Re: The 5 greatest bands of all?
posted at 1/16/2013 3:16 PM EST
If you think this is bad / difficult, try looking at the process for classical music. It's very comical to see people breakdown by era, because an entire century would be meaningless. :)
Otherwise, you see lists of the "greatest composers of all time" and they are amazingly and resoundingly similar, based on centuries of musical composition, not just decades, as we have in rock.
No matter what list you look at, no matter how it breaks down, and no matter who creates it, Beethoven will be at the top of the list 99% of the time. Bach will almost always be in the top 5 as well, if not the top two. It's crazy, with all of the composers to choose from, but these are steadfast rules of thumb. Bach is considered the greatest Baroque composer, but also, one of the greatest of all time. It happens.
After that, you'll see lists play around with the same 10 or 12 names in different positions, and after that, a smattering of names from all over the spectrum.
I don't think it's far-fetched, based on a standardized set of principles, to continue to see the Beatles at the top of the heap, on every list you find, as they are the modern, rock counterpart phenom of Beethoven. Or the Rolling Stones. Or Led Zeppelin.
But it's astonishing how the breakdown begins to vary after that. Some would put the Grateful Dead in the top 5. I've seen the Smiths in the top 10, and U2, as well.
We live in an age where critical insight and historical context get muddied up with opinion and personal taste. I'm guilty of this myself, who isn't? But you either take this seriously enough to read up on these bands, to see what the critical justification is for their ranking, or you do it according to personal taste and opinion. They're both valid, as long as you acknowledge where you're coming from
Not sure this what you're looking for -- but it's my take.