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  1. #71

    61. TRAFFIC

    Major Era: 1967-1974

    Main Labels: Island, United Artists

    Best Albums: Traffic, The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, Mr. Fantasy, John Barleycorn Must Die

    Best Songs: Crying To Be Heard, John Barleycorn Must Die, Dear Mr. Fantasy, The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

    One of the bands in the forefront of what would be known as jazz rock, Traffic began as a psychedelic band in Birmingham England in 1967 with members Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood, and lead singer and keyboardist Steve Winwood, formerly of the Spencer Davis Group. After scoring big in England with their Mr. Fantasy album, they went back to basics with the jazz tinged self titled album that, like Jethro Tull later, would be accentuated with the flute. Dave Mason would leave the band before John Barleycorn Must Die and various line up changes would occur from 1970 on though the other three original members stayed on. They were still able to release the well received Low Spark of High Heeled Boys in 1971. Winwood would leave the band for good in 1974 and the band would subsequently split up. Still, they remain one of the most influential jazz-rock bands ever.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? It isnít so much about the jazz influences that get me into this band. As usual, I tend to be attracted by melodies but I also like the gentleness that comes with some of their songs, even the not so pleasant ones like John Barleycorn which is very traditional folk actually. This was a band that suffered quite a bit of acrimony, especially where Dave Mason was concerned, but it didnít take away from the quality of their music and of their second album in particular. Steve Winwood, while successful as a solo artist, would never come close to the quality he had with Traffic and Blind Faith doesnít hold up against them either.

    Links to songs:

    Paper Sun
    Feelin Alright
    Forty Thousand Headmen
    John Barleycorn Must Die
    The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

    Traffic on Wiki
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    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

  2. #72


    Major Era: 1956-1986

    Main Labels: King, Smash, Polydor

    Best Albums: Itís a Manís Manís World, James Brown Live at the Apollo, Say It Loud- Iím Black and Iím Proud

    Best Songs: Get Up Iím a Sex Machine, Think, Lost Someone, Itís a Manís Manís World

    The Hardest Working Man in Show Business, James Brown started out as an original member of the Flames. He quickly became the front man as they first had a minor hit with Please, Please, Please in 1956. It wasnít long before it became James Brown and his Famous Flames, though, and he recorded a string of R&B hits in the early sixties. As the decade wore on, he began to reach mainstream audiences with his frantic stage show and hits like Papaís Got a Brand New Bag and I Got You. By the end of the sixties, he became topical and it was a James Brown concert in 1968 that saved Boston from rioting in the wake of Martin Luther Kingís death. Sadly, once staunchly anti-drug, Brown would get caught up in drug addiction by the late eighties and have a couple run-ins with the law, serving time in prison at one point. He remained very popular however and thousands of fans would attend his funeral after his death on Christmas day 2006.

    Why Do I Like This Artist?

    Arguably the most energetic artist on this list, he put on an incredible stage show as I noted on the TAMI show from 1964. Musically, Iím especially partial to his early sixties material as well as some material from the late sixties and 1970. All of my favorite songs from Brown are from the sixties or very early seventies. He emits so much emotion in his songs such as Lost Someone and The Bells. In the late sixties itís his social relevance that gets me such as Say It Loud Iím Black and Iím Proud for example. He put a lot into the black community in his heyday and itís a shame that he got lost somewhere in the mix, but his music will always stand out.

