Sunday, February 10, 2008

Defined A Decade?

Being a music geek means being comfortable with thinking up themes like "The Bands That Defined A Decade." I'm talking rock bands here. This is something I've been toying with for quite some time, and I'm always tweaking. For now, I'm settled on these picks.

The 50's - I'd love to just say Elvis and get it over with, but he's not a band, even though he was almost as big as one by the time he died. No, I'd have to pick Buddy Holly & The Crickets as the rock and roll band that defined 50's. No, they weren't first on the scene, but Buddy's sound as well as his songwriting took rock and roll to the next level.

The 60's - The Beatles - These guys were the 60's, hands down.

The 70's - Led Zeppelin - Possibly the rockingest band that has ever existed. Their legendary excesses even helped spawn the punk movement.

The 80's - Here's where it gets a little tougher to pick, but I have to go with U2.

The 90's - Another tough decade to wade through. I want to say Pearl Jam, but they only rode in on the coattails of Nirvana. Nirvana brought grunge front and center, and every band tried to be them.

The 00's - I cannot even pick a band who might define the first 8 years of this century. My first inclination is to pick The White Stripes, though, since their garage rock revival has spawned scores of imitators, and hoards of rock snobs continue to cry out, "If it ain't indie, its' shit."

Thoughts?? Contributions?


Eden said...

Now we're having a deep discussion here @ Chez Piggyhawk. I'm stuck on the 00s as well. I'd like to say Green Day but the sound and influence of that sound is more 1990s. I'm thinking more in terms of songwriting, live performance & presentation. I can't see any single band who's doing a lot to change things or build on the previous.

Natsthename said...

Yeah, Green Day is more "90's" and they did influence a ton of what they call "punk" bands that followed, like Blink 182, The Offspring, MxPx, etc. I hestitate to use the term "punk," since they are more mainstream than the punks were back in the day when punk meant outrageously unmainstream. All I can think of so far for this decade is Coldplay and Foo Fighters, and that's pretty lame, if you ask me!

Cheezy said...

You make a very strong case for all of those... but the only one I'll take slight issue with is the 90s. I don't really know what Pearl Jam were all about (but that's not to say I haven't heard plenty of their stuff)... For me, no other band signified paranoid, pre-millennial angst like Radiohead, and particularly 'OK Computer', did.

As for the 00s, I'm a bit stuck. As a result, I don't really listen to much 'rock music' these days.

Natsthename said...

Yeah, I thought of Radiohead, too. It was tough not to pick them. I think that perhaps they've had more far-reaching influence than Nirvana, but they do follow slightly different paths.

These are not necessarily my favorite bands, although I do profess a great love for The Fabs and Zep, and I LOVE LOVE Radiohead. I'm lukewarm on U2, but back in the 80's, I was diggin' on them. Nirvana, I've cooled on, but at the time, it was something different to latch onto after the late 80's crap.

I was also thinking about who can pack stadiums currently. I cannot think of one band from this decade who would pack a stadium by themselves. (I'm talking newer bands, not bands who've been together for awhile and are still performing live.) Can you imagine 40,000 people packing in to see Death Cab FoR Cutie? My Chemical Romance?

Has rock fractured that much?

elizabeth said...

Yeah the 00's is a tough one... let me think on that.

You have been tagged...

Joe the Troll said...

Interesting.....this is a subtly different debate than one about who was actually best. Can an entire decade be defined by only one act? I have to doubt.

Forex, while I can't argue with your choices for the 50s, 60s and 70s, I think compelling arguments could be made for Little Richard, Bob Dylan, and the Bee Gees for those respective decades as well.

For the 90s, I have no idea who defined that mess, but my personal favorite, not counting the return of King Crimson with a new lineup, was Primus. I'd forgotten them for a bit, but my new neighbor reminded me by turning me on to a band called Sausage (which was the original Primus lineup reformed).

Do the twenty-naughts even deserve definition?

Natsthename said...

I was talking "band," so I didn't consider Dylan, Little Richard, etc.

Yes, it's difficult, perhaps impossible to define the times by one band alone, but call it an indulgence to my music geekiness, Joe.

I don't think I've ever heard Primus, but I loved that other "P" band of the 90's: Pavement.

LOL. The twenty-naughts. Great term.

Joe the Troll said...

Not many generations get a chance to talk like grizzled old mountain man prospectors. We should take advantage of it. And no prob indulging your geekiness.

I'm not at all familiar with Pavement. You've heard, I'm sure, one of Primus' goofier efforts, the "South Park" theme. When they were doing serious stuff they had a King Crimson influence you could eat with a fork, and Les Claypool is one of the best bassists in the biz.

Natsthename said...

Oh, THAT's Primus doing South Park? I had no idea! And I've heard of Claypool, but never knew his band was Primus! Thanks.

Pavement was definitely geeky/alternative and laid the groundwork for the lo-fi sound. My favorite song of theirs: Cut Your Hair.

In fact, that's another huge 90's band, at least in retrospect.

Don said...

For me, this decade is Tool. Unfortunately not because they've been all that influential, I just dig 'em.

Scott said...

I think a compelling argument could be made for The Who for the 70's - they would get my vote at least.

Love the site here.


Froggywoogie said...

You might have missed Jimi Hendrix & Experience :)
The group was all around Jimi's personality but still, officially it was a band right? hehe
I know it's an old post but I just discovered this blog of yours