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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I almost added Don Kirshner's Rock Concert.  Good call on The Midnight Special.

5. Chuck Berry....What artist has not been influenced by "Johnny Be Good"? Chuck Berry, showed that Rock & Roll could be mainstream & appeal to the masses.  He was a pioneer bringing fiery up tempo songs & raging guitar into our living rooms.

4. Les Paul.....Who didn't want a Les Paul guitar? Sure there was the Strat, but Les Paul was the cream of the crop! The Stratavarious of guitars, you were something if you owned a Les Paul!

3. Ed Sullivan.....Where would Rock be without the break through performances on the Ed Sullivan show? The show was cutting edge & took chances on acts that pushed the limits of acceptable viewing decency. The show was a vessel that brought exposure to the acts of my generation. Performances on the show by Elvis & The Beatles are legendary.

2. Elvis.....The King of Rock & Roll! If you're a baby boomer, like me, you know the impact Elvis had. To me, he sums up true american rock & roll & paved the way for all that followed.

1. The Beatles....They were the frontiers of the British invasion! They changed the face of rock & roll! This is easy for me, The Beatles are the most important name in rock & roll history!   

Great call on Ed Sullivan.

Great topic Gordon, but tough! I've been struggling trying to come up with a top 5 on this. I've seen the names already mentioned & all are very deserving. But, it's just so broad, too hard to give proper recognition to evey name. 

For example, if asked: 

Most Important Artist Name (I would list)

5. Led Zepplin

4. Eddie Van Halen

3. Hendrix

2. Elvis

1. Beatles

 Most important item (equipment) name

5. Rickenbocker (bass)

4. Zildjian

3. Fender/ Stratocaster

2. Gibson/Les Paul

1. Marshall Amps 

Most Important Entertainment Name

5. Billboard

4. Don Kirshner's Rock Concert

3. Midnight Special

2. American Bandstand

1. Ed Sullivan

and etc.


But, I will compile these lists & come up with one. Just makes you think harder!!! 

Pardon my ignorance, but what the heck is Zildjian?

Cymbals, I've always seen rock drummers use Zildjian cymbals. That name is stuck in my head!


Ok Gordon, I will play by the rules & respond to your thread. When I think rock & roll, these names come to mind, as a matter of fact, I think any of the names could be used in the place of rock & roll in a sentence.

5. Woodstock - It was a concert at a farm, billed as "3 Days of Peace & Music". Several acts played there, most notably Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, just to name a few. Years after this concert took place, the name is still prevalent.  The name transends generations, everyone has heard of or seen footage from this event. If I hear the name "Woodstock", I don't think of Snoopy's little yellow bird friend, I immediately think rock & roll!

4. Eddie Van Halen - Not only is he my favorite guitar player of all time, he's the biggest innovator of the art! He truly changed the sound of rock guitar & gave a new definition to the guitar solo. If someone is seen playing a hot solo, it wouldn't be uncommon to hear, "Who do you think you are, Eddie Van Halen?" His name is, rock guitar!

3. Hendrix - No need for the first name, because when you hear the name Hendrix, you naturally think classic rock! While Eddie Van Halen was the biggest innovator, Hendrix was the first. No one commanded & pushed the limits of the guitar like Hendrix.

2. Elvis - He's dubbed the "King Of Rock & Roll"! Though his style of rock is much different than what we consider rock & roll today, he broke down the walls of traditional music & allowed the world to embrace a more up tempo sound.

1. The Beatles - The name is synomonyous with rock music! It's without a doubt, the first name that pops in my head when I hear the term rock & roll. There's no need to try & explain the impact of the Beatles, because whether you're a fan or not, you already know. 

So, there's my take on this thought provoking topic.


Woodstock is a great addition to the conversation!

Will start with a couple and then work my way to three more:

CBGB: A name synonymous with new wave and punk back in the 70's. For such a small club, the bands that played or got their start there is truly amazing.  The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, B-52's, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Television and many, many more. Doesn't make a difference if you like that type of music, you still probably know the name.    

Bill Graham: Greatest concert promoter of all time, period. Plus he was in "Apocalypse Now" which is aces in my book. 


Dave Davies: Without that beginning riff on "You Really Got Me", how heavy would rock have become? Just by cutting the speaker on his amp, he introduced the world to the distorted geetar.

Radio: I know it's not a name, but toss in everyone who had a hand in the invention of radio. Before cassettes and 8-tracks, that's what folks listed to while cruising. And how many hours did you lay in bed listening to the radio when you were a kid, be it AM or FM?

MTV: Hate 'em now, but look what they did back in the 80's and how they introduced the world to artists that probably would never have got and airplay on the radio. For a few years, MTV was THE place to be. Then it turned to crap (kinda like radio).

5. Woodstock

4. Floyd Rose

3. Elvis

2, Jimi Hendrix

1. Les Paul


Now it appears, I've got some s'plaining to do.

Woodstock - a four day concert that was one of the most pivotal moments in rock history. Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Greatful Dead,  & Crosby, Stills ,Nash & Young, to name a few.

Floyd Rose - The inventor of the locking tremelo. It allowed guitars to stay in tune, even after extreme changes in pitch. It became popular in the 80's by guitarist like, Eddie Van Halen, Neal Schon, Stevie Vai, Joe Satriani & Brad Gillis.

Elvis - "The King"! Even after he's left the building, he's still making an impact.

Jimi Hendrix - The most influential guitar player of all time!!!

Les Paul - The most popular electric guitar in rock & roll history.

Troy, I love your inclusion of Floyd Rose!

An awesome design, his locking tremelo system. I have it on 3 of my 4 guitars, and the tuning stability, even while "dive bombing" and using harmonics, is outstanding.

By the way, he was also in a band called "Q5" back in the 80's. I have two of their releases (possibly the only ones) on cassette. Some pretty good music, I thought.

My oldest guitar is a 1983 Kramer Pacer Imperial. Kramer, because of their deal with Floyd Rose, at least for part of the 80's, was outselling even Gibson and Fender guitars. And Kramer had an impressive array of endorsers...Paul Dean of Loverboy, Jeff Labar of Cinderella, Vivian Campbell of (then) Dio, the bands Helix and Queensryche, Mick Mars of Motley Crue...and the most important endorser...Eddie Van Halen!!

Everyone has had some great lists here!


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