Sage's Top Ten Favorite Musicians

(39 votes, average 4.77 out of 5)
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Comments (45)
  • br1nsop  - Nice :)
    Fair do's with the first couple of choices, not my thing but I get your reasons. Queens of the Stone Age need to be way higher though :P seriously they represent so much that is good about rock, and the different sounds are almost entirely down to the genius of Josh Homme being enacted and jammed out by supremely talented lineups. Seeing the progression from Kyuss (Homme's previous band) to QotSA you really see a sound that starts off rough and ready and just gets sharper and cleverer.

    Props from the UK for including Gorillaz, I still don't like their first album at all but Plastic Beach is great and Damon Albarn has evolved into a really inspiring musical polymath.

    You mentioned your position re: hip-hop, and electronic music in modern music, but still odd to me that essentially everyone on here is, give-or-take, a traditional rock band/artist. I don't mean to say that's a bad thing, but really good artists that are a kind of 'sideways move' from the ones you listed here are people like Brian Eno for electronic, Neu! for a really hypnotic rock-band, even a band like Opeth who a lot of prog fans I know credit with getting them into a heavy sound (and more jazz) through their music.

    Anyway, nice list and great personal touch to the entries. Keep up the good work!
  • Oblivion Mara
    Oh, that emotion...
    I loved this list, Sage - it's always great to see people talk about "their" music, and to acknowledge how much of an influence it can be to people. And while I don't have the same preferences at all (I've been fed with Glam and blue-eyed rock, as well as Synthpop, mostly, and you're right when you say the music you grow up with matters pretty much), all the people you listed here are solid artists/bands, each having their unique touch.
    But we have the same point of view on Pink Floyd- and you've got my gratitude for even acknowledging ELO ! :)
  • Larie
    All I can say is, Damon Albarn is a genius. He used to be so different than he is now, and he always changes, adapts, and metamorphs into something better, in my opinion. The idea that he has so many ideas and just pure creative power is mind blowing to me.
    And the cartoon band was a brilliant move. If you really think about it, it changes the focus from the people to the product, and in this time and age, I think that's an extremely difficult thing to do.
    But then again, I worship Gorillaz like a religion, and love Blur and the Good, the Bad and the Queen as well.

    And yeeeees, mr Blue Sky!!!! :D
  • Amykins  - AMY DEMANDS KARAOKE TIEM
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    YES. Sage rocks the Billy Joel! Dude, there's a bar in Windsor that has a karaoke machine, let's do this!

    OH! Also, QOTSA is probably my favorite band ever. Evarrr. Have you listened to The Desert Sessions? If not, do it. You will NOT be sorry.
  • RushBoingo  - YES! OINGO BOINGO FTW
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    I have to say sage, I was very aprehensive clicking on this video because I knew you hate Tim Burton and therefore though you probably did not like Danny Elfman. But man, you proved me wrong, I should of known better with your other awesome music lists. So excited I opened an account just for this. Would have liked to have heard what you thought of each of their distinct era's (New wave to Ska to Synth Rock to Alt to Grunge) but I will take what I can get. Would have liked to see Rush (the only band I think is better than Oingo Boingo) on here too, but the reference was awesome enough.
  • ColeYote
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    I just realized with the exception of early-mid 90s alternative rock, almost none of the music I listen to has been popular within my lifetime. Most of what I listen to is 70s-80s, and almost anything released in the last 15 years I listen to is the kind of thing that nobody who isn't already a fan would recognize.

    (I was born in '93).
  • EpicFish
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    Me too, though I was raised on music from the 40s-70s. I grew up listening to Doo Wop, Motown, Big Band, Swing, Counter-culture rock, 70s Rock, Southern Fried Rock, Heavy Metal, even Disco. I hardly listened to music from the 90s and when I did it was The Offspring, Blink 182, Linkin Park, Incubus, Green Day, The Smashing Pumpkins...I only ever got into the boy band craze for a couple years before moving on to better music. And I was born in '87.

    On an unrelated note, I still don't see the appeal of Billy Joel. I think Elton John is better, but that's just me.
  • ManWithGoodTaste
    avatar
    Okay, obligatory suggestions time!

