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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:59 pm 
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I wonder if Bruce is this big an asshole in real life.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:08 pm 
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Sampson wrote:
There's a fairly well known story from a few years back about some blog or something online discussing what certain Dylan lyrics meant and all these weighty ideas were being thrown around. Dylan himself then logged on and told them they were full of shit, it wasn't about ANY of that stuff, it just flowed well and sounded good at the time. Nobody believed it was him and they challenged him to prove it by opening his next show with a song he hadn't done in decades. He did, shocking the hell out of these nitwits who couldn't believe they'd actually been talking to Bob Freaking Dylan. Once they got over it of course they then went on to discuss what they felt the rest of his lyrics "really meant", ignoring the actual writer's own explanations.


Sounds like an urban legend to me.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:11 pm 
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ClashWho wrote:
Sampson wrote:
There's a fairly well known story from a few years back about some blog or something online discussing what certain Dylan lyrics meant and all these weighty ideas were being thrown around. Dylan himself then logged on and told them they were full of shit, it wasn't about ANY of that stuff, it just flowed well and sounded good at the time. Nobody believed it was him and they challenged him to prove it by opening his next show with a song he hadn't done in decades. He did, shocking the hell out of these nitwits who couldn't believe they'd actually been talking to Bob Freaking Dylan. Once they got over it of course they then went on to discuss what they felt the rest of his lyrics "really meant", ignoring the actual writer's own explanations.


Sounds like an urban legend to me.


What the fuck is a "Jingle Jangle Morning?"

Was he looking for change in his pockets?

Bob laughs at all these people who thinks these lyrics mean anything. They just sounded good at the time, that's all.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:17 pm 
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Bruce wrote:
Bob laughs at all these people who thinks these lyrics mean anything. They just sounded good at the time, that's all.


Maybe. I just think Sampson's story is a myth.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:25 pm 
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ClashWho wrote:
Bruce wrote:
Bob laughs at all these people who thinks these lyrics mean anything. They just sounded good at the time, that's all.


Maybe. I just think Sampson's story is a myth.


I don't. I've heard the same thing from other occasions. Where he's said that most of the lyrics don't mean anything, they just sounded good at the time and fit right.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:42 pm 
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Bruce wrote:
Sampson wrote:
Brian wrote:
Sampson wrote:
Dylan has huge influence and musical impact but his commercial impact will almost certainly be the lowest, especially in singles, of any Top Ten artist.


The way I figure popularity, he beats Chuck Berry, but maybe you were figuring Berry wouldn't make the top 10. Most of the candidates for the top 10 also beat James Brown in popularity.


HUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?

Only two artists in rock history have charted over 100 songs on the U.S. Pop Charts. Elvis Presley and James Brown. Nobody else comes close.

That is a far bigger deal commercially than almost anything you can name for a simple reason - each single has to stand on its own. They're purchased individually, each consumer must therefore make a conscious choice to buy a new song every time they come out, which during is heyday was about every two or three months and he did this for more than two decades, staying important enough for each cycle of new listeners that came along to lay down their cash for whatever music he was laying down. Add in the hit records, like "Doing It To Death" or "Mashed Potatoes" which were entirely his records that were simply released under band members names and commercially James Brown can stand with any artist in history.

Now I realize he's already a lock for #3, and you weren't trying to discredit him to drag him further down the list, but that statement above is just wrong.


Brown is only 6th in top 40 hits and has only had 7 top ten hits, which is not even among the top 50 in that category.

Whitburn ranks him 9th all time on the singles chart and 14th all time on the LP chart (as of 1996). Same strory on the LP chart. Lots of charted albums but not many that got very high on that chart.


Bruce wrote:
ClashWho wrote:
Bruce wrote:
Brown is only 6th in top 40 hits


Only? :freak:


He's second in top 100 hits but there are 4 artists who have less top 100 hits them him, but more top 40 hits than him.

The point is, despite all the top 100 chart hits, he was not as well known as a mainstream hitmaker as dozens of other artists were. Generally a record has to make the top 20 to be a real mainstream hit.


I agree with Bruce on this.

The Whitburn guide that has Brown #9 is the one based on the entire chart, which overawards low chart placements. The list in the guide based on the top 40 (from 2004) suffers less from this problem, and it places JB at #24.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:01 pm 
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Bruce wrote:
ClashWho wrote:
Bruce wrote:
Bob laughs at all these people who thinks these lyrics mean anything. They just sounded good at the time, that's all.


