Music/Popular Culture

Tournament of Rock – Legends: the Grateful Dead pod

Results: The last match featured very little suspense, as #10 seed CSN established an early lead and maintained it throughout. The numbers: #10 Crosby Stills & Nash 47%; The Yardbirds 20%; The Dave Matthews Band 13%; Blondie 10%; World Party 7%; Hall & Oates 3%. CSN advances to the Great 48.

Next our search for the greatest band of all time shifts back to the Hollywood Bowl region, where one of the most popular touring bands of all time faces another tough pack of opponents.

<a href=”” mce_href=””>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=”” mce_href=””>survey</a>)</span>

Polls close at midnight Thursday, so get your long, strange voting trip started.

40 replies »

  1. Two of the best-jamming, best-touring, and most influential bands in the history of rock and roll are in the same pod? And the Allmans aren’t even seeded anywhere? Wow. Well, you said you didn’t like jam bands. I guess you meant it. So your final 48 will have either the Dead or the Allmans, but not both. And on the basis of the seedings, Mellencamp and Metallica and Van Halen are worthier of legend status than the Allmans as well. What an interesting concept. Good luck with this one.

  2. I was wondering how far along we’d be when I heard the first seedings argument. 🙂 I will defend myself thusly:

    Yeah, no matter what (unless Queensryche pulls an upset), either the Dead or the ABB will advance. So one argument is that I’m screwing jam bands by putting them up against each other, but the other argument is that I’m guaranteeing that genre will be represented. (Although these aren’t the only two jam bands here, and the others are/were not against each other.) In truth, once I set the seeds I dumped competitors into brackets based more on strength than genre, and ABB turns out to be the strongest challenger in this one.

    Could I argue that they should have been a seed? Yep. I could make that argument for 20-30 bands that weren’t, to be honest. Skynrd isn’t a seed, either, and I regard them as the greatest of the Southern Rock bands. VH? Well, if you take away Sammy Hagar…

    Metallica is one of the most important metal bands of all time, period (as bad as I hate them over the RIAA – and recall, I voted against them), so I don’t feel bad about that. Mellencamp also was incredibly important (and he continues to crank out very good work, even if it’s off the popular radar thanks to how bad radio sucks).

    And so on. We knew there were arguments to be had and we said going in that we expected some very compelling arguments. You can easily argue that ABB should have been a seed, and I don’t have anything bad to say about them.

    In the end, we’ve seen that seeds don’t necessarily matter a lot. Everybody gets to play. And everybody has tough competition.

    Mainly I’m glad that the readers and voters we have here are, like you, informed enough to make intelligent arguments. That’s one of the main reasons I wanted to do this feature in the first place.

  3. If put up in a pod with Mellencamp, Metallica, and Van Halen the Almans would easily come in forth. While the Dead were definitely influential they stayed out on tour well past when they should have stopped, much like the Beach Boys. I had to go with Queensryche on this one.

  4. Wufnik: Also, two more quick things in the way of defending my honor as a critic (such as it is):

    1: My personal picks aren’t doing very well. I’m 3 for 7. So while it’s more than true that I have my favorites and my biases, I’m not sure the numbers would prove that they’re driving the results. Further, I suspect I’m about to go to 3 for 8, because I fully expect one of the two jam bands to win.

    2: If I were seeding according to my biases, the Dead wouldn’t be IN the tournament, let alone seeded where they are. But I try to keep my head and brain separate here. While I never ever want to hear another Dead song, I’d be a barking moron to suggest that they’re not worthy of the seed here (and frankly, I could argue them a higher seed easier than I could a lower one). Love ’em or don’t, they’re one of the most successful, important, enduring and influential bands ever.

  5. Dead and Allman Bros in the same pod is tough for a lot of hippies and people who dig jam music.

    Bon Jovi: JBJ says that sometimes he gets a little upset that there’s not a enough respect amongst his peers. I watched a great story about him on 60 minutes about a month or so ago that made me kinda re-evaluate their importance in pop music. That being said I don’t think they deserve to win this pod.

    Queensryche: They played a free show in WNY last week. I guess they were tight, but from what I’ve heard it was very laughable. I don’t feel they were popular enough.

    T-Rex: Doesn’t have enough mass appeal or any raving peer respectability.

    Dead and Allman Bros: As someone who hangs out with people who play this type of music a lot, I have to say the Allman Bros are way more influential to musicians then the Dead. This is just my day to day observation. The Dead are huge, but Duane Allman is a legend. Have to go with Allman Bros on this one.

    On a side note: Maybe I’m judging things differently here, but I though we were supposed to pick based on music. I keep reading about Metallica and the RIAA. Last I checked that didn’t effect how great their new album is. I know it’s tough to separate the douche from the music, but I think I’m really the only one doing it on here. I’ve actually picked bands that I hate with a passion (DMB), to bands that I could care less about (Allman Bros). I think there are only 2 or 3 that I actually liked and picked that have moved on.

