Music/Popular Culture

Tournament of Rock – Legends: the Steely Dan pod

Results: Those guys over there waving the white flag? Yeah, those are the Tournament of Rock handicappers. They’ve given up trying to guess how our voters are going to behave in the wake of our second straight major upset. They expected #6 seed Joni Mitchell to have a tough time, but they thought it would come from Alice Cooper or Todd Rundgren. Instead, Joni is dismissed by The Doobie Brothers. The numbers: The Doobie Brothers 33%; #6 Joni Mitchell 30%; Alice Cooper 13%; Todd Rundgren 10%; Motorhead 8%; Rod Stewart 8%.

Our ever-more disorienting quest to name the greatest band in history now moves to the Red Rocks region and one of popular music’s more cerebral tandems, Steely Dan – a quintessential studio band that’s been enjoying significant critical acclaim for some of its recent performances. Given their competition and the results of the last two pods, Messrs. Becker and Fagan perhaps have much to fear….

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

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23 replies »

  1. I don’t think I could ever put the label “greatest rock band” on any of these guys.

    I know a lot of musicians who love Steely Dan, they personally bore me, and it was obvious when they got a Grammy a few years back, it was a make up for their snub early in their careers. I can see them winning here.

    Jesus and Mary Chain have kind of a cult following, and they might not be gig enough.

    Boston’s music doesn’t really age too well.

    Sweet had a few good tunes and are not big enough.

    Los Lobos, although talented are known for a cover tune. They’re more popular in a certain geography like So Cal. I actually saw the Tragically Hip open for them in Hollywood, it was packed. My friend and I along with a hand full of noticeable Canadian actors were the only ones there for the Hip. Then Los Lobos played a free show in Buffalo (twice actually), and Nashville (once) and it was laughable. The four times I’ve accidentally seen them they put me to sleep every time. Also each time they really only got cheers for La Bamba. I bet I’ll see these guys about 5 more times on accident before I die.

    For a second week in a row I’m going with a personal choice. This band some how successfully maintained a good image around the time when rock stations were going Alt. They’re one of those bands that you say “wow they sing that song?” when you see them at a free gig in the summer. Which I missed this year becasue my wife didn’t know their songs, however when I was singing them later on in the night, she said “Wow they sing that song?”. I heard it was a great concert. I actually went with a personal choice and chose the Cult.

  2. Mike: In Darrell’s defense, it’s probably true that Los Lobos aren’t well known past their cover of “La Bamba.” This is a crying shame, of course, as they’re probably the greatest band to emerge from that whole mid-80s moment that gave us Lone Justice, The BoDeans, The Blasters, The Del Fuegos, The Del Lords and Jason & the Scorchers. I can’t speak for D’s live experiences, but the one time I saw them live they were pretty damned good. Not a lot of pyrotechnics, but really engaged with the music.

    If I were criticizing Boston I could probably come up with other things to bitch about… 🙂

  3. “Man, every spring I have to put on some Boston and roll down the windows and drive fast. Keeps me young.”

    Yep, agreed. Forget the calendar… when I hear “More Than a Feeling” blasting out of someone’s rolled-down window at a red light, I know summer’s begun.

    But in the end I voted for Los Lobos, in my opinion the greatest band in America. They have a lengthy catalog brimming with ingenuity, soul and some of the wickedest hooks in rock. If they ever come to your town, pay the money and GO SEE THEM, you will never forget it. It’s not their fault people only know “La Bamba” or confuse them with the more marketable kids in Los Lonely Boys, who are direct rip-offs of LL (though I don’t hate LLB for it). Fans oughta check out Latin Playboys too, their side project. Great, great stuff. Viva LL!

  4. “If they ever come to your town pay the $20-25 and GO SEE THEM”

    Or don’t. You could save money and see them for free at a variety of free live out door events throughout America. You could even buy yourself a few beers to drink the boredom away.

    “in my opinion the greatest band in America”

    Hopefully this is the first and last time I ever hear “Greatest band in America” and “Los Lobos” in the same context.

    I agree that they are uber talented, but I saw them in their element, in a town that is heavily saturated with musicians, in front of a packed house of mostly Latino’s, they were very boring, or at least 90% of the crowd thought they were. I wasn’t expecting a Kiss concert, and LA was certainty a little more livelier then the others, but every time I’ve seen them, they’ve produced basically the same crowd response.

