Music/Popular Culture

Tournament of Rock – Legends: The Who pod

It’s been a pretty good week for the top seeds. Despite the upset threat posed by a couple of exceptional challengers, Zep scores early and often to post a decisive win. The numbers: #1 Led Zeppelin 69%; #6 Eric Clapton 25%; #12 Rush 6%. Led Zeppelin advances to the Sweet 16.

Our quest for the greatest band of all time now heads over to the Hollywood Bowl region for our second straight smash-mouth smackdown. Your host: the band that put the “power” into “power pop.”

If you would, turn it up to 11, then cast your vote. Polls close Monday.

<br /> <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 software</a>)</span><br />

29 replies »

  1. That was easy. I quickly scanned to see if either the Beatles or Pink Floyd were in the pod. Once verified that they were not, it was over.

  2. @Sam: What do you mean, The Who is in the same pod as either Beatles, Zep or Pink Floyd?

    @ Mike – Have you ever heard of a band called The Rolling Stones? They’re going to be vote getters. And they’ll give Zep, Floyd (ugh), and even The Fabs a run. And Keith Richards, considering all the great rock icons, even Lennon, may be the apotheosis of what a rock star really is. Can you honestly say that he really gives – or has ever given – a shit what you, I, or whatever gods may be think of him? And is that not exactly what a rock star is supposed to be?

    That said, The Who are the greatest live rock band. Period. End of sentence. Even considering AC/DC.

    So what do we privilege – whether the band can make great records – like The Beatles or Pink Floyd?

    Or the band that can make your ears bleed and make you leave the venue as exhausted and exhilarated as the band?

    If the latter is your thing, then The Who is your band.

    And in this pod, they’re certainly mine….

  3. @Sam: What do you mean, The Who is in the same pod as either Beatles, Zep or Pink Floyd?

    Mike wanted those as the Final 4. Can’t happen, because one of them is the top seed in the same region as The Who. If everything holds to form they’d meet in the semis.

  4. @Jim: i can’t speak for others, but despite my self-loathing, i’d be hard pressed to vote for the stones over fiction 8. sweet shit, i can’t think of a band of more overrated pieces of amphibian trash. i like a few of their songs, but hell, i also like starland vocal band’s “afternoon delight”. my standards are so low, they call me “speed bump”.

    there are a lot of folks who don’t give a rat’s ass what i think of them. while i salute that, it doesn’t make them rock stars. fuck the stones.

  5. @fikshun and Mike – your responses interest me deeply – since it’s a given that blues rock exists because of The Stones, they’re obviously very important – and almost every “best of” list shows “Satisfaction” the love as best single of all time (I don’t agree, btw – it’s “She Loves You” – but you both know me well enough to know it would be a song by The Fabs) – and you’re both great examples of thoughtful Xers – I’d really like to know why you dislike the Stones so much – i.e., fikshun, why do you claim they’re overrated (I respectfully disagree) and Mike, (love the oblique reference to “Sweet Virginia” from Exile), could you be little more specific about why you find them contemptible? I can make some educated guesses, but I’d rather have your reflections….

    I’m working on returning to posting at S&R with a series of pieces titled “Music is Life” and this Gen X distaste for The Stones (which I’ve discovered anecdotally is widespread) is just the sort of thing I’d like to write about. Boomers, as you know, revere the Glimmer Twins and Co. and Xers just – don’t, to put it mildly.

    So any thoughts you’d be willing to share would be great to have….

    • I’m interested, too, because I’ve never noticed any Xer distaste toward the Stones. If anything, it’s always seemed to me that m-m-m-my generation appreciated them more than The Beatles.

  6. Jim, as a Boomer, I have to say that I never liked “Satisfaction” even when it was playing on AM radio about 458 times per day. Never did understand the fascination with that song.

    As for the Stones, I think they were a good band, and I will readily cop to a plea of knowing little about music theory, history, and the like, so they may be more important than I know. That they were BIG and popular is without question, and that they have very long longevity is also obvious. To my very uneducated ear, though, their music always seemed simplistic and maybe just a bit … ummm … searching for a word … “predictable” is close, I guess. Hey, I have danced wildly many nights to “Suffragette City,” and screamed “Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma’am!” at the top of my lungs while the girl dancing with me was screaming the same thing, and I have blessed the Stones for that song. There are many of their songs that I enjoy. I just don’t find the music all that interesting.

  7. It was explained to me once that during the British Invasion the Beatles were for good boys and girls and the Stones were for bad boys and girls.

    I could take or leave both of the original monsters of rock, but i much prefer the Stones to the Fabs…but i prefer my blues straight, no chaser of pop to wash it down. (And so in both cases would greatly prefer to listen to Muddy, Hooker or Howlin’ Wolf than their British counterparts.)

  8. If I had to choose between the Beatles and the Stones, I’d definitely say that I prefer the Stones. But neither are my favorite by a long shot. I’d much rather listen to Bruce Springsteen, Big Head Todd, Dave Matthews, Peter Gabriel, and many others before I listened to either the Beatles or the Stones these days.

    Based exclusively on personal preference, not on music history or influence.

