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40 greatest US bands still performing

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 19, 2003

40 greatest US bands still performing. If this list is accurate at all, the US music scene is pretty sad

Reader comments

JoergNov 19, 2003 at 11:25AM

Not that bad … there’s Interpol, DJ Shadow, Calexico, Will Oldham, Tom Waits, Lambchop, The White Stripes … and Dolly Parton!! Is that a joke? I can’t really imagine people walking around in their iPods grooving to Dolly Parton. But hey … I haven’t been to America in a while.

RyanNov 19, 2003 at 11:46AM

Agreed, Not that bad. but beyonce in the top ten? and the must really believe Jay-Z has retired to leave him off, speaking of which… Where’s Pearl Jam?! I know it’s not cool to like them anymore but they are the #1 live band in the world right now. to leave them off is crazy stupid.

sparkyNov 19, 2003 at 11:55AM

Yeah, not bad… definitely interesting mix. I don’t know if alot of people would agree with their choices, but that’s the nature of these “best things ever” lists. Every time I see some magazine claiming the authority to tell you who the greatest people are I wince.
Of course, there are good and bad ways to present it. A typical bad example is the “100 best guitarists” issue that Rolling Stone came out with a few months back. Absolute garbage! And I’m not saying that because I disagree with some of the people they put on the list or the order in which the list was presented. It was completely banal. The usual suspects were there (of course) and you already know that Hendrix is going to be the number one guy (he always is). With the “real” guitarists they littered a bunch of pop references and flash-in-the-pan musicians so as not to alienate their core mainstream readers (Jack White broke the top 20 fer chrissakes). Shake well, and you’ve got a list of people who are always there and a list of people you can’t avoid these days. Uninteresting.
I like what they did with this “40 greatest US bands” list. Don’t know many popular rags these days that would put the Flaming Lips and Outkast at number 1 and 2. That’s cool.
(sorry for the long post)

mike mNov 19, 2003 at 12:54PM

Information Leafblower just compiled a list in response to this list from The Guardian. It’s compiled by several weblog writers and I have to agree with them a bit more than what The Guardian thought. It’s definitely worth check out -> http://informationleafblower.typepad.com/blog/2003/11/the_top_40_band.html

tj hookerNov 19, 2003 at 1:17PM

Well, it wasn’t that bad on the first page, you’re like, “yeah, Wilco and Le Tigre, they’re still together!” But then when you see Justin and Beyonce and bla bla bla, you realize that this pop music era resembles most others: there’s cream, and a lot of other stuff that’s popular right now. That was true in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. There are peaks in the landscape, but they are exceptions; what occurs most frequently is throwawy junk, which makes pop music both wonderful and frustrating. The the Bilboard chart for 1966, the year that Revolver came out, speaks volumes. Number one? “The Ballad of the Green Berets.”

RaphyNov 19, 2003 at 1:44PM

Don’t you dare knock Dolly Parton. She’s a legend and will be remembered long after 95% of the others on that list.

BKNov 19, 2003 at 2:05PM

This list isn’t so bad. The top 15 is a little questionable… but lists like these are never accurate anyway; they just get people talking.

And I’m with Raphy (this time, heh heh) — Dolly Parton is great, although if she made this list, by all rights Willie Nelson should be there too.

EmilyNov 19, 2003 at 2:17PM

Jay-Z got his shoutout as Beyonce’s boyfriend, sadly. But way to go, Magnetic Fields!

BobbyNov 19, 2003 at 4:34PM

Toplists, toplists
As far as the eye can see!
Oh my,
Isn’t it masturbatory?

Gustav HolmbergNov 19, 2003 at 6:49PM

Felix da Housecat did a good album. Otherwise, who are these people and what are they doing on a top-40 list??

ChoireNov 19, 2003 at 8:36PM

The most exciting inclusion on this list is the inappropriately obscure Calexico. I just saw them play in New York, and it was one of the most impressive displays of musicianship I’ve seen maybe ever. Truly a brilliant band live.

Elba VossNov 20, 2003 at 1:28PM

Kings of Leon, eh? I don’t trust the PR machine.
Enough rawk already.
I vote for the criminally-ignored Call & Response.

DanNov 24, 2003 at 1:35PM

I’m sorry. Queens of the Stone Age have more attitude than Iggy Pop?

Impossible. Compare pictures. [Iggy vs. QOTSA]

Finn Judy Jan 26, 2004 at 11:01AM

Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to count up past mercies.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

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