Music/Popular Culture

Tournament of Rock – Legends: the Clapton pod

Results: In our search for the greatest band of all time, being a high seed is proving fatal. In the last pod unseeded Creedence Clearwater Revival waxed #9 Metallica (which wound up third). The final numbers: CCR 33%; Talking Heads 28%; Metallica 17%; The Raspberries 15%; Stone Temple Pilots 7%. CCR moves on.

In this pod we move to the Fillmore bracket and #6 seed Eric Clapton defends against a formidable quartet of challengers.

Note: Cream and The Yardbirds will appear in the ToR on their own, so voters should consider Clapton here independently of those two bands.

Please register your vote below. Polls close Tuesday at midnight.

Which band/artist deserves to advance in the Tournament of Rock: Legends?(polls)

41 replies »

  1. This was a much easier choice than the previous pods. Where as Guns ‘n Roses is a strong challenger Eric Clapton still dominates the choices here, none of the one other than Guns ‘n Roses are even close.

  2. Rho: As noted in the prologue post, the higher seeds get more of a break than the lower ones. That said, if Clapton runs away and hides with this pod it will be because he’s great and not because this is an especially weak bracket. Axl is a fuckhead of truly Nugentian proportions, but all are really outstanding artists, regardless of where they stand relative to one of rock’s true legends.

  3. I disagree Sam, this pod is the weakest of the bunch so far. I understand the weighting of the seeds, but this is still pretty weak. Lets start with the “legend”, 90% of Clapton’s stuff personally bores me to death, but that’s not the issue here. I understand his contribution to music but I think his status (more so than others), is a little inflated at times. Not to say that other artist’s aren’t inflated, but what you never see are articles that are ever critical of the guys music. It’s almost as if someone can’t say something this guy does sucks. I’m not 100% sure if it’s kosher in the industry to say that “Clapton hasn’t influenced (your name here)”, but I think most of the “Clapton Love” that goes around is based more on what “has” to be said, then what artists or writers actually feel. That’s my personal take based on observations throughout the years, so I’ll have to take what people say at face value. I remember an interview where Clapton was talking about how he loved this picture of a dog pissing on some graffiti that said “Clapton is God”. I think Clapton is the only one that actually knows that he’s great, but not as great as a lot of people make him out to be. With regards to the other bands; I was a huge GNR fan, and I actually think that their first 1.5 albums actually hold up and span the test of time, I think the two Illusion albums actually didn’t age so well, and as i got older I realized what a pile of shit they are. I’m shocked that Ted Nugent is in here, he’s not exactly someone who I would put under the banner of “respected amongst his peers”. Krimson is great, but not as great at GnR’s 1st album. The Church I’ve never heard of. So Clapton gets my vote based on the genre changing music from his early days, his long career that has had popular success in all decades, and his influence whether it’s actually or apparent.

  4. Up to now, I’ve been following my head rather than my heart. (Fortunately, with CCR, the two coincided.) Because the musicians in this round which I consider most important to the history of rock are not personal favorites, henceforth — if only to avoid confusing myself — I’m following my heart.

    Just need to vent about Clapton first: Breathtaking through early 70s; useless thereafter.

    Went wih Crimson and Fripp (who you could make a case for as rock’s greatest guitarist ever, though, as an electronica fan, I’m out of touch these days).

  5. So I go to listen to The Church, who I think I know, but I’m not sure–and Lala is only available in the US. Oh well.

    Anyway, Clapton by default. King Crimson was an interesting group, and Fripp an interesting guitarist, but it’s hard to call them a rock and roll band (IMHO). You have to be able to dance to it for it to be rock and roll. GNR burned out after one album and turned into a parody of themselves. Ted Nugent? Really, I was actually wondering the other day whether you’d be putting hacks like him in there as filler. There’s better filler. So there’s Clapton, who is seminal, but, yes, useless after the early 70s. But before that, there’s a reason why Clapton is God graffiti was popping up around London in the late 60s. But more critically–all his really good work was with other great musicians–Bruce and Baker, John Mayall, Delaney & Bonnie, Duane Allman. He shone when surrounded by other bright lights–without them, we got pop (with the sole exception of From the Cradle, which hardly compensates for the rest).

  6. wufnik: Try Last.FM:

    Nugent: Ted is an interesting case. Reprehensible human being, and after a certain point he became a bad parody of himself. Early on, though, he was a really, really good player. I can defend him up through about FREE FOR ALL, I suppose, and then the hackery onset gets pretty bad.

    Your comments, taken along with some of the others we’re seeing here, suggests that while Clapton is going to run off and hide with this pod (looking at the early returns and thinking I should have instituted a mercy rule), he’s going to have a very hard time once he gets to the Great 48. The top 4 seeds in the Fillmore bracket are just ridiculously legendary, so if you’re having qualms at this stage, he’s in trouble at the next level.

  7. I can’t believe you old foggies didn’t vote in Metallica. I’m a much bigger fan of CCR and I still think they’re an inferior band.

    But, anyway, yeah, Clapton. D’uh.

