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Top 5 Greatest Bands Ever

The Beatles

The first musical bands originated in New Orleans among black musicians who have traditionally been the innovators. The first jazz record ever recorded was by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1917, and of course they were white because racism always rears its ugly head to hold black people back. But during the Roaring 20's, young white people couldn't resist the dance beat laid down by the black jazz bands. Fletcher Henderson, a black man, became the first band leader to achieve national fame possibly because he featured Louis Armstrong on trumpet. Duke Ellington, a classicly trained musician, brought a level of style and sophistication to jazz that hadn't been seen before. But it wasn't until 1935 that bands with a "swing beat" achieved national attention due to Benny Goodman who I think was the best clarinet player ever to blow air into that instrument. Benny also had the good sense and taste to bring the first great drummer, Gene Krupa, into his band.

When rock and roll exploded into consciousness during the early 1950's, black musicians like Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Smokey Robinson pioneered the way, but a white DJ named Alan Freed is believed to have coined the term "rock and roll". The first real rock and roll record was "Shake, Rattle and Roll", written by Jesse Stone who was black and recorded by Big Joe Turner who was also black but it wasn't a hit. The first big hit rock and roll record was "Rock Around the Clock" written by James Meyers and Max Freeman of obvious jasmin live ancestry, and that one catapulted Bill Haley and his Caucasian Comets to stardom. During the 1950's and early 60's, there were countless "do wop" groups, rock groups, singers and songwriters but until The Beatles hit the charts, there had been very few bands which contained talented songwriters. The vast majority of jasminlive jazz and rock bands recorded songs written by songwriters who were not performers, with occasional exceptions like Duke Ellington and Buddy Holly. As time goes on, it's increasingly clear that Lennon/McCartney songs are brilliant classics which will never be forgotten. Now here's why The Beatles are the most creative band of all time:


As I sit here writing this at the keyboard of my computer facing the unique and colorful Beatles poster in my bedroom, I'm aware that I have been directly and indirectly inspired by John Lennon's music as well as by the way he lived his life offstage. Squarely in front of me is a full color poster of all four Beatles standing in a heavenly-like flower garden at about the time of the Abbey Road album. Paul is angelic in his pink suit with a white laced shirt. John is enigmatic peering out from the background. George is charismatic staring directly into the camera from the lower right. Ringo is on the left with a stylish blue suit and his pink ruffled shirt. I always wished I could dress like those guys but obviously there's a bit of a problem with a money differential there. Surrounding this gorgeous poster which I have never seen elsewhere are my 45 speed original Beatles hit records, including I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, Please Please Me, Twist and Shout, Can't Buy Me Love, She's A Woman, Yesterday, and of course, Hey Jude. And surrounding all that is a chain of 1-1/2" long orange flicker flame lights which are the most beautiful and unique Christmas lights I've ever seen. I chose to decorate the wall directly in front of my work station this way because, as I've written elsewhere on this site several times, the Beatles were my major musical influence and having them on the wall in front of me inspires me to write web pages like this one. I was also among the millions of people who were inspired by how The Beatles were actually living their off stage lives. The Beatles' music creatively stimulated millions of people to change the way they were living, and The Beatles behavior encouraged people to have fun by trying new life style experiences. That's what I call a perfect example of FORM = CONTENT. In this case it means that the creatively and masterfully varied music The Beatles were producing (form) embodied the real life styles which each of the four Beatles were living (content), together as a band as well as separately as unique individuals.


This should be self-evident, but just because Paul McCartney has the title of the most popular songwriter in history doesn't necessarily make him the best songwriter in history. The qualities which do make both Paul and John the best songwriters in history go beyond writing the greatest number of catchy classic songs. "Catchy" means that their melodies and lyrics are instantly memorable. "Classic" means that they stand the test of time. But both Paul and John wrote very sophisticated melodies that moved beyond the simple groups of 2, 4 and 8 patterned phrases used by almost all other songwriters. John and Paul's melodies soared, floated, cascaded, dived and peaked with true dynamics, naturally following the syllabic lyric patterns - but not always. Sometimes the melodic and lyric patterns were independent of each other, almost counterpoint in nature, and as a songwriter, they never ceased to astonish me with their brilliance and originality. In the beginning, their lyrics were simple and their songs were simple love songs. But they soon began exploring new territory by writing about subjects that hadn't been covered before. Inspired by Bob Dylan, they wrote true poetry with feeling and depth, using evocative and unusual words. Rubber Soul marked the beginning of their evolution as mature songwriters, Revolver was a break-out album, and Sergeant Pepper was an historic landmark album in terms of new and innovative songwriting as well as production. Every song they wrote was significantly different from the last one even though each song had their unmistakable sound.

