Classic Rock Bottom

This is not a "coolest" band name list. Or a "my favorite" list. This list is for historical importance to the history and growth of rock n roll. The only rule is....there is no rules! Instead of a rule...I just have a request...tell us a little bit about why your choices are your choices.

5 - Elvis  ... no need to add Presley. Yes, he borrowed from R&B/Motown artists, but for me, he is still the real beginning of rock n roll stage performance. A band or artist needs to provide energy and excitement to the audience...not the other way around. Screaming girls INDEED!!

4 - Fender ... if this list was being made in the 60's or 70's, Fender would be higher. The Fender Stratocaster is an iconic guitar. I have no facts on this, but I would be willing to bet that the Fender Strat was used more in the 60's and 70's than any other guitar. The Fender Telecaster is also a very popular guitar, especially for those who prefer a little cleaner sound over a more distorted tone.

3 - Gibson ... Being single again in my old age has allowed me to be a "night prowler". I go see more shows on the local level than anybody I know!  Not touring concerts, but shows on the local level (way more affordable, and very enjoyable). But at least here in Atlanta, the guitar of choice for hard rockers right now is none other than the veneable Gibson Les Paul. Ask anyone who plays a Les Paul, and they will tell you about it's "fat, thick sound". And Gibson makes them in so many colors/finishes, you have a great deal of choice with this guitar. And you can put, say, two Les Pauls in Cherry Sunburst finish, side by side, and they still look different. Or Tobacco Sunbursts....or the new Gibson "Desert Sunburst" finishes....beautiful, beautiful guitars, and no two sunburst finishes from Gibson ever seem to look exactly the same. And that is a very cool thing for guitar players and collectors. And dont forget the very popular Gibson SG's, played exclusively by the likes of Angus Young and Tony Iommi. And dont forget the "OH SO COOL" Gibson Flying V's or Gibson Explorer guitars.

2 - Hendrix ... number 1 on Rolling Stones list of 100 greatest guitar players of all time. He is still influencing guitar players...over 40 years after his death. Amazing player, awesome live performer, and a true legend whose legacy will never die. The name Van Halen could also be on my list, but Hendrix still holds more historical importance, in my opinion.

1 - The most important name in all of rock n roll history is this one...Marshall. For me, if you want to rock and rock hard, there is no other amplifier. Period. There are plenty of other amplifiers that sound good...but why not play the best? Not only do they sound good, but I think they look good too. I love the Marshall logo, and it is easliy recognized by musicians the world over.And back in the day of 1980's excess....who has not seen a rock band live, with a vertiable WALL of Marshall stacks behind the band? Sometimes, like Judas Priest....they would have double-headed stacks of Marshalls. Twice the power driving the speaker cabinets. May he rest in peace, but Jim Marshall's amplifiers will always be in demand, as long as there is rock n roll, and the distorted guitar, there will be Marshall amps driving them.

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Very interesting!  This is real Jack Handy-like material!  You know, take it to think tank (AKA bathroom) and really think outside the box...  Will have to come back to this one... 

I'm totally surprised that "Beatles" does not appear on your list.

By the way, I glanced at your list, but can't read it until I make my reply.  I don't want to be influenced by anyone else's answer.

I don't know much about who invented what guitar or drums, and I don't want to go back to the first blues-artist, so my list will be personal, meaning......yeah, meaning what? Never mind, here's my list. Oh, by the way, there might be a lot of historic errors in the text, because I write it from my memory (that means a lot of misspellings too, I'm afraid):

Little Richard - I don't know much about him, but I know, that he had a great influence on all the great english rockbands, that appeared later on (you know, The Beatles, Rolling Stones aso) Not only his music, but also his way of performing on stage. Probably a great influence on someone like Elton John in that department.

Chuck Berry - Just like Little Richard, he was another great influence on the great english bands of the 60's. And this time his stage-performance probably inspired a lot of guitar-heroes to come.

Paul McCartney - Now, this was a tough one!! Should I pick Lennon, who started the band, that later would develop into The Beatles, and that made many great songs, especially in the first half of The Beatles "career"? No, I'd rather pick McCartney, because when you think of it, bands that is said to have a "Beatles-sound", they usually sound like The Beatles when they play a McCartney-song. He was the one, that made the best songs in the period of 67-70, the period, that most people like the best. He was responsible for the idea to "Sgt.Pepper". He is my favorite-beatle, and therefore one of the most important people in rock-n-roll-history.

Pete Townshend - A genius just like McCartney (and Lennon). Great at playing guitar, piano, a good singer, a great perfomer on stage, one of the best in fact. I don't think, that there would have been a Led Zeppelin without the Who, and Townshend said, that Hendrix stole his act, you know smashing up the guitar, which was a great influnece also on Nirvana, and their music was Eddie Wedder's favorite, so they've probably been very important to the Grunge-scene. As a live-band, The Who is still not beaten. 

