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Re: BEST group of the last 50 years

BEST group of the last 50 years
August 11, 2004 09:26PM
pros: uncommonly large number of critically acclaimed albums.
one of the true innovators in music.
extremely influential then and now.
they quit when they were on top.
cons: it didn't help that mainstream radio played most of their songs
into the ground. they robbed their songs of the ability to
a lot of their songs sound dated. "sgt. pepper" is not the apex
of rock music as it was once touted.
they were a pop group; not a rock n' roll group.

pros: you could argue they had the best drummer on the planet.
you could argue they had the best bassist on the planet.
they had pete townshend.
to call them dynamic was an understatement.
they had a group synergy second to none.
cons: moon died before he got old.
they didn't know when to call it a day.

pros: up until and including "exile on main street" (with the exception
of "got live if you want it"), you could say they were the best.
cons: "exile on main street" was released in 1972.
they have become the anthony young of rock music. in the last
30 years all they have to hold above their heads is "some girls"
and "tattoo you".
when should we expect "we're only in it for the money"?

CLASH (my favorite)
pros: the beacon for all the punk groups that followed them.
lack of greed that made it possible to release the three-record
"sandanista" for the price of a two-record set. it is by no
means a great three-record album. toss away 12 songs and you
have a damn good two-record album.
cons: it's difficult not to hold "cut the crap" against them.
lack of greed that probably caused them not to release a live
album during the group's life.

i give 1/4 of a vote to the who
i give 1/4 of a vote to the clash
i give 1/2 of a vote to the best group.....THE VELVET UNDERGROUND

they are one of the few originators in the history of music.
their first album came out the same year as "sgt. pepper".
listen to the two and compare them.
i don't know which is the more influential. the planet would have to
vote on that.
i think music would be set back further had there been no velvet
underground as opposed to no beatles.
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
August 12, 2004 12:36AM

NOT counting James Brown or Dylan, which are easily the answers if best artists.

1. stones
2. vu (just listening to enlarged Max's)
3. byrds--i'm cheating because of my adoartion of gene and gram)
4. Beatles
5. kinks
6. Neil Young (crazy horse counts?)
7. temptations
8. clash
9. husker du
10.can i count small faces and faces as one?
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
August 12, 2004 01:00AM
oops--forgot keith moon!!!

tie for 11th

sly, who, pere ubu, jam, isley brothers
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
August 12, 2004 01:01AM
Here's something I wrote for a long lost publication (reprinted here with my own permission) that explains my take on this matter:

(Or How to Expound Your Soul in a Thousand Words or Less and Still Walk Away a Better Person)

There is a common thread in all exemplary rock groups that, if attacked successfully, runs from the musician’s hands to the consumer’s senses like a fresh vein. It is the lifeblood from which all exciting music has tapped into since time began. It’s called shtick, boys and girls, and if a Yiddish word associated with vaudeville and deceitful stand-up comedians sounds like a defeat to The Man then everyone from Little Richard to Radiohead have sold out before they even bought in. Even groups like R.E.M. and Guided By Voices, combos who seem to lack a definable image, still have a clear-cut shtick. As Linda observes in Singles, “I think that a) you have an act, and that b) not having an act is your act.” That said, no other group created such a potent shtick, such a resounding act, and actually had the music to fulfill the threats, than the Who.

Ever since the original Brit Invasion first stormed the US there has been an ongoing debate about the superiority between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. But as the new millenium presents a new set of rules for influential music, this contention seems absurd. Sure, you still hear new music being described as Beatlesque, but that never means having an edge—or even a sense of what rewards post-punk’s genre-orgy brought to the world. And the Stones are out of the race simply because they adhere to the false notion that the group is still The ****. (They are, but not in the way Mick and the lads believe.) Meanwhile, as unqualified pundits argue over the irrelevant, the Who have staked a legitimate claim to many of the devices that modern rock, especially the good stuff, would be lost without.

