40. The Blue Nile
from : Glasgow, Scotland, UK / first great sounds : 80’s / style : Synthetic Urban Soul / essential albums : A Walk Across The Rooftops (1984) , Hats (1988) / Click for more on the blog
I will try not to repeat myself so the best is probably to click on the link above for full comments on the discography of The Blue Nile. I would just again more than recommend for anyone to get their “Hats” LP as you will not find elsewhere such a fantastic way to sing the 4 am melancholic urban feeling. Their leader Paul Buchanan’s solo album has recently been in our Best of 2012 as well and his voice is more beautiful than ever.
39. Jimi Hendrix (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
from : Seattle, Washington, USA/ first great sounds : 60’s / style : guitar-man/ essential albums : Are You Experienced (1967), Axis : Bold As Love (1967), Electric Ladyland (1968)
I swear Jimi Hendrix has been dead since 1970 this is not the feeling you might have as one can see a new LP every four or five years with “new material”… Well, although always nice to hear stuff from Jimi but you only need the three original LP’s he did with the Jimi Hendrix Experience (Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums) to really feel and understand that guy. The story is known and incredibly rich in so few years and difficult to summarize in a few words (American guitar-session man comes to London, becomes a star and changes music forever before dying much too young). I would just say that listening to Jimi Hendrix is as fresh today as the first time and that his “joie de vivre” will be forever missing to all music lovers.
38. Nine Inch Nails
from : Cleveland, Ohio, USA / first great sounds : 80’s / style : industrial melancholic rock / essential albums : The Downward Spiral (1994), With Teeth (2005)
Essentially the band of only permanent member Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails has been one of the most popular bands in the US in the 90’s, especially with a certain American youth (rebellious, anti-establishment, dark-clothed). Confining this band and their leader to this only cliché and associating them to the industrial trend would be a huge mistake as they are far much beyond this. Having seen them many times, I can confirm that their shows are a mix of extremely powerful angry music but with a sense of melody that is amazing. Trent Reznor can be proud as well in having one of his greatest songs (“Hurt“) covered by Johnny Cash.
37. Big Star
from : Memphis, Tennessee, USA / first great sounds : 70’s / style : melodic power-rock / essential albums : #1 Record (1972), Radio City (1974), Third/Sister Lovers (1978)
Big Star is one of the saddest story in rock’n’roll as the band faced all unlucky events one can find, which at the end of the day made them unknown by the majority whereas their power pop was incredibly accessible to all music fans. But their fate was to stay out of fame, despite the fact that their main leader/singer Alex Chilton had a few hits with his first band The Box Tops (“The Letter” in particular). Their music is here to listen to and cherish though and they have had legions of fans in the indie ranks from the end of the 80’s onwards.
36. Marvin Gaye
Talking about a sad story, how such a beautiful man, recognized by his peers for his sheer personality and his creativity within the Tamla Motown soul factory, admired for his golden voice, loved by all women of his generation, might have finished so low, drug-addict and killed by his preacher father? One of the mysteries of life… His masterpiece (voted best album of all times by New Musical Express in 1985) is without any doubt “What’s Going On” when the beauty and magic of his music was on par with the strength of the words, describing what the life of a Black American man was in the USA in the early 70’s (Vietnam, family, state of the Earth) ; ageless music.