Most songwriters are only average players on their instruments, but John and Paul are both sophisticated guitarists who were able to integrate their playing into their songs and even into their song structure so that the "licks" they played became as catchy a part of their songs as the choruses and verses. Blackbird and Dear Prudence are only two examples of songs which couldn't possibly be written by any other songwriter because of the guitar playing which forms an integral part of the song structure. In similar fashion, Lady Madonna is the best example of a great song which derives from the unique and beautiful bass part which only Paul could possibly have created.

Average songwriters achieve the catchy quality by repeating a phrase endlessly or by beating a chorus to death. John and Paul found countless ways to be memorable without ever overly repeating something. The only time they repeated something over and over again for a long time was in Hey Jude, and what they chose to repeat is so gorgeous that one can only wish they had never ended the song. The Beatles were my biggest musical influence and I used to think, "If I could write just one song that's as good as John and Paul's worst song, I'd be happy." People tell me I accomplished that goal and they say one good example is John is Alive, which is my sincere tribute to Sir Lennon.


Even Ringo could sing when he got a little help from his friends who lived in the yellow submarine. But to say that Paul and John are two of the best singers in rock and roll is to state the obvious. Combining John, Paul and George created the best harmony vocals the world has ever experienced. Even their two part harmonies were unusual, catching us all by surprise on their first hit record with the fast harmony melisma in the chorus of I Want to Hold Your Hand. John had a knack of placing a unique low harmony line underneath Paul's high melody line so as to form a second melody which created unusual harmony effects. He did that right from the beginning in the verses of She Loves You. Both Paul and John could blast out screaming rock and roll (i.e. Long Tall Sally and Twist and Shout), and both could break our hearts with touching, deep feeling ballads (i.e. Yesterday and Julia). There seems to be no end to their emotional vocal range, and John even explored the heights of vocal psychedelia in songs like She Said (Revolver) and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.


Paul brought a new style of melodic playing to the bass guitar, reaching a new high of creativity on Sergeant Pepper with a level of sophistication never heard before. Many other musicians besides me recognize Paul as being one of the best bass guitar players ever. George is underrated as a lead guitarist by people with average or below average musical knowledge or ability, but most guitarists (including Eric Clapton) know better. George's strength is in melody, pure and simple. It would be difficult to find a George Harrison lead which is not melodic, and each of his leads has a strong beginning, a stronger middle and a well defined ending. In fact, that's Eric's definition of what makes a good guitar lead. George continually developed new guitar sounds for each Beatles song. John and Paul are also excellent guitarists and both recorded great leads as well as innovative rhythm tracks. All three of the Beatles guitarists may lack showy technical fireworks but they make that definition of guitar mastery irrelevant by overwhelming the senses with creativity, style, and pure melody. The exact same thing can be said about John and Paul's keyboard playing. Ringo may be underrated as a drummer by the public but he is not underrated by other professional drummers. Ringo mastered the art of drum sounds. No drummer has ever recorded so many different sounds on so many different sounding records. Ringo invented a new style of slow drum playing, epitomized on A Day in the Life and Strawberry Fields Forever. John said many times, "Ringo has the best back beat in the business" and the successful studio drummers understand why John was correct.


