scholars and rogues

Tournament of Rock – Legends: the Blur pod

Results: Despite facing a daunting (and comparatively underappreciated) pack of challengers, Queen (perhaps underrated themselves) forged an early lead and romped to an easy win. The numbers: #6 Queen 73%; The Cars 14%; The Jefferson Airplane/Starship 8%; Kate Bush 5%; Suede 0%. Queen moves on to the Great 48.

As the tournament to name the greatest band of all time continues we move to the Budokan region, where our next pod looks to be one of the most wide open we’ve seen yet (granted, our ability to predict has been nil to this point). Heading the group is 12 seed Blur/Damon Albarn; Blur was one of the dominant bands of the BritPop movement and Albarn continues to innovate and impress in a number of other projects.

Have fun with this one. When you’ve made your choice, please register it below. Polls close Monday at midnight.

<br /> <a href=”http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1880091/” mce_href=”http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/1880091/”>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://www.polldaddy.com” mce_href=”http://www.polldaddy.com”>survey</a>)</span><br />

37 replies »

  1. Perhaps I’m just too young to know, but can any of these guys honestly pass as legends? When Rick Springfield has the biggest name recognition, I think there’s a problem. Granted, that problem can be me and my midlin’ music education, but I don’t think so this time around.

    Went with Blur, who don’t deserve to hold the Alman Brothers Band’s collective jock strap.

    • Tom: In short, yes they do.

      Springfield: forget name recognition – some of the greatest artists who ever lived are people most Americans have never heard of. If name rec was the same as greatness, then Britney Spears would be #1 seed. Rick is very well respected in Power Pop circles and has garnered significant critical acclaim in that world (and before you dismiss Power Pop, remember that Pete Townsend coined the term to describe The Who and that The Beatles are regarded as the greatest Power Pop band ever). He’s also been doing very good work for a very long time (he’s still active and has done two great CDs in the last five or six years).

      Blur: That thing I said the other day about how Britain ceased to exist in the early 90s? Right. Everywhere else in the rock world Blur was HUGE and Albarn has since continued doing amazing things like Gorillaz and The Good, the Bad and the Queen.

      Eno: I guess you could argue that he’s more important as a producer and role-player, but his influence and his contributions to successful bands and projects earns him a place in the vote, at the least.

      The Jam/Weller: Are we talking about The Beatles, maybe not. But read up on him and then get back to me with an argument that he doesn’t deserve a slot in the top 170+.

      The Smiths/Morrissey: surely this one doesn’t need explaining?

      The Stone Roses: Literally, they changed the sound of just about everything. I can’t believe that (as I write) they don’t have a vote yet.

      This is why I said this pod is so wide open, though. Aside from The Smiths and Risk there’s not that much name recognition among American fans, and a majority of S&R readers are in the US. However, it’s one of those pods where the more you know, the harder it gets. This is the first pod where I had a hard time making up my mind. I could easily make a case for three of the six.

  2. Wish the Cars had been in this pod then there would have been someone worthy of being voted for.

  3. It’s a little embarrassing when you say things like this. I have nothing bad to say about The Cars, but if you don’t think anybody in this pod is worthy, you’re telling us about you, not them.

  4. I’m with Tom. This is the pod of good, but no legends of rock here. Eno is a legend, to be sure, though his keyboard work is further from rock than Bob Marley. I think I’m going to sit this vote out.

  5. I have to agree, no legends here. Blur may have the second coolest sports arena song ever (We Will Rock You being number one). Rick Springfield may be the biggest name here, although I’ve never heard of him being as respected by musicians as Sam says. Although Eno is very influential, I think he’s known more a producer. The Stone Roses totally stumps me here, I never thought they were any good. I actually kinda hated them, and don’t know many bands that were influenced by them. Paul Weller is not popular enough, in fact I had to google him to refresh my memory. Although I’m not really a fan of The Smiths and Morrissey, I have to vote for them because they/he has the biggest influence on bands and audiences. All in all this pod isn’t my cup of tea, and I know that this tourney isn’t’ exclusive to the US, but up until now most of the bands were big on both sides of the pond.

    • D: You don’t know many bands that were influenced by Stone Roses? Hmmm. There were lots and lots, although our unfamiliarity with British music through the ’90s suggests that nobody here has probably heard of most of them.

