50. The Eagles
Highest Position: 3rd
Hailing from the United States, Eagles had a bit of success; although many trivia buffs proclaim Michael Jackson’s Thriller to be America’s biggest selling album, the correct answer is in fact Eagle’s Greatest Hits. After some success with their first three albums, it was the fourth album One Of These Nights which propelled them to superstardom and made them America’s biggest band. Playing a very American brand of country-rock with a twinge of folk, they remained a force to be reckoned with until their split in 1980. They reformed in 1994, making a few more records and remaining a popular live act. They were also inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in 1998.
49. Sigur Ros
Highest Position: 6th
It's 1999, and post-rock is dying. Not the type of music commonly labelled post-rock, of course - the idea of taking a rock band setup, with guitars, drums and the like and then making music far beyond the traditional rock song structure, incorporating all kinds of experimental, minimalistic, Krautrock, jazz and ambient-electronic influences into the music was an idea that would become increasingly popular in the 21st century.
But it was the term, post-rock, that was thought to be on its way out. The idea, that this new, broadened horizon of guitar-drum music was the future of music itself was one that was becoming increasingly disdained by those bands who were traditionally characterised as post-rock. According to Mogwai's Dominic Atchinson, for example, the term was "a pretty lazy term, lazy on the media’s front. They don’t really know what sort of music it is. If it’s not straight-ahead rock n’ roll, then it’s post rock. It’s a bit miserable, so we’ll call it post-rock. It’s stupid." Not exactly a shining endorsement of the genre self-advertising as 'the future of rock music'. But one band had different ideas, and in 1999, an Icelandic band named Sigur Rós released an album which made everyone who listened to it pause and consider: could post-rock still be what it claimed to be?
The year was 1999 and the album was Ágćtis byrjun (Icelandic for "A good beginning"). It came two years after their debut album, Von (meaning "Hope"), was released. Whereas the initial had an aesthetic very much in the mold of dreampop-esque bands such as Liz Fraser's Cocteau Twins and vast ambient soundscapes, their second release was a drastic shift towards what was seen as post-rock (albeit a rather more minimal one), with a heavy reliance on atmospheric bowed guitar and sweeping, summer-warm orchestral arrangements. Between that and the very Liz Fraser-like ethereal falsetto vocals of the frontman, Jónsi Birgisson. Whilst Von had been largely unknown outside of their country, Ágćtis byrjun spread like wildfire throughout the global musical scene, winning widespread critical acclaim and establishing Sigur Rós as one of the most important post-rock bands, even one of the most important bands full-stop, going into the new millenium.
It didn't matter that no one could understand the lyrics; the lyrics weren't the point. The point was in the warmth of the strings, the lush atmosphere created by the bowed guitar, the evocative vocals. Things like the dissonant but gentle brass opening to Ny Batteri, the inviting sonar-like 'ping' that underlies Svefn-g-engelar. This was that evokes, that provoked, that created emotions in their most basic form, but music that made no undue demands or asked to be put in any particular box. Indeed, as if to emphasise the point, they had created a "language" of their own, which much like the 'nonsense language' Liz Fraser often employed, was mere wordless, formless vocalisations designed purely to evoke and emote. This "language", Hopelandic, appeared briefly on their first two albums but dominated all their future releases, "( )", "Takk..." and "Međ suđ í eyrum viđ spilum endalaust". The concept was clear - Sigur Rós weren't about to *tell* you how you should feel. They just lay their cards on the table and let you make up your own mind. Their brand of music was subtle, carefully poised yet undemanding and open.
It was this openness, this exceptional ability to cross the language the barrier and simply use their music to evoke and emote, which established them as arguably the premier "post-rock". They grew in popularity and exposure, in part due to the continued critical success from Agaetis, and partly because of the more accessible song structures and pop-hooks used in latter albums. Whilst they're generally considered not to have scaled the peaks of 1999 since, their sound remains one of the most distinctive, most influential and most recognisable of all modern post-rock bands... just as they had planned.
Write-up courtesy of Spark
48. The Go-Betweens
Highest Position: 10th
The Go-Betweens were an indie rock band formed in Brisbane, Australia in 1977 by singer-songwriters and guitarists, Robert Forster and Grant McLennan. They were later joined by Lindy Morrison on drums, Robert Vickers on bass guitar and Amanda Brown on violin, oboe, guitar, and backing vocals, before disbanding in late 1989. Forster and McLennan reformed the band in 2000 with a new line-up, McLennan died on 6 May 2006 of a heart attack and The Go-Betweens disbanded again.
