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The 5 "Oops - Why Did I Have to be so Influential" Artists of All Time
By Brian "Sly" Curley - 08/16/2004 - 12:30 PM EDT

One thing I find intriguing about music is rock history’s complexity and the many heated disputes that surround it. What other subject is so dynamic? You could talk about rock bands and their respective sub-genres or styles for days and barely scratch the surface. A five hour debate on whether T.Rex were glitzy glam rock sissies or proto-punk gods could be carried out and still result in a “hung-jury”.

The most memorable debate I’ve ever engaged in about music was with my college roommate at the time, who is one of my closest friends and was the lead guitarist for our high school garage band. If any two people are alike in their musical interests it is us. Except on this particular night. Although we were out bar-hopping until the wee hours, our musical judgment had not become impaired. The argument took place on the night Spin Magazine released its article divulging the “so-called” 50 best bands of all time. “Husker Du was one of the most influential bands of its time. What they did for rock was paralleled by only a few bands. If it wasn’t for their rocking songs, we would not be listening to such bands as the Foo Fighters”, I argued. As a rebuttal, my roommate delivered the goods by saying that “the Huskers weren’t even that influential”. Nevermind the fact that their music sounds like it was recorded using a blender, bands such as R.E.M, and the Replacements were beginning their era of utmost relevance. Plus, the Ramones were still cutting classics during this time. Therefore, we definitely would be listening to the Foo Fighters today, except instead of being a really awesome band, they would be an unbelievable band. He continued with a sarcastic tone, “they lose a few merits because of their Husker Du influence”. He continued; furthermore, if it weren’t for the Huskers, the Goo-Goo Dolls might still be serving hand-leafed lettuce wrapped beef at the In-N-Out Burger. Oh could we be so lucky!!

Oh yes, there is a point to my spiel. I do intend to make meaning of the above prattle. You see, an artist’s influence and relevance has been a well debated topic for years. However, I’ve decided to take my musical prowess to the next level and give you something that I’ve never seen examined before me. The 5 "Oops - Why Did I Have to be so Influential" Artists of All Time will expose, in my opinion, artists that have left their mark in music but have somehow accomplished the feat of influencing a select few of their followers to, for lack of a better word, suck.

5. Green Day

Ah, how refreshing it was during my teenage angst years to indulge in the sweet sound of three chord punk. I pay a great deal of respect to these guys at it was their place in the music hierarchy that directed me to their forefathers, the Ramones, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Buzzcocks, the Stooges, etc. But oh boy do I feel sorry for today’s angst ridden 14 year olds who have to mold their future around messages delivered from Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, New Found Glory and Blink 182. But don’t worry, there may be hope for our youth. Hopefully, these corporate punk bands will lead the kids back to Green Day and therefore keep the Pistols, Ramones, Clash, and the Stooges alive for years to come. Well, the cool kids will catch on.

4. Pearl Jam

When grunge died, why did almost every post-grunge band, it seems, try so hard to imitate Vedder’s voice? Thankfully, PJ is still kicking out amazing records that bring out the free-spirit in all of us. However, I will never forgive these sons of Seattle for paving the way for Creed, Nickelback, Default, Matchbox Twenty, and 3 Doors Down. Though, the comic relief that has been spread by these bands goes unmatched. Who in their right mind pronounces “bad” like beeeaaahhdahehd-na-na-whooooo-yeah!?!?!?!

3. Van Halen

With guitar virtuoso Eddie reinventing the axe and David Lee Roth fronting the band as well as Spiderman slings webs, Van Halen were the benchmark for all Pop Metal, Arena Rock, Hair Metal, Glam Metal, Album Rock, metamorphic rock, pet rock etc. Get the picture yet? What the heck was this era all about? I think Winger, Warrant, White Lion, Whitesnake, Ratt, Quiet Riot, Cinderella and the rest of their extended family spent more time teasing their bangs and shrinking their jeans when they should have been trying to write good tunes. In fact these bands, whose members look like that 40 year old uncle everyone has who still lives with Mom and spends all his money on extra parts for his ’82 Camaro, shouldn’t have wrote any songs at all. They should have just remained permanent fixtures on their local mall benches. However, for some reason I’m constantly rummaging through used bins at my local second hand store for t-shirts of these bands………….and my brother is already married with two kids. Uh-Oh!

2. Madonna

Madonna has been the queen of cool for the last 20 years. I’m a guy who is not afraid to admit that. However, the material girl was instrumental in inspiring the likes of Britney Spears, Christina Aguliera, Mariah Carey, Debbie Gibson, and Tiffany. Although all of these girls graced my PC’s screen saver at one point or another, they would never get a spot on my playlist. Oh Madonna, what would have happened if you stuck it out with “Breakfast Club”?

1. The Beatles

Yes, arguably the greatest band ever, and yes, number one on virtually every “best of” list created. Their timeless classics have helped people get through the bad and the ugly while making the good seem a whole lot better. These 4 sultans of modern pop rock unfortunately had considerable influence on a band from Edinburgh, Scotland that decided to cut a few teen pop favorites such as Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want to be With You” and “Saturday Night”. Give up? It’s none other then the Bay City Rollers. Ok, I may not have as much a problem with BCR; it’s the stuff that oozed out of them and into the minds of five young Boston lads a decade later. Just like in Bruno VeSota’s “The Brain Eaters”, it seems like the Bay City Rollers sent out little slimy creatures hell-bent on destroying the world of music. Like their predecessor, the New Kids on the Block threw out a string of hits that were embraced by teenage girls with arms wide open.

NKOTB then followed suit by sending their formless parasites to feed on the Backstreet Boys, N-Sync, and the corporately created monster that is O-Town. The teary eyed teens once again screamed, hollered, and bought lunchboxes, schoolbags, and bed sheets with the band’s portraits plastered all over. That’s it, I’m heading to the pawn shop to trade in my Beatles records for a fugazi diamond and some speaker cables.


Honorable Mentions:

Kraftwerk- shop vacs mixed with skill saws, innovative at the time but I never quite got into the electronica scene.

Rage Against the Machine- Korn and Limp Bizkit. Need I say more.

David Bowie- It’s too hard to pinpoint how the eighties went bad when it produced bands like the Thompson Twins, A-Ha, Men Without Hats, and Tear for Fears. But I’m placing a lot of blame on “Ziggy”. He’s too good to not have a great influence on these Oh-save-us Bin Lame-o’s.



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