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  1. #81


    Major Era: 1954-1977

    Main Labels: Sun, RCA

    Best Albums: Elvis Presley, From Elvis in Memphis, 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Canít Be Wrong

    Best Songs: Little Sister, Heartbreak Hotel, Jailhouse Rock, In the Ghetto

    The first rock n roll phenomenon and probably the artist most important in putting that genre on the map. Most people know the basic story as Elvis got his beginnings recording for Sun Records in Memphis. Sam Phillips would sell his contract to RCA and the rest is history. Elvis was quite controversial in his day as TV cameramen were ordered to shoot from only the waist up so TV audiences wouldnít see his swiveling hips. Elvis mellowed a bit after a stint in the army and starred in a large series of movies, mostly of mediocre quality. He would make a comeback in 1968 and enjoyed a second wind as well as some wildly successful concert tours and Las Vegas shows until his untimely death in 1977. Elvisí death was perhaps the first major rock death to get worldwide coverage as thousands would attend his funeral.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? Well, is the King of Rock n Roll, isnít he? He isnít quite my favorite early rock n roll artist but how can you not put him on the list with hits like Hound Dog and Jailhouse Rock? My favorite Elvis song has to be Little Sister from 1961, an absolute rocker in the middle of more contemporary Elvis hits. Heís also one of the saddest figures on my list as he would only surround himself with yes men and was undeniably lonely at the end of it all. Still, you have to love the early songs.

    Links to songs:

    Thatís All Right Mama
    Heartbreak Hotel
    Jailhouse Rock
    Are You Lonesome Tonight
    Suspicious Minds

    Elvis Presley biography
    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

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

  2. #82


    Major Era: 1962-1976

    Main Labels: Gordy

    Best Albums: Psychedelic Shack, Cloud Nine, All Directions

    Best Songs: Ball of Confusion, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, I Wish It Would Rain, I Canít Get Next To You, I Know Iím Losing You

    One of the most important bands in 1960s Motown, The Temptations were the merging of two local bands in Detroit. They signed with Motown and began recording on the Gordy subsidiary. After two years of limited success, they scored a hit with The Way You Do the Things You Do in 1964 and began a string a hits that lasted well into the seventies. The Classic lineup of the Temptations ended in 1968 when David Ruffin left the group, Eddie Kendricks left in 1971 and Paul Johnson died the same year. 1968-1972 was the politically charged period for the Temptations with hits like Ball of Confusion and Papa Was a Rolling Stone. By the eighties, original members Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin soldiered on with the Temptations as an oldies act. Williams still leads the Temptations to this day though they bore little resemblance to either the classic band (Williams is the only survivor) or the politically relevant band.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? The Temptations, like most Motown artists, didnít have a lot of say in what they could record, but they were given some amazingly good material. There was always a certain spirit in their performances, whether in the classic period with songs like My Girl or a favorite of mine, I Know Iím Losing You. Iím more partial to the funkier, politically charged Temptations of the late sixties and early seventies with songs like Ball of Confusion or Papa Was a Rolling Stone. They could still be gentle with hits like Just My Imagination, probably their other signature song along with My Girl. For a long time they were my favorite soul act of all time and theyíre still up there. I love listening to these guys.

    Links to songs:

    The Way You Do the Things You Do
    My Girl
    I Know Iím Losing You
    Ball of Confusion
    Papa Was a Rolling Stone

    The Temptations page
    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

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

  3. #83


    Major Era: 1992-present

    Main Labels: Columbia, Epic

    Best Albums: This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, Know Your Enemy, Send Away the Tigers, Generation Terrorists

    Best Songs: You Stole the Sun From My Heart, Send Away The Tigers, So Why So Sad, Motorcycle Emptiness, A Design For Life

