My top fifty favorite rock bands, part 5

I am counting down my top fifty favorite rock bands. This week I will count down from #10 to #1. Trust me — this top 10 is unique. You will not see another one like it.

In case you have not seen part 1, part 2, part 3, or part 4 of this list. Here are the three criteria I used to create it:

  1. I must own at least one of their albums on vinyl.
  2. The band released more than one album.
  3. I still have to enjoy listening to their music.

For example, I really listen to the Who much anymore. Great band, but they are not on the list.

Let’s start the list with the original godfathers of punk rock from NYC — Ramones. They basically wrote the same song over and over — genius move. One reason they are so high on this list is that I saw them live in concert twice. Wow — you want to talk about energy. I thought we all were going to die at the one in DC.

Also at #10, is another legendary band — the Beatles. I told my wife not to read this list, or watch the video. She is a huge Beatles fan and is upset about this ranking. Yes — there will be some surprises on this list because it is my top fifty, not the top fifty of all time. The Beatles are #10 for me — sorry Beatles fans.

At #9, from Australia, INXS. This is the last band from down under on the list. They are ranked so high because of all the great music they released in the 1980s and 90s. INXS pushed out one awesome album after another. Don’t believe me — check out their catalog.

At #8 is the Replacements. This band was an obsession for me during my college years. They released several great albums, full of excellent songs. This band had one big problem. The Replacements liked to party before they would play live. How drunk would they get? They were permanently banned from SNL after showing up completely wasted for that show.

At #7 are Mumford and Sons. Yes — I have a modern band in my top ten. They have yet to release a bad album. Mumford and Sons have released a pile of great albums full of quality songs. Also, they can play. Mumford and Sons is simply an awesome band.

I definitely have an obsession with this band. Switchfoot is the only other modern band in my top 10. They started out as a Christian rock band. Some people wonder if they know how to rock. They do. Listen to songs like “Stars” and “Dark Horses” if you want to sample some of their music. I have seen Switchfoot multiple times in concert. They are excellent. If you have never heard of this band — give them a try.

At #5, the only band that really mattered, the Clash. I would stack up their first three albums against any other rock bands. Sure they had a side-step with Sandanista. But if you want to talk about a punk band that brought music, politics, and energy together in a unique combination. The Clash did it all.

I suppose you could call the Foo Fighters a modern band because they keep releasing great music. But, they have been around for decades. Dave Grohl created the Foo Fighters after Nirvana’s end. We all learned that the genius in that band was the guy behind the drums. They have written so many great songs, and the Foo Fighters are awesome in concert. Taylor Hawkins’s recent death is a tragedy.

At #3 is a band that almost no one has ever heard of, Stiff Little Fingers, or SLF. From Belfast, Ireland, raised during the troubles, SLF is an Irish punk band that I have been obsessed with for decades. I love their music and have seen them play live multiple times. Be warned — they are an acquired taste.

At #2 is a band that needs no introduction, the Rolling Stones. They are the original bad boys of rock-n-roll. They have released so much great music over the decades. The Rolling Stones are rock royalty.

At #1 is Led Zeppelin. They were comprised of four hugely talented musicians who made rock-n-roll history. All of their albums are good. Even the ones that are considered weak are better than most bands’ best albums. Simply put — they played hard rock like no one else.

Bono and the boys from Dublin are my favorite rock band of all time. I have been in love with U2 since the 1980s. I have seen this band live more than any other one. They have been making music for four decades and have released a ton of unbelievably good music. My favorite concert was seeing U2 live in Dublin. They were awesome — people in the crowd were crying during the show. It was that good.

There you have it — part 5 of my list of top fifty favorite rock bands. If you recommend a band — let me know in the comments. All feedback is welcome. Feel free to post your own list.

I am Doug Keating and this is my letter to sons.



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