So much to say, and so little time. While I tease out the 56 topics that have percolated up over the last couple exchanges and attempt to prepare some meaningful analysis for you guys (who knew blogging could be so much work?!), my boss and resident rock-head Fortune deputy managing editor Hank Gilman has been wanting to drop a little more knowledge on us ever since he did the first office playlist, so I thought we’d let him have at it today. Normally, this would be called “7 bands to see before you die,” but seeing as how they’re a lot older than we are…
Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend!
7 bands/performers to see before they get too old — or die:
(A personal list. Part I in a series.)
- Neil Young. He’s north of 60 but still making great music; some sweet; some with the amp up to 11. See him now on tour; reviews have been first-rate. I’ll be in Wallingford, Conn., at the Chevrolet Theatre. (Row V, I think, CENTER.) Come by and say hello. LISTEN TO: Live At Massey Hall. Or grab a greatest hits compilation and then buy Chrome Dreams II, his latest.
- Ray Davies. Kinks legend has come out with two quick albums of great new songs. One of the great bands out of the British invasion, the Kinks, in my mind, matched the Beatles. Certainly out-rocked them. His tour last year was terrific, and even newbies were awed. One of the all-time great pop songwriters, if not the greatest (sorry, Macca). LISTEN TO: To The Bone is a great Kinks primer. Out of print, but get it used on Amazon. Also try Ray’s solo albums. Then get the rest: Village Green, Muswell Hillbillies, Lola vs the Powerman…and on and on AND ON.
- The Who. Get a seat up close on the next tour. Just watch Townsend play that great rhythm/lead. As a bonus, Zack Starkey, Ringo’s son, on drums. Close your eyes and: It’s Keith Moon! Daltry still wails. Hope they don’t die before they get too old. BUY: Live at Leeds, deluxe edition. (With live Tommy).
- Deep Purple. Probably the most underrated hard-rock band. They still tour with three guys from the classic lineup — singer Ian Gillan, drummer Ian Paice (a record for “Ians” in a band?), and bassist Roger Glover. Paice, some say and I agree, is the godfather of modern rock drumming. And he just keeps getting better. Worth the show alone. BUY: MADE in Japan, one of the great live rock albums ever. No overdubs! You hear what they played. Highway Star — Wow!
- Squeeze. Recently saw them on a reunion tour. (Check their website for tour news.) Amazing pop. Playing and singing superb. Fountains of Wayne opened for them and sounded flat in comparison (and I love those Fountains to death!) BUY: The singles CD. Don’t know the title off-hand, but this is the Internet. Do it yourself! The research will do you good…
- Roxy Music. Jeez, what can I say? My favorite of all time because the music is always interesting, and singer Brian Ferry always ironic (I think). And those boys (and girls) can play. Influenced more bands than I can mention here. (Could there be a Radiohead without Roxy? Nah.) Don’t know when they’ll tour again, but I think Ferry comes to the states in early 2008 doing his Dylan thing. That will do for now. BUY: First record, called Roxy Music, because it was so weird in 1972 when it was released. (Ask my former hippie girlfriend, who yelled at me, “What the hell are you playing!!!??” I guess I was messing up her Poco moment.) Then just buy the Live at the Apollo DVD, which should do the trick. Lots of stuff on YouTube.
- Graham Parker. I don’t think he’s gonna die anytime soon, but go to grahamparker.net and check him out anyway. Pretty big in the 70s and 80s. Compared a lot to Elvis Costello, whom he preceded, I believe. In any event, always the best of that singer-songwriter, “angry-young-man” lot, which included Costello and Joe Jackson, if you ask me. Tours mostly solo (a great singer and hilarious storyteller) and still writes great songs. LISTEN TO: Squeezing out the Sparks with his old band, The Rumour. Too many others to list here, but I love the fairly recent Your Country and Graham’s latest, Don’t Tell Columbus. (Four Stars in Mojo and Uncut!)
That’s it for now, classic rock fans. I’ll be back with more soon.