Thursday, December 20, 2007

Oh. I never finished bitching about VH1...

Yeah. I'd meant to finish my ever-fascinating list of objections to VH1's top 10 lists.

The final installment was Top 10 Rock Bands. Here's what they came up with.
10. AC/DC
9. Black Sabbath
8. U2
7. The Clash
6. Queen
5. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
4. Pink Floyd
3. The Who
2. Led Zeppelin
1. Rolling Stones

Holy shit. Where are the Beatles? I get that a lot of people are going to put the Stones up top and Zeppelin and the Who and so on, but how can the Beatles be left out?

U2 is a better band than the Beatles? Pink Floyd is better than the Beatles? Really?

The only possible explanation is that VH1 couldn't get the rights to play a Beatles' video (yes, they did shoot short films for several of their singles -- a precursor to music videos) as part of the show, so they left them off the list. Otherwise, there's no justification.

U2? U2?

A list, off the top of my head, of bands I'd place ahead of U2:
Well, obviously, the Beatles. The Velvet Underground; The Beach Boys; Buddy Holly and the Crickets; The Ramones; Talking Heads; The Cure; The Smiths; The Pixies; Joy Division; (what the heck) Nirvana; REM; Radiohead...

I'm not saying U2 is a crappy band by any stretch. To me, though, they're a little bit limited. Like Aerosmith. Or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Capable of nice songs, but ultimately, the best thing they do can (and is) done better by other people.

Anyway, here's how the list would have looked had I been consulted:

10. The Pixies
9. The Ramones
8. Buddy Holly and the Crickets
7. The Clash
6. The Who
5. Led Zeppelin
4. The Velvet Underground
3. The Beach Boys
2. The Rolling Stones
1. The Beatles


Frank (the Colt) said...

You forgot The Doors, Cream, The Jimi Hendreix Experince, and some others. I don't think you can do a list with only 10 on it. There is 10 great bands in just punk rock alone. Nice job on the list though.

Frank said...

Well, I'll give you The Doors. I might jump them into 9th instead of The Ramones.

Cream, for me, is overrated. A great band, no doubt, but they get a little too much credit. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was a great band too. I don't see anyone I'd put them ahead of in my list though.

It all comes down to the criteria one uses to come up with this kind of list. I focus (maybe wrongly) on how original a band is/was as well as how influential a band is/was. In fact, I think I place more emphasis on influence. Take The Pixies. Nearly all "alternative" rock from the 90s through today has a pretty substantial and obvious Pixies aspect.

One could argue, then, that Buddy Holly and the Crickets should be higher, but while so much of early-era Beatles is informed by BHatC, they took it so much further in later years.

Maybe that's the problem I have with Cream. They did something that lots of other bands were doing. They did it better, to be sure, but still.

Thanks for the reply. I love discussing the Rock.