A good definition of charisma needs to include "an unusual ability to influence people and arouse devotion" and "a personal attractiveness which enables a person to influence others". No musical group prior to or after The Beatles features true charisma emanating strongly from the entire group as well as separately from each member. The Beatles stunned the world with their photogenic quality, their charm, their bubbling and lovable personalities, their cuteness and their unique style. Even before The Beatles achieved fame, people in Liverpool were imitating their haircuts, the way they dressed, the way they behaved, and the way they lived. Such a simple subliminal message about smoking marijuana got communicated to all the hippies who were waiting to happen without actual words ever being spoken. The Beatles had a lot to lose by being explicit on that subject, but they successfully avoided trouble by keeping it very subtle while at the same time clear enough so that we all got it. The Fab Four kept changing their styles rapidly, almost with each album cover, and soon the message became one of explicit spiritualism. After visiting India, The Beatles introduced eastern mysticism and meditation to the Western world for the first time through the mass media. John's long saga with internal angst, drugs, spiritualism, politics, personal battles, and ultimately his marriage to Yoko played out like a movie the whole world got to watch in fascination. Paul's happy life with Linda, George's great focus on meditation, and Ringo's equanimity throughout were all perfect examples of the power, the truth, and the effectiveness of true charisma.


Need I say it? Ask the millions of girls who were screaming and fainting at the very sight of them. "The Boys" didn't move like Elvis or dance like Mick, they just stood there shaking their "mop top" heads around, smiling, laughing, and looking gorgeous as they performed great music and that was it. On their first visit to America, some enterprising weirdo from New York City managed to cut up the hotel bed sheets The Beatles had slept on into 1" square pieces, and these things were actually sold to girls over the public airwaves by adult DJ's on the AM radio stations who should have known better. The Beatles phenomenon went way beyond the rock and roll sex star status that had been seen before. Teenage girls in uncountable numbers fell in love, their hearts to be trapped, their heart strings to be continually plucked, and ultimately, their hearts to be broken by the unobtainable object of their love. Worshiping a star from afar? Infatuation? Obsession? Not real love? For many of them, it was their first experience feeling love for a man/boy. Whatever it was, it was very real to all of them, and we all soon understood that The Beatles were The Real Thing.

That's why I call The Beatles the Most Creative Band of All Time. They were The Real Thing. The Creative Zenith. The high point on the bell curve of musical history.

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Queen is considered to one of the greatest and most successful acts in Rock music history. Yet, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and other such acts are often ranked above them. Though each of them have a strong case to prove their positions, the greatness of Queen is under a cloud. The greatest band of all were the Beatles without a doubt. What set them apart was their willingness to experiment and try something new. Well, Queen did experiment in their music and at times surpassed the Fab Four. Their songs show their experimental approach to music. Here is a song which show how Queen pioneered some studio effects which even Lennon & Co hadn't thought of.

Bohemian Rhapsody

The most experimental track in their repertoire, Bohemian Rhapsody is a song that polarized critics and audiences alike. Either you love it or hate it, there is nothing in between the two extremes. The song is a three in one knockout punch. Written by singer Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody opens with an a capella four-part harmony. What many people don't know is that Mercury sang all those parts in the studio which were then mixed together. The song moves into a ballad where Mercury sings on the piano while the band backs him up. This part is followed by a guitar solo. What follows is history. An operatic section has no business being in a rock song but it is there. A minute long, the opera section features enough overdubs to last a lifetime with the voices of Mercury, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor singing different parts of a harmony. There are so many overdubs that it is nearly impossible to reproduce live without a full vocal choir. The song then moves into a heavy metal/hard rock type section before closing with the ballad part.

This experimentation is reminiscent of the kind done by Lennon and McCartney on 'A Day in the Life' where they mixed two different songs to form a new one. Mercury intended to do a single song with three different parts and succeeded in doing so. Even today, musicians and critics are dumbfounded when they think about how Queen were able to do it. But they did it! It took them three weeks and a wad of cash to do so. Bohemian Rhapsody was, then, the most expensive song ever recorded.

Its success in the years to follow has solidified its status as one of the greatest songs ever written. No wonder, contemporary artists have covered the song but no one can match the appeal or success of Queen's original version.

Yes, there is no doubt that the Beatles were great experimenters and not afraid of trying anything new but Freddie Mercury and his band took it a step further with Bohemian Rhapsody.

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Led Zeppelin

Well! This is a great subject for discussion.

Who else could be? The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, The Eagles, Black Sabbath, Guns n roses and Bon Jovi would probably feature as some people's choice for the greatest band of all time. I'm sure there are a whole host of others who could stake a claim to the title as well. But for me it's Led Zeppelin.

