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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Top 25 British Classic Rock Acts

The great Ian Alterman alerted me to this:
"The following is a list of the 25 Greatest British Artists, as voted by listeners of Classic Vinyl, one of the three Sirius/XM station that play classic rock."

25 - Peter Frampton
24 - Joe Cocker
23 - Bad Company
22 - Yes
21 - The Kinks
20 - George Harrison
19 - Rod Stewart
18 - Deep Purple
17 - Jethro Tull
16 - Traffic
15 - Moody Blues
14 - ELO
13 - Elton John
12 - David Bowie
11 - Queen
10 - Cream
9 - Fleetwood Mac
8 - John Lennon
7 - Pink Floyd
6 - Eric Clapton
5 - Paul McCartney
4 - Led Zeppelin
3 - The Who
2 - The Rolling Stones
1 - The Beatles

Since music didn't stop developing in 1980, I'm already annoyed by this list, though I suppose that "classic rock" listeners enjoy pretending to live in a world where punk never happened, much less post-punk and, aside from a couple members of Fleetwood Mac, no women are allowed.

Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, and George Harrison are on the list because of their famous bands, who are also on the list. As much as I like some McCartney/Wings albums, they aren't quite great. Clapton and Harrison don't even come close. If the Small Faces/Faces don't make the list, Rod sure doesn't on the strength of just one great LP.

So here's an attempt, off the top of my head, to construct a better list.
*Artists not on the Classic Vinyl list

honorable mention: The Hollies, Brian Eno

25 - Black Sabbath*
24 - Cream
23 - Fleetwood Mac
22 - Queen
21 - The Kinks
20 - The Who
19 - Elton John
18 - Nick Drake*
17 - Soft Machine*
16 - Traffic
15 - David Bowie
14 - ELO
13 - Kate Bush*
12 - The Zombies*
11 - Yardbirds*
10 - Richard Thompson*
9 - Procol Harum*
8 - John Lennon
7 - Yes
6 - King Crimson*
5 - Genesis*
4 - Led Zeppelin
3 - Pink Floyd
2 - The Rolling Stones
1 - The Beatles

If we continued this list into the present and expanded to 30, these guys would make the cut:

Peter Gabriel
Joy Division
Sex Pistols

For some reason, I can't comment on my own blog. Great. So here's my reply to Ian (whose band The Larch is pretty great).

John Lennon, unlike his bandmates, makes the cut because unlike them, his solo albums are so great that even if he'd never been a Beatle he'd make this list.

I tried to have it both ways with my little appendix of post-classic rock bands. Also, as my pal Chris Nickson pointed out on Facebook, I left out the Clash -- purely an oversight. I think I have to cut the Sex Pistols (who join the honorable mention list) to make room for them.
Were I to incorporate them into the list, it would go The Clash #7, Joy Division #9 (so, really, #10), Wire #11(13), Peter Gabriel #14(17), Buzzcocks #17(21).

1 comment:

  1. The second list is *much* better; though I see you've done the same thing with John Lennon as they did with Paul McCartney; plus all the punk and postpunk is outside the top 25, shouldn't it either be more evenly interspersed or, if it's a list of "classic rock" bands, left out altogether? Could do with a clearer definition of "Classic Rock acts"!