Fifty Years of Great Music: The Top 100 Artists (#100-91)

50years100artists

 

So we begin.

For the next five days, the countdown will be revealed ten at a time, starting with #100 through #91 and going all the way to the halfway point.


Each of these first fifty artists will also be given an “Ultimate 8-Track Mix,” in honor of that most elegant and practical of commercial music devices. It will simply reveal eight great songs by the featured artist: stuff that’s good as a “starter’s guide,” representative of all of the artist’s fruitful and exceptional periods, and/or simply being his/her/their best tunes.

I will also include an additional endorsement at the end of each entry—three artists with some similarity or connection to that act (not featured elsewhere on the list or named in the runners-up section of the previous article) that also gets approval as someone you should seek out if you like that particular artist.

Now, on with the countdown, beginning, of course, with #100.



100
Guns N’ Roses were supposed to be the next Rolling Stones. Instead, they turned out to be…Guns N’ Roses. They breathed much needed life into a stagnant hard rock scene, enforced a hell-bent punk attitude into insipid grandstanding, partied like hedonists who were impervious to death, cranked out a couple dozen great songs, and violently imploded. A prescription cure to excess until they became the new definition of excess. And they were crazy characters with cool rock n’ roll gunsnroses1names (Axl, Slash, Duff, Izzy); loud, destructive and out of control. Any shred of artful leaning was relegated to Axl Rose’s shameless studio ambition, which spawned some of the worst parts of the Use Your Illusion double feature, a featherweight covers album, and the long, long, long, long-awaited Chinese Democracy album (which I’ve long, long, long, long-since forgotten). But those were the bad times, and conflicted as I am of their ultimate full-package worth, there’s no denying that they represented something truly remarkable at a time when virtually nothing of the “hard rock” persuasion was being remarkable beyond the depths they could plumb.

Acknowledging that Axl was largely responsible for both the graphic slurs of “One in a Million” and the insistence that the “Look at Your Game, Girl” cover be added as a hidden track on “The Spaghetti Incident?” is necessary, as is the acknowledgment that the other band members did not support the choices. But even if the results are uncomfortable (if not outright sickening depending on tolerance or viewpoint), fearlessness matters a great deal in a politically correct atmosphere. But neither song is anything special with or without the controversy—GNR never did nail gunsnroses2consistency, after all—but the raw bluster, the predatory gangland ferocity, the willingness to push the envelope and return to rock n’ roll roots when the fads were presenting toxicity…these attributes are what sell them as an institution worth remembering. The immortal tunes, too, and one of the most perfectly-named rock LPs ever—Appetite for Destruction (enough to make even a reserved intellectual scream out, “Hell yeah, muthaf-cka, crank it up!!”). Can’t admire or respect them? They didn’t want it anyway. And if you slagged ‘em, Axl, Slash and Duff could just write another “Get in the Ring” song where they challenge you to a no holds barred brawl (don’t worry, Axl will renege). 

Who knew if they were going to put on an incredible two-hour show that night or if Axl was gonna get pissy and stage tackle a rude fan in the pit or storm off petulantly and bring it all to a halt? That undeniable element of danger is almost impossible to find in today’s enormously popular rock stars. I doubt that Chris Martin is going to sport a Charles Manson T-shirt anytime soon.

ULTIMATE 8-TRACK MIX
Welcome to the Jungle
Paradise City
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Mr. Brownstone
Patience
You Could Be Mine
November Rain
Civil War

Also endorsed: Living Colour, the Cult, the Black Crowes






99
foo1There weren’t many banking on the emergence of a self-proclaimed “drummer for hire” from the ashes of Nirvana, but Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters project became, if not as well-known or acclaimed as Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, a worthy successor. He wasn’t as brilliant a writer and artist, or able to so casually grasp the voice of his generation, but being one of the most likable celebrities in the world can buy plenty of good karma. Endearingly goofy but fiercely reverent of his influences and heroes, he’s the rare rock star that you’d want to be around even when the guitar’s hung up, the drugs have been quit, and the groupies are long gone.

