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28 November 2003 @ 02:35 pm
World's Greatest Rock&Roll Band?  

Back in the late 60s & early 70s, we used to have these arguments about which was the "World's Greatest" Rock&Roll band. I know this is probably a fairly irrelevant question these days, but if I were to try to compile a list of the bands might be considered to be the "World's Greatest" Rock&Roll band ever, what groups should be on it in addition to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, The Who, and U2?

Thanks!

Crossposted: twin_cities & my personal LJ

 
 
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Randy Newman: Ragtime
 
 
 
the laughing leaping waterminnehaha on November 28th, 2003 02:35 pm (UTC)
Zepplin is generally spoken in the same breath as the Beatles, Stones, and the Who.

Pink Floyd should certainly be talked about, as Genesis and Yes. (I have a thing for Pretentious Art Rock.) ELP?

B
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of the Fredcritterfredcritter on November 28th, 2003 08:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Is the question mark after ELP because you're putting them forward but don't think they should really be included, because you're not sure they could be considered "Rock&Roll," or what? 'Cause I'm not familiar enough with their stuff (or with Genesis's) to make any kind of call myself. Do you think a good argument could be made for their inclusion on such a list? That's really what I was asking for.
the laughing leaping waterminnehaha on November 28th, 2003 08:51 pm (UTC)
I think I can make a good argument for all those bands, including Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

B
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of the Fredcritterfredcritter on November 28th, 2003 08:57 pm (UTC)
Okay. Great! Thanks.
   .numbat on November 28th, 2003 03:12 pm (UTC)
See this gets a bit difficult when you begin to use labels, even broad labels like rock because a lot of people like to divide bands up between rock and pop. Usually the Beatles get put in the pop category because their music was rarely had the hard driving sound many people believe defines rock. Now while I can't imagine the Beatles being left out of any greatest list it does beg the question who do you leave out because they're not rock and roll enough?
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of the Fredcritterfredcritter on November 28th, 2003 08:57 pm (UTC)
See this gets a bit difficult when you begin to use labels…. …who do you leave out because they're not rock and roll enough?

That's true enough. I guess in this instance I'm more interested in finding out which bands people are inclined to include in such a list than I am in splitting hairs over precise categorizations. In other circumstances and in other discussions, counting the number of bands who can dance on the head of a categorization might appeal to me more.
   .numbat on November 30th, 2003 03:03 pm (UTC)
After leaving this idea to percolate for a couple of days (to see who comes to mind unaided) the two two bands who come to mind are XTC and Steely Dan.
Fred A Levy Haskellfredcritter on December 2nd, 2003 11:47 am (UTC)
XLNT.

XTC sounds only vaguely familiar to me, so I certainly woundn't have included them without your recommendation. Thanks!
Peter Hentgesjbru on November 28th, 2003 11:13 pm (UTC)
minnehahaB had a good start. I'd add The Replacements for sure.

Other possibles, in no particular order: Dire Straits. Various Jimi Hendrix incarnations. Cream. The Yardbirds. Jefferson Airplane. The Radiators. James Brown (are we considering "solo" artists?). The Eagles. The Guess Who. The Doors.

I might be able to make good arguments for my "possibles" but, then again, might not. They are the groups that popped into my head as "good" or at least producing some songs I like.

This sounds like it might make an interesting Minicon panel.
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of the Fredcritterfredcritter on December 2nd, 2003 11:53 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Do you think it might be stretching the definition of "Rock&Roll" all out of recognition to include James Brown? Not that I'm necessarily arguing, I'm just asking. Hard to disagree with the rest of your picks at all at all.

This sounds like it might make an interesting Minicon panel.

At first blush, yes. But then, once people have all mentioned their favorite candidates, there seems to be little left to do but have ugly arguments about whether various groups are "really that good" or "deserve to be included" or whatever (see the follow-on comments that appeared in the version of this post that appeared in twin_cities).
Peter Hentgesjbru on December 3rd, 2003 02:31 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Do you think it might be stretching the definition of "Rock&Roll" all out of recognition to include James Brown?

Perhaps. My thinking was along the lines of "it must be R&R if it's been the inspiration for R&R" and we can probably agree that James Brown has been that. At some point, though, that would get into one of those logical debate things where we'd have to trace things back along lines of inspiration and call Beethoven and Mozart R&R. So that gives us the difficulty of what's really rock and roll and we spin off into the neverland of contention.

As for the Minicon panel bit:

Was thinking something along the lines of having this discussion with a select group of people (probably on-line so we can include a diverse select group), collating the results and then presenting them with audio examples. So, say five panelists who would each get 10 minutes to present their candidate(s) (say three bands each) and play examples. Then 10 minutes to sum up and say "we also included (this long list) in our consideration and think that they are fine groups/performers."

It could be as simple as having said select group pick five bands they think belong on the list (in no particular rank) and then sorting through them to remove duplicates and assigning each group member to prepare that 10-minute presentation.

Was thinking that it would be one of those panels that would spark conversation for the rest of the con more than a discussion in a room kind of thing.

Or maybe not. <shrug>
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of the Fredcritterfredcritter on December 5th, 2003 09:49 am (UTC)
You're right that James Brown has certainly been an inspiration to us all, but I think I will make the Executive Decision that he fails to Make the Cut in the R&R category — especially since he so quintessentially defines R&B.

