TOP 100 Artists/Bands of all Times : Part Three : 81 – 85

And here you go for part three of the most eagerly poll of the universe!

85. Steely Dan

 from : Los Angeles, California, USA / first great sounds : 70’s / style : muso sensitive jazz-pop/ essential album : Aja (1977)

Basically the band of core duo Walter Becker and Donald Fagen (although hundreds of great musicians have been welcome and have all put their personal touch in the Dan music), this is the kind of band that all pure punk and indie rock fans should hate : perfection in music, laid back L.A. style, lots of saxophone (!) and not an inch of rebellion. But I defy anyone to resist to Steely Dan’s music and its melancholy and when one goes deeper and scratches the surface, they will see that words are indeed quite bitter sour… They still tour once in a while and I had been lucky enough to see them in Paris a few years ago. Donald Fagen published a few records under his name as well and his first LP “The Nightfly” (1982) is more than recommended to all.

84. Daft Punk

from : Paris, France  / first great sounds : 90’s  / style : the future of music / essential albums : Homework (1997), Discovery (2001)

“The punk back to the funk, come on”. That was the mantra opening our favourite Parisian duo first album. The cover notes of this first LP gave respect to hundreds of musicians, including for instance Augustus Pablo, Barry Manilow, The Black Crowes, Brian Wilson, Can, Curtis Mayfield, Dr. Dre, David Bowie, Prince, Roxy Music, Serge Gainsbourg, Spacemen 3, etc… and for me it says it all about what the band is about. They succeeded on top of their great electro-pop music in creating a “something else” with the costumes, helmets, pyramid stages and comic movies that has made them one of the great bands of our times.

83. Echo and the Bunnymen

from : Liverpool, UK  / first great sounds : 70’s  / style : rock noir/ essential album : Ocean (1984) / click for more on the blog

One of my first real musical emotions with bands such as The Smiths or R.E.M. in the 80’s, Echo and the Bunnymen have always been about the voice of Ian McCulloch and the guitar inventive soundscapes of Will Sergeant. Although the late drummer Pete de Freitas had been the real click which helped the band go from good to great, the core duo is really what makes this band special. Ian McCulloch in particular is a fascinating character epitomizing in the same person what is so good and bad in the North of the UK. They came back at the end of the 90’s after a few years’ hiatus and their albums and live shows are still highly recommended.

82. TV On The Radio

 from : Brooklyn, NY, USA  / first great sounds : 00’s  / style : dreamy NY rock / essential album : Return To Cookie Mountain (2006) / click for more on the blog

The kind of band I always go and see live when they are on tour as their music is always refreshing and new. It comes from the fact that they gather a great mix of personalities, the three main characters being great producer/guitar lead David Sitek, Afro-haircut angel-voice Kyp Malone and last but not least amazing singer Tunde Adebimpe. If you like “now” Brooklyn bands + soul music + The Cocteau Twins, this band is your band.

81. Wilco

from : Chicago, Illinois, USA / first great sounds : 90’s  / style : weird americana / essential albums : Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002), Sky Blue Sky (2007) / click for more on the blog

Created on the burning ashes of this previous band Uncle Tupelo by leader Jeff Tweedy, Wilco might be the most beautiful band of our times. Their music is really built equally on american rock classical sounds (hello Tom Petty fans) and on weird-influenced European sounds (hello Can and Brian Eno). They way they fought as well against the music industry to be able to make their 2002 masterpiece “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” heard by their fans is an example to follow. Discover this band (they are every year in my best-of the year polls) and enjoy hours of endless pleasure.

3 thoughts on “TOP 100 Artists/Bands of all Times : Part Three : 81 – 85

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