  9. Jim-

    I think that the younger generation’s distaste for the so called ‘greats’ might have something to do with the fact that they’ve all kind of been shoved down our collective throats our entire lives. Sure, the big three (Zep, the Stones, the Beatles) were comprised of talented musicans and they were influential and popular and everyone went nuts for em, but its pop music representative of an entire generation (I know, I know, my generation’s idea of pop music is significantly worse).

    BUT, the fact remains that you can’t swing a dead cat without hearing one of the big three on the radio or on some stupid car commercial on the TV, and we’ve been dealing with it for our entire lives.

    • Well, to Josh’s point, the ToR has so far proven conclusively that “great” means “I heard it on my Classic Rock station.” If it happened since 1980, it can’t possibly be great.

      Of course, this kinda dovetails with our pervasive mythologizing of all things Boomer, doesn’t it?

  10. Sam,

    Yep. You’re right. Bowie. Sure sounds like the Stones, though, to me. So, I guess I don’t have as much reason to like the Stones as I thought.

  11. “I’m working on returning to posting at S&R with a series of pieces titled “Music is Life” ”

    🙂 🙂 the chorus!

  12. Thanks for all the feedback on the Stones. Hope to hear from Mike and fikshun, too, when they have a moment.

    Now for a few responses/provocations:

    Josh – Your “big three” don’t resonate with me at all. Rock has a long history now and this tourney covers from the Brit Invasion to the present – I subscribe to a “band of record” hypothesis/theory that posits that every decade from the 60’s to the 00’s has its own band/artist of record.

    Here’s my “Big 5” based on the above mentioned consideration: Beatles (60’s); Led Zeppelin (70’s); U2 (80’s); Nirvana (90’s); Radiohead/Coldplay (00’s). I understand there’s overlap here (LZ began its career in the 60’s, Radiohead its career in the 90’s, etc.).

    @Sam: Classic rock arose as a format in response to Boomer complaints that “their music” was being forgotten. As you know, in the literary world we call this unintentional irony. As for your contention about Xers and the Stones, I’ve felt for a while now that Xers have grown just a tad past snarky with the Glimmer Twins’ quarter century dash for cash. (This is called, as you know, intentional irony).

    @Lex: You have no idea how pleased Andrew Loog Oldham would be that you were taught this myth that he created to position the Stones vis a vis The Beatles as if it were truth. As you well know, this is how we get stuff like resurrection tales grafted onto the hagiographies of radical rabbis to cite one example….

    JS: “Satisfaction” was and is a great song – tis a shame it got pounded into everyone ad nauseum so that its very real power (especially in its time) is now lost to us. And while Sam has noted your mistaken ascription of “Suffragette City,” its context is Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” album, an album based on a mythic rock figure very like a certain Mr. Jagger. So maybe there’s a Jungian thing going on there….

  13. Jim,

    Well, you obviously like the song, but I don’t. I you want to state the worth of the song as though it’s a scientific fact, please help yourself, but I don’t have to accept it just because you say it’s so, do I? The first time I heard it, I was a kid in the 60s. I didn’t like it then and was stunned when it got so popular. So shoot me. I disagree with you.


  14. I got on here to say that I dug through my vinyl and listening to “Live at Leeds” because of someone’s comment above. How many pictures came with that album? I only have two. It’s a great live album, no doubt about it. Voted for the Who.

    As to the Stones, I’m a GenXer and I love them. I’m figuring they’ll be one of my top 5. Though I think they should have quit after “Tattoo You” or the one after that. The first time I heard “Satisfaction” was one of my dad’s compilation albums. It knocked me out!

    Though I must say that Classic Rock is heavily represented, but I’m not sure what to do about that.

  15. I don’t know, years ago I tried to make a 90 min tape from my Who albums and was surprised to discover that except for Quadrophenia, and Tommy (which I loathe), they only had one album worth of material, the best of it on Who By Numbers, not enough to fill a 90 minute tape.

    I’m going to have to go with AC/DC on this one.

  16. Jim, actually, I like the Stones… a lot. “Gimme Shelter” is on my short list of greatest rock songs ever. And they have many, many other gems I totally dig (“Get Off of My Cloud,” “Paint It Black,” “Start Me Up,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Tumbling Dice,” etc.). I respect their influence too, I know it’s enormous and it extends beyond music. I just like Zep, Floyd, the Who and the Fab Four more.

  17. Thanks, Mike. I agree with you about “Gimme Shelter” – heck, I agree with you on all those choices. And while I’d put the Stones ahead of both Floyd (whom I, as you probably know, don’t care for but grudgingly respect) and Zep (whom I do like), I wouldn’t put them ahead of The Who. My dream final four would be Fabs, Who, Stones (or my “holy trinity” as Sam calls them) and Zep/Dylan/Clash (I really ought to make up my mind).

  18. You know what’s fascinating, Jim? Three of these great bands we’re discussing have songs they recorded with a female vocalist which stand among their best work.

    Stones: “Gimme Shelter” (Merry Clayton)
    Zep: “The Battle of Evermore” (Sandy Denny)
    Floyd: “The Great Gig in the Sky” (Clare Torry)

    You could even count Queensrÿche in this: Pamela Moore shares the vocals with Geoff Tate on one of the best tracks of the band’s masterpiece, Operation: Mindcrime: “Suite Sister Mary.”

    I just noticed that each of the four female singers I listed have a double letter in their names (RR, NN, OO, RR). Spells RORNRORN. Which must mean something.