Classic Rock Junkie wrote:
NME apparently voted the Smiths the most influential band of all time, ahead of The Beatles and Elvis. That's just crazy. Regardless, I've been reading up on them due to my lack of knowledge and recently found tons of critics, magazines, artists, and citations list them as one of the single most influential bands ever in all pop music, not just rock. Should they be on this list or are all these citations full of kentucky fried shit?
Are they influential on alternative rock music? Absolutely. Their influence on that strain of rock music and its subgenres (indie rock, britpop, etc.) is undeniable, as is their influence on British rock music in general. In the United Kingdom, they are as influential to alternative/post-punk/indie/related genres as R.E.M. is in the United States. Many artists list that band as a primary influence, their guitarist Johnny Marr inspired countless British youths to pick up guitars (among them, the members of Radiohead and Oasis) and the band's performance on "Top of the Pops" in 1983 is a catalyst for the "Indie" movement. Even today you can hear The Smiths' influence in bands like Foster the People and The Killers. On my list of the 100 Greatest Alternative Artist, they're at #4.
On rock & roll music as a whole? Probably not. R.E.M.'s (who is already on this list) influence looms far larger and more internationally over alternative music than The Smiths did. The Smiths inspired Britian's alternative bands, sure, but R.E.M. inspired the world's alternative bands (along with some other post-punk bands with regional importance like Midnight Oil, 54-40, The Plastics and XTC)
NME is a hype machine of a magazine. A rather effective and influential hype machine, but they're still guilty of plenty hyperbole (they once named the Arctic Monkeys' debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
one of the greatest albums of all time mere months after it was released. Its a good album, but not "greatest ever" material). Also, since the rise of punk in the late 1970's, NME also focuses heavily on "indie music" (which isn't just indie and alternative rock, but artists in related genres like Adele and Lupe Fiasco) and not popular music as a whole. They have a bit of bias towards that kind of music, and while the music they cover are the genres I am personally the most interested and invested in, I do not take NME's lists (except for the end-of-the-year singles list) seriously anymore.