  5. I call sour grapes. I can google “greatest live” (your band here) and get hits. I can see you getting upset if someone who only saw a band once commented on how poor the experience was. After all everyone has an off night, but 4 times is quite enough to for an honest opinion about a bands live performance. In fact I’ve seen them 4 times in 3 uniquely different cities, and each time they were boring. Sorry your taking it so personal, maybe you’re looking at them through rose colored glasses.

    For fun I’m going to go Google “Greatest band ever Creed”

  6. I believe I will hold onto Creed as a write-in vote once a certain Irish musical group shows up.

    Mwuhahahahaha.

    I voted for Boston, but I don’t expect them to advance far, if at all. One kickass album does not a legend make.

  7. I voted for Steely Dan.

    In the last pod I was forced to make the cruel choice of voting between Joni Mitchell and Todd Rundgren. The first is the most important female in rock history in terms of influence (not to mention that CSN formed in her kitchen); the latter is, in my opinion probably the most talented American rocker. Sam set that pod up especially to punish me for having called him out on giving his faves soft pods….But Robert Palmer voters ruined his perfect plans…

    But talent doesn’t seem to matter much to voters – witness the 2000 and 2004 elections. So Steve Winwood, Jeff Beck, Joni and Todd went down to the likes of The Doobies, Rush, and Tom Petty (and it is to my shame that I voted for Petty over Beck).

    In this pod we have one great band (The Dan), one vastly overrated band (Boston) and some very respectable “other interesting” bands. (The Cult, Los Lobos, The Sweet, and Jesus and Mary Chain all fit the following sentence in any history of rock: “Other interesting bands of the period include….”

    Although Los Lobos might get a paragraph because of their integration of Hispanic/Latino music into rock. but there’s this guy named Carlos Santana….

    So. It comes down to Boston and Steely Dan. Here’s how they compare:

    Boston: The first album was a technological wonder. Key words here – TECHNOLOGICAL WONDER. Tom Scholz’s wizardry aside, could they write anything worth listening to after those first arena rock anthems like “More Than a Feeling” and “Long Time”? In your hearts you know that the answer is a resounding NO. They could only repeat themselves…..

    “But they sounded great !” Yes, but the industry caught up and others sounded great (Journey, anyone?) – and the New Wave happened and they sounded – dated.

    Boston, like Steppenwolf before them, was a one trick pony. That’s not saying it wasn’t a hell of a trick – it was.. But it was ONE TRICK….

    Steely Dan set out to be something altogether different from anyone else in this pod. And it made them great. Here’s what I told Bob Lefsetz:

    “Bob. I’ve always thought that the Dan, more than any other artists of the 70’s (in any medium), captured the sadness that settled over us Boomers when we realized we weren’t going to change the world, the government, even ourselves very much.

    “And wouldn’t you agree that Becker and Fagen are arguably American rock’s best songwriting team?

    “‘My Old School’ and ‘Deacon Blues’ always seemed like two sides of the same coin. The first was a statement of confidence, of goodbye to all that. The latter (oblique homage to Wake Forest as it was – perennial losers in the ACC in those days) a melancholy harbinger of the malaise of the Carter years. And to couch it all in a sports reference – how beautifully American….

    “But I have to tell you, their best song, for me, was ‘Dr. Wu’ from KATY LIED:

    I went searching for the song
    You used to sing to me
    Katy lies
    You could see it in her eyes
    But imagine my surprise
    When I saw you

    “Perhaps only Townshend in ‘Who are You?’ gets at such melancholy revelations – and he’s really only talking about himself (well, his side, the artist’s side) of the issue.”

    I don’t see anyone being able to say anything like that about Boston….

  8. One of the guys in Ween has been heard to say, “That was as tight as Steely Dan’s asshole,” and it was clearly meant as a compliment…the veracity of which can’t be denied. But i’ve always had a visceral dislike for them, maybe i’d feel differently if i tried again.

    But i’m pretty disappointed if SD represents the loss of the Boomer cause, i mean that was well less than a decade after the cause burst onto the scene…

    Don’t blame me for Joni and Todd, i voted for Motorhead.

  9. Hey, Darrell brought up the “C” band, not me. I was going to use Rick Astley, but I figured Creed would get more collective goats.

  10. The pod got posted to a board with lots of LL fans, looks like. At the same time, it didn’t get posted to a board with lots of SD fans.

    I think SD deserves the win, but at the same time Los Lobos are a great band. This upset would bother me less than a couple we’ve had recently.

  11. So Sheehan posts this to a board to rig the election for his favorite band….

    Democracy in action….ow, ow, I can’t get my tongue out of my cheek…ow….

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