My Favorite Bands, Artists, Composers, and Musicians

Posted on 01 March 2010

Here’s the first in my “Historical Perspective” series. This was originally posted on September 26th, 2003.

Kenny came at me the other day with a list of his Top 105 Favorite Rock bands/musicians. Neither my personal experience, nor my CD collection, can even attempt to rival Kenny’s — a man who has a twenty year head start and a 4000+ CD collection to show for it. Humbly, I put together my list basing it on my (significantly smaller) CD collection.

The main thing about this list is that I tried not to choose an artist or group based upon the opinions of “everyone else” — this list is a reflection of my personal musical tastes and purchasing habits. Once I’d assembled the list, the main criteria I used for ranking was not based solely on personal preference but also on the number of albums I own for each artist or band. Based solely on the number of CDs, for example, Phish would automatically come out on top but I have a tendency to reach for a Pink Floyd album more often than a Phish album — although Phish wins out when I’m wanting to listen to single songs and not full albums. Of course, the position of a band or musician on this list is subject change based upon how I’m feeling at the moment. The rankings of my Top 5 are fairly static but they are currently in a slow transition as the RHCP have been slowly slipping downward, falling from #1 to #5 since “Blood Sugar Sex Magic”. On the other hand, Robert Randolph has been making a steady climb upwards and Ben Harper is poised to move into the Top 5 if the Chili Peppers maintain their current trend towards Aerosmith-ism.

  1. Pink Floyd
  2. Phish
  3. Jimmy Smith
  4. Morcheeba
  5. Red Hot Chili Peppers
  6. Ben Harper
  7. Syd Barret
  8. Grateful Dead
  9. Dixie Chicks
  10. Stereolab
  11. Marilyn Manson
  12. Guns ‘n Roses
  13. Led Zeppelin
  14. Rammstein
  15. Miles Davis
  16. John Coltrane
  17. Lenny Kravitz
  18. Robert Randolph
  19. Super Furry Animals
  20. Beatles
  21. Bob Dylan
  22. Jane’s Addiction
  23. Allman Brothers
  24. U2
  25. James Brown
  26. Jamiroquai
  27. Maxwell
  28. Beastie Boys
  29. Tom Petty
  30. Old 97’s
  31. Frank Zappa
  32. George Harrison
  33. The Who
  34. Pearl Jam/Nirvana*
  35. Bruce Springsteen
  36. Cypress Hill
  37. Garth Brooks
  38. Simon & Garfunkel
  39. Brooks & Dunn
  40. Tangerine Dream
  41. Ween
  42. The Doors
  43. The Rolling Stones
  44. James Taylor
  45. The Clash
  46. Sex Pistols
  47. Nerve Circus**
  48. School of Fish
  49. Rusted Root
  50. Stan Ridgeway

Putting this list together got me thinking about my favorite songs and I may put together that list sometime in the near future. I didn’t include any (personal) one-hit wonders in this list and, if I put together a Favorite Song List, there would be some overlap but there would also be numerous differences. It’s a little difficult to have a “favorite” Tangerine Dream song, for example, just as it’s tough for me to say that the Eagles are a favorite band even though I own their Greatest Hits album.

* Pearl Jam/Nirvana: lump them both together because I never really got caught up in the whole Seattle grunge thing. While everyone else was wearing flannel and idolizing Kurt, I was listening to RHCP, Clash, Sex Pistols, Stan Ridgeway, and Nine Inch Nails.

** Nerve Circus: a local Rochester band that is now “defunct”. During High School, there was a group of us who were die-hard Nerve Circus fans, going to see every concert we could. The fact that they’re gone doesn’t mean I love their music any less, though.

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