from : Oxford, England / first great sounds : 90’s / style : experimental pop / essential albums : The Bends (1995) , Ok Computer (1997), Kid A (2000), In Rainbows (2007) / Click to read more in the blog
First, the attitude : no band has never less played the rock’n’roll star ego game than Radiohed. Second, the way the work : all five members are creative and an integral part of the Radiohead sound. Third, the evolution : every record is different and they always try to bring something new, which materialized in their sound (from classic indie rock to electronica influenced rhythms). And fourth, the songs : a great gift to always create fantastic melodies. We have all envied older people when they told us they have been lucky enough to see Pink Floyd or The Clash at their peak period ; well, I will tell younger kids that I experienced Radiohead live at their peak period…
14. Bob Dylan
from : Duluth, MN, USA / first great sounds : 60’s / style : everything but folk! / essential albums : Bringing It All Back Home (1965), Highway 61 Revisited (1965), Blonde on Blonde (1966), Blood on the Tracks (1975), Desire (1976), Oh Mercy (1989)
Everyone knows the name “Bob Dylan” and all the clichés associated to him : protest singer, folk rock, voice of a generation, blah blah… BULL-SHIT ! Bob Dylan is all but this. He is an innovator, a huge rock’n’roll and all styles of music fan and he had a tremendous life. And on top of it, he is a self egoistic bastard who did/does not want at all to be taken for a kind of hippie generation voice or something a-like. 50 years in the biz but apart from the pure Dylan fans who will buy anything, do you really know his records? If not, start with the list above and you will hear rich, moving and powerful music you might never have imagine from such a public figure.
13. Lou Reed
from : Brooklyn, NY, USA / first great sounds : 60’s / style : no-bullshit rock’n’roll / essential albums : Transformer (1972), Berlin (1973), New York (1989), Songs for Drella (1990), Magic and Loss (1992) / Click to read more in the blog
I think his best enemy John Cale wrote once about Lou Reed something like “how can such an evil man can write such beautiful songs”. It might not be the exact quote but the overall idea is there as Lou Reed does not have indeed the reputation of being the nicest guy in show business… I have seen once ask the people in the audience who wanted to dance and shout to leave the theatre as this was not what he intended to do. Anyway, the guy is one of our modern geniuses, from the Velvet Underground (cf. rank #51) to all his solo records or projects with other musicians. I saw him in particular play on stage his masterpiece Berlin a few years ago and must say it was one of the best experiences of my musical life.
12. Led Zeppelin
from : London, England / first great sounds : 60’s / style : heavy blues rock / essential albums : Led Zeppelin (1969), Led Zeppelin II (1969), Led Zeppelin III (1970), Led Zeppelin IV (1971), Houses of the Holy (1973)
When I started being a real music fan in the mid-80’s, thanks to all these beautiful British post-punk and new wave bands, the enemies were clearly Led Zeppelin and another popular singer from New Jersey… Of course, like everyone at that time, I had in my record collection “Led Zeppelin IV” and had played air-guitar while listening to “Black Dog” or “Stairway to Heaven” but I must say it took me years to come back to Led Zeppelin, thanks to MTV and the Page/Plant unledded show where they played different versions of famous songs in Morocco or in the forests of Wales. This band was the mythic rock’n’roll band, where all excesses were tolerated and experienced. The band was made out of the four BEST musicians of the 70’s in their respective roles : Jimmy Page as amazing gifted guitar hero, the larger-than-life John “Bonzo” Bonham on drums, the best rock arranger ever on synths and bass with John Paul Jones (still very active, playing for instance with Joss Homme from Queens of the Stone Age – rank #20) and or course Robert Plant as singer and angel-like stage presence. I particularly recommend the live DVD that went out around 10 years ago if you really want to see what the band was really about.
from : Woking, England / first great sounds : 70’s / style : mod and soul / essential albums : In the City (1977), Sound Affects (1980), Café Bleu (1984), Our Favourite Shop (1985), Paul Weller (1992), Wild Wood (1993), Heavy Soul (1997), Sonik Kicks (2012) / Click to read more in the blog
Yes, there are still 11 artists I prefer to Led Zeppelin! I must admit this is a bit theoretical as the Top 15 is really made out of my musical heroes and listening to one of their records would make me probably change the ranking… Anyway, Paul Weller has been a kind of musical big brother for me as this is someone who has always been in my cloud. I was a bit too young to catch The Jam although I dig later in all their records but really discovered Paul Weller through his soul-funk-jazz Style Council period and have always found his musical choices and evolution extra-interesting. The guy as a real know-how of not being self-satisfied, which probably comes from his modest origins and the values of work he had from his family. Like for all these great musicians and people, seeing them on stage is probably the best way to understand what all this is about..