Yesterday afternoon, I was scrolling through the tweets I had missed earlier today. I found a simple but fascinating tweet by music writer Corbin Reiff that proposed a challenge.
Build the greatest rock band of all-time:
source: tweet (formatting mine)
I immediately had several ideas. However, the more I thought about it, the more I kept adding names to the list. How can I ever narrow this down? There are so many great bands, each containing multiple great musicians. One possible way would be to create multiple lineups – each with its own purpose. A lineup for hard rock, one for classic rock, one for pop/rock, one for rockabilly, one for punk rock, and so on. So how does one narrow it down?
Some Thoughts On Strategy
In the majority of rock bands, the key figures are the singer and the guitarist. For Led Zeppelin, there were Plant and Page; For the Rolling Stones, there are Jagger and Richards; For Guns and Roses, there’s Axl Rose and Slash; and for Queen there’s Freddie Mercury and Brian May. Typically, the rhythm section – the drums and bass – play less flashy yet essential roles. The best musicians have skills beyond their instrument. Some are songwriters, some are singers, some can play another instrument. While you could probably put any drummer or bassist in a band, lets not waste the opportunity to create the greatest rock band of all time.
As I reflect on the original question, I realize it’s incredibly open-ended. As a result, we naturally add our own assumptions on to the question. For example, we think of people being in their prime. That’s because the albums with our favorite songs, have captured the best versions of themselves. On many occasions, an artists best and most beloved work is their early work – when they were young, naive, brash, and unlimited by expectations. We also tend to not let a silly thing like death prevent us from picking our favorite musicians. Because while the musician may be dead, the albums we listen to, keep them alive for us in our hearts and minds. So since the question is asking for the greatest rock band of all time, that’s perfectly reasonable.
The Greatest Rock Band of All Time
The greatest rock band can’t be composed just by individuals highly skilled at their instrument. They need to be able to gel with the other people in the band. The real trick is to find people who can blend their musical styles as well as their personalities. After all, the clash of personalities and ambitions have caused countless bands to implode. So, given those ideas, Who would be in my band?
- Singer: Freddie Mercury
- Guitarist: Slash
- Drummer: Mick Fleetwood
- Bassist: Paul McCartney
OK, I couldn’t limit myself to just one lineup. I had to create an alternate. The power of rock ‘n roll compelled me.
- Singer: Ann Wilson
- Guitarist: Brian May
- Drummer: Dave Grohl
- Bassist: Sting
So those are my choices for the greatest rock band. Answer the challenge for yourself – Who would be your greatest band of all time? How would you select them? Write an article on your own site, and share it with me.