Before the pasty-faced theatrics of Bolan and Bowie, before the gloomy machinations of the Velvet Underground and Iggy Pop, and way before the spectacle that was the Sex Pistols, the Who brought regular ol’ rock ‘n’ roll into the more credible realm of Art. Pop Art, that is, an ingenious combination of common culture and a blank canvas. Employing clothes with simple icons like a bull’s-eye or the Union Jack and “borrowing” extensively from the ultra-hip Mod sub-culture, the Who forged a stage presence that has yet to be passé—just look in any emo kid’s closet for the proof in that puddin’.

Backing this viable image with a feedback-flavored strain of R&B, the Who played as a group but were equally identifiable as members. Pete Townshend, with his defining “windmill” guitar move and that enormous nose screaming **** with me, you bloody wanker; Roger Daltrey, the mic-swingin’, treadmill runnin’ vocalist (and the wanker Pete’s nose was probably screaming at); Keith Moon, the most assaultive drummer in the history of percussion; and John Entwistle, he of nimble fingers, protecting his precious bass from the wrecking crew. For, you see, long before such a thing was deemed an admirable expression, the Who (minus the defiant bass-man, of course) would (how you say?) break their **** up. The guitar was left in splinters; the drums left to roll on the stage like bottles in an alley. It was a beautiful, oddly majestic act of destruction that influenced everyone from Jimi to Nirvana. God blesses them.

Their flawless image aside, the meat of the Who’s mystique remains in the music itself. The group’s early James Brown covers soon gave way to simple yet noisy power-pop—Maximum R&B, if you will (and you really have no choice). Pete and Keith actually exchanged their instruments’ roles in the music—the guitar worked on the rhythm while the drums did the leads. This style was the basis for punk’s short ‘n’ sweet anti-solo convictions, not to mention (though I will anyway) the start of the power-chord as we know it (although Dave Davies of the Kinks would probably kick my ass for saying that aloud). Classic outcries like “My Generation,” “Baba O’Riley,” and “Slip Kid” scratched the youth culture in a spot that no one else could even pretend to reach. Other songs (“Pictures of Lily,” “I’m a Boy,” “Acid Queen”) dealt with darker subject matter that the masses wouldn’t get use to until Jim Morrison was dead and Alice Cooper was offering his own cartoon facsimile.

As Townshend got more serious in his writing, he explored a new outlet for musicians that, good or bad, raised rock’s limitations: the Rock Opera. With “A Quick One, While He’s Away,” Tommy and Quadrophenia, the Who delivered extended performances on a unified theme. Though classical in intent, they remained rock in nature. On the positive side, these works spawned the likes of Tool and early-day Pink Floyd. On the negative side, they spawned Styx and, well, later-day Pink Floyd. Nonetheless, the Rock Opera did erase some previous misconceptions of rock’s rough exterior, and it made rock music in general more attentive to the grand scheme in which it was placed.

Although they broke up nearly twenty years ago, the Who is everywhere. The downside includes the endless stream of commercials spots, the redundant mega-tours to make more cash, Tommy on Broadway and Roger Daltrey on Pay-Per-View wearing a ridiculous jean outfit like it was still 1972. Bad as that may be, there is always an upside. Whenever rock’s lethal power is unleashed, the Who is there. Whenever Eddie Vedder opens his mouth, whenever the Hives step on stage, or when any number of neo-punk or “spunge” guitarists swing their arm, pick in hand, like it’s the coolest thing since reefer, the Who is there. Whenever Tenacious D breaks into a tasty lick or an audience member catches a drumstick thrown from the stage, the Who is there. And whenever the question is posed, “Can rock ‘n’ roll be saved?” the Who is there, because it is their dynamics that the searchers search for and the true fans need. If nothing else, my friends, the Who is there.

Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
August 12, 2004 01:45AM
The Who on a good night, no doubt. The Live at Leeds version of "My Generation" still gives me shudders, especially the part where Townshend chews on, discards, revisits and reshapes every riff he had ever previously played up to that point.