Beginning in the mid-90s as a one-man “lark” that owed a lot to Cobain’s songwriting style (and his influences), Foo Fighters didn’t need to change—that first LP was dynamite, after all—but still managed to overcome the easy bait comparisons with subsequent records, first tugging at the heart-strings for a little scream-o, shifting towards a more commercial pop sound, coalescing the melody with the heavy energy, and eventually moving towards a comfortable, “blue collar” sound as inspired by the Byrds or Tom Petty as anything remotely related to Flipper or Pixies. Most surprising in their career trajectory? Grohl, despite being known as a funny guy, and the band, despite appearing in some of the most hilarious music videos ever released, clearly take themselves very seriously and write generally upbeat, imaginative, romantic songs that spring from the heart (unless you count Grohl’s Late! pseudonym’s “Just Another Story About Skeeter Thompson”’s anecdote). Even when they do unleash the rage, it feels tactical and deserved, not just snarling for the sake of angst.

While Cobain was vocal about his allergic reaction to studio polish, Grohl embraced it without trading on his hard rock, heavy metal and hardcore leanings. As a result, Foo Fighters were more foo2responsible for keeping modern rock radio sometimes tolerable in the last fifteen years than any other band on the planet. When it came to the tidy “four-minute rock single,” no other group in the mainstream even came close to their capabilities during that stretch. And as Grohl’s variable songwriting prowess grew, losing some of the ferocity and immediacy of their early work was a compromise that most were willing to accept. They’re also one of the few rock groups around that can mostly stick to regurgitating the same studio-produced moves, fill the playbook almost entirely with their hit songs, and yet still put on a hell of a show every night.

And you’d probably be stunned how many people today declare that they like Foo better than Nirvana. Think about it, though, and you should realize why that actually makes a lot of sense.

ULTIMATE 8-TRACK MIX
I’ll Stick Around
Alone + Easy Target
Winnebago
My Hero
Everlong
Stacked Actors
All My Life
Razor

Also endorsed: Weezer, Cheap Trick, the Germs






98
It’s more or less set in stone at this point—while they had their precursors and influences, heavy metal was launched to the masses by Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, and every metal act worth its salt comes from one (or, in some occasions, both) schools. Which means that a lesser third piece in the mix can get overlooked (the Chris Bosh to Lebron and Wade, if you will); that piece deeppurple1was Deep Purple. They began life in the 60s as a psychedelic, semi-progressive rock act struggling to find their signature sound. By the 70s, they followed the lead set by Cream, Blue Cheer, Vanilla Fudge and others, and their fate was sealed. The debate remains between David Coverdale and Ian Gillan (though Gillan usually wins simply for being there first), but the blues-soaked lead vocalists, while both more than worthy, were somewhat interchangeable. Meanwhile, Ritchie Blackmore could crank out an incredible riff in his sleep and Roger Glover’s deep, bluesy bass was a thing of beauty, but it was Jon Lord’s fierce organ sound that really defined this band. As for drummer Ian Paice, he’s the only Deep Purple musician who’s never come and gone and returned.

After exploding to popular success at the start of the 70s, nearly non-stop touring and recording took its toll and the band began fracturing not long after the release of their best and biggest-selling LP Machine Head. Fresh blood seemed to help in the short term; aside from leadoff “Woman from Tokyo,” Who Do You Think We Are is an almost entirely forgettable effort, but the following year’s Burn, with Coverdale and Glenn Hughes replacing Gillan and Roger Glover, is one of the group’s most consistently powerful. But two years and two mediocre offerings later and the band called it quits. They were spurred on for a reunion when hard rock and heavy metal started igniting the UK, deeppurple2but initially balked; it wasn’t until the mid-80s that they’d reform under the classic Mk II lineup for a late shot at glory with the platinum-seller Perfect Strangers and they’ve been recording and touring fairly steadily ever since under different lineups.

No, they were not in the same league as Zep and Sabbath during their prime. No, despite several of them being stuffed with classics, they never made a perfect, all-killer/no-filler full-length (not even Machine Head or Burn). And, yes, their lyrics/themes were often as goofy and/or generic as the cover art for their albums. But for all of the hosannas heaped upon Jimmy Page and Tony Iommi, none of them came up with the era’s most recognizable guitar lick. Deep Purple was also the only one to produce top-notch new music after 1980 (“Perfect Strangers,” especially). Loud as those other groups loved to be, neither of them were actually entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the “loudest pop group” when their intense, high-decibel sound actually knocked several audience members unconscious (“going to eleven” long before Nigel Tufnel). Oh, and neither of those other two are criminally underrated today. Time to give Deep Purple their due.

