Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Ten Most Universally Loved Performers

Don't you just love these lists? I agree with most of the choices, but where the **** is Pink Floyd?

The Ten Most Universally Loved Performers

Posted Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:45pm PST by Rob O'Connor in List Of The Day

Now just by claiming that these performers are universally loved means that everyone who doesn't love them will come out and let us all know. But the general point here is that unlike the Grateful Dead who have their loyal followers and their loyal haters, the musicians listed below have all achieved an admirable level of success and don't inspire the same kind of contempt or animosity. Sure, plenty of people may be sick of hearing some of their music, but they don't disrespect it. Just about everyone has at least one Beatles song they like--and even if they're not fans of the group can still admire their accomplishments and acknowledge their abilities.

10) AC/DC: Probably the most arguable on the list, AC/DC excite their audiences with their whiplash power chords and the banshee-howls ignite concertgoers to a frenzy. A great baseball pitcher like Trevor Hoffman has used "Hells Bells" to announce his entry into the game and the group's tough hard rock sound has been assimilated into the culture in ways few would have expected several decades ago when they started. Sure, they're not everyone's cup of preferred tea, but they don't enrage anyone either. If anything, even people who don't like their music seem to get a kick out of watching Angus Young in his schoolboy uniform headbang and moonwalk across the stage. That's entertainment!

9) Led Zeppelin: Since the band played so many different types of music, there's a little something for everyone. And while many people may be tired of them thanks to the excessive radio exposure, the band triumphs with their pure musical skills. Robert Plant may sing a little "high" for some people's tastes, but aside from dogs who are sensitive to such pitches, it doesn't seem to be enough to make people clear the room.

8) Neil Young: Oh, plenty of people don't care for this old croaker. They think his voice is whiny and maybe he plays too loud, but after five decades of public service, people have gotten used to having ol' Neil around and nearly everyone admires the man's energy and dedication to rocking the free world at the going free-market rates.

7) Stevie Wonder: Stevie's talents are undeniable. He comes across as humble and good-natured and you'd have to be a real Scrooge to find fault with the way the man expresses what's in his heart. Does the fact that he's blind elicit a sympathy vote? Perhaps. You can never rule out a certain amount of human empathy. But if his music sounded like he was skinning a cat, people wouldn't care what the man's situation was. They would beg for him to stop. But his music isn't like that yet. (You never know, maybe he'll team up with Trent Reznor next.)

6) Aretha Franklin: Her new hat has won people over for good. But her incredible vocal pipes aside, there has always been a vulnerability to Aretha that has enraptured people and swung them over to her side. She has something that goes beyond the usual charisma of a popular performer. There's a realness there that no amount of studio trickery can hide or replicate. Would the music business have the patience to bring along a talent like hers today? Is there a music business to do such a thing?

5) The Rolling Stones: Oh sure, everyone makes the Geritol or the Viagra jokes and Allen Klein knows they haven't made a decent album in years, but their classics, the albums and singles that made their reputation are pretty much universal anthems now. And more bands have copied the Keith Richards sound if not the Keith Richards lifestyle to suggest that he should do like Oprah, Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray and come out with his own magazine and his own line of kitchen supplies. Mick can do make-up.

4) Jimi Hendrix: No matter how poorly his estate has been handled, no matter how many bizarre reissues mutate the man's initial essence, there doesn't seem to be anyone dumb enough to suggest that Hendrix didn't have talent and couldn't play the electric guitar. Sure, some of the fashions look a tad overdone and odd these days and some of the stoned raps from the stage make for a good warning that posterity is not for acidheads, but the actual music silences its potential detractors.

3) Elvis Presley: Now, not everyone loves Elvis, but even those who don't still deal with him better than, say, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Cher and any number of show business veterans. Even all those horrible movies he was in can't generate any true negativity. Pity? Perhaps. Sorrow at the wasted talent? Sure. But Chuck D aside, I haven't heard too many people get down on the man.

2) The Ramones: This really amazes me. Because there was a time when the Ramones were strongly disliked if not outright hated by certain factions of the rock community. But these days kids and their parents and their grandparents and even their great-grandparents all do a "Gabba Gabba Hey!" with a feeling of pride and accomplishment. How can you hate a band that enjoyed being a cartoon? You gonna tell me Fred Flinstone wasn't cool?

1) The Beatles: You might be tired of some of their songs. You might not like some of those tunes. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" doesn't exactly inspire me to be a better person, but the band recorded so much different music that like an All-You-Can-Eat Chinese-American-Italian Buffet there really is something for everyone. People even have their favorite member. And for some it's even Ringo. And he was the drummer and drummers can tell you how little respect they get. Most of them get stuck carrying their own drums!