In 1988, "Streets of Your Town", the first single from 16 Lovers Lane, became the band's biggest chart hit in both Australia and the United Kingdom (UK). The follow-up single "Was There Anything I Could Do?" was a No. 16 hit on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart in the United States. In May 2001 "Cattle and Cane", from 1983's Before Hollywood was selected by Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time. In 2008, 16 Lovers Lane was highlighted on Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) TV's The Great Australian Albums series as a classic example of 1980s rock music.
Extract taken from wikipedia, The Go-Betweens - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Highest Position: 5th
In some corners of the Internet, Oasis and Radiohead fans are at loggerheads with each other over whose band is better. Yet here is a band that takes the finest elements of both bands to produce a 21st century fusion of rock and electronic music, with anthemic choruses booming out over a wall of guitars and a background of electronic beats.
Kasabian stem from Leicester and for the bulk of their existence have been driven by lead guitarist, sometime vocalist and full-time cult hero, Sergio Pizzorno. Hailing from Leicester, the band was formed in secondary school, and save for the axing of keyboardist and co-songwriter Christopher Karloff after the debut album, have kept their lineup intact the whole time.
Kasabian’s sound is one of real energy, songs like Fire and Days are Forgotten can’t help but make you want to get up, and sing and dance. Their influences, aside from the aforementioned, include Stone Roses, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. They have released four successful albums but it is as a live act where they come into their own, where the charisma of frontman Tom Meighan, coupled with Pizzorno’s enigmatic confidence, makes them something else. In fact, they even managed to upstage Oasis when they supported them at Heaton Park in the latter’s dying days in 2009. Given that Oasis had made their name doing just that to headline acts in their early days, it was a passing of the torch of sorts, and Kasabian are very much now at the forefront of British guitar music.
46. Bob Marley and The Wailers
Highest Position: 12th
Bob Marley & The Wailers were a Jamaican reggae, ska and rocksteady band formed by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer in 1963. Additional members were Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, Cherry Smith and Aston and Carlton Barrett. The band came to an end with the death of Bob Marley in 1981.
They were known variously as The Teenagers, The Wailing Rudeboys, The Wailing Wailers and finally The Wailers. By 1966 Braithwaite, Kelso and Smith had left the band, which then consisted of the trio Livingston, Marley and Tosh (Neville Livingston being the birth name of Bunny Wailer).
Some of The Wailers most notable songs were recorded with Lee "Scratch" Perry and his studio band The Upsetters. During the early 1970s The Upsetters members Aston "Family Man" Barrett and his brother Carlton (Carlie) Barrett, formed the Wailers Band, providing instrumental backing for The Wailers.
The Wailers recorded groundbreaking ska and reggae songs such as "Simmer Down", "Trenchtown Rock", "Nice Time", "War", "Stir It Up" and "Get Up, Stand Up".
The Wailers disbanded in 1974 due to Tosh and Livingston's refusal to tour. Bob Marley formed Bob Marley & The Wailers with Bob Marley himself as guitarist, songwriter and main singer, the Wailers Band as the backing band, and the I Threes as backup vocalists. The Wailers Band included the brothers Carlton Barrett and "Family Man" Barrett on drums and bass respectively, Junior Marvin and Al Anderson playing lead guitar, Tyrone Downie and Earl "Wya" Lindo playing keyboard, and Alvin "Seeco" Patterson playing percussion. The I Threes consisted of Bob Marley's wife Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths.
Extract from wikipedia Bob Marley & The Wailers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
45. Arcade Fire
Highest Position: 4th
Arcade Fire, an ensemble out of Montreal in Canada, emerged as indie darlings after their debut Funeral, and their rise as a musical force was capped by the receipt of the 2011 Grammy for Album of the Year against contemporaries Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.
Using the male-female vocal dynamic throughout their work, the wide number of musical instruments used within the band allows for versatility. The repartee between Win Butler with Régine Chassagne allows a sense of contrast and storytelling to take place during albums.
Funeral has often been cited as one of the finest albums of the decade, its sombre note countenanced with expressions of hope, much like the title and a subsequent wake. It's follow-up Neon Bible had a grander sound, and continued to display the band's ability to craft a full album.
The Suburbs managed to tie together the two prior albums, community, bleakness and nostalgia with Americana reminiscent of Springsteen and Young, and encapsulated what makes them popular, balancing the melancholy and earnest, and evoking joy whilst seemingly never singing about it; helping them to emerge at the forefront of the indie rock movement at 2012.
Write-up by vic_orthdox
Highest Position: 3rd
Coming out of England, there would have been few who thought after the release of their debut that Coldplay could reach a point where they could be considered the biggest band in the world, and ingrained within 2000s pop culture.
Following the release of three EPs and being signed to Parlophone, Coldplay released Parachutes, and with it their signature tune Yellow; the album a collection of gorgeous, spacious songs that showed off their chops as balladeers .
