As I noted a few days ago, last weekend I had a number of high school classmates in my house. There are three big metal CD racks in our living room and a steel LP rack is behind our love seat, serving as a room divider. One of my classmates asked, so who is your favorite out of all of these, who gets played the most. Hmm.
I dodged the question with some nonsense about late 60s/early 70s hard rock but the real answer goes deeper. As I’ve noted before here, I listen to a large variety across a lot of genres. But what does get played the most? I looked on my laptop to see what groups had the most songs/albums and what does get played the most. Obviously Zeppelin, the Stones, and Rush get the most attention but what do I return to again and again? I certainly go off on tangents of listening to classical, jazz, and blues but the core is indeed rock. So I came up with this list. Note that I lump some artists under one umbrella but it’s mostly solo work or side projects. In the case of the Stones/Faces, there’s a fair amount of similarity (and one guitarist) in the two although the former is far, far darker than the later.
Led Zeppelin/Robert Plant
The Rolling Stones/Keith Richards/Mick Jagger/Ron Wood/Faces
The Who/The Kinks
Gov’t Mule/The Allman Brothers Band
Steely Dan/Donald Fagen
Bob Dylan/The Band
The Beatles/Paul McCartney
Pink Floyd/David Gilmour/Roger Waters
Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson
Vietgrove/The Future Kings of England/Ephemeral Sun
Black Sabbath/Blue Öyster Cult/Iron Maiden
The Decemberists/Black Mountain/Pink Mountaintops
Soundgarden/Alice in Chains/Pearl Jam
Stevie Ray Vaughan/Johnny Winter/Rory Gallagher
Marillion/King Crimson/Big Big Train/Genesis/Yes
No doubt few of my readers have ever heard of Vietgrove/et al. They’re mostly instrumental progressive rock, recording in the last decade or so. I get an incredible amount of work done while playing these guys. The music is engaging and intelligent yet not obtrusive to my work flow.
I am a little disappointed in myself that this is pretty much a sausage fest. I love the mixture of male/female vocals in The Decemberists/Black Mountain/Pink Mountaintops but other than Heart and the Pretenders, I don’t play a lot of women vocalists. I don’t get that but that’s the way it is.
It is true that a lot of these acts are quite old and some no longer active. Then again I am quite old and I could give a good goddamn. I excluded any jazz, classical, ambient, or blues because though I have a substantial amount of recordings in those genres they don’t dominate my listening patterns as much. But as always with me and music, it’s all subjective to change. And really, that is the beautiful thing about being an ardent listener to music. We’re always looking for a new fix that will take us somewhere special.