ULTIMATE 8-TRACK MIX
Hush
Child in Time
Highway Star
Smoke on the Water
Space Truckin’
Burn
Woman from Tokyo
Perfect Strangers

Also endorsed: Steppenwolf, Vanilla Fudge, Judas Priest






97
fourtops1I wish I could have just gathered up all of the big Motown vocal groups, lumped them together as a single entity, and dropped them in a comfortable spot in the top half. It also probably would have been more “fair” to forgo the singers altogether and reserve a special spot for Lamont Dozier and Brian & Edward Holland, who wrote almost all of their best songs. But none of those three had the pipes to give their simple words and robust arrangements the rich harmonies that made them classics. The best of all of those groups? It’s a tough call, but I’ve gotta lean in the direction of Obie Benson, Duke Fakir, Lawrence Payton, and Levi Stubbs, aka the Four Tops. 

It seemed like Berry Gordy and Holland-Dozier-Holland reserved a lot of their best tunes for this quartet. From their first major hit (“Baby I Need Your Loving”), through their first #1 (“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”), past their last top-charter (“Reach Out I’ll Be There”) and even beyond their final Top 10 (“Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got)”), they had more instant classics than any other act on Motown’s roster, and even managed to keep producing the occasional incredible tune long after the 60s heyday had passed, all the way through to the end of the 80s. They were also the rare act of their kind to feature a baritone in the lead position; Stubbs may never have had as instantly recognizable a name as Smokey Robinson or Diana Ross, but he had the most powerful set of lungs and unbelievable range. Obie, Duke and Payton meanwhile created impeccable harmonies, fourtops2intensely dramatic, as dense and flooring as Phil Spector’s much-ballyhooed Wall of Sound but craftily finessed to serve equally well as counterpoint and response.

Like most of the contemporary soul stars of the 60s, this vocal group had a slow start. They began as the Four Aims in the mid-50s and recorded a series of mostly unsuccessful singles for labels such as Chess, Columbia and Red Top. Once they became superstars, though, they began diversifying their sound around the time that H-D-H departed Motown, recorded several lucrative songs that tested the (seemingly limitless) limitations of their voices and teamed up for several collaborations with the Supremes following Diana Ross’ departure. Though they only scored six Top 20 singles from the 70s on, they remained very fruitful for many years afterwards, and resisted few of the impulses of a changing soul/R&B game. But there’s no denying why they’re here—those three-plus years in H-D-H’s care when they churned out one indelible masterwork after another.

ULTIMATE 8-TRACK MIX
Baby, I Need Your Loving
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)
It’s the Same Old Song
Reach Out, I’ll Be There
Standing in the Shadows of Love
Bernadette
7-Rooms of Gloom
Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got)

Also endorsed: The Temptations, the Supremes, the Ronettes






96
The website Metacritic, which tallies various critic scores and produces a mean average, “clinically” named Spoon the top act of the last decade thanks to the strong reaction they’ve received from the press. There’s not a lot of argument about their greatness from anyone with functional spoon1eardrums and common sense, and three of their four LPs released during that span were ranked in my own Top 100 of the period. Are they the actual best? That’s debatable, but as a crisp, minimalist rock group cranking out heady but spartan pop tunes at a time when almost no rock groups are managing good pop tunes, they certainly filled a painful void. There should be a hundred acts like this out there; instead there’s just Spoon.

Once a clear-cut disciple of the Pixies aftershock with little ambition beyond the sensational diversion of being in a rock band, Spoon evolved through the 90s towards something more tensile and arty, serpentine but balanced, more worthy of a group that named themselves after a Can hit than one that just writes “loud, fast songs.” Before long, they began resembling an R&B beat group, chopped by staccato guitars and a rhythm section as imperative as those of jungle-derived house. They were as indebted to Prince as they were Iggy Pop, as much a model of post-Nirvana indie rock as post-Goldie drum-n-bass. And it can’t be easy to sing like Britt Daniel—to be urgent but coolly steadfast, to sound detached but tear subjects from the heart, to hail from Texas but sound British (his given name doesn’t help).