Maybe. I just think Sampson's story is a myth.


I don't. I've heard the same thing from other occasions. Where he's said that most of the lyrics don't mean anything, they just sounded good at the time and fit right.


Bob Dylan logging onto a website and saying they were all wrong and then proving that it was really him by playing a rare song at the start of his next concert? Come on. I defy anyone to find some legitimate support for that ridiculous story.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:02 pm 
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Sampson wrote:
Brett Alan wrote:
If The Beatles hadn't come along, social conscience probably would have remained the province of folk music, and rock and roll may well not have become the overarching force we think of it as being today.


I find it hard to see any social conscience in any of the songs of the Beatles did other than "Revolution" really, maybe one or two others ("Blackbird"). Unlike Bruce I actually do appreciate lyrics, and I do think very highly of the Beatles as songwriters, but their social conscious is largely a myth when it comes to their music.


Not the point. The Beatles weren't writing socially conscious songs at that point, it's true. (They wrote a few more than you give them credit for, but not all that many.) But, nonetheless, they caused it to happen by showing what rock and roll could be, and thereby directly influencing Dylan to move from folk to rock, and directly influencing The Byrds to record folk songs in a Beatle-influenced rock style. Which then changed the perception of what rock could be even more.

And I don't doubt that you're right that commerical considerations and misperceptions kept black artsts from approaching albums the way the Beatles and Dylan did. But we have to base things on what was, not what should have been.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:13 pm 
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Sampson wrote:
Brian wrote:
Eric Wood wrote:
Brian wrote:
I added the artists that I talked about to the top 100 and moved Madonna to #15. She might perhaps end up a position or 2 higher, but I think her relative lack of musical impact keeps her out of the top 10. She has some, but she might be last of the 36 artists who are currently ahead of Black Sabbath. Who has less? Maybe Elton John or Queen, maybe 1 or 2 others, but the margin by which Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin beat her in musical impact looks enormous to me.


If that's the case, Bob Dylan should probably drop at least towards the bottom of the top 10, and possibly out of the top 10 altogether. Similar to Madonna, he is one of the top 5-6 artists in two areas of the criteria. For Madonna, it is cultural and commercial impact. For Dylan it is musical impact and influence. In cultural impact I think Dylan is generally overrated with all the "voice of a generation" stuff, but still very strong, similar to Madonna in influence where despite always seeming to be on the cutting edge, she was actually just popularizing/ripping off things from the deep underground and therefore just gets lots of secondary influence. Finally for Dylan you have his weakness in popularity and for Madonna weakness in musical impact. Dylan definitely does more in cultural impact and popularity (due to his sizable album chart success) than Madonna does in influence and musical impact, but it's not so overwhelming that it makes sense for Dylan to be 4th and Madonna to be 15th unless that whole group is just extremely tightly bunched in the criteria.

Let's not pretend Madonna doesn't register at all in musical impact. Of course Ray Charles is off the charts in comparison, but one way or another Madonna ended up as a demi-god among certain (somewhat limited) blocks of artists, and this status started to be developed at the end of her peak period in the late 80s/early 90s.


I wouldn't say that she has no musical impact. I said she might beat Queen and Elton John there, and I think these 2 also aren't completely without it. I'm about to run out of time, but either later today or tomorrow I'll try to put together a list of artists that I think have more than she does. I expect it will include more than half of the top 100.

I do think the artists here are pretty tightly bunched. I think we'll find that the artists in the 9-14 range are pretty close to equal.


Madonna's musical impact is being severely underrated here. It's not surprising considering who people are most impressed by musically and whose praise they give the most creedence to are generally the polar opposite of Madonna, but during her 83-94 run especially Madonna's stuff was highly regarded by most everyone in music. Think about all the female acts who get called shallow or eye candy or whatever derogatory term implying that no woman can possibly be releasing anything with any weight to it, and then remember that imagewise Madonna was ripe for this kind of criticism since she was such a manipulator, but then try and find critics of her actual musical content... it's not easy. Things like "Papa Don't Preach" were as socially conscious as anything that ever became that popular and "Live To Tell" was hailed by everyone. "Like A Prayer" was ultra-controversial at the time, but the music was widely praised.