Honorable mention to Crazy Horse.
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
August 12, 2004 11:34PM
Let's say we qualify 'BEST' group by requiring:
-they ARE a group, not a solo or interchangeable musicians under a heading
-they have enough longevity to receive the best tag
-they have an influence today
-they made studio albums that are start to finish capitivating and not just for individual songs alone
-they were a real group in that their live tour was/is known for its musicianship, passion, etc.
What would be the list then?
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
August 13, 2004 12:36AM
according to your rules--since when are their rules?: I don't need no stinking ruuuuuules!--i stand by my men (except Neil?) but all day i felt shitty about beach boys not getting a nod, from here in new jersey (with the ONLY openly gay gov--Right On!) or elsewhere.
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
August 13, 2004 01:01AM
It's a viable list, for sure but you may have to defend the Beach Boys because of their 70's live career onwards and their catalogu as a whole aside from Smile, Pet Sounds.
Christi wasn't open?
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
August 13, 2004 01:32AM
1. Beatles -- regardless of overplay, still amazing to listen to them evolve over the course of their output.
2. Clash -- If you're going by best "band", instead of best frontman with a great rock group behind him, then the Clash beats the Pistols. Cut the Crap can't even begin to dent Side Four of London Calling, or the opening riff of "Complete Control".
3. Mothers of Invention -- Before it became Zappa with people playing behind him.
4. Mekons -- Everything you're supposed to love about rock music -- smart, fun, sloppy, f*****g brilliant, could nail a straight beat too, witness the beginning of Memphis, Egypt, which stomps and smokes.
5. Jason and the Scorchers -- What? They had their Cut the Crap, too, but even their "sell-out" album, Still Standing, rocks. And they had the decency to have a comeback that actually mattered.
6. Velvet Underground -- Another great evolving band. Loaded is an incredible frigging rock album. WL/WH is a great art rock album.
7. Roxy Music -- For the picture inside the gatefold in For Your Pleasure.
8. Sex Pistols -- Yup, poet Johnny Rotten in front of a great, hard, glam rock band. Even the tracks with Sidney make you sneer/smile.
9. Parliament/Funkadelic -- Yes, I am wanting to be funked up.
10. Pere Ubu -- If the phrase "Beautiful Noise" hadn't been used already, it would be perfect for them.
11 would be the Rolling Stones, who have made too many fair and mediocre albums after Exile, which was released 32 years ago. Now they make a mediocre album...tour...release a live album...make a mediocre album...tour...release a live album... If they'd stopped in 82, they'd be as high as The Clash. Please don't throw too many things.
And the Hoodoo Gurus, for crying out loud...
David Murphy

Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
August 13, 2004 10:03AM
yr zappa ref made me remember that Mr Beefheart and his (periodically) rotating misfits born under the aylerian mississippi moon belong on my top ten list--i'll have to kick soloist neil off and abide by paganizers' rules more stringently; btw i never saw magic band at their smokingest, a huge regret.

this is no time to meditate--we're still murdering babies for a can of gas for 3 texas guys, the just read autobiography of art pepper (straight life) was incredibly sad, and it's muggy as ****, but in the 1980's wasn't it de riguer for beefhaert to be on EVERYONE's list near the top, no matter the subject matter:
Most Overlooked.
Most Original.
Best Blues band.
Best singer.

Now, I barely gets me nothing on Big Don, here nor dere. Even my editor at Perfect Sound Forever wrote a chaptert on Trout Mask as overrated--a funny term for an album that probably sold 13.000 upon release--in that new book, Kill Yr Idols, a book I'll read but am in no hurry because saying Sgt Pepper's is overrated is by now an eternal truth if not a hackneyed dullism.

I can't imagine the best zappa, ubu, the fall, gang of 4 and wire (i think), ralph carney's music and projects, tom waits, danny cohen, quine's guitar lines, without the good captain, and i love his humor, his artwork, his stoicism re disease, poverty, and neglect. We all shold visit a desert this august and clang a couple of rocks together, praying for, not killing, our idols.

If you fuckers thought I could write a paragraph without ref to NE Ohio music, GOTCHA. times 3. have good weekends, you big eyed beaner bastids.

i love the mekons!
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
November 09, 2004 07:15PM
By Paganizer's criteria, I nominate U2 as a candidate for THE best group of the last half-century.