A Rush of Blood to the Head followed, both literally and figuratively, as the success of their second album saw frontman Chris Martin seek to push the band towards a mass sensibility whilst still maintaining a pride in their own songwriting and craftsmanship.
Their following albums X & Y, Viva la Vida and Mylo Xyloto have expanded their horizons, adding in greater influences and appealing to bigger audiences, constantly changing their sound yet not alienating those with an attachment to earlier works. Home to an engaging and giving live show, Coldplay will long be associated with music in the first decade of the twenty-first century.
Write-up by vic_orthdox
Highest Position: 1st
It's 2002. A small car clatters down the M6, the death rattle of a failing gear box follows at a short distance. The sign read "Welcome to Wolverhampton". The light is failing and smoke billows from chimneys both industrial and residential. Two twenty-somethings pull into the car park at Wulfrun Hall and extract a mini-disc player the size of a Balkan republic and the weight of a similarly sized piece of lead. The twenty-somethings are directed into a plush, but not luxurious tour van. They sit on one side of a beige formica table as Doves file in. Looking Indie cool - fawn leather jackets that would have been at home on the shoulders of James Caan in Rollerball.
The first question asked - "Releasing There Goes the Fear for only one week so that it got a higher chart position. How cynical do you think that marketing ploy was?"
And their reply was accurate, truthful and to the point. Two arrogant nobodies had just taken them to task about their biggest success as the opening question to an interview, and they liked it. Cynical marketing ploy, yeah. Why not? Let's turn the tables for once and put some decent music on Top of the Pops and on Radio 1. Good music shouldn't be a secret - we know our music is up to the standard, but with the way things are in the music industry we weren't getting heard.
Why the convoluted and seemingly pointless story? Well, it gives you a slice of what Doves are about. Frank, occasionally brutal, tenacious and not afraid to stir things up.
Hailing from the fringes of Chester and Manchester, brothers Jez and Andy Williams met the 3rd Dove - Jimi Goodwin at school in Wilmslow. Following a path trodden by such luminaries as Jarvis Cocker, the band scene on the Cheshire/Manchester border was incestuous and the 3 gradually became better known to each other throughout the 80s through numerous different bands and varying line ups. In the turbulent time of the late 80s, the 3 linked up again at the legendary Hacienda club in 1989. Changing times, changing tastes saw them form the electronia act Sub Sub - most famous for their 1993 hit record, Ain't No Love, Ain't No Use in 1993.
The Cheshire trio looked all set to be one hit wonders following them losing the tapes to their 2nd album in a studio fire in 1996. Rather than be put off by this, they took this unfortunate event and turned it round - the experience later being the catalyst for the song Firesuite. The fire also drove them in a different direction - dropping the electronica and heading towards alternative rock.
The new incarnation to rise from the ashes was no phoenix, but instead a sound of urban decay and alienation set to a rhythm driven soundscape and the occasional ethereal track. These key themes would recur throughout their recorded output, and could be found by barely scratching the surface of their first album, Lost Souls. The Cedar Room, their 7 minute anthem dedicated to heartbreak and loss was the pinnacle of that first album, with the band mournfully announcing that they 'tried to sleep alone, but they couldn't do it'. The emotion was palpable.
If their first album had its melancholic moments, their second switched straight to euphoria. The surging rhythms and key changes of 'Words'. The rhythm that just wouldn't escape your brain in 'Pounding'. The final stanzas of that cynical marketing ploy that was 'There Goes the Fear' displaying that the insistent rhythms of Pounding wasn't the only sound at their disposal; the outro of the song being about as close as you can get to Carnival without taking a flight to Rio. There was still the sound of urban sprawl and alienation in there though - the dysphoria of 'Caught by the River' closing the album with an incredible counterpoint to the earlier material. "Son, what have you done?". Poignant and heartfelt lyrics about a friend of their. Then claustrophobia that can only be uncovered by recording beneath a motorway overpass in 'M62 Song'
Their third album continued from where 'Caught by the River' had left off - urban decay. Black and White Town, Snowden, Sky Starts Falling. Walk in Fire being a particular highlight of the album.
Their stage performances show off their consummate skill. Swap the drummer with the singer - you got it. Now get the singer to play bass? Why not. And still with that continual surging rhythm.
These guys had more rhythm than Gloria Estefan's Dr. Beat. With or without the Miami Sound Machine. Love them.
Doves - Walk in Fire - YouTube
Write-up by HeathDavisSpeed
42. The Pogues
Highest Position: 3rd
The twin traditions of storytelling and music are important amongst the Irish diaspora. They help maintain a sense of identity and self in a people removed by circumstance and financial necessity from their native land. There is also solid evidence to suggest these traditions endure to the second and third generations, as the surnames of some of the cream of English songwriting talent such as Messrs Morrissey, Lydon, McCartney, Doherty, Gallagher & MacManus attest.