    I would... RECOMMEND anyone to check out the following artists/acts:

    -Andy Prieboy (Wall of Voodoo, solo)
    -Deborah Holland (Animal Logic, The Refugees, solo)
    -Mew
    -The Sums, a band from Liverpool
    -Stewart Copeland (The Police, soundtrack composer)
    -Ravens Moreland (words cannot define style)

    And about Pink Floyd, everyone reading this really should listen to "Terminal Frost" written by David Gilmour.
  • citr92
    and a lot of people give the police flack for sting, but stewart copeland is one of the greatest drummers ever, and andy summers is a fantastic guitarist

    nobody has rhythm like copeland (sorry nick mason, i'll give him feel though) that's why he's got the world record for the longest drum rhythm

    and david gilmour's solo stuff is awesome
  • Oblivion Mara  - "... and David Gilmour's solo stuff is awesome"
    Indeed.
    It's terrific how topics like these seem to trigger passions !
  • citr92  - Pink Floyd
    nice list, glad you have Pink Floyd at number one, it's the only band that, although depending on my mood, I love EVERY.SINGLE.SONG.

    I was hoping you'd go a bit more into Pink Floyd as it's my favorite band as well, but hey, your list, your reasons
    Pink Floyd's richard wright's death hit me fast too, read it on their website two weeks after he died, i didn't know how to react then, it was so sudden, but now of course it's hit me harder...

    shame i'll never see Pink Floyd as a band, but seeing roger waters doing the wall live with a friend and his dad was UNBELIEVABLE, wish my brother was there too, except for some reason he didn't think he could buy a ticket but ah well

    anyway, took me a week to not listen to other music, even other pink floyd music, it was the wall for a week, filmed it, will never forget it
  • Das_Bass
    I saw him play that at Yankee Stadium. I'll never see a better show then I did that night. Ever.
  • citr92  - the wall live
    forgot to mention, saw him at the LA coliseum on may 19th of this year
    FAVORITE part of the concert besides everything, was the school teacher's laugh from happiest days of our lives, chills man, with that sound system ooooooooh man, better than the album version

    and yes, early floyd is way underrated, syd was a genius, shame what happened to him

    comfortably numb did show that when gilmour and waters cooperated...you have one of, if not the greatest song of all time, and they still argued a ton over how it should be done,

    although... my favorite song is echoes, words can't describe the beauty of gilmour and wright's voices combining into one voice
  • Fontinau
    avatar
    _"...that's sort of the fate of every ageing musician nowadays; they sort of lose that fire and they kind of mellow out and they write mellow music..."_

    Paul McCartney respectfully disagrees:

    http://youtube.com/watch? v=MeX_N6QBSEE

    (Hmm. Can't get rid of the space between the "?" and the "v" there. So, uh, do that if you copy-paste the link.)
  • Das_Bass  - Hell yeah!
    100% agree on your #1 pick. I remember the first time I ever heard Dark Side of the Moon. It was on a road trip with my dad going up state too Buffalo. I was 10 at the time and it changed me forever. Then in middle school I got a copy of The Wall movie and I must have watched that every week; and not always sober, as I cam onto darker times in my life..2001 was a hard year on me. I must have played Wish you Were Here every damn day till mid '02..

    I hate too be 'that guy' but Billy Joel was born in The Bronx, but grew up in Hicksville NY. I know this since my parents grew up a town over out on east Long Island. At the time they all thought that was awesome.
  • No452
    The early Pink Floyd material needs more recognition. To me, The Wall was just Waters being annoyingly pretentious and the band well past its prime, but hey, to each his own :)
  • rogueofmv
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    Indubitably! A Saucerful of Secrets is, was, and always will be my favorite Pink Floyd album. It's the only one of theirs to feature all five members of the band (even if Syd only appears on three of the seven tracks), and the feel of the album just glides right through your soul; it's a sort of cheery, nostalgic bliss all throughout, with strings of rather English humor and splashes of calm crosshatching the tunes. Not to mention the 12-minute freakout centerpiece of the album. It just edges out Wish You Were Here to keep its place atop the Pink Floyd pantheon, in my opinion.
  • A Pleasant Shade of Gray  - Progrock, Virtuosos, and Pink Floyd
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    Glad to see some progrock on the list. PINK FLOYD is one of my favorites, too, though as to your pick, I must say that both lyrically and especially musically, I find "The Wall" one of their weakest: to me, it's basically Roger Water's overblown postpubescent ego trip.