    Very well known in the Brit Pop circles of nineties Britain, The Manic Street Preachers have all but been ignored in America. Nevertheless, the Preachers have maintained a decent following in England. They started out as a hard rock/metal outfit not unlike Guns n Roses but, after the strange disappearance of Richey Edwards, the Preachers took more of an arena rock approach with songs like If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next and The Everlasting. The Preachers also were quite political with something of a left wing tilt. Their Know Your Enemy album, for example, voices support for the Cuban government for the most part, something very controversial in the Western World indeed. They had their ups and downs on the UK charts but scored high with the metal tinged Send Away the Tigers. The Manic Street Preachers remain together to this day with some mixed critical success.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? Well, first of all, Iím no arena rock fan. When I think of arena rock, I think of someone like Journey, not these guys. And I'm not really a metal head either and yet, itís the Guns n Roses approach to their brand of Brit Pop that I like most about them. I am a Brit Pop fan for the most part liking a lot of Blur (not on my list but close) for example. If Blur and Oasis (not a favorite the arrogantÖ) are Brit Pop with a sixties influence, then the Manic Street Preachers definitely represent the seventies and eighties approach to the genre. And how can you not go head banging with a track like Send Away the Tigers?

    Links to songs:

    Motorcycle Emptiness
    A Design For Life
    You Stole the Sun From My Heart
    So Why So Sad
    Send Away the Tigers

    Manic Street Preachers on the Great Rock Bible
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    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

  4. #84


    Major Era: 1994-2004

    Main Labels: Kill Rock Stars, Dreamworks

    Best Albums: XO, Figure 8, From a Basement on a Hill

    Best Songs: Waltz No 2, Pretty (Ugly Before), Miss Misery, Waltz No 1

    Singer songwriter Elliott Smith stands as one of the saddest figures in rock history. Very popular in the indie scene in the late nineties and early aughts, Smith wrote haunting melodies filled with great sadness. Never a commercial success, he still managed to appear on Saturday Night Live. He also was the major artist in the Good Will Hunting soundtrack, Miss Misery becoming one of his most popular songs. His life ended tragically from an alleged self inflicted knife wound in 2003. The circumstances of his death is questionable but there was no doubt Smith was a very depressed person. But he has left us with a wonderfully melancholy collection of music.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? Very much influenced by the Beatles, Elliott Smith wrote the most melodic songs that tended to be personal in nature. The way his life ended was tragic but one of the things about depression is the creative beauty that sometimes comes with it. Elliott Smith is undoubtedly one of my favorite singer songwriters and certainly one of my favorite artists of the late nineties. Songs like Waltz No. 2 and Pretty Ugly Before really reach out to me and I donít think thereís anything he did that I didnít like. An absolutely great artist whose life ended way too soon.

    Links to songs:
    Needle in the Hay
    Miss Misery
    Waltz #2
    Canít Make a Sound
    Pretty Ugly Before

    Elliott Smith on Wiki
    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

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

  5. #85

    47. YES

    Major Era: 1969-1978, 1983-2004

    Main Labels: Atlantic, Atco

    Best Albums: The Yes Album, Fragile, Close To the Edge

    Best Songs: Your Move (Iíve Seen All Good People), Roundabout, Owner of a Lonely Heart, Wondrous Stories

    One of the great progressive bands of the seventies as well as being one of the most successful, Yes incorporated a unique bass driven sound using classical music structures on many of the records. Their songs tended to be rather long, sometimes dominating an entire side. This led to accusations from critics of being pretentious and overindulgent. After various personnel changes, Yes regrouped with a more contemporary sound in the eighties and scored with Owner of a Lonely Heart. They are still performing today, albeit with even more personnel changes.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? Well, their early seventies material, particularly on the Yes Album, makes Yes one of the most unique bands on this list. Before rot set in about the time of Tales of Topographic Oceans, Yes could weave a tapestry of classical sounding rock using mainly keyboards, bass, drums and guitars. Jon Anderson had one of the great voices in rock. It was smooth, not screechy like Robert Plant could be for example. I canít call myself a true progressive fan though there are some bands that I do like. Yes happens to be one of them because they can create melodies that a lot of progressive bands canít.

