Sixty-three years to accumulate and one anguished day to narrow down my 19 favorite musical artists — as of December 2017.
For the record, my criteria considered originality, influence, quality musicianship and songwriting, and consistency.
- The Beatles (because, they are)
- The Rolling Stones (ditto)
- Van Morrison (for “Moondance” alone)
- Bob Dylan (most influential)
- Annie Lennox (commitment to craft)
- Simon & Garfunkel (extraordinary lyrics)
- Bruce Springsteen (most authentic)
- U2 (despite Bono’s pretentions)
- REM (despite Michael Stipe’s pretentions)
- The National (pure emotion)
- The Walkmen (best alt-rock)
- Teddy Thompson (the true Voice)
- Ryan Adams (unparalleled singer-songwriter)
- Beck (most idiosyncratic)
- Arctic Monkeys (UK’s new best of)
- The Helio Sequence (most underrated) (above photo)
- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (legit rockers)
- Kasabian (awesome, live!)
- The Head and the Heart (sharp and tender)
Some incredible artists who just missed the cut include Leonard Cohen, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kings of Leon, The War on Drugs, TV on the Radio, Longwave, The Stills, Gomez and Josh Ritter. Also, break-out artists Future Islands and X-Ambassadors.
PLEASE sound off. I’m always curious to hear recommendations, reviews and rants.