  8. oh, I don’t have any qualms about saying Clapton is a legend. Certainly more so than the rest of this list. People didn’t grow up trying to play like Peter Green, a considerably more nuanced guitarist. But the reason he’s a legend ended a long time ago, sadly. You have to work hard to coast for three decades.

  9. Axl’s a dick, but Paradise City pretty much saved rock for a while. Still Clapton was god for a while, too. So I voted for Clapton. Same deal with Metallica. I love Metallica, but CCR is STILL influencing people. Had to go with CCR. I think Van Halen got robbed, though. 🙂

  10. If we’re taking The Yardbirds and Cream out of deciding on Clapton, then i have a hard time even considering him. His rock legend status is built (imho) on his work with those bands.

    I’m going with GnR. Granted, Axl is a huge jackass and their status rests almost entirely on Appetite for Destruction…still. That one album was uncommonly good. I think that it (though nothing else) has aged very well; it’s still frightening. Too much fame and money too fast and waaaay to much junk were the downfall of what might have been one of the best rock bands ever. A listen to the live disc that they released shows a band that (when not too nodded out) could bring down buildings.

    Uncle Tedley is in the love/hate category. Just be thankful that the rest of you don’t have to live with the possibility of him running for governor (and fearing that he might just win).

  11. I went with Guns and Roses based entirely on Appetite. I’d have gone with Clapton if his other bands had been included.

    I was tempted to vote for Nugent out of pure pity.
    After voting, I feel even more pity for him.
    Someone better vote for Ted before he goes on a shooting rampage.

  12. Slammy, yes it did. Welcome to the Jungle wasn’t half bad, either. Slash’s intro bleeding into Axl’s scream is friggin’ nard-stompin, mindblowing rock and roll. Maybe you just HAVE to be a dick to write that song.

    • Malcolm: The Church is indeed a fine band and one of the more underrated artists you’ll ever run across. But THE greatest band ever? That’s a mouthful. Judging from the poll numbers right now, though, it looks like a lot of people think they’re at least better than Clapton. This one could go down to the wire….

  13. It’s interesting to see how much the personal side of the musicians plays into the comments (and one would assume the voting).

    I’m impressed to see The Church on here. Starfish is an outstanding album, but I doubt they will hold up as Rock & Roll Legend. Not enough pyrotechnics.

    I think I’m going to vote for Runs and Goses based on one album. (yes I know I misspelled it.)

  14. It appears that The Church Fanclub has found ToR and currently has Mr. Slowhand on the ropes. Some sort of doins are a transpirin…

  15. Yup. Darned devil-music-listenin’ kids.

    It also looks like some Clapton fans have found it, too. There’s been a jump in people voting for both bands in the last few minutes.

    This bodes ill for GnR.

  16. Yay, Malcolm! The Church is indeed the greatest band ever. I’ve seen them live ten times now. My regret is that it hasn’t been eleven. I don’t think people should be allowed to vote until they’ve seen them live at least a couple of times. Hell, on their Hologram of Baal and Box of Birds tours, they had so much energy that they could have given the Who a run for their money. What a great effin’ rock show.

  17. …now if Clapton had been up against the heart and soul of Young that would have been a difficult vote for me.

  18. hey, this is really fun. Who would have predicted this match-up? However this turns out, to have three heavy guitar bands crash and burn the first three rounds is kind of interesting, and judging from the seedings, clearly unexpected. What do we pay you people for anyway?

  19. Pay? You must have sent that check to the wrong address.

    However, it’s not a huge surprise that we’ve seen upsets. The seeding process sought to balance our own assessments (Jim and I know a little about music) with those of other (read, paid professional) critics and the bands’ various levels of popular success and influence. An imperfect science, to be sure, but we did NOT attempt to predict voter behavior in the process. With the pack of yahoos that hang around this place that would have been as futile as is was maddening….

  20. a few notes from the king of the fogeys – and Sam’s partner in creating this whole TOR mess:

    Fikshun, Malcolm – Church and greatest band ever should never go in the same sentence unless “is not” separates them – Church and most underrated band ever, you’d have a strong argument…

    Elaine – you, like I, think it’s about songwriting – you are correct, madam…and Neil Young would indeed be a tough match for Clapton – as we may find out later….

    Lex – there’s so much more to Clapton besides the Yardbirds and Cream (which he left just as they became big stars) – there’s his work with John Mayall (which got him the “Clapton is God” graffiti) and a little collaboration with a decent guitarist named Duane Allman called Derek and the Dominoes – there’s the recent blues work – I mean, really….

    Everyone who voted for G ‘n R – you’re voting, as Retro Hound notes, about one album, APPETITE – this would be analogous to voting for Steppenwolf (were they in a pod) based on that first album with “Born to Be Wild” and “The Pusher.” Just sayin’…

    Russ – Fripp is phenomenal – and I had to argue Sam into including him – but again, it’s one album for the bulk of rock fans in the final analysis, COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING, as Sam rightly pointed out…

    To whoever voted for the Nuge – you need more rehab – you’ve relapsed…

    So it has to be Clapton….

