Music/Popular Culture

Tournament of Rock – Legends: the Van Morrison pod

The results: Three incredible competitors, three worthy showings. The Boss surges to an early lead and never looks back. The numbers: #2 Bruce Springsteen/E Street Band 50%; #10 Tom Petty/Heartbreakers 33%; #7 Dire Straits/Mark Knopfler 18%. Springsteen advances to the Sweet 16.

Our search for the greatest band of all time now slides over to the wickedly tough Fillmore region, where two exceptionally talented prelim pod winners find themselves matched up against the man from Belfast.

Listen, vote, comment. Polls close Friday morning.

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

12 replies »

  1. Went with Santana for bringing in Latin flavors to rock, though I won’t be sad if Van Morrison wins. Peter Gabriel is outclassed here, IMNSHO.

  2. A reminder – Genesis was entered separately, so this is more about Gabriel solo. That said, and although I voted for Van, I can’t imagine using the term “outclassed” to describe PG, no matter WHO he was up against. Are there artists who have done more, yes. But “outclassed” is way too much word to describe the difference….

  3. I’m having a tough time with this one. As much as I like PG and as much as I listen to his music the most of the three, I actually think that other two are better than PG.

    Maybe I bought the one crappy Genesis album with PG still involved, but I found it unlistenable. So to me, PG’s work with Genesis actually detracts from his legacy instead of enhancing it. That said, there are a number of bands that I used to love when I was younger that I just can’t listen to any more, and vice versa. If I listened to PG’s work with Genesis now, I might feel differently.

    But that’s it. Clearly Sam and Jim think that VM is bigger/better than Santana (#3 seed vs. non-seeded), but I don’t understand why. Maybe one or both of them would care to explain? It might help me with my own Van Morrison vs. Santana voting decision.

  4. In a career spanning over 40 years Morrison has produced (by AMG’s reckoning) something like 19 records that are 4 stars or better. (I’d call that number conservative, because it has HYMNS TO THE SILENCE at 3 1/2, and that’s at least a star light by my standards.) The same source credits Santana with 12 4+ star efforts.

    If there’s a credible argument about VM here, it’s that he was seeded too LOW. His range (he simply mastered everything from blues to soul to jazz to rock), his longevity, the fact that he has not only been around for a long time but has been relevant and VITAL perhaps longer than any artist in history, all of this matters. A LOT.

    Carlos has been good for a long time, too, but if you’re of the opinion that latter debacles can tarnish earlier excellence (and I know some people here certainly are in this camp) then it’s hard not to hold the naked, label-whoring sell-out that was SUPERNATURAL against him (even if pieces of it worked okay).

    I hate to get into the business of disparaging legends – and Santana is absolutely that – so let’s just say that as great as he has been, Morrison has been greater.

  5. Also, the higher seed doesn’t mean that Jim and I think X is better than Y. As noted, we also pay a lot of attention to what other critics think (even if we think they’re a little daft in spots). There are bands in this tourney ranked way higher than either of us believe makes sense, in deference to certain critical consensus. Trust me, in the next couple of pods you’re going to see a band seeded #4 that neither of us would probably have in our personal top 50s.

  6. I had to do a double take with VM being ranked so high as well, becasue I usually associate him with the few commercial hits he’s had. However VM is all over the place, and Sam is correct in saying that he has mastered many forms of music. He surrounds himself with fabulous talent and critics as well as musicians take notice. One of my friends (a musician who I hold in the highest regard when it comes to all things music) basically schooled me in how truly awesome VM is. I don’t have a problem with VM being up here. Both VM and PG are very similar career wise now. They both had enough commercial success which affords them the luxury to do what ever the F they want now.

    On a side not, I’d love to see how many people who visit S&R click on the Sarah Palin 160×600 ad unit that is running right now.

  7. Santana is great. Gabriel is great. Van Morrison is simply the greatest in this pod. I will say unequivocally that Van is the only solo artist in this tournament on a par with Bob Dylan.

    Longevity, sterling recordings, breadth of musical work – hell, Van is the benchmark for greatness as a rock artist.

    One other thing: Sam is absolutely right about “Hymns to the Silence” – it’s a freakin’ masterpiece. 31/2 stars my ass…it deserves 5….

  8. If you want to PG with Genesis, he’d be even lower. How can you make it through an entire song? It’s painful to listen to (yes I know which version of Genesis I’m talking about). I like a lot of PG’s solo work, but I wouldn’t put him in the same company as VM or Santana. And I knew the tern “outclassed” would get some ire.