Rock n Roll as a pop force is dead and we are now in the age when we can say definitive things about it.
To that end here is a very interesting article gauging the top five American bands.*
We have a criteria for great bands. Did they make an impact? Did they write songs that stood the test of time. Did they grow?
Below follows our list:
The Beach Boys: Everyone's first choice and everyone's beach soundtrack. Talk about growth. Listen to Pet Sounds sometime. It's spooky genius. Brian Wilson did it all without booming drums and crashing cymbals.
Kiss: We are not members of Kiss Army and really don't like them that much. But there's no arguing with their content, their output and their anthems. Over time they even grew. Two Jewish guys appreciated the value of vaudeville style showmanship. What are the odds?
Aerosmith: There are two Aerosmiths, pre RUN DMC and post. Their pre albums are classic 70's rock. Their first three post albums are successively better than the last. The three power ballads from Get a Grip are something to behold. Not nearly the same band they were in 1975 or even 1987. Pure blues based rockers.
REM: We were reluctant to put them on the list, but again, there's no arguing with their output, performance and innovative talent. We will now have Loosing my Religion in our head all day.
Nirvana: The last great rock innovators. They had their own sound, look and style. Perhaps we are lucky we never had to watch Nirvana get old? Or is that just Foo Fighters?
*A lot of guys on the linked article talk about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Sorry, we don't get it.