  6. D: Good point about the criteria (RIAA). There are a lot of factors that go into “great,” and we’ve talked about some of that earlier. I can tell you what I think matters more, but in the end people are going to make their own decisions about their voting criteria.

    Things like musical influence obviously matter, and I’ve also always been very conscious of how an artist affects the society at large and how they impact the industry. For example, I mark artists like Sarah McLachlan and Indigo Girls way up for how they have made the path smoother for talented female artists. If her music was even remotely rock, I’d have Madonna in this contest for the same reason. Utterly useless as a musician, but as an industry force she’s one of the most important figures in the history of popular music.

    By the same token, I saw Metallica’s actions as detrimental to the music industry and to other artists, which is a HUGE strike against them. (You’ll notice the Bee Gees haven’t turned up so far, and they won’t, either – their sins against rock are unforgivable, no matter how good they may have been before Disco.)

    So these are criteria that you may or may not care about. You’re a pro in this arena, so you can probably be trusted to make an informed call, huh?

  7. Sam, are you trying to get me arrested? As a native New Jerseyan, I’m legally obligated to vote for Bon Jovi, despite my lukewarm feelings (at best) about his music. Even with that, I had to vote for the Allman Brothers. Jessica is one of my all time favorite songs.

    I don’t know what I’ll do if you pull a similar stunt with Springsteen.

  8. Queensryche? Are you joking? WTF?! This battle should be between the Grateful Dead (my choice) and the Allman Brothers, the rest of the choices are ridiculously out of their league.

  9. I am secretly hoping that the voters for tGD and tABB will cancel each other out so that Queensryche wins. Too bad Phish wasn’t in this pod, too. Muaaahahaha.

  10. I predict that Springsteen pod will come down mano-a-mano with Frankie Valli.

    Phish damn well better not be in this contest anywhere – they’re up there with Hootie in terms of “bands who should never have come into existence”.

  11. The Dead had their nodding-off periods, but there truly was something — cringe — “magical” about them when they were at their best. Darrell mentioned how much more influential Duane Allman was to musicians. Look at Jerry Garcia this way: He was influenced by John Coltrane.

    As I always say, most free-form or jam bands — Hendrix, Cream, the Dead — wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for free jazz, especially Coltrane (not to mention his drummers Elvin Jones and Rashied Ali).

    I first saw the Dead in 1969 at MIT. Back then they hadn’t settled into the folkish, jam-band mode. They were a grooving, rocking dance band, like on their first album.

  12. Fun comments. I guess I just come from a different planet, partly from age. I grew up watching not only the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, but Elvis too. Which dates me, sadly. But from that perspective, my viewpoint is actually straightforward. There have been maybe a dozen or so genuinely transformational bands–bands who changed the way rock music was played and the way it sounded, and what it drew from. The Dead and the Allmans are both in that group. There have been maybe six or eight genuinely transformational guitarists–guys who changed the way the guitar was not only played, but how it fit into everything else, and how the music sounded, and how it could actually drive everything else. Jerry Garcia and Duane Allman are both in that group. And on songwriting, fifty years from now people will still be covering Hunter/Garcia songs, many of which are in a direct line of great American songwriting–people will be singing Friend of the Devil and Dire Wolf and Loser just as they’ve sung Pete Seeger and Woodie Guthrie songs the past couple of decades. That’s not likely to be the case for the other groups in this pod (including Greg Allman, who is a good songwriter, but not in the Hunter/Garcia league), or for most of the groups in this entire Tournament. But as I say, I’m probably on a different planet. On my planet, both bands are in the final eight.

  13. Sam: I don’t know how Metallica’s actions were detrimental to the music industry. It made them look like rich money hungry pricks. The industry itself eventually failed to think forwardly about digital music distro. If anything the state of music is awesome, if you have time to discover news artists by clawing through the clutter. However it’s been a long time coming for the labels, crappy A+R people, the inability to develop artists that can produce a full album of good songs, and just plain arrogance are more to blame. Again I think Metallica’s main beef (which gets lost) was how a new unfinished song got illegally released. And I believe it was the MI2 song which they wrote for the soundtrack for a million bucks and I believe would have received very little royalties from anyways becasue it was a front loaded work for hire deal. If anything it should have been the movie studio that should have been pissed. What’s funny is that people also forget Dr Dre was also a part of this law suit, but there’s no hatred spewed his way about ruining the free music party.

    The Gibb’s brothers also wrote a lot of non disco songs for other artists, they’re very important.

    • D: Maybe I’d be better off saying that Metallica’s actions were anti-artist, regardless of the effect they had. The RIAA may benefit some artists, but let’s not confuse “mission” with “collateral, unintended effect.” On the whole, RIAA policies serve everybody BUT aspiring musicians, and whoring yourself to them is AT BEST self-serving.