They got so good, in fact, at making mistakenly-basic pop songs that could translate either as collegiate or melodramatic, that I was hasty to describe an album like Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga as being “disappointing.” And working backwards, I couldn’t initially tell if I liked A Series of Sneaks (the spoon2band’s debut on Elektra, where they were dumped from the label the same week as its release) because it sounded as if Spoon knew they didn’t have a long shelf life as a major player and rushed through the recording with hastily-penned, half-finished songs—but like Guided by Voices before them, some tunes benefit from impatience and demand investment as much for the slammed door mid-ellipsis as the tossed-away hooks that could have wheezed out at double length. But Spoon’s ellipsis has yet to be broken, some seventeen years and running as of now, with continued critical acclaim and increased commercial success (their last two LPs, both released on indie label Merge, even debuted in the Top 10). They may not be the best band of the 00s, but they’re certainly in the conversation, and continue to prove that the stripped-down essentials of rock n’ roll will forever be appealing.

ULTIMATE 8-TRACK MIX
30 Gallon Tank
Everything Hits at Once
Me and the Bean
The Way We Get By
Jonathon Fisk
I Turn My Camera On
My Mathematical Mind
They Never Got You

Also endorsed: The Monks, the Dismemberment Plan, Phoenix






95
madonna1I confess that I don’t listen to a lot of Madonna music, but leaving her off this list makes about as much sense as putting Creed on it. In a time of flash-in-the-pan pop ingénues, she was the real deal—a bonafide superstar with the chops to back up her image and antics. Memory gets a little fuzzy when every popular artist these days is hawking fragrance lines, uncomfortable shoes, garish outerwear, or freakin’ vitamin water (seriously, 50?), but Madonna’s status as a pop culture icon extended to every facet of her being. It may have only been a fraction of Beatle-mania, but she didn’t have to share that fame with three other moptops. Her position in the spotlight has predictably been usurped by a gaggle of digitally-enhanced, bubble-brained upstarts, but not a single one of them, from Britney to Gaga, can get more than two paragraphs of music press before someone compares them to Madonna.

But image and popularity isn’t enough. No matter all the numerous detours her career has made—from stabs at movie stardom and inciting strong religious and sexual controversy to photo-video exhibition installations and embracing/dallying with (trendy?) kabbalism—she was a singer/musician first and foremost. An undeniably uneven body of work is what’s keeping her from moving up to the midway mark (where most would automatically lump her), but for all of the lulls and stylistic misfires and filler, she’s had fifty US Top 40 hits (including a dozen at #1), twelve multi-platinum albums, seven Grammys...and probably about two-fifths of them actually deserved the immense approval, so she’s slugging the likes of Mariah Carey straight to Triple-A. But she was a bonafide original when she broke through, shattering feminist barriers and, ahem, expressing herself however she felt fit. There’s no doubt that she madonna2made plenty of calculated moves designed to drum up controversy, media exposure and record sales, but it also required extraordinary bravery and ambition to take those leaps.

As a genuine musical act, being conflicted goes with the territory. She doesn’t have the most powerful or expressive voice, but it’s technically strong enough to stand on its own, and developed sinuously from chipper and squeakily-naïve early in her career to a more mature and weathered framing as the years progressed. For every mechanical move in her songs’ productions, they were versatile, too, shifting efficiently from bubblegum pop to chest-beating ballads to electro-danceclub and everything in those orbits. She may owe a lot of her success to MTV, but in return, how many people in the 80s were glued to MTV just to see what she was gonna do next? And, of course, she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, take a stand, transform the taboo into “vogue,” publicly explore her sexuality, not give a f-ck what anyone else thought about it; even if you didn’t agree with her, even if you were offended, you did pay attention. So she’s admittedly overvalued as an actual “artist,” but can you imagine pop music today without her?

ULTIMATE 8-TRACK MIX
Holiday
Like a Virgin
Into the Groove
Like a Prayer
Express Yourself
I’ll Remember
Ray of Light
Hung Up

Also endorsed: Cyndi Lauper, Pet Shop Boys, Robyn






94
rush1Rush, like most progressive rock bands, has an extremely dedicated following. Also like most progressive rock bands they are widely viewed as being wretchedly uncool to like. The details are viewed as excess and the lyrics as pretentious gibberish. By and large, I actually agree with the heart of that scorn, and I’d lump almost every prog rock act of their time and future generations in the same boat, from King Crimson to Tool, Yes to the Mars Volta, Jethro Tull to Dream Theater, and Pink Floyd to Mew. But no one comes to prog looking for verbal insight, crisp storytelling and bon mots (unless turgid poetry, fairy tale aphorisms and trite metaphors appeal to them) and all the disproportionate diversions ensures that while you may lose interest, you’ll have a hard time declaring that any of it is actually “filler.”

