Rice Krispies taste better with a little sugar, right? No one likes bitter without some sweet. The only difference between the Banned Band List and the Terrific Ten are, they are no rules. Almost forty years of listening has honed my taste for the finer chords. Here's what you'll find played the most in my car, ipod, house, and radio.
10) Oasis - The fighting Gallagher brothers always grab my attention. They didn't invent Brit Pop, but they perfected it and took it global. Are they a Beatles derivative? Sure. They do rock harder than the Beatles. They're meaner, leaner, and a little more realistic lyrically than the Beatles. They can cop John and Paul melodies and I'm cool with it. Plus, and this only applies to me and anyone else with a daughter named Lyla, they have my kid's theme song. Which was released 7 months after she was born, so no, I did not name her after the tune. Obviously, Noel Gallagher wrote it for her.Favorite Oasis album - 1995's What's The Story Morning Glory? Favorite Oasis' songs - Lyla, Lord, Don't Slow Me Down, and Acquiesce.
9) The New York Dolls - Johnny Thunders' guitar was so far ahead of it's time that it took 15 years and the Appetite for Destruction album by Guns n Roses with their axman, Slash, for people to appreciate the style. The Dolls, were punk, glam, power pop, and straight ahead rock and roll all rolled into one smoking mess of drugs, makeup, women's clothes, and excess. Favorite Dolls' album, their eponymous first record. Favorite Dolls' song - Personality Crisis.
8) Nirvana - If you let something go and it comes back to you, it's meant to be. Or however that chick saying goes. After Kurt Cobain's suicide and the talking points spewed by everyone including Newsweek and Time magazine's about Kurt being the spokesperson of my generation, I ran away from Nirvana and their music like rats from flourescent light. Then, I started listening again years later and realized my first instinct had been correct. Kurt could right and Dave Grohl had some serious talent. I find myself playing Nevermind and Unplugged a lot. That has to mean something. Favorite Nirvana album - 1991's Nevermind (but listen to Bleach when you can, it's better than you think.). Favorite Nirvana song - 2002's You Know You're Right ( located on their compilation album).
7) The Ramones - They stuck around too long, and they never sold records. The latter makes me like them even more. The best thing I have ever heard about the Ramones is "listening to The Ramones first album is like watching the atom split for the first time. Nothing was the same after that." For all of the excess and bloat of the 70s supergroups and their million dollar records, none of them could capture the heart of 4 losers from Queens, NY and their desperation to be rock heroes that was laid down on 1976 The Ramones. It cost 7 thousand dollars. Stripped down arrangements, simple lyrics, and two catch phrases (Gabba Gabba Hey and Hey Ho, Let's Go) later music changed. It just took a while for people to realize it was changing for the better. Favorite Ramones album - 1976's The Ramones. Favorite Ramones song - Blitzkrieg Bop.
6) Led Zepplin - Their music was called The Thunder of the Gods. That's the second best tag line ever associated with a band. Jimmy Page's guitar was groundbreaking as Robert Plant's over the top vocals were memorable. The best musician was their drumemr John "Bonzo" Bonham who brought danger, sonic boom, and fury to the mytical obsessed other members. he grounded them in blues and hard rock. They were the biggest band of the 70s but their first two albums made the 1960s are where to start to understand their greatest. Communication Breakdown and Good Times, Bad Times are rock and roll standards for hard rock and heavy metal bands. There was always an urgency and a danger with Zepplin. Those are musts with any great band. There is a lot of unnecessary stuff on their records. They were fond of how well they played and whatever fad they had going on in their lives being put onto their recordings. The Beatles did this too, just a little bit better. They made three of the greatest rock records; IV, Physical Graffiti and Houses of the Holy. Favorite Zepplin album - Physical Graffiti. Favorite Zepplin song (s) - Wearing and Tearing, Communication Breakdown, Misty Mountain Hop.
5)The Beatles - As great as they are and as much as they are a part of my family, you have to take the good with the bad. The Beatles have a rollercoaster catalog. Their compositions are amazing and worthy of through study. There is a lot of filler of some of their albums and they are the same group that did Rocky Raccoon, Yellow Submarine, and I Am The Walrus. They are also the same group that did Ticket To Ride, Eleanor Rigby, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, and so many really great songs. John's lyrics, Paul melodies, and George's guitar are like classical music for contemporary ears. Favorite Beatles album - Revolver. Favorite Beatles song - Eleanor Rigby, She Said She Said ,A Hard Day's Night, Let It Be...hmmm
4) The Rolling Stones - I have always preferred Mick Jagger and Keith Richards over John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The fact that Jagger and Richards stuff apart from each other is so bad speaks to how perfect their chemistry is together. Satisfaction may be the greatest guitar riff ever. The way they able to stay blues based is amazing. Exile on Main Street sounds what rock and roll is supposed to sound like; gritty, dirty, mean, unsafe, and dangerous. When you stay together for over 40 years, you will make bad records. At least they put out a compilation called Sucking In The Seventies. Self Awareness is a virtue not found among musicians, normally. Beggar Banquet, Let It Bleed, Tattoo You, and Sticky Fingers are just outstanding albums. Favorite Stones' Album - Exile on Main Street. Favorite Stones' song - Tumbling Dice.
3) Bob Dylan - He gave meaning to the pop song. He made rock and roll artistic. He broke more rules than any otehr artist and did so without embarrassing himself. His records are sometimes too long, sometimes too short, sometimes too conusing, and sometimes just too much. One thing he never is, musically, is boring. Like A Rolling Stone is taboo. It's almost 6 minutes long, it challenges conventional song structure, and it is a pure pop song despite being so lyrically awesome. The way Dylan challenges people as they listen amazes me. I learn something every time I hear a Dylan song. Ultimately art is supposed to reveal truth. No one does that better than Bob Dylan. Favorite Dylan song (s) - Like A Rolling Stone and Tangled Up In Blue. Favorite Dylan album - Blonde on Blonde or Blood on the Tracks.
2) Radiohead - Just when you think you have a band figured out they are supposed to change and make you wodner what the heck is going on? Radiohead does that every album. Ok, Pablo Honey is their grunge record and Creep is their one hit wonder about a loser in over his head in a relationship and we'll never hear much from this group again. Wrong. Here comes recording after recording of perfection. Songscapes of weird guitar riffs and space songs that make Pink Floyd sound like amateurs. Thom Yorke isn't the first genius to make pop records. He's the just the reigning genius. When you have a hard time picking your second favorite band's best album, you know they're good. Favorite Radiohead album - The Bands or Ok, Computer, depnds on what day I'm on. Favorite Radiohead song (s) - Just, High and Dry, House of Cards, many more.
1) The Clash - The Only Band That Matters. That how they were referenced during their run. They started in punk music and used it to be revoltionaries. They saw music as meaningful. The way they took responsibility of their talent is equal to Bob Dylan. They just rocked harder. I have never heard a Clash song I didn't like. Even though Combat Rock and Cut The Crap are not great records. They're still really good, despite the break up chaos surrounding them. London Calling is the greatest rock record ever made. It combines 6 different musical influences and then rocks your face off. Joe Strummer is the most underrated muscian ever. If great music is supposed to be about how it affects you, then The Clash music is great. Their is more depth in a 3 minute Clash song than a five minute Bruce Springsteen tune. The fact The Clash could speak so clearly in so little time shows their greatness. Favorite Clash album - London Calling. Favorite Clash song (s) - The Card Cheat, Spanish Bombs, Know Your Rights, (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais, Clash City Rockers, London Calling.