Favorite Recording Artists That Have Had an Impact on Me

I loathe lists. They make my skin crawl, my brow break out in sweats, my bowels bubble and churn. I don’t understand all the Top 100,000 albums of the 80’s or 100 Top Keyboard Solos in Progressive Rock or 10 Best Rock and Roll Footwear…I always wonder why and who cares, as I ferociously scrutinize them and mentally argue what the author has omitted or just plain got wrong. So, of course, I decided to make a list of my favorite musicians. I decided to split it into two lists. First, bands/solo artists that you are probably familiar with if you like music at all and second, bands/solo artists that are a little more under the radar. Probably nothing you have not hear of…I am very standard even on my non-standard list. In the upcoming weeks I will share some thoughts and stories of how I heard of the artists or how the artists have shaped me. And I do believe, we as humans, are shaped by all cultural influences. My biggest influences have been through music, followed close by novels, the friends I hang out with, TV / movies…

Making the list was easy…at first. I just wrote them down as they came to me. My criteria was simple…an artist or group that had a body of work that I still listen to and still get something from. Bang, I put fingers to keyboard and had my list. Then I started to look at it. And started second guessing some of my decisions. Am I really going to leave The Minutemen on the list and leave off Iggy and the Stooges? What about Whiskeytown/Ryan Adams? No REM? Come on, I love REM. Where the hell are the Pixies?!? Shit, my whole list is wrong. What will the hipsters think of me and my list?

NO! I must stop the swirling thoughts of everyone rolling their eyes as the scan my list only to quickly click over to some other meaningless blog and more mindless ramblings. But I must be strong…it is my list of my favorite musicians that have shaped my outlook on life and my world of music. Mine, not yours…make your own damn list.

My Top 10 ‘Normal’ Bands/Artists

  1. Rolling Stones
  2. The Beatles
  3. Neil Young
  4. Hank Williams
  5. Grateful Dead
  6. Bob Dylan
  7. Led Zeppelin
  8. Pearl Jam
  9. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  10. Phish

My Top 10 ‘Under the Radar’ Bands/Artist

  1. Black Flag / Rollins Band
  2. Frank Zappa
  3. Butthole Surfers
  4. King Crimson
  5. Minutemen
  6. Sonic Youth
  7. Jesus Lizard
  8. Captain Beefheart
  9. Ween
  10. Tom Waits

There, done. Feel free to point and laugh. As I said, I will be writing something about each artist in the upcoming weeks/months/years…how I discovered them, seeing them live, favorite song or memory and why they belong on my list. Now….discuss.

  1. What…no John Mayer? 😉

  2. Good list. I’ve never been a Grateful Dead guy but Neil Young, Zeppelin Black Flag, Pearl Jam, Tom Waits, yeah. I live near Santa Cruz California and have seen Neil Young at A club called the Catalyst 3 times in the last 25 years and he is by far the main musical influence in my life. Right before the “Rust” album was released, he played there fore $2.50 a ticket and blew the place away for three hours straight. I would add Pink Floyd, Bowie and the Moody Blues to my list. Take care.

    • Thanks for the kind words. The Grateful Dead took a while to hit me…they were a little too laid back…but when they were ‘on’ they were great. As for Pink Floyd, Bowie and the Moody Blues…I agree with two on your list, but I never got into the Moody Blues for some reason. Neil seems to be in a very creative mode right now, the new album (psychedelic pill) is great.

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