Early in their career, Rush sounded little like the “holy trinity of prog,” though. They weren’t unfairly noted as being highly derivative of groups like Uriah Heep, early Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. When drummer/lyricist Neil Peart arrived in the mid-70s, they began audaciously striving for multi-sectional suite arrangements, fantastical imagery, mini-epic narratives. Operatic movements and song cycles weren’t far behind, and their sound broadened to include not only a whole host of new percussive tools for Peart to play with but a load of new synthesized elements rush2that put them somewhere in the region of “ear candy awesome” to “elephantine pomposity,” depending on each listener’s viewpoint. Indeed, I doubt more than a few will be pleased with this placement—either you’ll demand they belong in the top half at the very least or you’ll strike them off completely and laugh at my inner dork.

But while dedicated fans will deify them well beyond their station, even those who aren’t fond of the trio make automatic concessions; primarily, their skills with both instruments and arrangements can be downright mindboggling. Other universal admissions: vocally, no one else sounds quite like Getty Lee, Alex Lifeson’s dexterous signature riffs provide firm but flexible backbones, and Peart is an incredible drummer (and no one is too “hip” to say that 360 degree drumkit of his isn’t spectacular). Larger-than-life rock n’ roll is supposed to be about fantasy and escape, and not many bands offer a deeper, more dazzling getaway.

Canadians love hockey, Molson and Rush (in that order).

ULTIMATE 8-TRACK MIX
Working Man
Anthem
2112
Closer to the Heart
Spirit of the Radio
Subdivisions
Tom Sawyer
Red Barchetta

Also endorsed: Blue Öyster Cult, Electric Light Orchestra, Jethro Tull






93
“Why is it that NBC looks about as diverse as a Wilco concert?” (from 30 Rock)

Joke or not, Wilco is pretty “white.” They began as a nice, little alt-country band arising from the fall of Uncle Tupelo and slowly began integrating lots of other diverse but very “white” sounds—baroque pop, noise rock, psych-folk, krautrock, Americana. They may not be as pale as Conan wilco1O’Brien’s tan lines or David Duke’s get-together wardrobe, but when you go from folksy twang to despairing pop and remain insular and inscrutable on the surface, there’s a specific audience being targeted.

Yet it is just a joke, and race matters a lot less than mindset when flipping on the mournful psychedelic pop of Summerteeth or the leisurely, mordant misery of A Ghost Is Born. Jeff Tweedy as a lyricist tends to ramble vaguely; fuzzy sketches scratched into a foggy mirror that begs for study while reasonable interpretation remains nearly impossible. But as Wilco’s sound progressed, their early country rock sound (a style which benefits from more concrete storytelling) shaped first into the sort of heavily melodic fixtures that needs no meaning at all for appeal and then to a deconstructed experimental craft that favors cryptic faux-aloofness. The development of the songwriting is owed in large part to the late Jay Bennett, who would share drug-addled journeys with Tweedy while trying to resolve the intangibles; studio mixing advances can be credited largely to engineer Jim O’Rourke (notice how wilco2the nearly complete lack of overdubs made Sky Blue Sky one of their least sonic-effective ventures).

One of the most unusual traits that Wilco exhibits is the fact that, by and large, the more self-indulgent they become as both writers and technicians, the more intriguing and fixing they become. Sure, they can pen a nice laidback folk tune and find solace in summery rock, but when they lay their anxieties on the surface, fail to find resolutions both musically and thematically, take grandiose deviations while coming to terms with calamity and strife, and symbolize dread through the distempered squeal and stutter of instruments, that’s when they monopolize my attention. It’s what makes their safer avenues seem slight in comparison. Luckily, even when there are extremes between the melodies and the traction in the approach, the fascination almost always overwhelms the frustration; even luckier—at their best, not many do that sort of thing better. But then again, I am white.

ULTIMATE 8-TRACK MIX
I Must Be High
Misunderstood
A Shot in the Arm
Via Chicago
Kamera
Jesus, Etc.
At Least That’s What You Said
Handshake Drugs

Also endorsed: Uncle Tupelo, Sparklehorse, the Flying Burrito Brothers






92
It’s telling that, in the biopic Ali, what I remember most wasn’t the charismatic, larger-than-life boxer, the famous real-life characters around him like Malcolm X and Howard Cossell, or the sessions of brutal “sporting” violence that made up his career in the ring. No, I most vividly recall samcooke1Sam Cooke as he performed for an excited crowd early in the film. Even though he was shot from behind, in wide shot, and profile, with an actor substituting the real deal, the electricity is palpable.

