Friday, January 13, 2012

The Best Of Everything (part one)

some best-of lists, for my obsessive/compulsive brothers & sisters; some parameters so everybody knows where I’m coming from in this Growing Old With Rock & Roll game…..
The Best Of Everything

Top Five English Rock & Roll Bands

1) The Rolling Stones
2) The Who
3) The Kinks
4) Mott The Hoople
5) The Beatles

honorable mentions; The Clash, The Yardbirds, Fairport Convention

Top Five American Rock & Roll Bands

1) The Velvet Underground
2) Buffalo Springfield
3) The MC5
4) The New York Dolls
5) The Lovin’ Spoonful

honorable mentions; The Dictators, The Stooges (original band w/ Ron Asheton on guitar),
The Modern Lovers, Aerosmith (in the 1970’s only)

Top Five Singer-Songwriters Backed By Killer Rock & Roll Bands

1) Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
2) Elvis Costello & The Attractions
3) Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
4) The Patti Smith Group
5) David Bowie & The Spiders From Mars

honorable mentions; The Jim Carroll Band, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions

Top Five Singer-Songwriters

1) Elliott Murphy
2) Lou Reed
3) Bob Dylan
4) Neil Young
5) Richard Thompson

honorable mentions; Leonard Cohen, Steve Earle, Dave Alvin,
Lucinda Williams, Alejandro Escovedo, Hamell On Trial

Top Five Individuals Without Whom Rock & Roll Would Not Exist

1) Chuck Berry
2) Buddy Holly
3) Elvis Presley (there you go, cousin Catherine)
4) Little Richard
5) Jerry Lee Lewis

honorable mentions; Alan Freed, Johnny Cash, Leo Fender

Top Five Wastes Of Talent In All Of Rock & Roll

1) Elvis Presley (sorry, cousin Catherine)
2) Brian Wilson
3) Rod Stewart
4) Syd Barrett
5) Alex Chilton

Top Ten Albums Of All Time

1) Aquashow / Elliott Murphy
2) Who’s Next / The Who
3) A two-record set Velvet Underground import from Germany I bought used for $3 in 1973
4) Kick Out The Jams / The MC5
5) Get Your Ya Ya’s Out / The Rolling Stones
6) The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle / Bruce Springsteen
7) The New York Dolls (self-titled first album)
8) Catholic Boy / The Jim Carroll Band
9) This Year’s Model / Elvis Costello & The Attractions
10) The Modern Lovers (self-titled first album)

Top Ten Live Shows Of All Time

1) The Who / Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, Columbus, Ohio / Nov. 1st, 1969
2) Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band / Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, Columbus, Ohio / Sept. 5th, 1978
3) Romantic Noise / Columbus Riverfront Amphitheater / May, 1978
4) Bob Dylan & the Hawks / Veteran's Memorial Auditorium, Columbus, Ohio / Nov. 19th, 1965
5) Mott The Hoople, Robin Trower, and Aerosmith (bottom-billed!) / Mershon Auditorium, Columbus, Ohio / Oct. 19th, 1973
6) Brownsville Station / Valley Dale Ballroom, Columbus, Ohio / Summer, 1970
7) Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Rockpile and Mink Deville / Wilson Audoritorium, Cincinnati, Ohio / May 17th, 1978
8) T-Bone Burnett (solo, opening for Elvis Costello) / Ann Arbor, Michigan / Easter Sunday, 1984
9) Blue Oyster Cult / Ohio Theater, Columbus, Ohio / June 3rd, 1975
10) Watershed / The Basement (opening night), Columbus, Ohio / Feb. 5th, 2005

author’s note: Admittedly this was my toughest category to pick. Some of you are going to say, "Ricki, you saw The Doors in 1968, you saw Jimi Hendrix TWICE, in ’68 & ’70, you saw Cream and Janis Joplin, and now you’re going to try and tell us Brownsville Station and Watershed were BETTER than them?" Well yeah, I guess I am. The Doors and Hendrix shows at Vet’s Memorial probably do belong on this list, but The Doors and Hendrix have become so legendary to succeeding rock generations that I now can’t separate the myth, legend & hype from the shows I witnessed. The Who, on quite the other hand, just a year later were so monstrously amazing & rocking that I remember every ear-splitting moment of the show. (I couldn’t hear anything clearly for three days after that show.  I essentially went through three days of high school like a deaf mute boy out of Tommy. Maybe that’s what Pete & Keith were going for.) And while we’re on the subject of 60’s acts; Janis Joplin was kinda weepy & weak, rock-wise, and Cream BLEW the Sunday night I saw them. I resent Eric Clapton to this day, find him hopelessly overvalued as a rock guitarist after their non-performance that night in ’68. Even as a child I KNEW they just wanted their show in little Columbus, Ohio to be over with so they could go on to a big city.  Fuck Eric Clapton.

