first let me preface my latest list with my criteria for being included in the infamous “top ten greatest rockstars” of all time. the members of this esteemed club have to have a rare combination of qualities: firstly talent, followed by a nihilistic approach to drugs and life that would make any of us regular folk quake in our respective boots. or, for some, a position on the spectrum of sanity thats leads to incredible creativity but also to a seriously truncated life due to severe depression mixed with utter recklessness. one other thing: i really tried to get some women on this list but i couldn’t come up with any and i’m not putting janis joplin on here just because she died. i thought of madonna but although she is a superstar of immense proportions she seems to be almost more of a business model than a rockstar. i’m not slagging her because i like her but she’s not ……dangerous enough for me.
let the “soft parade” begin…
1. Jim Morrison
was there anything that morrison lacked? the epitome of rock stardom, perfect symmetrical chiselled features, insanely cool, leather pants and pirate shirts, a big beautiful bellicose baritone of a voice, unparalleled charisma and a wild side of pure unfettered freedom that unfortunately led to a very short career and an early death. a creative visionary who led the doors, which could go down as the quirkiest “big band” of all time. if you listen to the instrumentation and their very peculiar songwriting style it almost sounded as if “the carnival was in town”. yet they could be the “pound for pound” choice for bands with the most hits in ratio to their short career. they were only around for a few years but they contributed so much to our musical landscape.
as much of a creative collaborative force as the doors were, it was morrison that made them cool. he was also a sex god for the ages, and must have enjoyed his short time here immensely what with the freewheeling, free lovin 60’s in full flight.
a drug and alcohol user of copious amounts which will certainly become a common thread throughout this list, james douglas morrison flamed out in a bathtub in paris at the tender age of 27.
truly one of the most iconic front men to ever pick up a mike, a pure pagan, the lizard king will never be forgotten. long live the king!
essential listening: debut album, LA woman, strange days (the doors)
my second foray into the blogosphere…to re-iterate, if you didn’t see my last list these picks are personal and subjective, although i also happen to be right. please send in your comments and your “i can’t believe u didn’t pick ???” and your “what the f’s” along as well so i can destroy them. in all seriousness though i had fun coming up with this list and it got me listening to some great music that i haven’t heard in a long time.
here are my “top ten guitarists”:
1. jimmy page
a legend, an icon, a musical god…what more can be said about james patrick page. as the founder and lead architect of the greatest band of all time, jimmy has cemented his place in history. generations decades from now will still be listening to his music and will continue to be just as gobsmacked as i was when i heard my first led zep track. a friend of mine said a long time ago: “the rolling stones are my favourite band, but if i had to genetically create the ultimate rock band it would be led zeppelin”. i know what he meant. each member of that band defined their respective roles and instruments for the hordes of bands to follow. the man who harnessed all that energy and laid out the blueprint for all this to happen was page.
as a young man cutting his teeth in the london session scene page performed on tracks for the who, the kinks, and donovan. in fact one of my favourite jimmy moments isn’t even a part of zep’s canon, it’s the first three notes he plays in joe cocker’s version of “with a little help from my friends”. he hangs onto to those notes like his life depended on it which truly showcases his incredible feel and passion for the instrument. jimmy had it all — smoking chops, amazing tones, a veritable riff machine, he was badass cool, wore great clothes, the dude even had better hair than everybody else. on the short list for the “greatest rock star of all time” title (yet again, another list), pagey was also a really debaucherous fellow which is how i like my rockstars. ahhh the stories he could tell. anyway i chose jimmy for the number one spot because i cant think of anybody else that fits all of my “personal criteria” whereas jimmy nails it. one aspect of page’s immense talent that seems to be undervalued is his revolutionary production chops. listen to any album recorded in the 60’s then put on zep 1. no comparison, sonically nothing had sounded like that before, nothing.
like i said the guy had it all (just stay away from the mid-late 70’s bootleg stuff, not good. let’s just he had some issues with drugs at the time). jimmy, like beethoven, is a genius and his music will be around for as long. i’ll bet some of you thought that another “jimi” would be in this spot. sorry.
essential listening: really?
christian’s top 10 list, no not a christian top 10…you get it.
well where on earth do i go for my very first top 10, hmmmm how about……drummers (surprise)!
let me quantify my choices by saying that these are the dudes (sorry no girls on this list) that impacted me the most. here’s 1 thru 10 with my reasons why:
1. john henry bonham
let me start by saying i love this guy so much i named my first born after him. bonzo’s feel, power and tone were just unmatched by anybody in the game. i have never heard another drummer (although many have tried) capture his extraordinary touch on the drums. an absolute natural in the truest sense of the word. zep would have been a completely different animal without their anchor, the man also known as “the beast” — but that’s a moniker referring to another aspect of john that i will address in another of my planned top 10’s. i recently saw a keef richards clip on youtube in which they asked him about led zeppelin, and he said “they were aptly named, they never quite got off the ground to me. bonham just too heavy handed, let me just say that led zeppelin was jimmy page” (more on this on yet another upcoming list). silly keef and i do love you, and everybody is entitled to their opinion, but to slag off — and i will go on the record here and say “the greatest rock drummer of all time” — is just ridiculous. to sum up bonzo: the quintessential rock drummer that oddly learned to play drums by listening to soul drummers.
essential listening: anything he ever played on