    Links to songs:

    Try Me
    Lost Someone
    Papaís Got a Brand New Bag
    Say It Loud- Iím Black and Iím Proud
    Living in America

    James Brown page
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    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

  3. #73

    59. XTC

    Major Era: 1978-2006

    Main Labels: Virgin, Cooking Vinyl

    Best Albums: Skylarking, Oranges and Lemons, Black Sea

    Best Songs: Dear God, Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead, Earn Enough For Us, Senses Working Overtime

    XTC started out as part of Englandís punk movement in 1977. They had a power pop sound that was reminiscent of bands like the Beatles, the Kinks, and to some extent, the Beach Boys. Led by Andy Partridge, XTC would venture into different realms of music and at times, could get quite topical and controversial such as in Dear God. XTC faded a bit in the early nineties but reemerged with their two Apple Venus albums in 1999 and 2000. They were one of the more popular alternative bands of the eighties and early nineties and certain among the most unique.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? Their unusual sound is what attracts me. There is no band that sounds quite like them. Maybe it has to do with Andy Partridgeís vocals. Maybe itís the bravery in trying new things such as in their alter ego psychedelic band, the Dukes of Stratosphear. But itís ultimately their fearlessness in recording provocative songs such as in Dear God and the Mayor of Simpleton. Their early music sounds sort of like being on a ship in olden times while later material is a bit more topical in nature, certainly more mature. All of this puts these guys among my favorite bands of the eighties.

    Links to songs:

    Making Plans For Nigel
    Generals and Majors
    Dear God
    The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead
    The Man Who Murdered Love

    XTC page
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    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

  4. #74


    Major Era: 1965-1968, 1971

    Main Labels: Dunhill

    Best Albums: If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, The Mamas and the Papas

    Best Songs: California Dreamin, Look Through My Window, Twelve Thirty, Straight Shooter, Got a Feelin

    John Phillips. Dennis Doherty, and Cass Elliott were all part of the Greenwich Village folk scene in the early sixties, Phillips starting out with the Journeymen while Doherty and Elliott were members of the Mugwumps. Phillips founded the Mamas and Papas with his young wife, Michelle, in Los Angeles in 1965. They were known for their harmonies and weíre very popular in 1966 with hits like California Dreamin and Monday Monday. Their light only shined for a brief time as personal squabbles wrecked the band and they broke up in 1968, releasing only the unwarranted People Like Us in 1971. Still, along perhaps with the Lovin Spoonful, they had one of the happiest sounds in the turbulent times that were 1966 and 1967.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? Their song selection more than anything else. Even though only John Phillips played an instrument, the foursome could make harmonies better than just about anybody at the time. Plus, Phillips was a superior songwriter with classics such as California Dreamin and Creeque Alley. He also wrote the Scott McKenzie anthem San Francisco (Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair). In the end, theyíre just really a pleasant band to listen to. Mama Cass Elliott being from my hometown of Baltimore doesnít hurt either

    Links to songs:

    California Dreamin
    Monday Monday
    I Saw Her Again
    Creeque Alley
    Safe in My Garden

    Mamas and the Papas on Wiki
    Last edited by mrmustard615; November 4th, 2019 at 02:50 PM. Reason: forgot to add the ranking
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    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

  5. #75

    57. ROXY MUSIC

    Major Era: 1972-1982

    Main Labels: Island/Atco, Warner Bros.

    Best Albums: Country Life, For Your Pleasure, Avalon

    Best Songs: The Thrill of It All, Out of the Blue, More Than This, Do the Strand

    Possibly the most successful art rock band ever, Roxy Music was formed by Bryan Ferry in 1970 with Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno as well as two others. They came up in the middle of the glam rock movement in 1972 and became very popular in England and Australia. Success eluded them in the US until they scored with the smash hit Love is the Drug in 1975. The band blended all kinds of sounds and weíre one of the influences of the new wave era late in the seventies. Brian Eno left the band in 1973 to start his own solo career which included producing David Bowie for a while. By then Roxy Music was all but Bryan Ferryís band. They released one more acclaimed album, Avalon, in 1982 and are now in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? At their best, they blend in their unique brand of instrumentation such as sax for example and Bryan Ferry seems to portray a rather glamorous persona in their work. Manzanera is one of the premier keyboardists in his field and Eno, though only with Roxy Music a short time, was a major factor in the use of synthesizers, something he would highlight in his own solo work. I sometimes compare them to Bowie circa Diamond Dogs and that certainly isnít a bad thing (see later on in this list- much later).

