Top 5 most important American bands?

vanguard

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I was trying to think of U.S. counterparts to The Beatles, as far as cultural weight is concerned. No "solo" acts like Elvis, James Brown, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, etc. I came to the conclusion that only the Beach Boys could make a case for "equal" cultural relevance. I suppose cultural relevance means effecting a major shift in popular music and culture So, in order, I'd go:

1. The Beach Boys (Established the American popular sound and lifestyle)
2. The Velvet Underground (Basically laid the framework for punk, alternative, etc.)
3. Nirvana (Ushered in the last(?) great era of guitar music)
4. R.E.M. (Provided the modern blueprint for College rock, alternative, grunge, and straddled the line between underground and accessible).
5. The Ramones (Updated the Beach Boys image and sound and defined American rebel culture)

Bonus-The Band

I'm probably forgetting a major group, but that's what came to me. What about you?
 

lp_bruce

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I think the Beach Boys were an important band, but there is no way they make a case for equal cultural relevance as the Beatles.

But, I don't think that's a bad list. I'd probably put The Band in before The Ramones, though more for their influence today than anything else. Virtually all the folk rock bands talk about The Band being a huge influence.

Peace,
 

Blanket Jackson

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1 = agree
2 = agree
3 = important, but for dissolving the wall between "alternative" and mainstream. i might bump them for ramones though (see below)
4 = nope. great band, important, but not top 5. you could argue Talking Heads equally, and also not top 5. my vote would go to james brown / furious flames
5 = agree in place of nirvana. i think that given the times and effect, van halen would need to bump rem and even nirvana for bringing us back to guitar music from the disco era.

honorable mention = buddy holly / crickets
 

weshunter

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Agree with op except for REM and I'd add the grateful dead who pretty much created the jamband genre or at least made it what it is today (which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, live music genres going today)
 

Bankston

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Buddy Holly & the Crickets has to be on there somewhere.

And for my tastes, KISS & Van Halen.
 

Boston617

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Speaking in terms of "importance", Van Halen & Metallica are easily in the top 5. Hard to get it nailed down to a complete top 5, though.
 

lp_bruce

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Agree with op except for REM and I'd add the grateful dead who pretty much created the jamband genre or at least made it what it is today (which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, live music genres going today)

Funny, to me The Beach Boys and REM are slam dunks. But I was in college when REM championed college rock and alternative and brought a lot of bands with them (and influenced a lot of others). But I think you can make a case for a whole lot of bands.

Peace,
 

bayAreaDude

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Agree with op except for REM and I'd add the grateful dead who pretty much created the jamband genre or at least made it what it is today (which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, live music genres going today)

Yes, for me, the Dead are are the heart of it all.

REM - never been a fan despite their popularity. Sound just light midnight oil or depeche mode to me, an era of music I could easily do without.
 

whackystrings

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I don't disagree with the above list but somehow Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers deserve an Honorable Mention, IMO.

Metallica have been game changers during their career and have a massive influence on fans that became musicians. Not a fan, myself, but their impact on the music industry cannot be underestimated.
 

GulfportBound

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The Butterfield Blues Band. They kick-started the electric blues revival in earnest over a year before the more serious British blues bands emerged. They also opened the door to the so-called jam band genre with this 1966 jewel (various members of the Dead and others who followed acknowledged the influence) . . .

 

hazmat33

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Kiss
Van Halen
ABB
Metallica
GDead


Isn't The Band from Canada?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

lp_bruce

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I think some of the bands mentioned were big bands, but didn't really have the kind of cultural relevance/impact that the OP is talking about. For example, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers are a huge act, have sold a ton of records, and still sell out stadiums. But I don't know that they made a particularly strong cultural impact.

Isn't The Band from Canada?

Good point. The were made up of both Canadians and Americans and they spent their early years in Canada, so yes they are not a purely American band at all.

Peace,
 

martyman

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ABB
Dead (though I hate to admit it)
Metallica
Nirvana
Aerosmith

(though solo performers Elvis and Chuck Berry would probably knock any of these off the list)
 

rumbletone

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I think some of the bands mentioned were big bands, but didn't really have the kind of cultural relevance/impact that the OP is talking about. For example, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers are a huge act, have sold a ton of records, and still sell out stadiums. But I don't know that they made a particularly strong cultural impact.



Good point. The were made up of both Canadians and Americans and they spent their early years in Canada, so yes they are not a purely American band at all.

Wasn't Levon Helm the only American member?
 




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