The thing about Madonna was the duality of what you expected and what she accomplished. By all rights she SHOULD'VE been just a flash in the pan, a headline grabbing sideshow with a few hits, some provoctive statements and meglomaniacal self-importance who quickly faded out. If you were taking bets on that outcome around the "Like A Virgin" release you would've gotten a million to one odds that she'd still be relevant even five years later, let alone decades later. But she beat those odds easily and the reason she stayed so relevant was because the music always lived up to, and often surpassed, the hype she created for herself. Within the rock field of the era, which is where musical impact is felt, she was always held in the highest regard. Her image and the lengths she went to promote herself weren't always appreciated by other artists, but the music was.

Now that I've just defended Madonna like that excuse me while I go jump off a bridge.


If I'm severely underrating Madonna's musical impact by saying that more than half of the artists in the top 100 beat her in muiscal impact, that must mean that at most 40 do. So of the list of 68 artists that follows, at least 28 don't beat her in musical impact. Which 28 (or more) are they?

The Beatles
Elvis Presley
James Brown
Bob Dylan
The Rolling Stones
Chuck Berry
The Who
Led Zeppelin
Ray Charles
Stevie Wonder
The Beach Boys
Aretha Franklin
Fats Domino
Michael Jackson
Jimi Hendrix
Little Richard
Bruce Springsteen
Marvin Gaye
Sam Cooke
Prince
U2
The Supremes
Run-DMC
Nirvana
The Temptations
The Everly Brothers
David Bowie
Neil Young
Bob Marley & the Wailers
Public Enemy
Sly & The Family Stone
The Kinks
Bo Diddley
R.E.M.
The Clash
Otis Redding
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
The Byrds
Jerry Lee Lewis
The Drifters
Roy Orbison
George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic
Joni Mitchell
The Impressions
Creedence Clearwater Revival
2pac *
The Beastie Boys *
Eminem *
Jay-Z *
The Clovers *
Jackie Wilson *
Ruth Brown *
Donna Summer *
Van Morrison
Elvis Costello
The Isley Brothers
The Police
Al Green
Radiohead
Outkast *
Rod Stewart *
The Shirelles *
The Dominoes *
Kanye West *
Big Joe Turner *
Johnny Otis *
The Band
Sonny Til & the Orioles *


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:05 pm 
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Brian wrote:
(list of 68 artists who have more "musical impact" than Madonna snip.)


Okay... I can count 50-60 artists in the top 100 who are more popular than Chuck Berry, even being generous to Berry's potential "lasting popularity."
If James Brown ranks about 20th in popularity based just on the US singles charts, he might drop down to 40th or 50th in popularity all things considered.
Similarly, Dylan ranks high on just the album chart rankings but probably drops to at least 40th or 50th in that category overall.
In terms of sheer musical influence, the Stones might be borderline top 50 given they get mostly secondary influence and are mostly a long distance from the source material.

Being consistent, those artists can't possibly rank 3-6th if one marginally weaker area pulls Madonna down to 15th.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:26 pm 
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.. Leadbelly from 1942 with the Hitler Blues ... Take care



... and the Jim Crow Blues from the 30`s with Leadbelly



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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:38 pm 
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Sampson wrote:
The most socially conscious Berry song is undoubtedly Promised Land, which if people know their history and the time in which it was written was an obvious commentary on the Freedom Riders. Every stop in the song refers to something specifically from that brutal trip through the south.


This is the first I've heard of this theory. The song mentions Houston, Albuquerque, and Los Angeles. The first verse says "California on my mind." I think the mention of Birmingham, New Orleans, etc. may be coincidental here. Where did you get this idea?


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:23 pm 
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diane wrote:
Sampson wrote:
The most socially conscious Berry song is undoubtedly Promised Land, which if people know their history and the time in which it was written was an obvious commentary on the Freedom Riders. Every stop in the song refers to something specifically from that brutal trip through the south.


This is the first I've heard of this theory. The song mentions Houston, Albuquerque, and Los Angeles. The first verse says "California on my mind." I think the mention of Birmingham, New Orleans, etc. may be coincidental here. Where did you get this idea?