    Links to songs:

    Your Move ( I Seen All Good People)
    The Gates of Delirium
    Wondrous Stories
    Owner of a Lonely Heart

    Yes page
    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

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

  6. #86


    Major Era: 1948-1998

    Main Labels: Modern, Vee-Jay, Chess, Atlantic, Bluesway

    Best Albums: It Serves You Right To Suffer, Travelin, Hooker n Heat

    Best Songs: Dimples, Boom Boom, I’m in the Mood, Frisco Blues

    One of the great blues artists, John Lee Hooker first arrived on the scene with Boogie Chillun in 1948. He later would record classic blues tunes such as I’m in the Mood and Dimples. In the early sixties he would score a minor hit with Boom Boom but it would the British Blues boom of the mid sixties that people began to notice blues artists like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker in particular. Hooker was unique as he used boogie type beats in his music. Not really soul as he sang straight blues himself but, musically, it could be soulful in a happy type of way. In his later years Hooker would make many live performances and would play with artists from Canned Heat to the Rolling Stones. A true legend, John Lee Hooker was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? Okay, so let me make this clear. I really like the blues, especially the electric blues from the fifties. I love Muddy Waters (not on this list but close) and Howlin Wolf (at no. 79), but John Lee Hooker is the best of them all. At his best, Hooker can almost swing with tracks like Dimples and Boom Boom and even his slower paced songs like Frisco Blues has a certain oomph to it. Like other blues artists, John Lee Hooker puts a lot of feeling into his songs but for some reason, his songs seem just a little happier than, say, Howlin Wolf. I don’t think anybody would feed John Lee Hooker gasoline

    Links to songs:

    Boogie Chillun
    I’m in the Mood
    Boom Boom
    It Serves You Right To Suffer

    John Lee Hooker page
    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

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

  7. #87


    Major Era: 1963-1969

    Main Labels: Volt

    Best Albums: Otis Blue, The Dictionary of Soul, The Soul Album

    Best Songs: Try a Little Tenderness, Respect, Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa (Sad Song), (Sittin on the) Dock of the Bay

    One of the legendary soul performers of the sixties, Otis Redding arrived at Memphis in 1962 where he was picked up by Stax Records. He scored a major R&B hit with These Arms of Mine in 1963 and would be very popular on those charts. He soon began to reach white audiences as well with songs like Respect and Try a Little Tenderness. Redding wrote many of his songs and he enjoyed backing from Booker T and the MGs and the Memphis Horns. He was arguably one of the two most popular attractions at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and seemed well on his way to stardom. Unfortunately, that was cut short when he and members of the Barkays weíre killed in a plane crash in December 1967. His only number one, (Sittin On the) Dock of the Bay, was released right after his death and cemented his legend. He still is remembered as one of the greatest artists in the history of Soul.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? The fact that he wrote many of his own songs is certainly a selling point and, while Aretha Franklin may have made Respect her anthem of sorts, Otis Redding was the one who wrote it. He also does a raving version of Satisfaction and some people were thinking the Rolling Stones were covering him. For me, yes, his voice and his emotion has a lot to do with it, but the arrangements from the Memphis Horns pretty much seal the deal for me. I like a lot of the Stax artists (Redding recorded for Volt but they were a subsidiary of Stax) but Otis Redding and, to a lesser extent, Booker T and the MGs, stand out for me.

    Links to songs:

    Try a Little Tenderness
    Tramp (with Carla Thomas)
    (Sittin on the) Dock of the Bay

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

  8. #88

    44. NIRVANA

    Major Era: 1989-1995

    Main Labels: Sub Pop

    Best Albums: Nevermind, In Utero, Unplugged Live in New York

    Best Songs: Heart Shaped Box, About a Girl, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam, Come As You Are

    One of the more successful bands of the nineties, Nirvana made a huge impact on the Seattle grunge scene. Kurt Cobain was yet another of those depressed geniuses that seem to be dotting my list. He also emerged as one of the best songwriters of his time. Nirvana took their influences from metal, folk, and what was then known as modern rock and turned it all into a sound of their own. In other words, they invented the grunge sound which basically consisted of hard rhythm guitars and heavy drumming. They were simple musicians, really. Nirvana made the big time with their Nevermind album in 1991 and became something of a phenomenon in modern rock circles. Sometimes controversial, Nirvana would release In Utero featuring songs like Heart Shaped Box (with abortion and religious references in the video) and Rape Me. Cobain suffered not only from depression but heroin abuse and, after a failed suicide attempt in Italy earlier that year, shot himself in April of 1994, leaving an incomplete legacy. Drummer Dave Grohl went on to great success after founding the Foo Fighters while Krist Novoselic went into obscurity. Girlfriend Courtney Love, well, the less said about herÖ

    Why Do I Like This Artist? I donít like the Seattle scene as much as some others might. I should really be into Pearl Jam given their San Francisco type vibe, but they honestly donít do it for me. I do like Soundgarden and some of the Stone Temple Pilots, but it is really Nirvana that stands out for me. They had a knack of making hard grunge sounds sound rather palatable. About a Girl, off Bleach, for example, works great as a heavy pop song with its melodic undertones. And Nirvana wasnít afraid to push the envelope, obviously, especially on In Utero. Sadly, Kurt Cobain couldnít handle the pressures of sudden fame and it ended in tragedy as mentioned above. Still, their three albums basically is enough for me to rank Nirvana where they are. And their impact on the rock scene in the nineties is immeasurable.