    I know the "Another Brick ..." riff is cult, but songwise, there's so much filler material on that album ... if it weren't for "Comfortably Numb," I don't think there'd be any reason to put this one in when you could give "Dark Side of the Moon" or "Wish You Were Here" a spin, or for that matter, "Animals" or "Meddle". To me, "Dark Side..." is really the consistently strongest, and large-scale compositions like "Echoes" or "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" beat the complete Wall-Album any day. I can really just attribute it to the popularity of the movie and the gargantuan shows that "The Wall..." is so often identified as one of the definitive Floyd-albums.

    Apart from that, when you're mentioning virtuoso playing and great musicianship, I was surprised that you didn't bring up RUSH again, whom you mentioned earlier: that's a band of truly amazing musicians that constantly reinvented themselves and, apart from the playing itself also realize their musicality in large-scale composition. They'e not really among my favorites, but I respect the hell out of them.

    Other bands of that kind would be DREAM THEATER (as for virtuoso's at work, you can at best break even), whose "Metropolis pt.2" I think ranks among the musically most perfectly realized concept albums ever made, KING CRIMSON (which are too monstrously impressive even to start describing - there should be a whole science dedicated to the study of that band), TOOL (to me, the more interesting Primus), PORCUPINE TREE (perfect blend of nice melodies, musical experimentation and delicate sound), or Sweden's OPETH and PAIN OF SALVATION (talk about constant reinvention and raw ambition, lyrical genius and pure emotion - this band's at the very pinnacle).

    The problem with much of progrock and -metal is of course that the entrance barrier is pretty high; one really needs to invest time into consciously listening to this stuff, otherwise it remains rather opaque and to the outsider may often seem overblown and incomprehensible. Personally though, I find once you've invested the time, the rewards you reap in sheer musical experience are probably the highest you can get. This is a genre that really 'gives back,' and that, in our time of fast consumption, shows what true musical artistry can do. [...]
  • A Pleasant Shade of Gray  - Progrock, Virtuosos, and Pink Floyd (contd.)
    avatar
    Also, it's a real eye opener and, being a (meta-)style build on ecclecticism, to me was the entrance into many other genres, especially classical music, jazz, folk, and electronica. Finally, I found that you cannot really appreciate simplicity before you've learned to appreciate complexity and vice versa (well, my experience anyway). It's the difference between Peter Gabriel's amazing time with GENESIS and his breathtakingly beautiful solo-work, or back to Pink Floyd, the difference between "Echoes" or "Shine On..." and "Wish You Were Here" - all of which are amazing and have their own charms.

    Thanks for the list! It's always great to hear others talk about what they appreciate in music and why.
  • jutuomin  - Weird but good list..
    I must say that I'd probably not choose any of those bands, but then again - not my list. It was interesting to see and reminded of a many bands that I like a lot..
    First of all almost all the big rockers reminded me of The Queen. After the list I'd say I would be surprised to hear if you wouldn't like their songs.. Also Elton John came to my mind so many times.
    Then as you mentioned all the big bands. There is a band called Don Johnson Big Band.
    They don't sound anything like ELO, but they do have a huge set of instruments in their work. And their always amazing live. You probably have to travel to Finland to see them (so I guess you won't have the chance).
    And another that I though of though not very similar than what you mentioned. It's also a virtual band (like Gorillaz) called Killer Studio. Unfortunately I have no idea who is actually part of it. I guess it is an international group of musicians. The lead singer is said to be Teemy Brumila (of The Crash).
    And lastly (to go all around the world) is a Canadian band called Barenaked Ladies. It's high in my favourites, but also reminded of many of the bands that you mentioned here.
  • RushBoingo  - My Top Ten
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    Forgot to add this to my first comment.
    10. The Bare Naked Ladies
    9. Sky Sailing
    8. Asia
    7. Port Blue
    6. The Buggles
    5. Green Day
    4. Weird Al
    3. Owl City
    2. Oingo Boingo
    1. Rush
    Eclectic much?
  • motormind
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    The only musicians I grudgingly agree with are Mark Knopfler, Damon Albarn and Primus (even though they each released their fair share of crap). The rest are plain awful. Billy Joel? Really? REALLY? Your taste in music sucks, Sage.
  • TheFourLights
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    'Songs for the Deaf' was one of the best albums in the '00s. Since then, QOTSA hasn't made an album that could overblow it. So really excited to see Dave Grohl back in line as the drummer for their new album.
  • ArmymanZ
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    My friend Brandon got me into Alice in Chains while we were deployed in Iraq for OIF I.We would always play the song Rooster or Man in the Box.I have since been an Alice in Chains ever since.Thanks Brandon.
  • geddyb
    avatar
    Amazing list... I Love everything from Billy Joel to Primus!

