Why Not Other Bands?

Last week marked the end of the Favorite Bands/Musicians feature. I caught all the ones I wanted to talk about, starting with The Beatles and ending with The Foo Fighters. I’ve gotten emails asking, “Why not Rush?” or “Emerson, Lake, and Palmer?” Some want to know why I didn’t do newer bands or how I could leave out Radiohead and most of the hair metal groups.

Simple. I didn’t want to do them.

There’s a certain point where the term “favorite” becomes meaningless. If every band or singer I’ve ever listened to is a favorite, then none of them are favorites.

Also, I opted to start with The Beatles and the Stones because they were the first groups I really got into. And really, any feature that discusses rock and roll must feature them. It’s like going all the way back to the beginning and skipping over Elvis. Speaking of which…

My knowledge of rock prior to 1964 is limited. Rock was still primitive, closer to country than what it later became. I know. This is what Lennon and McCartney, Mick and Keith, even the guys from Yes listened to as kids. Remember, though, when I was old enough to understand what this strange music coming out of our radios and from the television during American Bandstand, Led Zeppelin ruled, there were still four living Beatles with a new album always a possibility, and the new hot bands were Bad Company and Aerosmith.

I deliberately avoided hip hop because, frankly, I don’t know enough about it to write about it. I like some of it. A lot of it is crap, but then one could probably go through my iTunes and say the same thing.

Also, I avoided country, with the exception of Johnny Cash. And therein is where the heart of the feature lies. Johnny Cash was a favorite. In fact, I had a big Johnny Cash phase about the time I got into Tom Waits (who is definitely not rock and roll.)

And finally, there are a lot of bands I liked – Rush, for instance, some of the Lillith Fair performers, and Dave Matthews – whom I like very much but never grabbed me the way Marillion or Garbage or Zeppelin did.

It’s subjective. No one would consider my list a valid list of most influential or best musicians of the last half century. If it was, I’d have to include the Sex Pistols (whom I’ve never liked) and drop Marillion. Since I’m not a music critic, we’re gold here.