U2 has been together for 24 years and counting, with no personnel changes. The group has influenced plenty of artists on both sides of the Atlantic. Its best studio albums (or at least my favorites -- *Boy*, *War*, *The Unforgettable Fire*, *Achtung Baby*, *All That You Can't Leave Behind*) hold attention from start to finish. And U2 has been thrilling audiences around the world for two decades, and will surely do so again in 2005.
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
November 11, 2004 12:14AM
Boy was great in it's day, October was my favorite, hmmm....War....and then, uhhhhhh......well they make the Rolling Stones seem fresh and unbloated and that takes hard work.
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
August 18, 2004 07:58PM
Is it wrong to think a newer band is one of the best of the last 50 years? I think (not in order):

The Clash
Velvet Underground
The Flaming Lips

I know, I know, I stuck a couple still-running groups in a list of classics, but eh... to say that Radiohead at the very least will be considered one of the 'great influential bands of the 90s' is an understatement.
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
August 29, 2004 12:50AM
I would have to break it down into roughly 10-15 year eras.
Television is my favorite band of their era, with XTC in the mix.
Buffalo Springfield from their era, with Traffic and The Band running neck n neck.
I can't deny the importance of the main 60's bands BeatlesStonesKinksWhoYardbirdsAnimalsZombiesSmallFaces.
Zappa/BeefHeart are very major to me.

Favorite under-appreciateds
Camper Van Beethoven
Built To Spill
Lisa Germano
Los Lobos
It's a very tough call for a music nut like me, but my Favorite Group of the last 50 years is ..... King Crimson
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
September 21, 2004 11:21PM
Jason & The Scorchers???
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
September 21, 2004 11:26PM
I assume you're referring to blasmo's inclusion of the band in his top 5? Or are you actually suggesting they were the best group of the last 50 years? They had at least one great record, but no way were they the best band of the last 50 years. Or even 1985, for that matter.
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
October 15, 2004 12:39AM
1) The Who
2) Joy Division
3) Velvet Underground
4) The Clash
5) R.E.M. (Pre-Monster)
6) Husker Du
7) Radiohead
8) Pink Floyd
9) Afghan Whigs
10) The Smiths
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
October 15, 2004 02:24PM
my best of the truly warped muthers who could not care less what 1 let alone 50 was/is: (liberties taken here out of le band concept)


The Godz

Palace/Will Oldham (with the caveat of the first TWO albums)


Royal Trux (no, not Jen's new octane hybrid RTX; you can't have your raspy Tina without your sonic vista Ike)

Wolf Eyes


Bob Log III

Neptune (if you ever get a chance to see them, do it)
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
October 16, 2004 02:06AM
Pink Floyd
Joy Division
Velvet Underground
Stone Roses
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
October 16, 2004 01:07PM
Of course the whole idea of "best" is about as contrary to the spirit of Rock and Roll as anything can be. The whole beauty of the music was (is) that it can be disposable - in effect "anti-art". It's a short step from "best" lists to crap like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, yanno?Also, longevity of career is a negative towards greatness most of the time. Was REM ever, at any point in their solid career a better band the Replacements were at their peak? A long career is often the result of reasonable, artistically compromised choices. Those are qualities I want in an accountant not a band.

Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
October 16, 2004 01:10PM
I agree about the hall of fame and all the top 10/100 etc lists being ridiculous, it's the culture we live in though.
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
November 13, 2004 01:47AM
not much talk about them here but remember when they were the future?

From Billboard.com:

Gang Of Four, one of the most influential post-punk
groups of the late 1970s, has bowed to ongoing
pressure from fans and industry supporters and will
reform with its original lineup. The band has
confirmed five U.K. shows so far, beginning Jan. 23 in

The quartet of Jon King (vocals), Andy Gill (guitar
and vocals), Dave Allen (bass) and Hugo Burnham
(drums) have not worked together in that combination
since 1981, by which time its place in the vanguard of
the British new wave had been established thanks to
the 1978 debut EP "Damaged Goods" and the albums
"Entertainment!" and "Solid Gold."

Since then, Gill has become an in-demand producer of
such artists as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Killing Joke
and the Futureheads. He and King launched a new
version of Gang Of Four in the '90s, releasing the
albums "Mall" (1991) and "Shrinkwrapped" (1995).