    Have you listened to Ween? They are great eclectic band with humor... Just avoid the early stuff if you don't care for "noise" rock..

    Also, you can't go wrong with Frank Zappa.. although some of his stuff has to grow on you..

    I heard an honorable mention for Rush! (one of my favs).

    Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" has to be one of my favorite songs of all time...

    ELO.. powerful stuff! Tugs at your soul strings in an uplifting way..

    You have great taste in music...
  • Lossthief
    avatar
    Definitely an interesting list. My own music taste generally falls into the various punk sub-genres, mostly pop-punk and hardcore. But it's always neat to see others' taste in music.

    10. Hour of the Wolf
    9. In Flames
    8. Cobra Skulls
    7. La Dispute
    6. Broadway Calls
    5. A Wilhelm Scream
    4. Refused
    3. Zatopeks
    2. Teenage Bottlerocket
    1. The Menzingers
  • OnionMan
    avatar
    I found myself agreeing with many of your choices, Ben. Especially Dire Straits, as I grew up listening to that around the same time you did, I even did a project on Meatloaf in the seventh grade.

    Still, unfortunate Eric Clapton wasn't on there, but otherwise, excellent choices :)
  • alsciaukat
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    Wow. I've always loved you.
  • metalmaiden
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    Great list Sage, and your taste in music is very interesting. I myself am a metal and rock lover, so my top 15 consists of only that:
    1) Iron Maiden
    2) Judas Priest
    3) Queen
    4) Black Sabbath
    5) Led Zeppelin
    6) Megadeth
    7) Dream Theater
    8) Deep Purple
    9) Manowar
    10)Symphony X
    11)Pink Floyd
    12)Rush
    13)Dio
    14)Blind Guardian
    15)Overkill

    Pink Floyd is fantastic but The Wall being Roger Waters masterpiece is the reason why I think of it as being the worst of the big 4 albums of Pink Floyd. The albums that consist of most of the bands efforts are the best and the most consistently great. The Wall in my opinion fails to stay great with some mediocre songs spread through out. I've always found that:
    1) Wish You Were Here
    2) Dark Side of the Moon
    3) Animals
    4) The Wall
    Was the right order of greatness with the first 3 albums competing for best spot because honestly those albums are so amazing that it really all depends on a matter of preference.

    But yeah, great list sage and I will be checking out Gorillaz more because that's the band on your list that I never really got into much.
  • Artemus_Cain
    avatar
    My fav bands, even though no one cares:

    1. Metallica
    2. Death / Control Denied
    3 Tom Warrior bands (Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Apollyon Sun, Triptykon)
    4. Dream Theater
    5. Black Sabbath
    6. Anathema
    7. Opeth
    8. Mayhem
    9. Ministry
    10. Tourniquet

    I have 30 but that's way too much.

    Other thoughts:
    What are your opinions on Homme's first band Kyuss?
    What do you think of Alice with William DuVall?
    Larry LaLonde of Primus helped to invent Death Metal! He was in Possessed, one of the first death metal bands. They released their first album in 1985, beating Death by two years! Just wanted to say that.
  • Bronx Prodigy  - You had me at
    Alice in Chains. I'm a huge fan of the music during that era. This group ranks up there with Nirvana and Soundgarden, aesthetically for the different styles, and Layne's voice....I can't help but sing along. My bro and I used to do that a lot and now, we developed our voices pretty well.

    Great list!
  • LimeGreenSquid
    avatar
    Primus to me sounds like composers of music made from all the mistaken chords that other musicians make during practice, but orchestrating it all to sound intentional and musical and amazing. And yes, i love when bands don't take themselves seriously and can make fun of themselves. I am anticipating a possible KMFDM mention...?

    Aw, no KMFDM. But i know you are aware of them, and they have that kinda revolving door membership with the core leader. But their style doesn't really vary, it just keeps improving.
    But that's ok, because #1 is Pink Floyd.
    My earliest Pink Floyd memories were hearing my mom cleaning to her record of Dark Side, hearing the base of "On the Run" through my bedroom wall.
    But when i was old enough to understand the lyrics i fell in deeper love, and i could relate. ("Time" being the most relatable)

    The Wall is my least favourite musically, but conceptually, and lyrically the one i relate to the most. But Roger Waters tends to write as if he's in my brain.
    I don't really like Pink Floyd after the split, after The Wall. Gilmour and Waters need each other. Solo, they both feel lacking without the other.
    And i am not as much a fan of the Syd Barrett days, either. The lyrics were more poppy and silly. I wished you'd gone into more detail on how you feel about Pink Floyd through its eras, but i understand. Music makes me very emotional, too.

