549 to 500
549. Dinosaur, Jr.
T: My favorite out of tune singer and a guitar god that I actually care about. So happy “Start Choppin’” was played… a sing-along screamer for me and my daughter.
M: A band that sorta slagged Sonic Youth on record – “on a certain level I think they’re great, but on another I can’t relate to anything they do” – and still maintained its full indie cred. J. Mascis is the truth.
548. The Mavericks
T: Produced one bonafide country pop classic – What A Crying Shame. Extra points for playing my bachelor party.
M: Someday Raul Malo will record himself singing the phone book and it will seem like a revelation.
547. The New Pornographers
T: Ear candy from Canada, Twin Cinema still rocks my world.
M: More hooks than a pirate convention. Way better than the Old Pornographers.
546. Lenny Kravitz
T: He’s a second rate everything. He should thank Melissa Ethridge for covering “Refugee”, thereby relegating his “American Woman” cover to second worst cover song.
M: Remember when he was Mr. Lisa Bonet? Times have changed.
545. October Project
T: How bad were the January to September Projects?
M: Holy hell, Philly, enough with the local bands I know jack about. I’m going to pretend this entry is for Kansas City’s own Rainmakers: Sure, Bob Walkenhorst’s voice is an acquired taste, but the man stands as the poet laureate of the Missouri River Valley.
544. Chick Corea
T: Oh Michael, say something that doesn’t make us both look like jackasses (jackii?)
M: This is a path I just never followed.
543. The Wallflowers
T: On that cd they had that was massive, there were 3-4 songs that I really liked. What a legacy to live up to (dad... not the first record.)
M: Even Bob doesn’t say nice things about them.
542. Mott the Hoople
T: “Some spade said rock and rollers / You’re all the same/ Man that’s your instrument / I felt so ashamed”. They just didn’t make rock bands any rockier than this.
M: “Now it’s a mighty long way down rock and roll, from the Liverpool docks to the Hollywood Bowl.” I can’t think of Mott and not smile.
T: Marquee Moon (the song and album) is so essential as to be part of the rock and roll DNA. You don’t got this record, you’re not rock and roll.
M: As I write this, I’m about thirty artists behind, and I’m scanning ahead, and seeing some of the bands that rate ahead of Television. And I’m slamming my head on the desk. Seriously, there’s blood everywhere. And the pain is excruciating. And I’m feeling sort of dizzy. . . .
540. Donald Fagen
T: Look the Dan dive bombed after The Royal Scam, and Fagen solo did not change the trajectory.
M: I’m Lester the Nightfly, Hello Baton Rouge. What a perfect little record that was.
539. Gladys Knight
T: She seemed to stand apart from the Motown assembly line, and the later Buddah hits are timeless.
M: As a kid I wanted to be a Pip so I could get paid to dance and listen to Gladys sing night after night.
538. Joseph Arthur
T: Seems capable of brilliance… “Honey and the Moon” is proof.
M: Here to stay.
537. Collective Soul
T: What? A single, mediocre radio hit (“Shine”) places you ahead of Mott? To quote Graham Parker “You’ve got to be kidding”.
M: I saw these guys once. The tickets were free, courtesy of Sammy Hagar. That story is more interesting than the show was.
536. Joan Osborne
T: She’s got a little fire that I like, but please stop hanging out with the jam bands.
M: “Panties in a wad/At the bottom of my purse.” Man, I love that.
T. All right Bob Yannarell… pay up. The 1976 bet: who’s better – Boston or Tom Petty? Any court of law would award in my favor. Although that first Boston album is pretty damn good.
M. Way, way back when, I had a crappy food service job at an airport. One day, a familiar-looking guy walks through the line, and I say “do I know you?” He says “Did you see Boston on tour last year?” My brain said “no way, Boston sucks.” My mouth said “You’re Tom Scholz!”
534. Bill Monroe
T: Invented bluegrass.
M: Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining.
533. Leon Russell
T: Guy has had a career for the ages and huge solo success. Count me as a fan. Pioneered the ZZ Top beard.
M: Other than the obvious tunes, Leon’s career kind of passed me by.
532. Adrian Belew
T: I know he’s been all over the place and I know he’s a got a great pop sensibility, but why haven’t I listened more?
M: Never paid much attention to Belew’s solo career (I remember Twang Bar King kind of vaguely), but as a side man with Talking Heads and a front man with King Crimson, he’s done a lot of first-rate work.
531. Harry Connick, Jr.
T: I like him – singer, piano player, actor. Star turn in Iron Giant.
M: You know, it would be easy to slag this guy because he’s rich, famous, charismatic, talented, great looking, married to a supermodel . . . . ah, screw him.
530. Joe Cocker
T: Yeah we all think of Belushi but that voice is one of rock’s most distinctive and passionate. I’ll never tire of “Delta Lady”.
M: What would you do if he sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on him?
529. Kate Wolf
T: The Shay-Tearson axis?
M: I’m starting to get the feeling that we’re going to get up to number 17, and I’m going the think “who the hell is that?”
528. Michael Franti & Spearhead
T: Please Michael have something to say.
M: I dug Franti way back in his Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy days. And even though his political ruminations are as subtle as a flu pandemic, his fluid R&B almost always makes the songs palatable.
527. The Hooters
T: Yes Michael another local band. I wouldn’t have them on any greatest list, but they could write a pop song. By the way, saw Eric and Robbie in Genuardi’s the other day.