    Links to songs:

    Do the Strand
    The Thrill Of It All
    Love is the Drug
    Dance Away

    Roxy Music on Wiki
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    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

  6. #76

    56. PJ HARVEY

    Major Era: 1992-present

    Main Labels: Island

    Best Albums: Let England Shake, Dry, Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea, White Chalk

    Best Songs: Let England Shake, Sheela-Na-Gig, When Under Ether, Good Fortune

    PJ Harvey burst onto the alternative scene with Dry in 1992. She basically features a punk rock style with some Velvet Underground like overtones. As the years went on she would take a more mature turn in her music without ever losing the punk edge. She added more instrumentation and began writing more introspective songs such as A Perfect Day Elise. By the 2000ís her music became even more mature and better yet from the punkish Good Fortune in 2000 to When Under Ether in 2007 to Let England Shake in 2011. Her most recent album is the Hope Demolition Project in 2016 though she has a new album coming out late this year.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? Whatís not to like? Sheís one of the best songwriters out there. There is a Patti Smith like quality about her as well. She has the ability to go minimalist while using many instruments. Plus the way she has grown musically from the simple punk of Dress to the more piano based moodiness of When Under Ether. She may very well be the greatest female artist since Patti Smith, or at least she is in my book.

    Links to songs:

    Down By the Water
    Good Fortune
    When Under Ether
    Let England Shake

    PJ Harvey page
    Last edited by mrmustard615; November 6th, 2019 at 02:33 PM. Reason: dyslexic math :(
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    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

  7. #77

    55. NEIL YOUNG

    Major Era: 1968-present

    Main Labels: Reprise, Geffen

    Best Albums: After the Gold Rush, Harvest, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, American Stars and Bars

    Best Songs: Hey Hey My My (Out of the Black), Til the Morning Comes, The Needle and the Damage Done

    Certainly no introduction is necessary for this legend. You probably know the story of Neil Young, having first found success with Buffalo Springfield then with CSNY while maintaining a brilliant solo career. While his most successful albums tend to be either of the country-rock variety or straight out cow punk, Neil Young has also experimented with other forms while angering the record moguls who wanted Neil Young to bring out predictable product. Young can be rather difficult at times, but he is truly one of the rebels of rock.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? There is a certain earthiness to Neil Youngís songs. He is certainly one of the premier songwriters in all of music history as in songs such as the Needle and the Damage Done. It goes without saying there is a brutal honesty to Neil Youngís music. Even when he missteps such as on Everybodyís Rockin where he tries doo wop, you have to respect his desire to try new things even at the expense of his relations with record executives (He especially had issues with Geffen in between his more successful Reprise stints). One of rockís rebels and that is easily his charm. Only the Grateful Dead have a more rabid fan base.

    Links to songs:

    Cinnamon Girl
    After the Gold Rush
    Needle and the Damage Done
    Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)
    Rockin in the Free World

    Neil Young on Wiki
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    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

  8. #78


    Major Era: 1969-present

    Main Labels: Straight, Warner Brothers, MCA

    Best Albums: Killer, Love It To Death, Billion Dollar Babies

    Best Songs: Schoolís Out, Dead Babies, No More Mr. Nice Guy, Eighteen

    Before Marilyn Manson shocked the world, there was Alice Cooper. Born Vincent Furnier in Detroit, Michigan, he formed the band Alice Cooper in 1967. Two years later, the band was recording for Frank Zappaís Straight label before being picked up by Warner Brothers in 1971. This is where the legend took off as Alice Cooper, the artist, began his stage show complete with a boa constrictor. He/They also recorded a series of successful records that included the rock anthem Schoolís Out, still a popular number on the last day of school. The hysteria died down around 1976 and Cooper would occasionally release something that reflected the musical tendencies of the times such as the new wave Clones in 1980. Today, he still does his live act while spreading his own anti-drug messages.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? To be honest, it really has nothing to do with the shock value. The fact is, is that Alice Cooper made at least three really good hard rock albums like , well, the three I mention in my best albums. I didnít include Schoolís Out because, outside of the awesome title track, it doesnít do a lot for me. One thing for sure, Alice Cooper was one of the hottest items in my childhood and he certainly knew how to shock parents. He really wasnít a glam rock star but he certainly fit the mold of one.

