Introduction: Help Wanted: New super groups needed to help fill arenas. Billy Parker explores the lack of new blood on the arena concert scene.
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Article by: Billy Parker
In September of 1981 over 90,000 fans flocked to RFK stadium in Philadelphia to see the Rolling Stones. Flushed from the chart topping "Start me up." Mick, Keith and the boys embarked on the "TattooYou" tour. Now, over twenty years later what was the highest grossing tour of 2003? Rolling Stones Forty Licks. Other groups on the 2003 list included, Aerosmith & Kiss, Bruce Springsteen and the E street band, and The Eagles. As usual, such events are generally in conjunction with Billboard.
What's wrong with this picture? This is practically a supergroup list verbatim from 30 years ago. Where are the new boys?
Rock premier Supergroup. Rock music industry is seeking long vacant position. Young, enthusiastic, can work outside of the music box. Qualifications--Consistent multi-platinum record sales. Ability to produce concert ticket scarcity parallel with flu shots. Openings--Five, maybe six. Starting salary--Name it. Benefits--Own record label. Complete control of touring schedule. Nickname for Boeing 727. Vacation time--up to 52 weeks a year. Oh and by the way, to qualify, each band member must be less than fifty years old.
The search is on. Where to find such a recent musical group? Highest grossing tours? Bruce, Mick, The Dead. Best selling artists of all time? Nobody home. A diamond award (album with ten million copies sold) is a sure sign of a SuperGroup. Hootie and the something or others.
Simply put, name a rock band that first appeared in the last ten to fifteen years that is without question one of the best of all time? A band that is a no-brainer for rock's top ten greatest lists. Hell, the top twenty, just one?
I'm not talking about whose presently king of the hill. A hot band getting their magazine covers time. By default someone is always number one on the chart.
I'm talking about being a true God of rock. They live somewhere in the clouds. Beaming down to earth every few years with a zillion selling album and tour to reclaim their throne. Their ocean of die-hard fans engulfing everything within purchase.
History is full of high Quality A list bands, from Foreigner to Motley Crue to the Black Crowes to Creed. Sure, they get all the hottest babes and the greatest party favors. Maybe they can't spell Porsche, but when paying cash for it, who cares. They still know how to wreck one. Someday they'll walk away from it all, retire and wait for Behind the Music to call. Point is they'll never make the Legends segment.
Maybe history is repeating itself. Who do you immediately think of when classical music is mentioned? Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, the masters of centuries ago. What about Big Band? Then it's Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and Harry James. Big band and classical music are still being made today. But those artists will never be mentioned with the best of all time. Rock music could be past it's origin prime.
So who are the greatest Rock groups of all time? I'll leave out the solo artists. Although, Elton would be on most anyone's top ten. Elvis, for all time Rock & Roll. But this is about groups. Hence, Bruce Springsteen, for this list, will be considered solo.
First my Criteria. Each of the following groups are strong in all categories.
Stand the test of time. In all art forms, the greatest are discovered over and over again by new generations. From Ernest Hemingway to I Love Lucy, each find new fans as the years go by. Yes, somebody may have come along in music in the last few years whose massive popularity is yet to be measured. But this article is about rock groups, not country, solo, or hip-hop.
Make a musical contribution. The New Kids on the Block sold millions of records. There is a difference between being idolized and being an influence.
The respect of the hard core rock fan. The Partridge family was one of the biggest selling acts of the early seventies. Enough said.
Commercial success. History is full of great bands that were light-years ahead of the pack. Innovative, groundbreaking group pumped with superb musicians. There is only one teensy drawback. They didn't sell any f*^#*g records!
Here's my acid test to separate the best from the absolute Godz.
Where do you stand without your biggest success? The greatest of all time have several major accomplishments. Take away Sergeant Peppers and the Beatles still have, The White album, Abby Road, etc. Remove Rumours and Fleetwood Mac becomes a A list band.
B.P's top ten--
1. The Beatles
2. Rolling Stones
3. Led Zeppelin
4. Pink Floyd
5. The Who
7. The Eagles
10. The Grateful Dead
Researching this type of list proved how subjective this can be. Everyone's got other ideas. Add on Queen, Kiss, Van Halen, Metallica, and so on, fine. The question is where is the present day monster group?
This is my list for 2004. For 1999, for 1994, for 1989...........What's yours??
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