One of my “music buddies”, Darrin, often shares new music with me because we have similar tastes. But not all our tastes are the same! He recently wrote about British Rock and I thought I’d share his thoughts and then add my opinion. I’d love to hear your views of these bands too!
Darrin: They're the standard bearers. They took what they heard coming from across the pond, put their own stamp on it, perfected it, made it their own and became not only musical but also cultural icons. Their influence is undeniable.
Darrin: While appreciate the influence they've had on other bands, I've never really understood their appeal. I only own one of their albums (Beggars Banquet) and I do appreciate many of their singles, but all in all I think this is a band that for a long time has simply been famous for being famous, not because they're still actually any good-- seeing the Stones live today is kind of like seeing Sinatra long after he'd lost his singing voice-- bragging rights and nothing more.
Me: The Rolling Stones were one of my favorites when I was a teen. If you listen to the deeper cuts on some of the old stuff you will hear great blues music. I still love all their music from “Beggar’s Banquet” to “Tattoo You”. After that they lost my interest. I think Mick Jagger is a great entertainer and love watching him no matter how old he is.
Darrin: I consider The Who's Next to be one of the greatest classic rock albums ever. I find it superior to Tommy, Quadrophenia, and just about everything else they ever recorded. It IS a masterpiece! I find these guys to be more talented than Led Zeppelin ever was.
Me: I agree about “Who’s Next”, excellent album and I saw them perform it live when it came out – one of the best shows ever. I don’t think they are more talented than Zeppelin. Since we are comparing the two I’d like to say that it was sad to see how easily The Who replaced Keith Moon after his death compared to Zeppelin who disbanded recognizing that one fourth of their band was gone. I think that showed a lot of respect for John Bonham and a lot of class for them as a band.
Darrin: It often gets glossed over that Page & Plant were largely musical plagiarists. They were talented musicians, but much of their songwriting comprised of filching styles and even material from others-- sometimes giving credit where it was due-- sometimes not. The intro to Stairway to Heaven, for example, was taken from an instrumental piece by Spirit titled Taurus. I appreciate the impact these guys had on music and their musicianship but they lose boku points with me for their plagiarist tendencies.
Me: (It’s a good think I like Darrin so much – or his comments would tick me off!) I DISAGREE totally about Led Zeppelin. I don’t think they were plagiarists because all musicians are influenced by others. They took what they liked about other music and made it their own. I think they are the greatest rock band of all time because of their talent, their incredible ability to write moving music/lyrics, their presence on stage, and their great hair. (just kidding about the hair).
Darrin – The best British psychedelic band, arguably the best psychedelic band bar none when they started out. After the departure of the enigmatic and troubled Syd Barrett, their material grew much stronger and quite a bit more ambient. The partnership of David Gilmour and Roger Waters produced far stronger material than that of the troubled Barrett. However, given that much of their later material was done as a tribute to or in honor of Barrett, it could be argued that he remained a member of the band long after he left it.
Darrin left him off his list! I guess that pretty much gives his opinion of the fabulous Mr. Bowie. I LOVE David Bowie and have enjoyed watching his metamorphosis over the years, he was never afraid to be different and experiment. I first saw him live back in the late 70’s and could not believe my eyes when Ziggy Stardust emerged on stage. I’ve seen him several times since then, the last being after Heathen was releases. He’s high on my list of great music.