    Links to songs:

    Be My Lover
    Schoolís Out
    Billion Dollar Babies

    Alice Cooper on Wiki
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    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

  9. #79

    53. U2

    Major Era: 1980-present

    Main Labels: Island

    Best Albums: The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, War, Boy

    Best Songs: One, I Will Follow, New Years Day, Bullet the Blue Sky

    The most successful band to come out of Ireland, U2 emerged as arguably the most important alternative rock act of the eighties. Always politically motivated, U2 broke into the scene with the aptly titled War album, their third album, but the first to reach true global success. Four years later, they released The Joshua Tree, one of the most successful albums of the eighties. Frontman Bono had been active in various social activities to the point of being accused of being pretentious. The quality of U2 seemed to fade some after Achtung Baby, another well received album. They remain a major force in rock though and can still be politically relevant.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? Lyrically, I like their anti-war stances for the most part, being something of a pacifist myself, but ultimately, itís the music that does it for me. In my mind I see U2 and REM as the Beatles and Stones of the eighties and nineties. U2 is probably closer to the Stones as they seem to refuse to be able to let it go. I am one of those who thinks Bono is pretty pretentious. But their music from Boy in 1980 to Achtung Baby in 1991 is as good as anything out there and they certainly match up with my favorite bands from that period. The guitar work from the Edge isnít all too shabby either.

    Links to songs:

    I Will Follow
    New Years Day
    Pride (In the Name of Love)
    With or Without You

    U2 page
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    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

  10. #80

    52. PAUL MCCARTNEY (and Wings)

    Major Era: 1970-present

    Main Labels: Apple, Columbia, Capitol

    Best Albums: Band on the Run, Ram, Flaming Pie

    Best Songs: Band On the Run, Too Many People, Dear Friend, Waterfalls, Somedays

    Paul McCartney started his solo career rather auspiciously as the person who broke up the Beatles. He suffered a lot of critical backlash in the early seventies and his feud with John Lennon didnít help matters much either. Nevertheless, he was able, with his wife, Linda, to record the now better received Ram in 1971. Soon he and Linda would form Wings with Denny Laine, once of the Moody Blues. McCartney, though Wings, became one of the major players of what was known as the Superstars era. Wings was a large attraction, Band On the Run being their magnum opus, and McCartney would be far and away the most successful of the four ex-Beatles. Wings would split in 1980 leaving McCartney as a solo artist again. He tilted more towards a Middle of the Road style through the eighties and nineties before releasing his best album in nearly twenty-five years in Flaming Pie. Since then, heís been hit and miss but his Egypt Station, released in 2018, proved that at age sevety-six (seventy-seven now), Paul McCartney still has it.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? Well, honestly, heís like that girl with the proverbial curl. When heís good, heís really good and when heís bad, well, he records Silly Love Songs. At his best though he still has that melodic edge that made him such an important part of the Beatles. Heís also the one who seems to remember those days with fondness, or at least with more fondness than Lennon or Harrison. And he does have such standout material as with Ram and Band on the Run, and with tracks like Waterfalls and the heart wrenching Here Today as he sings about his late friend, John Lennon. So maybe I donít listen to McCartney as much as I do Lennon, but that doesnít mean he doesnít belong on my list. Obviously, he does, because heís here, isnít he?

    Links to songs:

    Maybe Iím Amazed
    Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
    Band On the Run
    Coming Up
    The World Tonight

    Paul McCartney page
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    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content


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