Tournament of Rock – Legends: The Beatles vs Elvis Costello

Results: It was only a matter of time: there are now officially no Gen Xers left in the ToR, as a great Boomer legend waxes U2 … by nearly a two-to-one margin. Wow, on so many levels. The numbers: #5 Neil Young 65%; #1 U2 35%. NY moves on to the Great Eight.

Up next, our search for the greatest Baby Boomer band of all time takes you to the Hollywood Bowl region where the heavy favorite awaits another challenger. Can Elvis pull off the biggest upset ever?

#1 The Beatles: Listen #4 Elvis Costello: Listen

<br /> <a href=”http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/2280602/&#8221; mce_href=”http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/2280602/”>Which band/artist deserves to advance in the Tournament of Rock: Legends?</a><span style=”font-size:9px;” mce_style=”font-size:9px;”>(<a href=”http://answers.polldaddy.com&#8221; mce_href=”http://answers.polldaddy.com”>polling</a&gt;)</span><br />

Polls close Monday morning.

The updated bracket looks like this:

Image credit: Rebuild from Depression and Retro Music Snob.

26 comments on “Tournament of Rock – Legends: The Beatles vs Elvis Costello

  1. The Clash was formed in 1976. Is that too late to be an Xer band? The Police were formed in 1977. Elvis Costello didn’t come to prominence until after the Vietnam War IIRC. If these are boomer bands, I sure didn’t know it at the time.

  2. The Clash and The Police are bands that are associated with X because they defined the sound of the gen as it was coming of age. However, as is always the case on the cusps of generational shifts, those bands are themselves from the previous generation. I believe if you’ll check, you’ll find that no member of these bands was born in the ’60s.

  3. I’d be surprised they were born as late as the 60s, Sam, because they’d have been young teens when they hit it big, and that’s rare (Todd Rundgren, where are you?).

    But do the defining bands of a generation have to have members that were BORN in that generation? If so, not a single member of the Beatles was a boomer if one uses the common definition that a boomer was born in the post WWII generation.

    For me, I think the generational label of a band should be when it was at the height of its popularity, and who was listening to it in the formative years.

    And Rho, I’m a late boomer, and I don’t consider the Police a boomer band, either.

  4. Let’s see. Joe Strummer was born in 1952 and Mick Jones in ’55. Sting in 1951, Stuart Copeland in 1952, and Andy Summers was actually a Silent (by American standards, anyway – 1942). Elvis, 1954. Graham Parker, 1950. So it’s actually not fair to call these artists late Boomers, even. First, the numbers coincide with the middle of the Boom, and also I doubt that our breaks match up perfectly with generational shifts in the UK (and most of the artists whose work defined early X were Brits). Over here you had The Cars (all were born between 1947 and 1953 – square in the middle of the Boom).

  5. No mistake. The Fabs are #1 and The Who #3 in the Fillmore region.

    Oh, you thought we were going to get down to one band without you having to vote against somebody you like? You thought we could name a winner without any great bands having to face each other?

    Silly boy.

    And if you think about who’s over in the Fillmore, you’ll realize that would solve all your problems, anyway….

  6. “Can Elvis pull off the biggest upset ever?”

    Elvis Presley? Oh wait… was the King of Rock & Roll even in this tourney?

    And no, Elvis Costello can’t, and even he’d be embarrassed if he did. Although EC (and props to The Attractions) has several masterpieces in his catalog, especially the classic ‘Imperial Bedroom’ which was produced by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick, he falls just short of the level of greatness the Beatles attained. He compares readily with John Lennon and Paul McCartney (with whom he’s unofficially recorded–there’s an awesome bootleg out there) … but George Harrison is the difference that makes the Beatles greater.

  7. But Sam, you miss my point. If, in order for something to be an Xer band, everyone in the band needs to have been born after 1964 or so, and assuming that most bands don’t make it big until the members are at least in their early 20s, the earliest Xer band would have to have made it big in, say, 1986. At the earliest. Would that make all music up until 1986 “boomer music”? If so, it’s news to me. I was living in Seattle in the 80s and seeing grunge bands live, and I never considered grunge to be boomer music because I was seeing it before 1986 ;-).

    So, if the Clash and the Police aren’t Xer bands, and if they’re not boomer bands (and I really, really don’t think they are), then what are they?

