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Best/most important American rock band

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Gator, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Chewing over the thread for a few days, I think I'd have to say the answer to the thread-premise question is R.E.M.

    They started out as an alternative-cutting edge group, they influenced an entire generation of next-wave bands like Nirvana and PJ, they had a decade-long run as an arena-rock mass-audience megagroup, then after Berry's departure, they entered the "epilogue" era of their career, putting out intermittent but still occasionally interesting music.

    Most of the other contenders crashed hard, crashed early or never attained the massive level of success needed to stand in this discussion. Or, when they lost their fastball, devolved into parody and disgrace (see The Beach Boys and Jefferson Airplane/Starship/Warpship etc etc etc).
  2. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure I wouldn't vote for REM, but I have reservations.

    Those five albums post-Bill Berry are awful. That's fully one-third of their career. (Put it this way -- I have an 35 song REM playlist I put together on Spotify and a grand total of three songs come from those last five albums.)

    "Monster" and "New Adventures in Hi Fi" aren't great, either. So that's virtually the entire second half of their career.

    On the flip side... if they broke up after "Automatic for The People" I'd argue without hesitation that they were the greatest American rock band, so it feels kind of silly to ding them for failing to pull the plug at the top. Those first eight albums are brilliant, and "Automatic For the People" is on my short list of greatest albums by any American band.
  3. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    Van Halen is half Dutch. We're screwed.
  4. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    I was admittedly young at the time, but Eric Clapton was hardly irrelevant in the late 70s. Had a nice run with "Lay Down Sally," "Wonderful Tonight" and "Promises."
  5. Scout

    Scout Well-Known Member

    You might not like their politics or the tackiness of somevof their songs, but the last seven minutes of this live version are as perfect as music can possibly be.
    Slacker likes this.
  6. Captain_Kirk

    Captain_Kirk Well-Known Member

    With all due respect, and I do respect your musical takes to the nth degree, I thought "Monster" was pretty good. '...Kenneth', 'Bang and Blame', 'Crush with Eyeliner', 'Star 69' are all tunes I still can enjoy to this day.

    The 3 album back to back of "Life's Rich Pageant, "Document" and "Green" for me can match any three album run of any rock and roll band; add in "Out of Time", Automatic", and "Monster" and you have close to a decade of very strong musical offerings I would say few can match. And that's not even including their first 3 albums.

    After that, I would agree the candle flickered. But take those albums one through nine; wow, there's not many that match up in my view.
    PCLoadLetter likes this.
  7. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    I don't hate "Monster." I like the four songs you mentioned. I just don't think it really holds up next to their better stuff.

    I think their best three album run may be Reckoning-Fables-Life's Rich Pageant, although I think their single best is "Automatic For The People."

    I struggle with "Green." Some good stuff but it also includes "Stand," which is their absolute nadir.
  8. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

    Are The Talking Heads not American? Greatness
  9. Chef2

    Chef2 Well-Known Member

    They are American.
    Not greatness.
  10. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    They're an omission from my earlier list, but they don't make the semifinal cut.
  11. Scout

    Scout Well-Known Member


    Two great uses in modern pop culture. The songs are timeless.

  12. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    I have no great affinity for REM, but my god, “What’s the Frequency Kenneth?” is a top-20 song for me of all time. It’s a song that never quite gets old.
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