      Dre? I’d bitch if I’d ever seen him as something other than a self-serving tool. And I don’t care if the Brothers Gibb crank out ten records in a row that are better than anything The Beatles ever did, you don’t serve the gods of disco and expect to EVER be taken seriously again.

  14. At 1st I was excited, I hadn’t checked out S&R since my computer crashed some 10 wks ago,and a GD post. I of course voted for the boys, thinking it was a shoe in. The results are mind boggling. Queensryche? WTF? I have like 75 GD shows on tape, and another 50 on CD, prob over 100-110 different songs easy. My bro was into Queensryche, I remember 2 tapes and maybe 4-5 decent songs if that. They played a free concert not far from here a couple wks ago, the Canal-Fest, that says it all.

    • Kev: It’s no secret that I don’t care for jam bands, and also that I think Queensryche has been badly underrated through the years. That said, I’m stunned at the results so far. (I’m used to being in the minority.) At the moment, Q not only is beating the field, but they have more votes than the Dead and ABB combined. I expected the Dead to lap the field.

      Then again, I expected Elton John to win easily, too. So what do I know?

  15. I know something of the Dead. They were a fine band, though i’d be hard pressed to call them the greatest ever. (I believe that Jim’s feeling about how overrated they were stems from too many heads going on and on and on about how they were the greatest ever. Those would be the people who listen to them almost exclusively.)

    They were a great live band…before Jerry was so fucking nodded out all the time. The eras of ’72-’74 and ’77-’78 were by far the best (all of the 70’s were good). In essence, they were a party band. That’s how they started and even right up to the end they remained that, except that instead of playing other people’s parties they threw parties for 80,000 people. They were also exemplars of American music: blues, country, folk, jazz, rock and roll. I wish i could have seen them at their height instead of the early 90’s.

    They are responsible for the jam band genre, but nobody that i’ve heard even comes close to their ability at the trick. Which brings me to the ABB and deciding if i’ll vote based on the ABB with Duane or the jam band that they became.

    I’ll go with the Dead if only because some of the best times of my life happened inside shows (and one of the scariest…seriously, when you can’t see, talk, move or hear inside a rock concert you wonder if you’ve gone right over the edge of no return. But the second set was great fun!)

  16. Lex–yes, they were transcendent when they were really good, actually. And they had as much intensity on stage as anyone else I’ve ever seen. I agree–I would hardly call them the greatest band ever–too many feedback songs, and far too much Bob Weir. I saw them any number of times in the 1970s, and when I saw them in the 1990s, they were clearly older, and Garcia was clearly feeling the effects of a dubious lifestyle, but even then they had their moments. When they were in top form, no one has been better, that I’ve seen anyway, and I’ve seen lots. Even the ABB, which, not to correct you or anything, was a genuine jam band when Duane was around–because he really LIKED to jam. He was the driver of it. I was at Fillmore East the nights that those albums were recorded, and they don’t capture the half of it. I’m voting twice.

  17. wufnik, no doubt about the power of the ABB when Duane was alive. That was one of the greatest bands of all time. And like the Dead, they weren’t a jam band; they were a band that liked to jam. Wouldn’t any musician who plays a lot? What fun would it be to play songs exactly as they were recorded for an album over and over and over?

    Ah, i love Bobby singing the cowboy songs. And they certainly did have their moments even on the downside. But i suppose that it was the sort of thing you had to be there for.

  18. “Influence

    T.Rex have vastly influenced the glam rock, punk rock and Britpop genres, and many modern indie bands play music heavily influenced by the glam scene, especially T.Rex. The early acoustic material was influential in helping to bring about progressive rock and 21st century folk music-influenced singers.”

    • Elaine: the only thing wrong with your last comment is that it doesn’t go far enough in stating the T Rex influence. For instance, one of the most interesting bands out there these days is Goldfrapp (although I didn’t love their last CD so much as the previous two). Genre-wise they’re sort of electro-pop, I guess, with more than a splash of Portishead-trip thrown in for good measure.

      Now, watch this and you tell ME who they’re riffing on:

  19. I still can’t believe these results. QUEENSRYCHE? Just unbelievable. They are cheesy as all hell. It’s a real shame they are beating the Dead & ABB (or T. Rex for that matter.)

  20. Yay Queensryche! I’ve been listening to them all day in fact to celebrate this. Never get tired of “Jet City Woman” and “Eyes of a Stranger.” And DeGarmo’s solo at the end of “Della Brown” is some of the finest axework I’ve ever heard by anyone.

    I’m sorry the ABB didn’t make it, I do like and respect them… maybe Sam can rig the vote to make it up to all the teethgnashers.