Thursday, December 13, 2007

A list I'd like to see

I know Rolling Stone has formulated several all-time lists, so many that you could rank them in order of worthlessness. But have they (or anyone else reputable) ever compiled a definitive list of the greatest rock bands of all time? Like, a real list, with no cheating: sneaking in solo artists, including genres outside of rock, etc.

Because I have a few questions:

1. Who's number 1?
2. Who's number 3?
3. Does U2 make the top 5?
4. How many American bands make the top 10?
5. Which woman will appear on the list first: a musician like Tina Weymouth, or a frontwoman like Grace Slick?
6. Will backup bands like the E Street Band and Crazy Horse get respect?
7. Aside from the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Bob Marley and the Wailers, and maybe Prince and the Revolution, does the list look entirely white?
8. If the bands are graded, does Guns 'n Roses get an incomplete?
9. What's a good length for this kind of list: 10? 100? 1,000?
10. How inflated would Nirvana's ranking be this time?

My more musically-inclined readers (and the rest of us) are free to speculate and share their own preferences here.

10 comments:

K-Lyn said...

ooooh...pick me! I know the answer to number 3. It's YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

and, number 6 is of course not.

And I'd say that Nirvana is deflating nicely. Not fast enough but still, steadily.

Neel Mehta said...

Normally I don't think a lot about music -- Quinn's latest in geography appreciation has me at a loss -- but I thought about this some, and my questions are designed to direct discussion.

I know the answer to number 3. It's YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had to go back and look at the question. (For a split second I thought you were saying that Yes should come in at number 3.)

On the list, bands #3-5 can get tricky. I think U2 belongs somewhere there (probably #4), but some may make decent arguments for The Who, Led Zeppelin, and the Grateful Dead.

and, number 6 is of course not.

Also tricky, depending on how history looks upon Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young as team players. On a list of 100, I see both making it.

And I'd say that Nirvana is deflating nicely. Not fast enough but still, steadily.

Let's hope so. Some combination of veneration and perceived potential has elevated their status beyond historical reason.

ZenDenizen said...

Very impressed with your mention of Tina Weymouth. Talking Heads are so underrated.

Mainline Mom said...

Fudge, I had a whole big comment with detailed answers and Blogger ate it.

The Beatles for numero uno, U2 is definately in the top 5. The Who and Zepp are near the top, but not the Dead because they didn't have as many hits.

I'd put Chrissy Hynde as the top woman on the list with the Pretenders. Ok I forget the rest of my comments and my brain isn't functioning so well.

bdure said...

Yes isn't even in MY top 3, and I'm a Yes fan.

The Beatles have to be #1. The Stones, though I've always found them overrated, have to be #2.

Top sellers are listed here in case you're curious.

But if Rolling Stone is doing it, then it'll be beholden to the same Wenner idiosyncrasies that make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame absurd. Patti Smith and Leonard Cohen, in. Rush, never. Kiss? Forget it. Get the idea?

bdure said...

Oh ... so to answer your questions:

1. Beatles. They won't screw that one up.

2. We've got the Stones at #2. I could see U2 here.

3. I think so.

4. Wow, tough one. Nirvana probably does, though they wouldn't really deserve it. (That answers #10.) If they're going strictly with bands and not solo artists, that rules out Dylan. The Doors have a shot. Fleetwood Mac is partially American. R.E.M. has a shot. If it weren't Rolling Stone, maybe Styx or Chicago. But since it IS Rolling Stone, they might pick someone totally undeserving like the Dead.

5. Love the Weymouth shoutout, but the sad thing is that I can barely name another woman in a major band who isn't the singer. Obviously, the Go-Gos and the Bangles are exceptions. Christine McVie is a terrific musician, but she's second in fame in the band behind someone who can't shake a tambourine in time.

6. I'm hoping "no" for Crazy Horse because Neil Young is overrated. The E Streeters are a tough call. When I think "band," I think of a shared creative process.

7. Living Colour gets no respect. Chic, which our music critic thinks should be in the Hall of Fame, might have a shot.

8. Good one! But I wouldn't really distinguish them from any other band that may or may not release another album before the key member(s) die(s) -- Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, etc.

9. 100.

10. See #4.

Neel Mehta said...

1. Beatles. They won't screw that one up.

Yeah, after the skyrocketing sales of their compilation CDs in recent years, you can no longer try to fault The Beatles on being a band of the past. They take #1.

2. We've got the Stones at #2. I could see U2 here.

At #3? Maybe. But I wonder if the listmakers should shy away from the modernity. I say Led Zeppelin at #3, The Who at #4, U2 at #5.

4. Wow, tough one. Nirvana probably does, though they wouldn't really deserve it.

Interesting you say that. It's much more inflated a ranking than I thought. (I'd be upset if they made top 20.) I think #5-10 gets some stateside love: the Doors and the Dead, as you say, maybe the Eagles. With Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd still available, there's not a lot of room near the top for R.E.M. or Nirvana.

If they're going strictly with bands and not solo artists, that rules out Dylan.

I can't see a conscionable way for them to cheat and squeeze him in. But I'm sure they would find one.

5. Love the Weymouth shoutout, but the sad thing is that I can barely name another woman in a major band who isn't the singer.

A little research tells me that the best candidate is probably Maureen Tucker, drummer for the Velvet Underground. (Nico was not a permanent member.) They'd make the top 10 on some lists.

6. I'm hoping "no" for Crazy Horse because Neil Young is overrated. The E Streeters are a tough call. When I think "band," I think of a shared creative process.

In a top 100 list, there's no doubt in my mind they honor Bruce in a way that they can't (reasonably) honor Bob Dylan. Neil Young gets represented with a CSN-Y mention, I imagine.

7. Living Colour gets no respect. Chic, which our music critic thinks should be in the Hall of Fame, might have a shot.

I liked Living Colour, but they never had the cultural intensity or longevity for an all-time list. Chic is an interesting choice, but are they a rock band? I didn't mention Parliament/Funkadelic for this reason.

9. 100.

Nice round number, and just enough for them to come up with some unworthy choices that make you wonder why, say, Living Colour didn't make the list.

K-Lyn said...

You know how I love my U2 but The Who is absolutely higher. Although in my list The Stones aren't in the top five.

Mainline Mom said...

I hesitate to put the Stones in the top five either, although their longevity, sales, and following possibly demand it. Hmmm...The Who vs. U2....VERY tough one. I love both. I think I gotta show more love to U2 though.

No way Nirvana makes top 10. No freakin' way. Neither should REM, as much as I love them. Eagles, Doors, not sure about Fleetwood Mac. Neel, you and I are in pretty close agreement.

kittygoespotty said...

The thing you're writing is a big blunder.