I heard a ridiculous (at first blush) assertion on the radio yesterday morning. A commercial claimed The Eagles were “the greatest American rock ‘n’ roll band of all time.”
Talented players and writers all, no doubt. But the greatest? I chewed on it a bit. I’m pretty sure the answer isn’t The Eagles, but it’s a harder question than you may think.
Move out for a moment and say the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band, period. In my view, that’s a slam-dunk for The Beatles. Some other first-tier candidates would be The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, or The Who. Some credible longshots might be The Yardbirds, Cream, or The Kinks.
English, English, English, English, English, English, English, and English.
Rock ‘n’ roll may have been born in post-World War II America, but it’s pretty clear that our motherland has pasted us handily since at least the mid-’60s.
So who’s our best rock band, Yanks?
A lot depends on your criteria, of course. I don’t have a formula worked up, but it seems to me that competence, innovation, and cultural impact should be major factors to consider, while longevity might be somewhat less important, but still part of the thinking.
Think on it a bit. You’ll probably find that when you think of truly excellent rock ‘n’ roll, you land in England an awful lot. Try to shake that off and think stateside.
If you have thoughts, share them. I have a nominee in mind that I’ll drop into the discussion, if one develops.