Yes, we’re STILL taking your Top 5 Faves and posting them. This post is from Steve Arozena who is very distinctive between solo artists & bands.
First of all, the subject is top five favorite bands. Therefore, I am going to eliminate my favorite solo artists who did always perform/record with the same band (David Bowie, Bob Marley, Iggy). With that qualification, here are my five favorite bands:
1) The Clash. I’m disappointed that the songs the general public knows (“Rock the Casbah”, “Train in Vain”, and “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” are a weak representation of what the band was all about. That being said, my two favorite albums are by the Clash…the eponymous first album (with my nod to the American version) and “London Calling, which showcased the band’s variety without too many digressions (I am referring, of course, to “Sandinista.” No other band combined my politics and the fury of rock and roll like the Clash. If you doubt their intensity, listen to the first album.
Recommended album for disbelivers: “The Clash” (for those who appreciate punk), “London Calling” (for everyone else)
All-time favorite track: “White Man in Hammersmith Palais”
2) The Ramones. I love the Clash, but these were our guys…They went from being almost comically inept to a real force and amazing live act. If you never had the chance to see them in their prime (with Dee Dee), the closest you will come are the live album “It’s Alive” or the eponymous DVD recording of the same show (New Year’s Eve, London, 1977). Watch/listen, and you will see what they were all about..
Recommended album for disbelivers: “It’s Alive”
All-time favorite track: “Pinhead”
3) New York Dolls. You cannot appreciate how weird the Dolls were when they debuted in the early seventies. Dressed in drag (well, sort of), they hit the stage as a sloppy, wonderful mess with the music a mix of early ’60’s girl groups, doo-wop, loose Stones riffs, and what later became knows as punk rock. I haven’t totally embraced the current incarnation of the group (How can they be the Dolls without Johnny Thunders?), but the first two albums are pure genius.
Recommended album for disbelivers: “New York Dolls”
All-time favorite track: “Human Being”
4) Roxy Music. Weird in a totally different way from the Dolls, but weird nonetheless. A band that took me years to appreciate. I liked a few tracks off the first two albums, then rediscovered them after “Stranded” became my favorite album. Odd instrumentation for a rock band at the time…violins, horns, “treatments” from Brian Eno, and one of rock’s most underrated guitarists (Phil Manzanera). The first five albums are all classics. The later stuff, not so much.
Recommended album for disbelivers: “Stranded”
All-time favorite track: “In Every Dream Home a Heartache”….pathetic and heartbreaking at the same time with an explosive solo by Manzanera at the end that provides a suitable climax.
5) Mott the Hoople. Criminally underrated. One of the best live groups ever. Passionate lyrics from Ian Hunter. And they could rock like hell.
Recommended album for disbelivers: “Live: 30th Anniversary Edition” Contains two different shows. Fantastic!
All-time favorite track: “One of the Boys”
Apologies to the runners-up: The Who, The Kinks, Husker Du, The Replacements, Eels