Now that you've explained how your Minicon Panel idea would be implemented, it sounds like a truly exciting, provocative, and interesting idea — one which should, indeed, spark discussions throughout the rest of the con. Have you submitted the idea to The Powers That Be? 'Cause it obviously can't be arranged at the last minute, requiring as it does both the reservation of/arrangement for PA-type playback equipment and the early discussion and acquisition of examples.
David W. Schrothdavidschroth on December 1st, 2003 08:39 am (UTC)
I'd have to insist on Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Feel free to ignore me, though.
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of the Fredcritterfredcritter on December 2nd, 2003 11:55 am (UTC)
Ignore you? Never, David. I suppose I could, but it would be wrong… Besides, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is an excellent addition that seems to have escaped everyone else's notice to this point. Thanks!
Mayor of "There"rmjwell on December 2nd, 2003 03:13 am (UTC)
CS&N and CSN&Y. Maybe Simon and Garfunkel, but do they count as a band?

Rush, maybe? For achievements in loud and piercing prentiousness above and beyond the call of duty.

I'd sooner put Jethro Tull on the list than Yes; Tull had more sustained output IMO.

I'm tempted to put Prince on the list becaus of his polyglot abilities, but that might be stretching it.

And on the "wake me in 10 years and see what their output is" front I'll suggest Barenaked Ladies and No Doubt, just because they seem to be having fun making music and that aspect cannot be underestimated.
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of the Fredcritterfredcritter on December 5th, 2003 10:13 am (UTC)
CS&N and CSN&Y.

Hmmmm. I'd thought of them, and then "dismissed" them since I think of them as being … mmm … acoustic or something, even though once I stop to think of it their performances were always augmented by drums and electric instruments. They don't really, you know, rock the house. But now that you mention it, yeah, I think they belong on the list.

As does Crosby's old group, the Byrds. Still not sure about Buffalo Springfield … seems like they were gone before they'd even begun, somehow.

Maybe Simon and Garfunkel, but do they count as a band?

Well, the way we've been reckoning things, I guess they count as a band. But I'm really hesitant to say they count as Rock&Roll. Mumble. All these definitional problems we've uncovered…

Rush, maybe? For achievements in loud and piercing pretentiousness above and beyond the call of duty?

Okay. We've already got U2 holding down the "pretentiousness" corner thoroughly and with authority, but we can always add more — especially given that Rush also demonstrated loud.

Speaking of loud, how could I have forgotten Husker Du? I saw them a couple of times at First Avenue, and they were certainly a lot louder than Bobby and the Midnights…

I'd sooner put Jethro Tull on the list than Yes; Tull had more sustained output IMO.?

Not going to pull Yes, but yes I'll add Jethro Tull. I saw Tull on their first American tour (in support of their first album) and was quite impressed — I even dashed out and bought the album — but they wore thin with me after their third album. However, I think they do qualify to be added to our list.

I'm tempted to put Prince on the list because of his polyglot abilities, but that might be stretching it.?

Prince? Oh sure. He's had actual moments of Rock&Roll. As I see it. YMMV.

And on the "wake me in 10 years and see what their output is" front I'll suggest Barenaked Ladies and No Doubt, just because they seem to be having fun making music and that aspect cannot be underestimated.?

So. Do we add them to the list, or do we check back when we're generating another list ten years from now?

You are quite right, though: fun is where the fair is.
Miss Behaviourkevelyn63 on December 4th, 2003 12:45 pm (UTC)
Elvis and Queen.

Then there are the less mainstream-esque popular artists, like Tom Waits and King Crimson...

It can get difficult to select "the Best" without defining what "the Best" is. I tend to like those who exceed not only in the realm of music but also in the realm of lyrics. (Elvis doesn't quite qualify in my best lyrics category though)

I always have trouble isolating anything as "the Best".
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of the Fredcritterfredcritter on December 5th, 2003 10:27 am (UTC)
Elvis and Queen.

Yup. I'm with you on those. Do you think we should also include Buddy Holly and the Crickets? They were certainly crucial and formative, but … oh, heck. Let's include them as well.

Tom Waits and King Crimson…

Hmmmmmmm. I purely love Tom Waits, but I just can't seem to wrap my mind around the notion of classifying his oeuvre as Rock&Roll. "Blues" maybe. Just plain, you know, "music." But "Rock&Roll"?

Since King Crimson was one of the groups who defined Pretentious Art Rock, I think they deserve to be on the list.

It can get difficult to select "the Best" without defining what "the Best" is.

Absolutely. And, as we're seeing, we run into other definitional problems as well. And, yeah, ultimately this whole exercise is spurious. All these groups/performers are excellent in their own ways, and I don't think it's realistic to declare any one of them to be overall "best."

But the question was offered in the spirit of remembering those old sophomoric late-night arguments, and I think it's lead to some interesting discussion…
markiv1111 on December 23rd, 2003 04:34 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad David Schroth mentioned Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band; I was noting them as a really significant omission. I saw them live sometime in the early 1980's (the "The River" tour) and it was just completely off the top of the scale as a concert. A lot of the other acts mentioned strike me as being people you don't want to forget about, but nonetheless, not quite at the top of the list. (Also in this category, one should note, is the Allman Brothers Band, but here one has to wonder about which lineup is being discussed, as two of the original members died young, and the band currently touring under that name -- while to the best of my knowledge being comparable in feel -- is radically different in personnel than the early band, and I haven't a clue whether they maintained that level of quality.)