Alroy's Top 10 And 20 Lists
Okay, so you've heard all these guys a million times, you're sick of the 60s, and you'd rather bang your head to the latest "alternative" rock (= semi-incompetent by-the-numbers corporate retro drivel that's as much of an "alternative" as Burger King vs. Macdonald's). But here's a bunch of my Top 20 and Top 10 lists anyway. No, I am not a Dylan fan, I don't know a nearly enough about Motown, and I think the infamous San Francisco scene just sucked (so sue me).
If you're looking for a short-cut to the most highly rated records on the site, try our Five-Star Records page.
My Top Whatever lists are organized into the following categories:
10 Favorite 60s Rock Records
I list the records in chronological order; those who care about such things will want to see our 60s timeline, roots of 60s rock, and/or 60s rock overview pages; and budding numerologists should consult our semi-statistical ranking of 60s acts. Each artist is allowed no more than one entry (otherwise the list would consist almost entirely of Beatles records). The list includes a few early 70s records, but they're all by major 60s artists.
The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds (1966)
Jimi Hendrix, Electric Ladyland (1968)
The Kinks, Village Green Preservation Society (1968)
Crosby, Stills and Nash, Crosby, Stills and Nash (1969)
The Band (1969)
The Beatles, Abbey Road (1969)
The Velvet Underground, Loaded (1970)
Derek and the Dominos, Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)
The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers (1971)
The Who, Who's Next (1971)
10 Favorite 70s Rock Records
Many of these acts got started in the 60s, but the discs are quintessentially 70s. (JA)
Elton John (1970)
Carole King, Tapestry (1971)
Todd Rundgren, A Wizard, A True Star (1973)
Stevie Wonder, Innervisions (1973)
Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark (1974)
Davie Bowie, Hunky Dory (1974)
Jeff Beck, Wired (1976)
Television, Marquee Moon (1977)
Elvis Costello, This Year's Model (1978)
The Jam, All Mod Cons (1978)
10 Favorite Post-70s Rock Records
Everything else. Also in chronological order and also based strictly on date of release, regardless of whether the artist has earlier roots. I consider this list far weaker than the previous ones; the 90s were particularly miserable, with none of the new acts really grabbing me other than Radiohead and the Posies. But I've left a spot open because I'm still trying to catch up with this period after really going overboard with the 60s and 70s. (JA)
King Crimson, Discipline (1980)
Midnight Oil, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (1983)
U2, War (1983)
REM, Lifes Rich Pageant (1986) (or Murmur or Reckoning)
XTC, Skylarking (1986)
Adrian Belew, Inner Revolution (1992)
Richard Thompson, Mirror Blue (1994)
Radiohead, either The Bends (1995) or OK Computer (1997)
The Posies, Amazing Disgrace (1996)
10 Favorite Composers
Just the music; they could be singing in Swahili for all I care.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
10 Favorite Lyricists
Just the words; dumb chord progressions don't cost points, but routine unintelligibility does (that explains why Kristin Hersh, Curt Kirkwood, and the Posies won't make this list).
Numerous runner-ups including Adrian Belew, Jim Ellison, Robyn Hitchcock, Jonathan Richman, Paul Weller, and (collectively) Midnight Oil.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Jim Morrison (really, I'm serious)
10 Favorite Singers
Not just raw talent, but in most cases an ear for harmony arrangement as well.
I could go on forever with runner-ups, especially Motown stars like Marvin Gaye and Eddie Kendricks, gorgeous pure singers like Philip Bailey and Thom Yorke, quirky stylists like Peter Garrett and Michael Stipe, and guys like Adrian Belew and Todd Rundgren I just hype too much in general.
10 Favorite Guitarists
I thought about separate lead and rhythm categories, but artists like Hendrix show how artificial that distinction really is. Many also-rans in this category, including Duane Allman, Adrian Belew, the Edge, Jerry Garcia, Warren Haynes, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Howe, Jorma Kaukonen, Curt Kirkwood, Richard Lloyd, John McLaughlin, Jim Messina, Andy Partridge, Vernon Reid, Carlos Santana, Neil Young, and Frank Zappa.
10 Favorite Bass Players
Lots of points for ego, but the top players are all solid rhythmically. Plenty of also-rans again: Bruce Foxton, John Paul Jones, Andy Metcalfe, Jaco Pastorius, Chris Squire, Bruce Thomas.
Stevie Wonder (played bass lines on keyboards)
10 Favorite Keyboard Players
This was hard for me to fill out because I'm a guitar/bass player.
10 Favorite Drummers
Each of these guys (and gals) has a very distinct sound that makes you sit up and notice.
Ringo Starr (Beatle loyalty strikes again)
10 Favorite Multi-Instrumentalists
Just for fun. Eclecticism and ability to convincingly pull off the one-man-band thing are the key factors in the ranking.
Stevie Wonder (keyboards, drums, bass, harmonica)
Paul McCartney (bass, keyboards, guitar, drums, etc.)
Adrian Belew (guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, electronic mania)
Todd Rundgren (guitar, keyboards, sax, bass, drums)
Steve Stills (guitar, bass, keyboards, drums)
Steve Winwood (keyboards, guitar, bass)
Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica, sitar, you name it)
Pete Townshend (guitar, keyboards, bass, drums)
Frank Zappa (guitar, orchestra, kazoo)
David Bowie (sax, guitar, whatever)
10 Most Overrated Acts
Gotta have some real flame-bait in here somewhere. Acts I've listened to really, really hard and still can't figure out.
The Grateful Dead
||the sine qua non of overratedness|
||bad taste meets flawless professionalism|
||Wilson thinks even less of them - at least I dig Jimmy Page|
||the worst of the L.A. singer-songwriters, bar none|
||the most overrated prog rock band, bar none|
||another act that sounds less and less interesting the older you get|
|The Talking Heads
||good, but not that good|
||I have about ten of his records and can't bring myself to review any of them|
||I like him, but he's still overrated|