Jimmy Page - Started out as a very much used session-player, then got offered the position as The Yardbirds lead-guitar-player after Clapton left, but suggested they used Jeff Beck instead. When he finally "took over" in that band, he had the vision that would turn them into the greatest Rock-band ever. Almost every rock-band has been influenced by Led Zeppelin.

Oh, I forgot about listing them: Here we go

5. Pete Townshend
4. Jimmy Page
3. Little Richard
2. Chuck Berry
1. Paul McCartney

5. Eddie Van Halen - I'm sure that everyone has their list of "most important" guitarists.  There are so many that have been important to rock music and influential to many folks, but for me, the top name would be Eddie Van Halen.  I've read so many articles of folks dropping his name as the person who influenced them the most.  The usual musical piece, of course, is Eruption.  It blew folks minds.  Gordon can probably relate to this.  His style is different from every one who came before him or after him, and you can always decipher his playing from someone else's.  And don't even get me started on the subject of keyboards...

4. Edwin Howard Armstrong -  Who the heck is that?  He pioneered FM broadcasting.  So I do remember AM radio from when I was rather young, and I couldn't begin to tell you the difference in how the two broadcasting methods work, but I know that from the late 70's up through the 80's, I listened to a lot of FM radio.  It brought rock music to the masses, myself included.  It's when Top 40 was actually interesting, which leads directly into my number 3 choice.

3. Billboard - Yes, I know it stinks today.  But back in the late 60's through the 80's, having a Top 40 Billboard hit or a Top 40 Billboard abum actually meant something.  And I personally believe it pushed some bands to put out a better, if more radio friendly product (of course, this backfired at times as well).  But remember when bands like Foreigner, Styx, Journey and REO put out great music that everybody liked?  I do.  It's because they wanted a Top 40 hit.  So thank you Billboard (although you totally stink now, because all you mean today is Hip Hop and awful Pop music).

2. Elvis - No last name needed.  This guy fused many styles at the time into something everybody could love.  Yes, there was bubble gum, but even that was cool.  I think his was the greatest voice ever, and that's saying a lot.  The vast majority of music fans who are old enough to remember will always remember what they were doing when they found out he had died.  He was a massive presence in this thing we call Rock and Roll.

1. The Beatles - Do I really have to explain this one?  They are not my favorite band, or even close to the top of that list, so this is not biased at all.  They have influenced more folks than any other band, and that includes influencing people that never sang or played on a rock album in their life.  They influenced fashion and album art and so many other cultural things.  Again, some bubble gum at the start, but even that music has stood the test of time. 

These are all great choices, guys! I'm glad you took the time to write a little about your choices, too. I came very close to having "Beatles", or "Zeppelin" on my list. I also think Little Richard and Chuck Berry are great choices. And I truly do believe that Paul McCartney is one of the top musical talents of all time...any genre, any time frame, his talent level is simply overwhelming.

And very interesting to read RJ's post about Edwin Howard Armstrong. I have never heard of him, so it's great to be educated by this post! FM radio is most definitely a huge,important feature, and influence for rock n roll.

This is my take...  But it was hard!!

5. THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL:  I am finding it impossible to name another TV show whose influence was so strong musically.  This show allowed everyone on their stage and they even got more rocking; as the night went on.  I was introduced to so many new artists at the time as well.  This show was the first time I seen and heard the likes of Heart, ABBA,  AC/DC, KISS, and on and on.  And name a better host than Wolfman Jack!

4. EDDIE VAN HALEN: At each phase of Rock and Roll, someone came along that was  game changer.  Eddie Van Halen changed all the rules.  Riff’s, licks, solos, tapping, staging, and pure rock and roll antics.  But most of all, his signature sound is still to this day unmatched.

3. MARSHALL STACK:  Stacks and stacks of Marshalls!  What’s a better backdrop in stage?  What produces that sound that knocks you out?  At the top of every bands list of needs was this Marshall Amplification!

2. LES PAUL:  Name a guitar maker who is mentioned as an influence as a player and instrument selection more than Les Paul?  The first time I laid eyes on the sunburst Gibson Les Paul was a mesmerizing moment.   And so it is to this day!

1. BEATLES:  I offer no justification as to why I don’t name Elvis in my list, all I know is this is the foundational band that really took Rock and Roll to “every” next level.  They may have been influenced by Elvis, but he didn’t have ….  Songwriting, Personality on every instrument, Groundbreaking production, Massive Stadium tours, etc...  Heck, it was because their fan base was louder than the sound systems of the time that we had innovation in that area too!  Who played on the roof top before U2?  Who made a single colored album cover all the craze (before Metallica even)?  Whose individual parts would be as successful as the whole?  And on and on and on….  Easy #1 for me.


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