M: Philly heroes who made a national splash, they were dorm room faves in Columbia, MO back in 1986. And we danced, pretty badly.
526. The Zombies
T: Dave Mac made me buy Odessey and Oracle and I’ll always thank him for that. Plus three giant hits that are above reproach.
M: “Care of Cell 44” is almost certainly the greatest whimsical psychedelic pop song about incarceration ever recorded.
525. Jonny Lang
T: I see sarcasm in the immediate future. Five bucks says you can’t tell the difference between Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
M: Martin Luther King did a lot of beautiful things all because he had a dream, just like Johnny Lang.
524. Richie Havens
T: Great voice, great fingernails… I’ll bet he’s happy he played Woodstock.
M: Has any other artist ever been so clearly defined by a single performance?
523. My Chemical Romance
T: My Immediate Reaction… give the new Hold Steady another spin.
M: This band is here and the Modern Lovers were number 838?!?
522. Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes
T: Maybe he rode Bruce’s coattails to break free of the Jersey ghetto, but goddam those first three records are first rate rock and soul.
M: The band’s proximity to NYC and affiliation with Bruce Springsteen elevated their profile (thanks mostly to the scribes at Rolling Stone) but betrayed what they were at heart, a band of true believers playing for beer money and the attention of the best looking girl in the bar.
521. Dave Alvin
T: I know my Mount Rushnore of American songwriters will overfill soon, but Dave’s on it. The most consistent American songwriter of the last 25 years. Checlu out "Border Radio".
M: Tell ‘em, Trip.
520. Dean Martin
T: I can’t believe my Dad got a swing vote.
M: This man is the very reason that I blog in a tuxedo with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other.
519. Richard Shindell
T: I’ve written over 350 of these and now you want something about Shindell? I can’t do it cap’n.
M: The website says they played “Confession.” Here’s mine: I don’t know who he is.
518. Umphrey’s McGee
T: The god-awful jam band that sounds like warmed over Little Feat? No way dude.
M: They raise indifference to a whole other level.
T: I’m taking one for Meat. Try to think if Bat Out of Hell hadn’t been so omnipresent over the last 30 years. It’s a really good record and I like it. Bring it on.
M: Once I got over myself and learned to embrace the absurd theatricality, this became a lot more fun.
516. The Goo Goo Dolls
T: Stole Westerberg’s career but Johnny Zzzzzzzeznick was to Westerberg as Cougar was to Springsteen.
M: The Goo Goo Dolls land ahead of the New York Dolls. Pussycat Dolls must be next.
515. Built to Spill
T: Indie guitar soldiers.
M: I thought they started out as a fairly marginal alt rock band, but they’ve morphed into something else entirely. Kudos to them.
T: If one song could describe a band – “Feel Good Inc.”
M: Poster children for the destruction of artificial boundaries within pop music. They move across styles, across races and across an entire ocean to make some of the most irresistible music going.
513. The Innocence Mission
T: Charming little band from Lancaster… out of their league here.
M: I give up.
512. Broken Social Scene
T: Welcome R5 concertgoers. I only know their solo stuff so I’ll give a shout to Jason Collett’s Idols of Exile, one of the best in 2006.
M: When exactly did all the good bands start coming from Canada?
511. Jimmy Eat World
T: I love “The Middle”, but not so much the beginning and the end.
M: . . . and I don’t care.
510. Blind Melon
T: We’re getting near 500… bands this uninspired shouldn’t be here.
M: All I can say is that this band is pretty plain.
509. T. Rex
T: Along with Slade, my fave English glam band. Buy Electric Warrior and The Slider for crissakes.
M: The ultimate 20th Century boy, Marc Bolan was Baby Strange, part vampire, part pixie, with stars in his beard, feeling real weird. The Groover, baby, yeah.
508. Duncan Sheik
T: I am barely listening.
M: I can’t top that.
T: For some reason, these guys bring the pain.
M: Minimally acquainted, but favorably impressed.
T: The best of new wave’s wierdos… and they really annoyed most of my pals… always a plus.
M: Q. Are they not men? A. They are devastating.
T: Cher’s got mad skillz, but she’s on the scrap heap for “Half Breed” and those other hideous early 70’s hits.
M: I find her admirable in a weird way, laughing at herself all the way to global domination.
504. Steve Goodman
T: A witty craftsman whose sense of humor enhanced his delicate story songs. A real troubadour… gone too early.
M: I know him almost solely through others’ readings of his songs, and I’ve never heard a bad one.
503. Neko Case
T: “Oh you are in my blood like holy wine
Oh and you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
Oh I could drink a Case of you”
M: When my wife finally wises up and kicks me out, I’m gonna marry this girl.
T: Most Brit Pop got lost in the shuffle and faded into oblivion. Not these guys.
M: Educated the expensive way, know their claret from their Beaujolais. Brit pop gods produced an almost impossible string of instantly memorable tunes.
501. Bob Mould
T: Did he get here on the strength of Workbook or did the Husker crowd want him to lock up two spots? Ever sit through Black Sheets of Rain? Tough sledding.
M: The whole pro wrestling detour confused me, but once you’ve conquered the indie rock world thrice over, you can do whatever you want.
T: Nice to hear during the countdown but we all know “Girl of My Dreams” was his apex.
M: Yay, Tchaikovsky!