The most common phrase in the English language is repeated when one describes a place, person, or thing. That one advantageous adjective is the “Greatest”. We are use it to describe our favorite food or movie, but in this case we’re talking about the music. Who is the next “Greatest” American rock band?
First what makes a rock n’roll band great you might ask? Is it the band’s lists of Top 40 hits on the charts? Is it a popularity contest? An iconic fame or figure? Ticket sales? Or a string of successful albums? Since Beatlemania hit the soil of the United States we have been looking for the next “Greatest” band/supergroup. That’s like asking when the Apocalypse is going to happen. In America we have been tested by time to find this great American rock band and this definitely does not involve any game systems. There is a long list of great American bands starting from the late Sixties with The Grateful Dead and later Aerosmith in the 70’s. But we have also seen unbelievable great American acts been taken away from us like The Doors and Nirvana. They could have controlled the world but their legends live on.
In the latest Rolling Stone magazine issue, the writers/editors along with some of music scene’s best artist’s including Win Butler of The Arcade Fire expressed and voted best albums and songs from the past decade. We saw the rises and falls of artists and their genres. And now there is only one way to move on and that is to learn from music’s past. The mainstream of the musical airwaves have revolved like a record player starting with rock music. Then it led to laundry lists of sub genres that have the music scene. Emo, scream punk, crunk and freak folk music all rose and died in the past years. But with any great record has a strong finish and it has brought back the good ole rock n’ roll. Hopefully it controls the music scene. The music industry has no hand to control the scene of empowering artists anymore. Only true great rock bands like the Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam have lived their course and still continue to rule the world of rock music.
Now how do judge who is the next true American rock band? Is it ticket or album sales? Progression of music through the artist’s discography? Or does it come down to a popularity contest?
Let’s start about 15 years ago so we can understand the music scene with a short history brief. In 1994 the newest American rock scene had blown up in the city of Seattle with the stranglehold of Grunge. But in that same we saw its mountain top and death with the tragic passing of its heroin, Kurt Cobain. Nirvana not only ruled every college dorm room but the airwaves, concert venues and every pair of head phones that walked the planet. Bands like Pearl Jam and a year later, the Foo Fighters played to what is left to the of the nation of rock fans with hits like “Jeremy” and “Everlong”. But these hits could not stop the overhaul of sex symbols, one hit wonders and, of course, boy bands.
By the mid 90’s, the birth of Total Request Live scene took over and rock music was pushed aside, taken off record shelves and kicked off radio playlsits. TRL drove the entire listening generations into a vacuum of popular music industry. The image of an artist dominated over the music and shit hit the fan. They not only created superstars and made new sub genres popular but they also damned the rest. The new music became known as Rap Metal and its leader Limp Bizkit. They took pop hooks and mixed it with rock melodies to trick new music listeners this was rock n’ roll music. This allowed great bands like Radiohead to fly under the radar. Slowly Rap Metal dug its grave and pop punk was born to swoon the pop music world of the TRL kingdom. And soon a birth was beginning to be misled. TRL nation became divided as punk and pop punk drove fans to evolve the musical tastes and ears. Each fan was finally allowed to find their favorite band. This was also the start of an empire known as MySpace and the Warped Tour allowed new artists to get exposed. Any music fan could connect with huge acts/TRL favs like Blink-182 and The Offspring and discover new acts like Something Corporate and New Found Glory. During TRL’s reign there were some acts to appear and survive this trend like the Foo Fighters but rock was still trying to find itself.
In 2002, the birth of the musical festivals brought back revelation of rock music. Soon acts like U2 and Dave Matthews Band were touring the summer circuits and the end of pop punk music was dying with Good Charlotte. Rock music was starting to become reborn to its industrial form. It was time to get back to the basics and Bonnaroo and Lollapolooza allowed music fans to rediscover what was important to music. That is the live performance. Fans were getting to notice songwriting and bands that were once flying under the radar were starting to get noticed fast. The scene of rock music was restored to its rightful place at the top of the music chain. From our northern neighbors, the Arcade Fire’s Funeral was preempted to the beat of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and we were sealed by Radiohead’s Capitol (2002) musical prowess. Super artists Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were going at it again. Top 40 radio stations starting to play rock music again and the playing was settled again to start another 1960’s rock rebellion due to the collapse of the music industry. Now music was at the forefront and rock n’ roll was ready kick ass.
But who is the next great American rock band? If it were due to legend then its Bob Dylan but he’s already an immortal rock god. And the following of the past of 25 years and still rocking award has to go to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen. The ticket sales award goes to the traveling and always great Dave Matthews Band whose latest release Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King proved they still can rock with could be their best album to date. The men of rock award has to go to the ever talented Jack White and Dave Grohl. Both men keep rocking no matter what band there are with and lead a new generation of rock. But the new greatest America rock band that will represent a new era are the Kings of Leon. Their sound transcends time and they do not need any help rocking out stadium filled fans and each album keeps getting bigger and better. The Followhill family defines the true meaning of rock n’ roll dynasty. From their dysfunctional family relationship to earth shattering hits the KOL have the nation of rock music and its fist and ready to rock it more til its end.