The Freedom Rides (of which there were many, but these were the first highly publicized ones taking place prior to when Berry wrote this, while serving time in prison for the bogus Mann Act charge) followed very specific routes as does his song, not only in checking off the stops accurately, but also describing to a T the reaction in those places. The first Freedom Ride started in Washington, whereas his started his Norfolk, Virginia, (very close and careful to obscure the political nature of the song, however from that point forward the exact route is detailed) “we stopped in Charlotte, but bypassed Rock Hill and never was a minute late" (through Virginia and North Carolina there was no trouble, including at the first stop in Charlotte and things looked smooth until crossing into SC where the first bus was assaulted in the terminal at Rock Hill. The second bus, a Trailways line, which Berry is clearly referring to, avoided trouble by meeting with local sympathetic people who spirited them away from the now-locked terminal, hence the line “bypassed Rock Hill”). Rock Hill is not exactly a big city he'd be likely to pluck off a map of the south, nor would he, in the early 60's, have ridden a public bus through the south himself, especially that area of the south, to be referring to his own personal experience. The only time Rock Hill was nationally known was for two very ugly racial incidents, of which this was the most famous.

He then continues: “We were 90 miles out of Atlanta by sundown rolling through the Georgia state” (it was here they met with Martin Luther King Jr. in real life). “We had more trouble that turned into a struggle halfway across Alabam" (specifically Anniston, Alabama… and I’d say racists burning the bus after forcing it to the side of the highway qualifies as a “struggle”, wouldn’t you?) "and that ‘hound (Greyhound bus) broke down and left us all stranded in downtown Birmingham” (that’s precisely where the original Freedom Ride ended because no bus would take them further, they were literally stranded and in a dire situation, as RFK, then Secretary Of State, was trying to get them a plane to Louisiana and wishing the whole thing would just go away). That’s when the Nashville group, SNCC, spearheaded by Diane Nash, sent replacements to Birmingham to pick up the freedom ride. They were totally unaffiliated with the first Freedom Ride, but obviously were sympathetic to it and their joining it and picking up where the original Freedom Riders were forced to quit and carrying on with it is what turned it into a full-fledged successful movement.

Now Chuck takes over from that point, building the rest of the song from those original facts and fictionalizing the rest in allegorical fashion, as the best songwriters always tend to do. The Promised Land, of course, is freedom itself, as represented by the airplane and California, though both of those have nothing to do with the actual course of events in the Freedom Rides themselves, though alternative transportation to New Orleans does. But Berry had done this type of thing before, disguising his true intent so the records would be played by white outlets. He did it most famously in Brown Eyed Handsome Man, using “eyes” as opposed to “skin” as the distinguishing characteristic, but the intent is clear, and then again in Johnny B. Goode, where his original lyric was “lived a colored boy named Johnny B. Goode”, but he made it “country boy” so it’d be devoid of controversy.

There is absolutely no way that those major plot points, as accurate as if Walter Cronkite was reporting them, were coincidental, especially coming from someone as intelligent as Chuck Berry. It was a thinly veiled protest commentary. If you haven't read "Freedom Riders" by Raymond Arsenault or seen the PBS documentary on the Freedom Rides, I highly recommend both. In the book Berry's song is recounted in two different points and in the endnotes they go into detailed analysis of the precise similarities between his lyrics and the actual events.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:02 pm 
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Sampson wrote:
There is absolutely no way that those major plot points, as accurate as if Walter Cronkite was reporting them, were coincidental, especially coming from someone as intelligent as Chuck Berry. It was a thinly veiled protest commentary. If you haven't read "Freedom Riders" by Raymond Arsenault or seen the PBS documentary on the Freedom Rides, I highly recommend both. In the book Berry's song is recounted in two different points and in the endnotes they go into detailed analysis of the precise similarities between his lyrics and the actual events.


That's very interesting. But I can't help but wonder why they didn't ask Berry himself for confirmation. Frustrating.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:55 pm 
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diane wrote:
Sampson wrote:
There is absolutely no way that those major plot points, as accurate as if Walter Cronkite was reporting them, were coincidental, especially coming from someone as intelligent as Chuck Berry. It was a thinly veiled protest commentary. If you haven't read "Freedom Riders" by Raymond Arsenault or seen the PBS documentary on the Freedom Rides, I highly recommend both. In the book Berry's song is recounted in two different points and in the endnotes they go into detailed analysis of the precise similarities between his lyrics and the actual events.


That's very interesting. But I can't help but wonder why they didn't ask Berry himself for confirmation. Frustrating.


Because Chuck Berry is the most prickly rock 'n' roller ever when it comes to answering questions. You'd have a better shot at asking Elvis why he's been hiding in Kalamazoo MI for the last three decades plus and getting a handwritten personal response than you would asking Chuck Berry what time it is if you were standing next to him in an open field in the middle of nowhere with nobody else around.


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