30. The Smiths
from : Manchester, England, UK / first great sounds : 80’s / style : jingle Mancunian angst / essential albums : Hatful of Hollow (1984) , Meat is Murder (1985), The Queen is Dead (1986) / Click for more on the blog
The Smiths are considered one of the most important bands ever in the UK and this is true they changed the lives of many people, including your host. With Morrissey on lyrics and voice and Johnny Marr on guitars and music, they had found one of the most creative pair ever and the list of beautiful and great songs is endless. They had as well an amazing intensity in their musical output as they basically last five years (1983-1987). Morrissey has had an interesting solo career with ups and downs and Johnny Marr has been collaborating…with everyone (New Order, Bryan Ferry, The Cribs, Modest Mouse, The The, etc…) but their spark and peak was without any doubt in the Smiths.
29. Nick Drake
from : Birmingham, England, UK / first great sounds : 60’s / style : warm folk / essential albums : Five Leaves Left (1969), Bryter Layter (1970), Pink Moon (1972)
Dead too early at the age of 26, Nick Drake was virtually unknown when he lived as nobody bought his three indispensable LP’s, despite collaborations with great musicians such as John Cale or Danny Thompson on double bass. His music could be described by folk by the lazy but this is far more than that and on the contrary of the image of miserabilism he can receive, his songs were full of joy and warmth and have a quality in getting you elsewhere. Discover Nick Drake and you will get a lifetime reward.
Ah, New York in the late 70’s, my favourite music period ever… Lead by the great Tom Verlaine on voice and guitar, Television’ musical output is inversely proportional to the influence they have had on hundreds of bands. “Marque Moon” is their masterpiece and the kind of records you could/should listen anywhere, whenever you feel it (late night being a right moment to do so) and with which you will discover every time new subtleties, especially in the magical tricks in the guitar sounds.
from : Minneapolis, MN, USA / first great sounds : 80’s / style : powerful American rock / essential albums : Zen Arcade (1984), Candy Apple Grey (1986), Warehouse : Songs and Stories (1987), Workbook (1989), Copper Blue (1992), Silver Age (2012) / Click for more on the blog
Of course, it would be unfair to forget Grant Hart as co-leader in seminal band Hüsker Dü but for me Bob Mould was the main force in the band and on top of it he has had an amazing career afterwards either on a solo basis or with his second band Sugar. His style is really not revolutionary as he plays powerful rock with emotional lyrics but he does it the perfect way and with such strength and emotion… In the latest movie “This is 40” by Judd Apatow, actor Paul Rudd bears a Bob Mould tee-shirt so, yes, the guy is cool!
from : Birmingham, England, UK / first great sounds : 80’s / style : Celtic Soul / essential albums : Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1980), Don’t stand me down (1985), One Day I’m going to soar (2012)
Yes, I know, they did “Come On Eileen”, the song everyone knows… (actually, quite a great song!). But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Dexys Midnight Runners is basically Kevin Rowland’s band in which he tried to create something new mixing a punk rock sensibility with a love of soul music and literature. The results were/are incredible and their music would bring a dead man back to life such powerful and emotional their songs are. The guy is a perfectionist maniac and has been out of the music business for ages ; his come-back last year, although one of the most unexpected one, gave us a tremendous new LP and fantastic shows.