The King of Soul was introduced to me in unusual ways: the strains of “A Change Is Gonna Come” over archival clips of fallen Civil Rights leaders, grainy pictures of a brilliantly smiling man with graceful confidence, isolated reprisals of “You Send Me,” the soundtracks for films like Animal House and Innerspace. Some of Cooke’s finest material date from the 50s, including “I’ll Come Running Back to You,” “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons,” and his aforementioned #1 hit “You Send Me” (ineligibility of these classics resulted in a lower ranking than most would deem, I’m sure). A career cut short robbed the world of his voice, but his timeless tunes endure. Along with Ray Charles, he helped popularize the “secular gospel” music that would become known as “soul.” When he started his own record label and took control of his own music, he revolutionized the business side of recording for black artists, and his music bridged the audience racial gap—almost thirty of his recordings landed in a Top 40 pop chart previously dominated by mostly white performers (even Chuck Berry never had a #1 until 1972).

samcooke2His smoldering romance and short story songwriting was basic and the dedication phrasing uncomplicated; it’s no disgrace to his legacy to declare that the only unambiguous reason why he’s immortal is his voice. He delivered a courteous affectation of melismatic notes in an almost divinely silky range, but he never sounded like he was simply showing off or playing up the words for integrity’s sake. He was almost confrontational about it, exemplifying the cliché of a crooner leaning over the edge of the stage while some pigtailed young woman melts like butter under the lights—direct and intimate. Stolen away far too young under mysterious circumstances (murder or self defense?), it’s entirely possible that he had the richest, most appealing voice that soul music will ever see.

ULTIMATE 8-TRACK MIX
Wonderful World
Chain Gang
Cupid
Twistin’ the Night Away
Bring It on Home to Me
Another Saturday Night
A Change Is Gonna Come
Shake

Also endorsed: Jackie Wilson, Bobby Womack, Smokey Robinson






91
tompetty1Everybody likes Tom Petty. Whether just a few songs or his entire body of work, his music finds ways to appeal to everyone at some time in some way. If you ask for an American rock star not defined by a scene, region or fad, I’ll answer, “Tom Petty.” His kind of simple, straightforward rock n’ roll may not fall in the definition of “Americana,” but it might as well—it’s like f-ckin’ apple pie. His tunes are largely classified by tight but supple grooves; a restless temperament even at their most leisurely; direct and generally pleasant lyrics as direct and generally pleasant as the vocals. The songwriting usually centers on nostalgia and heartland rock hooks—so much for the mystery of his universal appeal.

Yet this might make him sound altogether a little bland, if not outright generic. Really, though, Petty simply exemplifies the “classic” sound, something that could have been described as “classic,” in fact, when he was first tooling around with it. Covering Gene Clark’s “I Feel a Whole Lot Better” for Full Moon Fever made perfect sense since there was a lot of Byrds in him, specifically the jangle of his upbeat garage riffs. When he first appeared in 1976, that “classic” sound was virtually dead—folks dealing in garage rock style were typically punks like the Ramones—and his albums with his band the Heartbreakers were defined by catchy singles and solid album cuts. He always seems to move at a measured pace, a casual mid-tempo tompetty2whether waxing wistfully or letting out a yelp or mourning in misery or celebrating the vigor of life. So what exactly made him so special?

That answer remains as elusive as his previously discussed appeal is crystal clear. Superlatives don’t stick well to his skin. He’s not the best at what he does but he’s one of the most reliable rock stars around. Even that label feels awkward: rock star. Indeed, he was a star after the multi-platinum success of Damn the Torpedoes—enough so that he managed a platinum LP in 1987’s Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) even though it featured only one charting song that wasn’t even included on his greatest hits compilation—but he carries himself off as an ordinary, working-man sort of rock n’ roller, the sort that you’d imagine would be just as happy touring roadhouses across the country for a handful of greenbacks a night for the rest of his days. Hm, maybe that’s what it is about him.

ULTIMATE 8-TRACK MIX
American Girl
Refugee
Don’t Do Me Like That
Don’t Come Around Here No More
Runnin’ Down a Dream
Free Fallin’
Mary Jane’s Last Dance
You Wreck Me

Also endorsed: The Hollies, Roy Orbison, Steve Winwood




 

Mar
01
2011
Matt Medlock

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