Music/Popular Culture

Tournament of Rock – Legends: The Rolling Stones vs David Bowie

Results: We’re stunned. In perhaps the biggest upset so far, The Police led virtually wire to wire (although the margin was never more than a few votes) and dismissed the man who invented folk rock. The numbers: #4 The Police 55%; #1 Bob Dylan 45%. The Police advance to the Great Eight. Dizzamn.

Up next, our search for the greatest band of all time stays in the Budokan region for a throwdown between two of the most influential acts in history. Ought to be fun.

#2 The Rolling Stones: Listen #3 David Bowie: Listen

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

Polls close Wednesday morning.

The updated bracket looks like this:

Image credit: CRFranke and Raymond Pronk.

10 replies »

  1. I haven’t voted yet. I’m thinking about the respective influences here, and in an odd way. Bowie’s shadow lengthens with time – we’ve known he was influential, but it’s nearly impossible to imagine so much of what’s great about music today without him.

    Now, The Stones are hardly without their influence. But two things keep tugging at me. First, The Stones haven’t done anything much since 1978 (or, depending on your perspective, 1980 or 1981) that has helped their legacy. On the contrary – some have argued, persuasively, that had they should have hung up their spurs around the time Reagan took office.

    Second, there’s the nagging problem of The Faces. It goes like this. Just about every time I can put my finger on a band that’s been influenced by The Stones, that band also seems to owe its soul to The Faces (call this the Black Crowes phenomenon, if you will). And sometimes I find myself asking what difference it would make if you hadn’t had Mick & Keith & Co. as long as you’d had The Faces.

    This may be unfair, and I certainly don’t want to diminish The Stones. I’m just trying to evaluate them vs Bowie according to a criterion that matters a lot to me, and I’m not sure who his version of The Faces would be in this equation. Not T Rex. Not Mott, although in the absence of Bowie maybe Mott would have been bigger? Hell – we can speculate on this all night.

    In any case, I think RS vs Bowie is a tougher argument than it may have been 20 years ago….

  2. I think the biggest thing that will hold Bowie back is that he has so many songs that people don’t realize are his. Or, this is what I find in talking to people about music. I also remember when I made the connection of Bowie to some of my favorite songs.

  3. I voted for The Rolling Stones.

    Sam’s argument for Bowie is a sound one, and I don’t deny the Thin White Duke’s influence.

    But his argument against The Rolling Stones is spurious. Who, Sam, do you think influenced The Faces to become – The Faces?

    Blame it on The Stones, as the Kristofferson song says….

  4. There’s a lot about the Stones I never liked–their flagrant stealing in particular, and that ridiculous attitude. And maybe they should have packed it in after Mick Taylor left. Still, that’s still nearly two decades of great music, and some awfully good songwriting. And their influence is still with us, whereas the Faces are just another band, sorry. Did Bowie have even a decade of great music-making before he succumbed to self-parody? How about (cough) The Police? And once again I have to raise the point that just because someone had influence, that doesn’t make it a good thing. I’ve always found Bowie hugely over-rated, and the fact that there’s a lot of music out there that’s been influenced by him is not something I’m inclined to celebrate. And yes, I am an old grump.

  5. Though Rolling Stones are more important, I went with Bowie, just ’cause his music was more important to me personally.

  6. This one took me a long time to figure out, but finally went with Bowie. I think his music has stood the test of time better than the Stones’ music has. But even so, it was like a 6.1 in one hand, 0.4917 of a dozen in the other.

    And I was just reminded of something – Bowie’s song “Ricochet” had, and continues to have, a profound influence on my life.

    “For who can bear to be forgotten” indeed.