Also, I limited each act to only one entry, otherwise something like seven of the top ten 
slots would have been filled by The Who, Bruce Springsteen and Brownsville Station.

Top Five Celtic Rock & Roll Bands Of All Time

1) The Pogues
2) The Pogues
3) The Pogues
4) Shane MacGowan & The Popes
5) The Pogues

author’s note; Chris Clinton, I might need some help with this category.
additional author’s note; Can someone please explain to me what in the name of Cuchulainn The Pogues’ "If I Should Fall From Grace With God" has to do with hockey moms and Subaru SUV’s?  I fully realize that quality dental work is expensive these days, but come on, Shane, Subaru?

Top Five Twenty-First Century Rock & Roll Bands

1) The Strokes
2) The White Stripes
3) Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
4) The Avett Brothers
5) Green Day

Five Bands That Started Out Great And Ended up Horrible

1) Pink Floyd
2) Eagles
3) REM
4) Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
5) Wilco

Top Five Authors

1) F. Scott Fitzgerald
2) John Steinbeck
3) Kurt Vonnegut
4) Joan Didion
5) Larry McMurtry

Top Ten Movies

1) Tender Mercies
2) Taxi Driver
3) To Kill A Mockingbird
4) Night Shift
5) Caddyshack
6) Nashville
7) The Godfather part 2
8) Used Cars
9) Pulp Fiction
10) True Confessions

honorable mentions; all Woody Allen movies before 1980, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Children Of Men, Lost In Translation, Superbad

author’s note; Kyle and Debbie, you might wanna e-mail me a list of movies I’ve forgotten, this list doesn’t look right even to me, and I compiled it.


  1. I must commend you for being my "rock historian" friend - you've turned me on to Mott, Neighborhoods, MC5, NY Dolls, Modern Lovers and others.

    You should have a top ten: Movies about rock 'n roll, documentaries about bands, concert films. And some more background about Elliot Murphy.

  2. Doesn't Dar Williams at least warrant an Honorable Mention in the Singer-Songwriter category?

  3. Hi Ricki,

    Surprised to not see Zeppelin in the English band category, not even an honorable mention? I'm curious, what are your thoughts on Zep?



  4. Hmmmmmm, Led Zeppelin. Sorry to say, but I find Led Zeppelin falling into my "Five Most Overrated Bands Ever" category. Even I'm not sure that's fair, but I just loved The Who so much in that period I found Zep overpraised and really kinda pretentious. (Plus growing up on the West Side of Columbus, Ohio, and trying to play original rock & roll in that locale/milieu in the 1970's there were just so many shouts of "PLAY SOME ZEP, MANNNNN!" coming from the audience, it was bound to sour my opinion.)

    That being said, awhile back I had a request from my brother-in-law in Jersey for a two-CD Zeppelin compilation (my day job is in a used-record store)and after I made his I boiled it down at a single disc for me. Nothing later than '73, though, I think that's when they went off the rails for me.

  5. top ten live shows, the who, columbus ohio nov.11, 1969. I played in a band called Silk, Michael (Gee) Stanley was our bass player. managed by the Belkins. They had us opening for the who and other groups that year. I am trying to find out when we opened for the Who, I think it was this concertt, one in Athens and Syracuse. Thanks courtney

  6. Courtney - Not sure if you played this show. The only Ohio band I remember being on the bill was The Grayps, a pretty great Columbus band of the time. (Oddly, the next year, 1970, when I was a senior in high school, Grayps bass player Don Ketteler became my American history student teacher at Bishop Ready High School. Even more oddly, in 1990 he managed my good friends in Watershed when they signed to Epic Records and Sony Music.)