Music/Popular Culture

Tournament of Rock – Legends: the Elvis Costello pod

Results: Top-seeded U2 looked poised to be our highest-ranked upset victim yet as of last night, but then put on a strong finishing kick to win one of the strongest pods we’ve seen yet. The numbers: #1 U2 56%; #6 Queen 37%; #12 Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne 8%. U2 advances to the Sweet 16.

Our search for the greatest band of all time now moves to the Hollywood Bowl region and an artist who walked away from the music that had made him one of the biggest names in the world to follow his own curious muse.

Listen, think, vote. Polls close tomorrow.

<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=””>poll</a&gt;)</span><br />

21 replies »

  1. I’m going to surprise even myself and vote for The Ramones. As great as Costello is, many of his greatest achievements have come in genres other than rock. So, although I think he’s one of the best musical artists of the last 40 years, I have to give this round to the guys who invented punk rock.

    • I’m about as torn as I have been at any point in the ToR. I can make a helluva case for either EC or The Ramones. I like The Ramones a lot more (at least, more than Elvis’s post-New Wave output), but that’s beside the point.

      I’m going to have to think some more.

  2. I can’t believe the drivel of U2 beat out Queen and Sabbath. Disgusting.

    This is one of the hardest ones so far. No clear winner jumps out at me. I had to go with The Ramones based strictly on familiarity.

  3. Ramones losing to Costello, if it happens, is not robbery. Hell, I’d be okay if The Beatles lost to Costello. “What’s So Fun” is as great a straight-up rocker as anything the Beatles ever did. Man’s been cranking out a wonderful cornucopia of clever, hard, soft, weird, ambitious, half-assed, kick-ass, loud, obnoxious, brooding, brutal, vital, melancholic, irate, funny, mind-numbingly brilliant music for over 30 years now and counting. Again, I love the Ramones, and I bet EC does too…

    And yeah, Queen was robbed by that odd last-minute surge. 😉 ;-P

  4. This is a tough pod for me.

    Should I vote for a personal favorite of mine, Elvis Costello, one of the five best songwriters in rock?

    Or should I vote for The Ramones – who made punk possible? Hell, who are we kidding? They invented punk as most of us think of it….(with all due respects to Iggy Pop…)

    I enjoy ZZ Top and their Southern boogie commitment, but I don’t think I find them a compelling candidate in this pod.

    I have said in other pod comments that I often choose to privilege songwriting over other elements (including instrumental prowess, for those of you who privilege that – I’ve played in bands both amateur and professional for over 40 years, and I have what I believe is strong anecdotal evidence that virtuoso musicians are often not particularly good, much less great, songwriters – while great songwriters I know are often competent, but not virtuoso musicians – perhaps the best example of this latter phenomenon is another of our 5 greatest songwriters, Bob Dylan).

    Of course musical virtuosity is not really an element in these deliberations.

    But The Ramones are responsible for some fine songwriting themselves – “The KKK Took My Baby Away,” “Bonzo Goes to Bittburg,” and my personal favorite, “I Wanna Be Sedated.”

    Elvis offers, of course, from roughly the same period, “Less Than Zero,” “Radio, Radio,” and my personal favorite, “Accidents Will Happen” – which, with all due respect to Joey, Johnny, and company is better songwriting.

    And Elvis is a founding member of The New Wave – the wonderful musical movement that built on the punk revolution and gave us such talents as Costello, Graham Parker, and Joe Jackson….

    With some ambivalence, I vote for Elvis Costello….

  5. I haven’t really been paying attention, but didn’t it seem like the voting ended for the last pod rather quickly?

  6. Voting ends whenever I can get to things in the morning. It has ended earlier and later. If you’re worried about it affecting the results, U2 had caught and passed Queen and it looked like the only result of holding it open would be to widen the gap.

    So yeah, I have a job and work things in when I can.

  7. JFK, 9/11, U2 all of a sudden getting the lead and the polls close. Seems like all inside jobs to me.

  8. Yup. Wait until the finals when I post U2 vs The Beatles, immediately vote for U2, then close the polls giving U2 a 100%-0% landslide victory.

    Hamid Karzai wishes he were me.

  9. “Wait until the finals when I post U2 vs The Beatles, immediately vote for U2, then close the polls giving U2 a 100%-0% landslide victory”

    Hm. I was expecting a write-in, Don Dixon, to win in a shocking squeaker. 😉

  10. Actually Ronnie Spector should be ahead of both EC and the Ramones and a bunch of other greats. They’ve all copied her “oh, oh, oh, oh” singing style many times. 🙂

  11. I’ll vote for Mojo Nixon!

    As to U2 and Queen, I was going to say something about how U2 writes about deep meaningful things, not Fat Bottom Girls, but I don’t find it necessary to dog one great to build up another.

  12. hey. FBG was deep, man.

    Hey I was just a skinny lad
    Never knew no good from bad
    But I knew life before I left my nursery
    Left alone with big fat fanny
    She was such a naughty nanny
    Heap big woman you made a bad boy out of me