at Woodstock just blew me away. Pretty much my first step into loving Jazz.
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE – what can you say – one of a kind musical experience that I still love listening to.
THE DOORS – I think there was a lot of controversy on whether Jim Morrison was really that good. I think he was and so was his entire band.
JOURNEY – another band that I think is good but Steve Perry’s voice is what really pulls me into this group.
THE PRETENDERS – group became a top 10 for me after your post on the Pretenders. Can’t get enough of Chrissie Hynde.
HEART – Love Nancy Wilson’s guitar work on their song, “Crazy on You” and always loved Ann Wilson’s voice.
I can get behind all your bands save one, that I’ll get to. Some comments:
I actually did my Allmans series a while ago. It may have slipped under your radar:
Boy, i wish I’d seen Cream. They were the epitome for me. And as I think about it, while they weren’t a jazz band per se, their free-form improvisation was as close as we could get in rock. And I think that paved the way for me (and a lot of people) to appreciate jazz and jazz-rock. I also got into blues because of them. And their guitarist was pretty damn good as I recall. 😀
The Doors would make my next list. But they could even conceivably be in the Honorable Mentions without a doubt. Traffic too.
Pretenders would be in next batch for sure.
Agree about Heart. I’ve learned to play part of Nancy Wilson’s opening solo on “Crazy On You” but not all. It’s a painstaking thing to learn solos and stay with it. BTW, there is no better interpreter of Zeppelin’s songs than Heart. They played “Stairway to Heaven” at the Kennedy Center Honors bringing Robert Plant to tears.
Which brings me to Journey. Apart from a song or two, just not a fan of these guys.
As an extension to my original post, I was thinking that if I was following bands today I’d probably be following Phish, Jack White, Dave Matthews, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. All will get posts on this blog (bet they can hardly wait!).
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Should have added the other two Allmans ones
Thanks for the Allmans Brothers links. I thought I had done a search on your blog to see if you did the Allmans Brothers. I was going back and forth from your blog to youtube listening to music. It will be great reading (re-reading?) your posts on them.
Yeah,as to be expected, the Cream concert was fantastic! I actually went by myself because I couldn’t find anyone who was interested in going. Now that you mentioned it, I can understand the connection between Cream and, what would later be called, jazz-rock. Clapton, Bruce and Baker played mostly,as you said, free-form improvisation through-out the night.
Thanks for the great story on Heart. I will check out their version of “Stairway to Heaven”. I look forward to reading posts on the bands you mentioned.
Here’s Heart in case you don’t find it or perhaps if others want to hear:
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Thank you so much for the video. What I loved about listing my favorite bands is allowing myself time to go back and listening to these incredible artists. Thanks for your post!
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I am wearing out Arthur at the moment as well. Hilarious, because it’s so true.
I think my list would be quite similar, possibly minus the Beatles and Who. That said, whittling down one’s favourite music is a truly Herculean task…
Yes, but well worth it. And now we all eagerly await your list. 😀 Actually I found it pretty easy to do the Top Ten, somewhat more challenging by the time I got to, say, 15.
All the more so since the topic was bands, therefore I didn’t include the likes of Dylan or Joplin. Sure, they had bands. But even when Dylan had THE Band, he was still largely considered a solo artist. Which leaves me somewhat splitting hairs on Springsteen. But I would argue that E Street have been so interweaved for so long, they truly are a band, a unit.
Nice to see you back on the blogosphere, BTW.
My Top 20 in no order: Beach Boys, Who, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Band, Bob Dylan, Ramones, Oasis, Kinks, Velvet Underground, Pixies, Stooges, James Brown, Wu-Tang Clan, Black Sabbath, Queen, Simon & Garfunkel, Arcade Fire, Genesis, Bowie.
A nice, varied list. Thoughts:
I probably would have put Dylan, Bowie but thought of them more as solo artists who had bands rather than as bands per se. But I established no such criteria, so yeah sure, if we expand it to that, big ‘yes”on both. Beach Boys and Sabbath would probably make Top 30. I toyed with Simon and Garfunkel. Could easily be in Top Twenty.
As to Ramones, Oasis, Velvet Underground, Pixies, Stooges, Genesis, all are excellent but not (for me) enough to have them climb into the vaunted ‘favorite’ category. I’m impressed as hell with your James Brown choice. Again, solo but great artist for sure. On my bucket list to write a series about one day.
Probably the only bands that I have very little feel for are Arcade Fire and Wu-Tang Clan. I’ve tried to get into Arcade Fire. Just not happening for me. As to Wu-Tang, I know people love ’em but hip-hop just will never be my bag.
Oh, and for the record, I left U2 off my honorable mention list. Since corrected.
Thanks for your input, Ovidiu. Great stuff.
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What an excellent list. I’m way too intimidated to do my own right now. By the way, you should not be driving around with that live Sly album on in your car. That is an accident waiting to happen man.
Easy-peasey for you. Springsteen 1-9, Bowie 10. 😂 Good advice on Sly which I will doubtless ignore.
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That’s a pretty good list. Lot’s of good stuff from the Kinks, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd to the Who and Allman Brothers. Although, I wasn’t much of a fan for Bruce, but his music speaks to a lot of people. You got to give it to him for that.
Funny but I was talking to somebody about that Bruce thing just the other day. He has millions of fans worldwide. And I’ve been into him for years. And yet apart from my wife, I personally know no one who’s into him. So, that I can’t explain at all. For me, Bruce has made a big difference. His themes don’t always resonate with me but a lot of his songs do, if you catch the distinction. Anyway, welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere. 😁
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What do you know. I like some of these bands too!
Yeah, quite a few of them don’t suck.
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