MSNBC writer Eric Olsen (also of Blogcritics fame, check it out) has penned an article entitled The 10 Best Rock Bands Ever- A purely subjective list of the groups that changed music forever and of course rock and roll fans have already begun to debate it in earnest. Olsen is playing it both ways by calling his article “The Best Rock Bands Ever” but then adding that subjective sub-title but still, overall the article is very well written even if you don’t agree with his list. Here it is for your debating pleasure with my comments following:
1. The Beatles – As far as influence goes it’s hard not to argue with this one.
2. The Rolling Stones- The band that wrote “Satisfaction” and launched a thousand garage bands. Of course they also did “Far Away Eyes” but a safe bet to be somewhere in the top 10.
3. U2- Jury is still out on this one for me but what do I know. They did tour with a giant olive so that must mean something.
4. The Grateful Dead- Top 20 maybe, top 10? Don’t think so.
5. The Velvet Underground- Good pick. Hard to believe that they were ignored throughout their whole career.
6. Led Zeppelin- They finally get their due. Their influence is greater than most people would like to admit.
7. The Ramones- Another great pick. They were excellent on The Simpsons.
8. Pink Floyd- I like Pink Floyd but top 10? Another top 20 band perhaps.
9. Bob Marley and the Wailers- I love Bob Marley but I don’t consider him and the Wailers to be a rock band. Bob Marley is in a category all on his own.
10. Sly and the Family Stone- Top 20 at best.
If you are looking at lasting influence, I think perhaps The Band, The Sex Pistols, The Byrds, The Mothers of Invention, Nirvana and maybe Springsteen have done a lot to influence the course of rock and roll but there are undoubtedly many more. If you are looking at who is “the best” well that’s so subjective as to be almost meaningless. For me it probably changes every week depending on the mood I’m in. A fun argument to be sure.
But wait there’s more! For the same price MSNBC throws in the top 10 rock and roll songs. Yes that’s right, here they are just for your reading pleasure:
1. (I can’t get no) Satisfaction- The Rolling Stones
2. I Want to Hold Your Hand – The Beatles
3. Respect- Aretha Franklin
4. Like a Rolling Stone- Bob Dylan
5. Hound Dog- Elvis Presley
6. Johnny B. Goode- Chuck Berry
7. I Heard it Through the Grapevine- Marvin Gaye
8. Born To Run- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (the most underrated rhythm section in rock and roll)
9. Smells Like Teen Spirit- Nirvana
10. Hey Ya- Outkast
All great songs but only “Hey Ya” hasn’t stood the test of time. Let’s check back in 5 years.