    Links to songs:

    About a Girl
    Smells Like Teen Spirit
    Come As You Are
    Heart Shaped Box
    The Man Who Sold the World

    Nirvana on Wiki
    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

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

  9. #89

    43. THE PIXIES

    Major Era: 1987-1992, 2004-present

    Main Labels: 4AD,

    Best Albums: Doolittle, Bossanova, Surfer Rosa

    Best Songs: Velouria, Here Comes Your Man, Where Is My Mind, Monkey Gone To Heaven

    Out of Boston, The Pixies arrived on the alternative scene in the late eighties. Led by Black Francis, or Frank Black if you will, The Pixies were known for their unusual chord changes and the bouncing off vocals of Francis and Kim Deal, who had her own influence in the band. Though never big in top forty radio, the Pixies recorded a string of albums that were successful in alternative land at least and, along with bands like Sonic Youth, became part of the alternative punk underground of the late eighties and early nineties. Albums Doolittle and Bossanova are considered classic by many critics. The Pixies split in 1992. Black Francis (as Frank Black then Black Francis and the Catholics) and Kim Deal (with the Breeders) would have fairly successful careers in the nineties. They reunited in 2004 and have recorded intermittently since.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? I absolutely love their chord changes which is something that would carry on with Black Francisí work in particular. There is a surf rock element to their music that canít be denied. Kim Deal has one of the best voices in rock in my opinion. I mean, she canít belt them like Janis Joplin or anything but she has a certain moodiness in her voice. Joey Santiago plays a mean lead guitar. I guess in some ways, The Pixies come closest to surf metal though they truly arenít metal in the grand scheme of things. Just a hard edged melodic group that would make Paul McCartney jealous.

    Links to songs:

    Where is My Mind
    Here Comes Your Man
    Wave of Mutilation

    Pixies on 4AD
    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

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

  10. #90

    42. THE SMITHS

    Major Era: 1984-1988

    Main Labels: Rough Trade/Sire

    Best Albums: The Smiths, Meat is Murder, The Queen is Dead

    Best Songs: How Soon Is Now, What Difference Does It Make, Heaven Knows Iím Miserable Now, Stop Me If You Heard This One Before

    The Smiths were a band out of Manchester, England that were formed by Morrissey and Johnny Marr, who would get along about as well as oil and water. Nevertheless, they banded together for some of the best music of the eighties. Essentially, the Smiths were a pop band that borrowed from British Invasion sensibilities. What made them unusual, besides Marrís dreamy guitar work, was Morrisseyís rather downer type vocals. Morrissey sang of depression in his songs with charmers like Heaven Knows Iím Miserable Now and Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want. They broke into the alternative rock scene with their self-titled album in 1984 and would garner some success in England as well as on college radio in the States. They couldnít maintain it though as relations between Morrissey and Marr worsened and they split up in 1988. Morrissey embarked on a very successful solo career while Marr would get into session work. Relations still arenít good as the other Smiths have filed lawsuits against Morrissey and Marr. Still, they made some of the best music of the eighties and that cannot be taken away.

    Why Do I Like This Artist? There is a dream like style in their mood, albeit a depressing dream like style. I do think Morrissey sounds a little too monotonous, but he gets away with it because the songs are so good as well as the melodies. I remember being really into this band during their heyday and I later worked with someone who was an even bigger fan. In some ways I curse these guys for likely being an influence on Oasis, but no matter; itís the music that matters and these guys were pretty good at that.

    Links to songs:

    What Difference Does It Make
    How Soon is Now
    Heaven Knows Iím Miserable Now
    Stop Me If You Heard This One Before
    Girlfriend in a Coma

    The Smiths on Wiki
    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

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


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