  21. Jim, point taken. Honestly, i’d forgotten about his work with Mayall (my loss) and Derek and the Dominoes. But wouldn’t they count as “not counted” because they weren’t Clapton solo? I love the blues (have since i was a kid listening to John Lee Hooker), but including Clapton’s pure blues work gets us into the fuzzy zones between genres. It might also prompt me to rate Muddy Waters as the biggest legend of rock since rock might not have existed had he not plugged in and turned the amp up to distortion levels.

    You’re certainly right if this is about who is the most influential, something that generally requires staying power. On the other hand, there’s something very “rock” about showing up at the party, kicking everyone in the nuts, and then passing out in a pool of your own vomit.

    My guess is that Ted voted for himself…

  22. “Russ – Fripp is phenomenal – and I had to argue Sam into including him…”

    Uhhh, I guess you get to a certain age and the memory starts to slip, huh? King Crimson was MY idea.


  23. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Okay. Sorry. I’ve got to step in here. This whole thing is crap. I guess what you’re saying here is that marketing should help us make up our minds. How do I doubt thee? Let me count the ways.

    Ted Nugent – yeah, whatever. The Motor City Madman had a couple of hot songs and a reputation based loosely on some Iggy shows he saw as a kid. Points for the loin cloth and archery skills but … no … wait … the Apache Boy thing was done better by a Dutchman … and for the same reason Metallica did a faceplant, his Rush Limbaugh suck-uppery also condemns him to a fate worse than oblivion.

    Guns ‘n’ Roses – I’ll one up the previous comments and say they should get a tip ‘o the hat for the Use Your Illusion discs … so they have TWO good releases. Still, too brief even for the Cam Neely standard. Two good albums, oh … and something about a wimpy singer who whined more than Morrissey …. getting his ass handed to him by the previously disqualified Metallica makes them seem a tad soft.

    Eric Clapton – it’s a shame that he’s the seeded one. Give him his due in Cream … sure. The Yardbirds … okay. But solo? Seriously? WTF? Yes, he’s a good guitarist; but he’s not even in my top 5. He’s not even much of a songwriter. If you want to give him his solo dues then where is J.J. Cale in the Tournament if we’re counting songwriting? I think Clapton’s legend was born more in spray paint (“Clapton is God!”). In his day, Hendrix was better. After his day, Gilmour, Koppes, and others eclipsed the slow hand. Get over it.

    King Crimson – okay, this one is tough to impeach. I don’t even think the Court of the Crimson King was Fripp’s/Crimson’s best. Hell, his work with Bowie was amazing, but Crimson’s high water mark was the reinvention with Bruford, Levin, and Belew. Holy shit. Levin exploring a new bass instrument (the stick), Belew taming the untamed (a fretless 6-string?!?!), Fripp balancing his elephant distortion solos with disciplined pizzicato mantras. Bruford was the only one grounding them and he wasn’t even staying in familiar territory. Those were three amazing albums. I’d take that iteration of Crimson over anything else in the last pod … but.

    C’mon. The Church are the gods of all gods. If you don’t worship them, you don’t know them. Starfish has been mentioned above, but it was their third, maybe fourth best album. I make mixes that have 80 songs on them before I get around to “Under the Milky Way”. If you haven’t seen them warp “Tantalized” or “You Took” live, then you haven’t lived. Priest=Aura could have destroyed the grunge movement had more people heard it. Hologram of Baal was a monument of resurrection. Hell, Neil Young was mentioned above. Have you heard their live run of “Cortez the Killer”? The Church is probably the only band that does an album of covers (“Box of Birds”) and their fanbase sighs. If Koppes is the poor man’s David Gilmour, then how fortunate the man with none. Kilbey walks the same love/hate of John Lennon but is a better writer.

    Cut the crap. I grew up on the Who, Beatles, Zeppelin, etc. I played my first theatre show; looking up at the balcony and thinking “my folks and I sat over there when they showed The Kids Are Alright here twenty years ago”. I remember being dragged to Northglenn Mall for midnight showings of Neil Young’s “Rust Never Sleeps”. I remember the release date of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” like it was yesterday. But seriously, give the Church its due. They’re better than they’re given credit.

  24. His guitar skills – break the ceiling.
    Plays music directly gifted from the gods.
    A voice that moves mountains..
    A creativity that is second only to Young.

    …and respected.

    Anyone debating Clapton as an outright winner in this pod needs to lend his ear to the music a little more. Just saying…

  25. As I stated before I’ve never heard of the Church, and I wanted to see what I was missing. I’ve been listening for a few hours now and I would now rank them slightly above Ted in this Pod. Seems like typical atmospheric noise rock that’s I’ve seen so many other bands do before, and better. If they influenced those bands, then points for them, however I’ve never heard their name uttered.

  26. D: I think you’d like The Church more over time, although I realize they’re not exactly in your wheelhouse, sound-wise.

    What does surprise me is that you’d never heard of them. Given how much you know about music I guess I expect that you’ve at least heard OF most everybody that will be in this tournament.