  8. But Sam, you miss my point. If, in order for something to be an Xer band, everyone in the band needs to have been born after 1964 or so…

    1961 was the first year of X. The 1946-1964 frame doesn’t work very well once you consider the Howe & Strauss critique. But yes – a true Xer band would involve people who were Xers. U2 had two members born in 1960 and two in 1961, so you could argue that they’re technically half-and-half, I suppose. But you get in trouble when you take those cusp lines too seriously. They’ve always struck me as quintessentially proto-X in just about every way imaginable (except Bono’s sense that he can save the world – that’s pretty Boomer). The Police weren’t Xers. However, the early phase of ANY generation will be shaped by artists from the previous generation.

    …and assuming that most bands don’t make it big until the members are at least in their early 20s, the earliest Xer band would have to have made it big in, say, 1986. At the earliest.

    Boy was released in 1980.

    Would that make all music up until 1986 “boomer music”? If so, it’s news to me. I was living in Seattle in the 80s and seeing grunge bands live, and I never considered grunge to be boomer music because I was seeing it before 1986 ;-) .

    The question might be phrased thusly: when we use a term like “Boomer band,” do we mean a band comprised of Boomers or a band whose primary audience is Boomers? If the former, then The Beatles weren’t a Boomer band – three of the four were born priot to 1943. So these terms are flexible, I suppose.

    So, if the Clash and the Police aren’t Xer bands, and if they’re not boomer bands (and I really, really don’t think they are), then what are they?

    The technically explicit answer, if we agree to map American generational breaks onto the UK, is that they’re typical cusp bands – members of one generation whose primary audience are members of the next generation.

  9. It never occurred to me categorize bands/artists based on when they were born. I wouldn’t even KNOW that unless I looked it up. It makes far more sense to me to categorize them according to when they were most popular or most successful. Or, in the case of bands, when they were formed…although that would be a bit difficult with bands like Fleetwood Mac with major changes in the lineup.

  10. I’m with you, Uber. To me, the era in which a band belongs has to do with who listens to it and is most influenced in their formative years. So, that would make the Beatles very clearly a boomer band and Glen Miller very clearly a WWII generation band.

    But that’s just me. And you, I guess.

  11. JS,
    and me. So by our definition the Police and the Clash are Xer bands and so the Xers still have dogs in this fight, not that I expect either to end up on top. ;-)

  12. How about this. There are two remaining bands (assuming the Elvis Costello fan club doesn’t get wind of the current vote) who are most closely identified with Gen X audiences. There are no Xer artists remaining.

  13. Mike: I HAVE that bootleg of Elvis and Paul (actually 2 or 3). Got them from a buddy of mine at XM radio. Let me know….

    I voted for The Beatles. And I looove EC. He’s the Dylan of modern rock.

    But The Fabs are like no one else – for me, anyway….

  14. This one came down to influence for me. I think that EC would have come along without The Beatles, so he would be independent of their influence on R&R. But I think that The Beatles have had a greater influence on the creation and structure of R&R than EC did.

  15. I think DOB is the wrong metric. Rather, use the period when a band first emerged. I’m not normally a fan of William F. Buckley, but I always thought his definition of the 60s–as running from the Kennedy assassination through Nixon’s resignation–had a certain kind of logic. So that makes bands that emerged from 1963, which is about when this TOR begins, through about 1974 “boomer” bands, I suppose. Fine with me. It was all downhill after that anyway. And this boomer/GenX split is silly. There are a lot more categories than that–we just need names for them.

  16. The Boomer/Xer divide – like any other generational divide – is not, as you say, everything. There are many other dimensions to be considered, not the least being issues like class. That said, massive cultural tends are real, and important. In this particular discussion, generational dynamics seem a tad more relevant, to me, at least. Other debates it doesn’t seem to matter much at all.

    Howe and Strauss do talk about those defining moments you note, by the way. They conclude, after studying the history of generations in America, that those kinds of things tend to be cyclic, as well. Complex stuff. Boring for many, probably, but fascinating for me….

  17. I gotta say that I always though that the Boomer band appealed to people of that generation, not when the band member were born. Anyways, this was an easier vote then last pod, Beatles.

  18. “I HAVE that bootleg of Elvis and Paul (actually 2 or 3). Got them from a buddy of mine at XM radio. Let me know….”

    Is “Lovers That Never Were” not the most awesome unreleased song by anyone ever?

  19. That Strauss and Howe Generations book is great. The cycles are fascinating.

    I’d rather have U2 than The Police in the finals, but I’m not going to go on and on about it. I hope.

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