I'm not a musician and I don't understand the technicalities of how they achieved the great sounds of the guitars, drums and keyboards but I do know what I like to listen to. The fact that Led Zep have sold more than 300 million albums worldwide and that they have won countless awards for being "the best", "the biggest" and "the greatest" ever, is no big surprise for many music fans around the world. Zeppelin released their last album in 1979 (not counting 'Coda' which came out in 1982 after John Bonham's death). They performed their last gigs together in 1980 and yet still remain as popular today as they did thirty years ago. Just to re-iterate this point, even though Bonham, the drummer, died in September 1980, his son Jason took his place on drums when the band re-united for one gig only in December 2007. At that particular time Led Zep held the record for ticket demand for a single concert, amassing an incredible 20 million online requests.

Nowadays, the very mention of the band's name brings back live sex chat memories of best-selling albums, sold out concerts and of course fantastic songs such as Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog, Kashmir and many more.

For more than thirty years there have been rumours of Led Zeppelin re-uniting, possibly with Jason Bonham on drums, to actually do a tour. But, as of today, still nothing concrete I'm afraid.

So, if you were to ask me why I think Led Zeppelin are the greatest band of all time, how could I possibly give an answer in just a few words?

OK then - They just are!

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Welcome to Black Coffee

Coming straight outta Hotlanta two young G's, known as Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly and Chris "Daddy Mac" formed the greatest band ever; Kris Kross. Kris Kross pumped out three phenomenal albums in there amazing four year career, 1992's Totally Krossed Out, 1993's Da Bomb, and the 1996 gem Young, Rich & Dangerous. Kris Kross had several musical hits including "Warm It Up," "I Missed The Bus," "I'm Real," and "Da Bomb" featuring Da Brat. Anyone with any musical taste will remember the earth shattering single "Jump." Many music historians agree that this song is the greatest musical accomplishment of the 20th century.

Other Projects
In 1992, Kris Kross released a video game for the Sega CD entitled "Kris Kross: Make My Video." The game allowed users to have the awesome task of editing the band's music videos. The game also made history as earning "perfect scores" from most game review magazines of the time.

The End of The Legendary Act
In 1996, accomplishing everything that was humanly possible, Kris Kross took themselves outta the game and formally retired. This retirement official ended the greatest run of a band in musical history.

Or Is It The End?
In 2007, the famous megagroup has plans for reuniting, and announced that they are working on some new material for producer Jermaine Dupri. Chris "Daddy Mac" is releasing a new album entitled "Urbane Expressions" in 2008 and Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly has started a record label called records. Will the two meet up in the future? Only time will tell.

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Going back to my teenage years I have to say that my all time favourite rock band ever were Vardis. Metallica were cool, but the Vardis dudes rocked the world. Since their break up in 1986 there has been nothing like them, I have always hoped Vardis would get back together even for just for last tour.

Lead singer of Vardis Steve Zodiac was my idol, for 7 whole years I lived ate and breathed Stevie. I had my hair bleached blond, permed and grew it to shoulder length just like Stevie's! I had all their albums 'If I were King' 'The Worlds Insane' and 'Quo Vardis' 'The Lions Share' 'Vigilante' and 'The Worlds gone mad'. In the summer of 1980 me and mates Vomit Head and Colin 'The Crusher' Hovis started our own band 'Bollocks to Charity'. We started of in Colin's garage then played a few local bars and heavy metal digs. Vardis were our main influence. 'Bollocks to Charity' disbanded in Spring 1983 when Vomit Head went to train be an accountant and Colin became a new romantic and started his own band 'Lover Boys'. I carried on solo for 5 years then worked as a roadie for a well known rock band until 1998. I now own my own bar, married with 3 boys and have a wonderful wife. My fond memories of Vardis, my band and my years in the music industry will stay with me forever.

My top tips for starting a rock band -

1. Talent, obviously. You'll go much further if you can play musical instruments and can actually sing well.

2. Good looks. If is important that at least one member of the group is good looking, I was the good looking in 'Bollocks to Charity'.

3. Focus, attitude, drive, determination and a will to succeed. There are two types of people in life; winners & losers. Any looser can get their 15 minutes of fame; it's the winners that go down in history. It's a long and rocky road to success, it's those with the guts that make it.