This year, Gang Of Four has been the subject of
renewed interest thanks to the success of Scottish
rock act Franz Ferdinand, to whom its music bears a
strong stylistic resemblance.

Here are Gang Of Four's tour dates:

Jan. 23: Manchester, England (Academy)
Jan. 24: Leeds, England (Leeds University)
Jan. 25: Bristol, England (Academy)
Jan. 27: Birmingham, England (Academy)
Jan. 28: London (Shepherd's Bush Empire)
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
October 30, 2023 05:46PM
Somehow, twenty years have passed since this thread saw the light of a computer screen monitor.
I guess that means were now talking about the "BEST" group in the last seventy years.

But with the luxury of hindsight at my disposal, the answer is quite apparent to me now,

Kasenets & Katz' Super Circus (et al)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/30/2023 05:58PM by STEVE.
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Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
October 31, 2023 06:54AM
Ginger Baker did NOT think Keith Moon was a great drummer: in fact he though all the seminal bands of the time were mostly crap. In an interview with Classic Rock magazine (Issue 142, March 2010), he quipped:

"Keith Moon as a drummer? Nah. He was good with The Who, I suppose, when he tried to play like me....Moonie was a wonderful guy, but if you're going to judge from minus two to 10 then I'm a golden 10. Mitch Mitchell [The Jimi Hendrix Experience] was a journeyman. He was hopeless. John Bonham [Led Zeppelin], Ringo Starr [The Beatles], Charlie Watts [The Rolling Stones]...they're all three or four" ....

"But I hate the Stones and always have done. Mick Jagger is a musical moron. True, he is an economic genius. Most of 'em are *beep* morons....Paul McCartney boasts he can't read music! How can you call yourself a musicican, then? John Lennon was the best musician in The Beatles by a country mile. He was a very talented guy. But George Martin was The Beatles. Without him they'd have been nowhere."

From all the interviews I've scoured over through the years, Baker was a pompous ass, very difficult to work with, but a hell of a drummer in his own right (he was hella good on Andy Summers' album "Synaesthesia"). I would slot him in on my 10 best drummers list.

You could name a dozen punk rock groups from the 70's that would fit on a Top 10 Most Influential List; The Ramones (and maybe the New York Dolls) would make my list, (it's disappointing that they are only #26 on Rolling Stone's list). Punk destroyed many of the conventional constraints on music and rock had become stale and it had lost it's rebellious streak. The music industry was labelling Billy Joel and Simon & Garfunkel as rock music !

My Top 10 list of most influential artists would be:

1) The Ramones
2) Kraftwerk
3) Velvet Underground
4) Cocteau Twins
5) Stone Roses
6) The Police
7) Marvin Gaye
8) Smokey Robinson
9) Bob Dylan
10) David Bowie

* I could easily expand this list to a hundred, the development of modern pop/rock music is hardly hierarchial, it's been a populist movement over the decades.

Skook: Glad you mentioned Lisa Germano, a very under-appreciated singer indeed, I became a fan of all the early 4ad artists.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/31/2023 06:59AM by Fleeingbandit.
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
October 31, 2023 11:16AM
Fun thread to return to. It's fascinating in its own right for the opinions expressed, but it's also wild to be reminded of some of our fellow travelers who were frequent (and insighful) commenters for a while and then just moved on. Also funny to see comments of my own that I have no recollection of writing....
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
October 31, 2023 02:37PM
Holy cow ... I had no idea that Ginger Baker was such an arrogant fucker.
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
October 31, 2023 06:08PM
He makes a nice pair with Clapton.
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
November 01, 2023 03:21PM
As someone who turned 50 a few weeks ago, I'm sighing that it means that a) I'm old and b) the legendary classic rock era is now basically 60 years old. It wasn't my era, to be sure, but MEET THE BEATLES is practically a senior citizen now, right?
Re: BEST group of the last 50 years
October 31, 2023 04:28PM
Guided by Voices. Hands down.

50 years ago was 1973. If you make it 60 years, it changes the picture.
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