  6. Don’t know any bands influence by the Stone Roses? Good grief.

    Rick Springfield is kinda the odd duck here. Well known to 80s fans, I don’t know that he stands artistically with the rest of the choices. I really can’t stand the Smtihs but understand they were a big influence. I never really understood all the buzz around the Jam. I’m going with the Stone Roses, but I tend to prefer The Charlatans UK in that style.

  7. Two points:

    1. Had you put EITHER The Allman Bros. or The Dead in this pod, there would be no contest . Either would run away with the pod. This pod feels rigged to me – and I helped build AND approved these pods!

    2. Given the pod as it is, gotta go with Blur. Oasis got the fan love, but Blur is more important….

    3. Love Springfield, but ….

    4. I suggested Stone Roses. See Sam’s note….He nails it….

    5. Am actually friendly with guys from the Jam Not named Weller. Paul, by all accounts, difficult at times – like all artists….

    6. Eno so important – but in that “shadowy figure” way…

    7. I know The Smiths are beloved and important, but I keep remembering the Beavis and Butthead toon where Beavis is watching the video of Morrissey where he’s writhing around on that rock with his unbuttoned shirt, etc. And Beavis says, “What that guy should do is get up off that rock and get himself a decent shirt and go find a job doing something besides annoying people and feeling sorry for himself….”

  8. “What Is Rock? Crucial Rock Musicians

    Bob Marley, from Kingston, Jam. (via London), personified a new kind of global popular music in the 1970s. Marley and his group, the Wailers, combined sweet soul vocals inspired by Chicago groups such as the Impressions with rock guitar, a reggae beat, and Rastafarian mysticism. Marley’s commercial success established Jamaica as a major source of international talent, leaving a reggae imprint not just on Western rock but also on local music makers in Africa, Asia, and Australia.”

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/506004/rock

  9. I’m still not seeing the Stone Roses as a big influence.

    Oh, and Bob Marley is not rock.

  10. “What does this version of rock’s history—from Presley to Public Enemy—reveal? First, that rock is so broad a musical category that in practice people organize their tastes around more focused genre labels: the young Presley was a rockabilly, the Beatles a pop group, Dylan a folkie, Madonna a disco diva, Marley and the Wailers a reggae act, and Public Enemy rappers. Even Hendrix, the most straightforward rock star on this list, also has a place in the histories of rhythm and blues and jazz. In short, while all these musicians played a significant part in the development of rock, they did so by using different musical instruments and textures, different melodic and rhythmic principles, different approaches to song words and performing conventions.”

  11. There are spectators and participants in music. I’m going to hold the participants view a little higher. As a participant I’ll hold my views a little higher. Since almost every musician I know would not classify Marley as rock, I’m siding with them.

    I’ll do a little home work and check with some people who are in similar bands as these and are around my age (32). I want to know how many of them were heavily influenced by the Stone Roses directly.

    • To all of you here, can I just say that you’re one more hard-ass to please audience? When I start taking flak from the guy who freakin’ HELPED ME, you know I’m on tentative footing….

      Man. Hopefully there will be somebody worthy in the next pod…

  12. Some fantastic rock stars out there tip their hats to Bob…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Palmer_(singer)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/jul/30/u2-rock-star-hypocrisy-activism

    http://caribrock.blogspot.com/2009/02/should-bob-marley-be-national-hero-in.html

    So I think enough participants know their rock.

    …my son plays his rock and loves both his guitars. He has Bob framed on his wall. 🙂

    Robert Palmer…had something to say.

    …and here he is teamed up with the wonderful Reggae band UB40.

  13. “(1945–81). With his band the Wailers, Jamaican singer and composer Bob Marley introduced reggae music to a worldwide audience. His thoughtful, ongoing distillation of early ska, rock steady, and reggae forms blossomed in the 1970s into an electrifying rock-influenced hybrid that made him an international superstar.”

    He legacy is not just a Reggae one…he was bigger than that.

  14. Elaine: I don’t think you get it. No one is questioning Bob Marley’s influence, especially with rock artists. Most people who have been participating here like Bob (myself included). I also like Marty Robbins, Mozart, and Public Enemy. They all influenced me, however the one common factor is that they are all NOT rock, just like Bob Marley.

  15. If we were easy to please, would this have been any fun, Sam?

    As for the name recognition, I completely agree with you. At the same time, I don’t think I’m so ignorant that I have to do this much homework before making an informed vote. By the way, doing homework for a rock ‘n roll tournament feels wrong.