The latter gentleman, better known to the world by his nom de guerre of Elvis Costello, plays a small but important part in the history of The Pogues, producing their magnum opus “Rum, Sodomy & The Lash”, falling in love with their bassist Cait O'Riordan in the process and eventually marrying her.
Whilst their music, lyrics and sensibility are unmistakably Hibernian, The Pogues are, strictly speaking, an English group and are probably best understood as being part of the great Irish migration of the 19th and 20th centuries. Shane MacGowan, The Pogues' main songwriter, lyricist, resident genius and latterday Bacchus was actually born in Kent and attended no less an English institution than Westminster School, the alma mater of (amongst others) Sir Christopher Wren and no fewer than seven prime ministers. Rather like that other ex-English public schoolboy Joe Strummer (who later briefly replaced MacGowan in a touring line up of The Pogues) much of his professional life was spent biting the hand that fed his younger self; giving voice to the downtrodden and the disenfranchised. But where Strummer's own band took inspiration from the reggae of London's Jamaican emigrees, MacGowan's used the tin whistle, banjo and accordion of his parents' homeland.
That is not to suggest The Pogues were mere copyists selling the ersatz Oirishness beloved of plastic paddies the world over; their instruments were traditional but their vision was original. Their own songs were imbued with the energy of the punk scene several of their number had emerged from & they gave new life to traditional songs, teaming up with The Dubliners to put a foot up the arse of “The Irish Rover” & recording the definitive version of Eric Bogle's “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”. MacGowan's lyrics would occasionally harken back to an Ireland left behind, but they sometimes burnt with a very contemporary rage. “Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six” did both majestically, the first half of the cycle a migrant's regretful farewell to the Ulster of The Troubles and the second a brave and bravura condemnation of 80s Britain's “innocent until proven Irish” brand of justice that saw the titular half dozen and the Guildford Four wrongly imprisoned. At the time of its release neither miscarriage had been overturned and the song was banned from being broadcast. Music did sometimes still matter back then.
The Pogues were & are a fittingly contrary band, literate & profane and traditional & iconoclastic. Their music both celebrates and helps define the land of their fathers & grandfathers and takes us all along for the booze-fuelled, tear-stained, vomit-splattered ride to the gutter with them, forever staring at the stars.
Write-up provided by BoyBrumby
41. Simon and Garfunkel
Highest Position: 2nd
Simon and Garfunkel was a phenomenally successful folk-rock duo founded on the superlative songwriting skills of Paul Simon and the sublime vocal talents of Art Garfunkel. They first met while in elementary school in Queens, New York, having grown up just a few blocks from each other, and began performing together as early as 1957, when they adopted the sobriquet Tom and Jerry, from adopted pseudonyms Tom Graph (Simon) and Jerry Landis (Garfunkel). Their early style was very much inspired by the Everley Brothers, however before too long Simon's songwriting took flight. After attending different colleges they were reunited through New York's burgeoning folk scene in 1963, recording one album before a first split led to Simon relocating to the UK (their hit song "Homeward Bound" was conceived while Simon was waiting for a train out of Widnes). Extensive requests in 1965 for "The Sound of Silence", while Simon was still in the UK, led to produced Tom Wilson over-dubbing electric instruments and re-releasing the song, without the knowledge or permission of the duo, which eventually reached number one. The song's success led to a reformation and a string of critically and publically acclaimed albums, including high profile inclusion of Simon's songs in the movie The Graduate, most notably "Mrs Robinson", and culminating in the monster hit album and single "Bridge Over Troubled Water" in 1970.
Increasing tension between them saw another break-up following the release of "Bridge Over Troubled Water", and the duo went their separate ways. Garfunkel had by that time embarked on a fairly successful acting career, making his film debut in Catch 22 - interestingly Simon originally had a part in the same movie, however it was completely written out - and going on to appear opposite Candice Bergen in Carnal Knowledge. Simon meanwhile released a number of well-received albums, most notable of which was Graceland, featuring a number of famous African musicians and which included the wonderful "Homeless". Garfunkel continued to record, achieving two further UK number ones, "I Only Have Eyes For You" and "Bright Eyes", the latter chosen as the theme to the animated movie Watership Down. The two have subsequently appeared together on a number of occasions, sometimes to massive audiences - the concert in Central Park, New York 1981 was played to over 500,000, which crowd was actually topped at an appearance in Rome in 2004, with more than 600,000 turning out. Simon and Garfunkel were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, while Simon was also inducted as a solo artist in 2001.
Write-up by chasingthedon