    When they were big, i disliked Alice in Chains because i disliked every high pitched singing male. But as i grew older, (and watched the english dub of the Street Fighter 2 anime movie) i grew to appreciate them and their unique style. I never related to the depression stuff, so lyrics like those fly over my head, like Fear Factory's lyrics. But the music is not to be ignored for either band.

    I never thought i liked Billy Joel, but then i was recently informed that some of those songs (you know, the ones on the radio that you don't really know the name of, but always hear) that i really liked, and had always wondered who it was so i could find more of their work. "For the Longest Time", i think was one of them.

    Will check some of this out. If there's a way you can suggest that other site members, including Doug, wanted to do their own favourite bands list, like you and Paw, because it would be interesting to see all the different tastes, plus i love hearing about new (or old) music that sounds interesting.

    Anyway, good list!
    You've given me some interesting names to research!
  • LimeGreenSquid
    avatar
    Let's see...

    KMFDM
    Pink Floyd
    Daath
    Machine Head
    Protest the Hero (later stuff)
    Frank Zappa
    Stan Kenton
    The Mars Volta
    Various original NES 8-bit composers
    The composers of the nusic for the SNES games EDF and Ninja Warriors.
  • Nephilim  - Interesting
    avatar
    I like the eclecting thing going on here. And I respect the love for the old bands.
    Not really bands I would put on my list (except Alice In Chains) but still respect.

    Anyway some bands/artists I really love (it's expected lol):

    -Alice In Chains
    -Fields Of The Nephilim
    -ROME
    -Tactical Sekt
    -Current 93
    -Coil
    -Triarii
    -Tangerine Dream
    -VNV Nation
    -The Gathering

    no specific order btw

    honorable mention: Townes Van Zandt
  • Ptrack_Git
    avatar
    Sage, thank you for singing the praises of The Wall. It was a very important album to me, and still is as I am a struggling musician with great aspirations, and it dose feel so lonely some times. The Wall resonates with my darker self more than any other. Physical Graffiti is similar but a bit more reflective and warmer, and is probably my personal favorite album of all time. Here is my list:
    10:Rush
    9:Pantera
    8:The Reverend Horton Heat
    7:The Sex Pistols
    6:Primus
    5:Nirvana
    4:Black Sabbath
    3:The Beatles
    2:Pink Floyd
    1:Led Zeppelin
    Just off the cuff... BTW, I'm sure nobodies reading this anyway, but great list sage! Love the top 10s, keep it up. Can't wait for the next one.
    ... should have put Ministry on mine though... love Ministry...
  • bigandrewm
    avatar
    I hadn't heard of Queens Of The Stone Age - I'll have to check them out.

    Although - I have to admit - I'm a bit of a hermit, and my musical tastes are eclectic. I'm also a musician. I enjoy Count Basie, Igor Stravinsky, Tool, Keith Jarrett, John Williams, Dream Theatre, Radiohead . . . to each their own.
  • MR2Di4
    avatar
    Great list! Big kudos for recognizing both Billy Joel and ELO for their tremendous talent. Gorillaz are one of my all-time favorites as well and believe it or not, I'd never heard Doncamatic until now! Love it! The only one on your list I've never taken in is Primus and frankly I've never heard much Queens of The Stone Age either so perhaps both of them deserve revisiting. Here's my own (current) top ten whose albums always make my playlists in no particular order:

    10. Lush - Shoegazing, interesting...
    9. Ivy - Non-mainstream relaxing pop...
    8. Alice In Chains - High School memories...
    7. Gorillaz - Eclectic electronica...
    6. The Dandy Warhols - Reckless rebels...
    5. Daryl Hall & John Oates - 80's memories...
    4. The Black Keys - Simple ass-kicking music...
    3. Radiohead - Modern prog rock...
    2. Blue States - Downtempo ambient mood music..
    1. Led Zeppelin - First CD's I ever bought, legendary pioneers!

    Anyways, GJ Sage!!!
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