10 Rock Bands You Either Hate Or Love
In politics itâ€™s not too hard to make friends and enemies at the same time. In art, itâ€™s a little bit harder. There are a number of artists who frequently make the â€śbest ofâ€ť lists but most rational people donâ€™t argue their merit. The Beatles and Led Zeppelin are typically at the top in classic rock, and even their critics donâ€™t place usually place them farther than top 20. Move a little farther down and youâ€™ll find Jimi Hendrix and The Who where most will agree if theyâ€™re not the all-time greatest, at least theyâ€™re not horrible. Bruce Springsteen may not be everybodyâ€™s favorite, but most rock fans appreciate what he does. This list is specifically made up of groups who have a large contingent of rabid supporters, yet they also have a large number of devoted detractors. People are passionate for them, or passionate against them.
Captain Beefheart earns the coveted 10 spot despite being the most obscure artist on my list due in part to the fact that even when people rave about him it sounds like theyâ€™re putting him down. His most famous album, Trout Mask Replica, consistently earns a spot in the obligatory music magazineâ€™s â€śTop 50 Albumsâ€ť while the reviewer uses words such as incomprehensible, inaccessible, indescribable and unlistenable. His sometime producer and biggest name supporter was no less of a cult figure than Frank Zappa. Beefheart further earned a special place by having possibly the best pure singing voice on this list, and by the way that he used it.
Google hits: â€śCaptain Beefheartâ€ť 4,200,000; â€śCaptain Beefheart Sucksâ€ť 177,000 (4.2%)
Metallica suffers from a similar fate of U2. They started losing die-hard fans just as their commercial popularity peaked. As their style evolved from speed thrash to epic heavy metal, many long-time listeners found other places to bang their heads. The migration increased when they took sides with the record companies in the fight over music trading, and culminated with the authorized documentary of their trials and tribulations while being guided by a relationship counselor. Singer James Hetfield makes his biggest headlines these days when heâ€™s photographed wearing sandals, beach shorts and an Armani bag. Sure, heâ€™s allowed to have a personal life. Heâ€™s just not allowed to be cool.
Google hits: â€śMetallicaâ€ť 37,500,000; â€śMetallica Sucksâ€ť 248,000 (.7%)
This group is famous enough and popular enough that thereâ€™s no need to tout theyâ€™re positives. Suffice to say, theyâ€™re the first group on the list to earn a great deal of unpopularity due to being too popular. They were one of Billboardâ€™s 200 hottest albums of the year in 16 years between 1983 and 2009 with Top 100 songs in 5 of those years. Typical â€śsuckâ€ť ratings come from indie types that â€śliked them up through Warâ€ť yet couldnâ€™t stand them after Joshua Tree. The explanation varies from â€śJust because theyâ€™re popular doesnâ€™t mean they donâ€™t suckâ€ť to â€śBecause theyâ€™re popular, they suck.â€ť That doesnâ€™t mean they donâ€™t.
Google hits: â€śU2â€ť 52,900,000; â€śU2 Sucksâ€ť 745,000 (1.4%)
Hereâ€™s a band that many, including myself, will maintain that just was never good to begin with. They showed promise with their 1973 breakout hit, â€śSweet Emotionâ€ť (#59), but they never contributed great songs and their talent is pale to middling. Their story could be made into a decent documentary except Spinal Tap already did that.
Google hits: â€śAerosmithâ€ť 11,600,000; â€śAerosmith Sucksâ€ť 312,000 (2.7%)
Here is Curt Cobainâ€™s professed favorite band. They made a career out of playing awful sounding quote music unquote. Their triumphant double album, Daydream Nation, which transformed them from playing dive clubs to playing slightly bigger dive clubs (but at least they could afford to stop shoplifting from the grocery store), has an estimated 2.7% of actual singing and/or playing in tune. John Cage would be proud.
Google hits: â€śSonic Youthâ€ť 4,510,000; â€śSonic Youth Sucksâ€ť 173,000 (3.8%)
As an American icon, there should be no doubtâ€¦ Elvis was the King. As a musician, the man helped popularize rock & roll, which is no small accomplishment although he was hardly alone. His early career (from 1958 to 1960 before being drafted into the U.S. Army), with hit covers such as â€śHound Dogâ€ť, â€śHeartbreak Hotelâ€ť and â€śAll Shook Upâ€ť ensured that he would leave his mark. Unfortunately, he just didnâ€™t stop there. To the general population not in nursing homes, Elvisâ€™s legacy today is mostly filled with velvet paintings, ugly cars and horrible movies. As Neil Young wrote, sometimes â€śitâ€™s better to burn out than to fade awayâ€ť.
Google hits: â€śElvis Presleyâ€ť 17,600,000; â€śElvis Presley Sucksâ€ť 321,000 (1.8%)
Hereâ€™s a group that suffers greatly by comparison. Their fans continue to compare them with the Beatles and thatâ€™s just not fair. What they didnâ€™t steal from Chuck Berry, they stole from the Four Seasons. They started to approach credibility when their front man, Brian Wilson, developed drug induced paranoid schizophrenia and started having original thoughts. But the band kicked him out and spent the next 30 years capitalizing/trashing what was left of the â€śBeach Boysâ€ť name. I have more class than to knock Brian for his mental illness. But I donâ€™t mind knocking Mike Love for being a flat out narcissist.
Google hits: â€śBeach Boysâ€ť 49,400,000; â€śBeach Boys Suckâ€ť 521,000 (1.1%)
Speaking personally, Iâ€™m just not sure what this group did to make them as mildly famous as they were. I suspect it was their association with Andy Warhol. Like many rock fans, I once sat and listened to an album of theirs at the behest of a friend, but the experience was entirely forgettable and literally forgotten. Apparently their influence on future artists supersedes their actual popularity. According to the Rock Hall of Fame, â€śThey are one of the most important rock and roll bands of all time, laying the groundwork in the Sixties for many tangents rock music would take in ensuing decades.â€ť But Iâ€™m not sure they really existed.
Google hits: â€śVelvet Undergroundâ€ť 3,090,000; â€śVelvet Underground Sucksâ€ť 95,400 (3.1%)
The one you all were waiting for. The Dude made it part of Hollywood legend, but rock snobs were saying it for decades: â€śI hate the #@$&!@# Eaglesâ€ť. They exemplify the popularity problem, because unlike U2 and Metallica, the Eagles never had a developing period. Their first album had three Top 40 hits (â€śTake It Easyâ€ť, â€śPeaceful Easy Feelingâ€ť and â€śWitchy Womanâ€ť). The criticism is that theyâ€™re songs are too catchy, the production is too perfect, and the voices are too nice. Some people just hate that stuff.
Google hits: â€śThe Eaglesâ€ť 18,100,000; â€śThe Eagles Suckâ€ť 471,000 (2.6%)
The criticisms are obvious and plentiful. These guys were nothing but a bunch of dirty hippies. Their voices sucked. They played 40 minute songs based around an average (at best) guitarist improvising over a basic scale. They went like 30 years between hit songs, if you can even call them hits. Yet theyâ€™ve been a fixture of popular music since the mid 1960s and had a dedicated fandom of hundreds of thousands for the whole time. Take it as you will, but one of their biggest fans, legendary rock promoter Bill Graham famously said â€śThey’re not the best at what they do, they are the only ones who do what they do.â€ť
Google hits: â€śThe Grateful Deadâ€ť 8,730,000; â€śThe Grateful Dead Suckâ€ť 176,000 (2.0%)