  16. Slammy, you know I like Rick. That’s who I voted for. But I’m pretty sure you and I were the only two people on the planet who bought S/D/A/A (which is sad, because the CD is freakin AWESOME).

    As for the others…Legend kinda implies people KNOW about them. It’s not that these guys aren’t worthy of legend status, it’s just that they are practically unknown in the US. If this blog had a large following in Europe, maybe things would be different. I don’t know. Maybe you should get Whythawk to start pimping your page out there. 🙂

  17. Oh hell, really, there’s still the Marley debate going on?

    He was what he was, and he certainly had a lot of cross-over appeal. But before he gets called rock there would have to be a settled definition of rock. If i’m not mistaken, the Rolling Stones were formed after several members saw Big Bill Broonzy play…does that make Broonzy a rock artist? No, he was a blues artist. Muddy, the Hook, Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson? Blues artists all, but without whom what we call rock probably wouldn’t exist. And that still doesn’t make them rock artists.

    And i’m not arguing that Marley shouldn’t have been included in the tournament. The base definition is so subjective that this tournament couldn’t be without leaving that definition fairly flexible. There have been a lot of bands in here that i wouldn’t call rock, but that’s ok because i’m not in the position to define rock…and i realize that for the these purposes a broad definition is better than a narrow one.

    Regardless, Bob Marley was a reggae musician with significant appeal to rock and pop audiences/musicians. Reggae developed from ska and both find inspiration in N. American rhythm and blues…but if that’s what we’re going on do we then count any W. African music using the pentatonic scale? Sometimes reggae is played on the 2 and the 4 (pretty standard rock and roll) but the emphasis also regularly falls on the 3 with the 1 left open. That’s straight funk, or as George Clinton would say, “up on the down stroke.” Reggae also uses a lot of swing beats…again, not standard rock rhythm.

    From a drummer’s perspective, playing the 1 and the 3 ain’t rock…though it has been employed. Stuart Copland loves him some 1’s and 3’s, laying what is essentially reggae rhythm under otherwise pop/rock structures.

    And let’s face it, Bob was the popular face but the Wailers were formed with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, two men at least as important in Reggae as Bob was. And what about Toots and the Maytals? Reggae is essentially slowed down ska, but i wouldn’t call Toots rock.

    So, sure, we can have Bob in the ToR. But no matter what you say, Elaine, or how many links you post. He was not a “rock” artist, and if you really want to prove it to us, please find a quote from Bob talking about himself as a rock artist.

  18. Mike: So since most Americans wouldn’t know Mozart if his ghost appeared in their showers, then he’s not a legend?

    Darrel and Elaine: I think we understand the arguments. And it’s not one that’s going to get proven. So come on, another subject?

  19. You can’t trap Bob into a purely reggae ghetto. Thankfully the whole frickin’ world of rock realises that so the movers, shakers, players, lovers and THE encyclopaedia of world reknown RECOGNISES that.

    Without checking back I am pretty sure there were some objections to Mr Marley being in this tournament of rock – mission: to find the greatest ROCK band ever.

    Thus far D has not quoted any authority that convinces me that the weight of the ROCK community from top to bottom comes down on the side that he ain’t rock. I do recall however being pointed in the direction of wiki which when stacked up against legitimate authorities doesn’t count for much.

    “Me a Rebel” – a rock quote if ever there was one!

  20. Most American’s might know Mozart’s music, but I bet they know he existed at some point in ancient history. They’d know, however vaguely, that he was a freakin genius. I really doubt you could say the same thing about Stone Roses. Like I said, it’s not that they aren’t worthy. But, for me at least, part of the equation for legend status would be at least a little public awareness.

  21. Ideally, Mike, but we have to understand awareness for what it is. I mean, if The Beatles came along today you’d never have heard of them. So … not great?

    There are no obscure artists in this contest. There are artists that aren’t as well known as others, but if the argument is that “I never heard of Blur,” my answer is “that’s on you.” They were one of the biggest bands in the whole damned world.

  22. …one of my favourite films in recent years to come out of Hollywood featuring one of my all time fave actors and he references Bob. Maybe Bob’s fame will even outlive that of the Beatles. It is tIme that makes the greats truly great. Who could fail to miss the title of the film and the one artist to get his own legend status. Rock on Bob!