It seems every few weeks or so we have a thread about worst songs ever, worst artists ever, lots of discussions about whether so-and-so artist is shit - which is all well and good but how about some positivity?
So who are your absolute favourite music artists ever, and why? These are your “desert island” singers and bands, if you had to pick a handful of artists that mean the most to you/have given you the most enjoyment over the years, who would they be?
Husker Du, The Replacements, The Pogues, The Beatles, Prince, The Clash, The Go-Betweens, The Smiths, R.E.M., Minutemen, New Order, Elvis Costello, U2 (in the '80s only), XTC, Billy Bragg, The Feelies, Robyn Hitchcock - all helped me get through a tough adolescence.
Keeping it very brief:
Yes (1969-1978 period)
Add the Beatles and Stones to make it a Top Ten…
Ooh, woodstockbirdybird reminded me I forgot Elvis Costello!
Mark Knopfler and Neil Young.
Those guys cover a lot of musical ground.
So does Warren Zevon, the Grateful Dead, as well as the White Stripes.
I’ll reserve judgment on the Avett Brothers, but they seem darned good to me so far.
I am almost 56 years old, and these guys, IMHO, have staying power.
A-Ha (yes, THAT a-ha…they’ve got, like, a dozen albums)
Nine Inch Nails
Sarah Fimm, Dessa, Tool, Vienna Teng, K’s Choice, Grand Ole Party.
My all-time-super-mega-idol-favourites-forever-and-ever-amen are Michael Jackson and Madonna, followed closely by Prince and Kate Bush. Bjork and Kylie Minogue are then just below those two.
As far as duos/groups go, Pet Shop Boys are my favourite because they combine thoughtful, smart lyrics with upbeat electronic music - perfect. The Beatles, Culture Club and Eurythmics are also among my favourite groups.
Honourable mention to Janet Jackson, George Michael, Johnny Cash, Cher, Eminem, Darren Hayes, Tori Amos, Yoko Ono, Britney Spears, Kraftwerk, Iron Maiden, ABBA, Girls Aloud and Dolly Parton.
You would think from all the eighties-type artists on my lists that I would be a child of the era, but I was born in 1990!
The Incredible String Band
Why? According to Pandora it seems to be because I like “strong folk roots, acoustic sonority, demanding instrumental part writing, major key tonality, melodic phrasing, a vocal-centric aesthetic and a good dose of guitar pickin’.”
Really it’s because I’m an anachronism. Also because I always listen to the words.
The Andrew Sisters
I never get tired of listening to them.
Bonzo Dog Band, Beatles, Allman Brothers Band, The Who, It’s a Beautiful Day (one album, but I keep being drawn to it), Blood Sweat and Tears (“Child is Father to the Man” only), The Band, Tom Lehrer, Lyle Lovett, Traffic.
I’ll stop now.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre
My Short List:
I also have an inexplicable fondness for Renaissance.
My long list is a lot longer. :smack:
Terry Scott Taylor is responsible for more music that I love than anyone else (as a solo artist and with his bands Daniel Amos, Lost Dogs, and the Swirling Eddies). A mastery of a wide variety of styles, with superb lyrics that range from the silly to the profoundly moving.
Listening to Trip Shakespeare (especially their album Lulu) always makes me happy, from the sheer joy of pop music making they exude.
The Kinks, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Moody Blues: all classics for very good reasons.
They Might Be Giants: quirky, intelligent, insanely catchy.
Stevie Wonder: mostly, I’m hopelessly white in my music tastes, but I loves me some Stevie Wonder!
Madness: My favorite band when I was a teenager (and I still love them).
And I could list many more…
Springsteen, Renaissance, Dave Brubeck, Jimmy Buffett, Stevie Nicks, Jethro Tull.
RealityChuck**, Qadgop and I could share a music collection easily.
eta: Right this minute I am listening to the remastered Scheherazade and Other Stories.
My overall top three are John Zorn, Ennio Morricone, and Bjork.
I also like Eric Dolphy and Charles Mingus in jazz, Swizz Beatz in rap, Blur and The Fiery Furnaces in rock, and the Kronos Quartet and Prince in…whatever. Astor Piazzolla and Girls Aloud are also big favourites.
Hardly scientific, but I ran some stats against my iTunes collection. Over 8000 songs, 1500 artists that dates from today back to the 60s. Based on a complex algorith combination of play counts, number of songs, ratings and other factors:
Dave Matthews Band
Red Hot Chili Peppers
I’d say it’s a pretty representative sample of my favorite artists based on what I actually still listen to. There are a couple more that could be on there like Pearl Jam, Public Enemy, The Clash, Smashing Pumpkins, Beck and some others.
It’s really hard to pick a favorite. A lot depends on my mood. Sometimes I want to chill to the raw smooth misogyny of Snoop Dogg. Sometimes I want to relax to the bitter-sweet misandry of Tori Amos.
The Beatles, Prince, Led Zeppelin, R.E.M., Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, the Band, Midnight Oil, U2, The Smiths, Morrissey, Public Enemy, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, the Sherman brothers, Stephen Sondheim, Elton John, Alan Menken & Howard Ashman, Stephen Schwartz, Frank Sinatra, Dave Brubeck, the Beach Boys, Michael Jackson, Vince Clark, John Barry, Tom Petty… and so many, many more.
(After all, you didn’t require a limit.)
A top ten?
The Velvet Underground
My Bloody Valentine
in no particular order.
Peter Hammill (obviously including Van der Graaf Generator) Innovative, wonderful noise for over 40 years! Although a lot of the recent solo studio stuff is all a bit similar. Still wonderful live, though. I’ve been going to his gigs for 35 years or so and probably the best solo gig of his I’ve seen was just a few months ago…
Grateful Dead + solo projects Other people can wax more lyrical about the Dead than I can. My experience is almost solely confined to the recordings…
Beach Boys/Brian Wilson The first album I owned (a Christmas present) was Sunflower.
Yello You Gotta Say ‘yes’!
Mark Eitzel (including American Music Club) see him live - you’ll be emotionally savaged! Great snarly music when he’s playing with a band, as well!
Mercury Rev I love the songs, and the instrumental hurricanes they descend into!
Curved Air I’ve liked them since Airconditioning came out - finally saw them for the first time on Thursday! Love Sonya and the prog improv!
David Thomas/Pere Ubu iconoclastic
Cyndi Lauper also iconoclastic, in her own way.
John Doe (including X ) great, tired voice
Jackie Leven punk turned celtic folkie! Intimate songs, brilliant raconteuring between songs when he plays live. Celebrity soap, drinking with Lawrence Olivier, playing in a Norwegian jail… great stories
Bunny Wailer reggae king
Keith Hudson another reggae great!