What, for you, is *the* defining band of your generation?

There’s a Washington Post “perspective” article talking about the timelessness, or something, of The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Which have had a surprising number of hits over their career, and over a surprising number of years.

So, maybe.

But what would you say?

I want to say The Pixies or Nirvana but it’s probably Madonna or Michael Jackson.

For my generation? The Beatles, without a doubt. Nothing comes close to the impact these four guys had on my generation. YMMV

big boys from Austin Texas

Yeah, it’s not a new revelation or anything, but the Beatles.

I was explaining them to my kids, and said "Look at the Top 40 hits for the early 60s, the songs you heard over and over from your car radio. There were some gems, but most of it was Teen Pop groups like Dick And Dee Dee or the Coasters (oh, don’t forget Ricky Nelson, the little brother from Ozzie and Harriet). They made a nice soundtrack for middle-class conformist America.

Then we heard the Beatles. Our parents HATED them, partly because they had long hair, while Real Americans sported military crew cuts. And because the WW2 vets honestly thought Rock and Roll would tear down our society (which was built on “Judeo-Christian Values”, which I guess were too fragile to withstand electric guitars…).

Then we listened to the Stones and the Kinks and then the Mothers and the Fugs, and I guess society did get torn down (but in a good way).

Obviously not if you take “band” literally, but I suppose Michael Jackson has as good a claim to “defining artist” as anyone.

If it has to be a band… maybe U2?

Beatles for me.

Equating the Coasters with Dick and Dee Dee is sort of like equating Little Richard with Pat Boone.

Oasis for me (hitting my late teenage years in mid 90s in the UK)

I’d even argue that was last really generation defining band(in the UK). Maybe some young whippersnapper can prove me wrong. But IMO thats the last band went beyond being a popular band with popular songs to being (for a short while) a wider cultural phenomonem that defined a generation.

True… and there were some good Motown acts (I loved the Four Tops, and still do). So it wasn’t all white bread…

But I swear that when I first heard “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” on the radio, it was preceded by “Some Enchanted Evening” by Pat Boone.

So that was always my watershed moment: Pat being eclipsed by Ringo, George, Paul and John.


eta: Would mentioning our generations help? Boomer; I was in grade school when the Beatles rocked our world, but even at that age, we knew that world was changing.

Just to be clear, it is obvious which bands were most popular or had the greatest sales. That does not mean for you they were the definitive thing. You might not have liked the most popular choice.

But The Beatles were awesome.

The Who.



Same answer

I’m just a little young for the Beatles, still one of my top 4 bands though.

I’m going to say Led Zeppelin is the defining band for my time.

My other 2 bands are Floyd and Yes. Yes is too minor to be a candidate for this OP but Pink Floyd could be.

I went to school through 1981 to 1993 in the US—the first band that come to mind for me is Guns N Roses.

Then Nirvana for my high school years.

And if I remember correctly Kurt Cobain (of Nirvana) hated that media was pushing Nirvana ( and him) as supposedly being the “voice” of the Generation X. OR am I misrembering that?

Same here; I was only five when they broke up, so they aren’t from “my” generation.

I’m going to go with the Eagles, but I could have probably chosen Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, or Elton John, as well.

For me, from the UK, it would have to be the Sex Pistols.

When Punk went nationwide in 1977 there was a sense at the time of it ending everything musical (including the Beatles) that came before. Then from 1978 onwards there were so many New Wave bands in different musical styles but all seemed to have been made possible by that one year of Punk.


I’m the right generation for Nirvana, but grunge was never as big in southern CA as punk and ska were, so No Doubt, Green Day, and/or Rancid were probably more definitive for my cohort.