Bands at Their Best

 

Yesterday I posed a question on Twitter that had people hopping to respond, so I thought I’d share it here, too: Has any band had a more awesome period than The Rolling Stones from 1969-1972?

You can take it back to 1968 to include Sympathy for the Devil and Street Fighting Man, but those three years included Gimme Shelter, Let It Bleed, Brown Sugar, Wild Horses, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, You Can’t Always Get What You Want… and that’s just 2 out of the 3 albums released in that timeframe. The third, Exile on Main Street, is one of their best and most influential albums. 

There was a flood of alternative suggestions for periods of the careers of U2, Metallica, Zeppelin, Creedence, The Talking Heads… and here are some rationales for them. what would you suggest?

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MJMack

    Yes,The Beatles from 66-69. On an unrelated note, how are those not-Romneys looking Ben?

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    @EJHill

    The Benny Goodman Orchestra that played Carnegie Hall in 1938 jumped, man.

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    @
    Oh. Are we going to be that site now?  Did I miss the post on World of Warcraft cheats?;-)
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    @JohnnyDubya

    The Allman Brothers Band, 1969 – 1973:  “Black Hearted Woman”, “Revival”, “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”, “Melissa”, “One Way Out”, “Ramblin’ Man”, and “Jessica”.

    Addendum: “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”, “Whipping Post”.  And, of course, one of the best live albums of the rock era: At Fillmore East (1971).

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    @DeletedAccount

    I much preferred their earlier work; from Her Satanic Majesty’s Request (1967) and on, it just gets more commercial.

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    @Franco
    MJMack: Yes,The Beatles from 66-69. On an unrelated note, how are those not-Romneys looking Ben? · 12 minutes ago

    Romney and the One Mitt Wonders… the Abba of politics.

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    @Sandy
    EJHill: The Benny Goodman Orchestra that played Carnegie Hall in 1938 jumped, man. · 7 minutes ago

    Edited 6 minutes ago

    and Count Basie and Duke Ellington in any year, but I think we are on a different planet, and I know I am not bilingual.

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    @edwarddentzelcom

    Wow. I’m gonna show my age here . . . 

    I would say Bon Jovi 1986-1990. Slippery When Wet–21st bestselling album of all-time with (still popular) rock anthems: You Give Love a Bad Name, Wanted Dead or Alive, Livin’ on a Prayer, Never Say Good-bye.

    The follow-up: New Jersey–five top 10 singles, the only hard rock album to ever do that. Lay Your Hands on Me, Bad Medicine, Born to be My Baby, I’ll be There for you.  All of these songs still played on rock stations–terrestrial or orbital.

    In addition, Jon Bon Jovi got a bit part in Young Guns II which came out in 1990. And like the Stones, Bon Jovi is still getting it done to this day.

     Another group I’d put up there is Def Leppard’s successive albums of Pyromania and Hysteria–1983 to 1987. We all know the chart topping tunes. Good luck trying to find a bad song on either of those albums. Bon Jovi essentially took over for Def Lep’s spot at the top of rock in 1987. And Def Lep is still getting it done today as well.

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    @

    The Ramones, first four albums.

    The Who, 1967 to 1973.

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    @GusMarvinson

    STYX: Equinox, Crystal Ball, Grand Illusion, Pieces of Eight, Cornerstone, Paradise Theater— 1975-1981

    Here’s a list of songs: Suite Madame Blue, Born for Adventure, Midnight Ride, Crystal Ball, Grand Illusion, Come Sail Away, Fooling Yourself, Miss America, Blue Collar Man, Renegade, Queen of Spades, Boat on the River, Borrowed Time, Eddie, Rockin’ the Paradise, Lonely People, Half Penny-Two Penny, Snowblind, Best of Times

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    @Franco

    The Who 1969 to 1973 Tommy, Who’s Next, and Quadraphenia

    Beatles 66-69 is also better than Stones 

    While I like the Stones too, ultimately they were an excellent Brit Invasion blues band with good songs but not especially innovative. The Who brought Rock and Roll to a whole new level and were more creative and a better live band.

    The Beatles outclassed the Stones – but that doesn’t mean the Stones weren’t great themselves.

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    @SpinozaCarWash

    Although not ordinarily considered a band in the same sense as the Stones or the Beatles, the work of Bob Dylan and “The Band” between 1965-1968 surely ranks among the best ensemble work in American popular music. The group that later became “The Band” served as Dylan’s musical back-up in Bringing it All Back Home and participated in the recordings of Highway 61 Revisted, Blonde on Blonde, John Wesley Harding (my personal favorite), and The Basement Tapes.

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    @GusMarvinson
    Kevin Walker: The Allman Brothers Band, 1969 – 1973:  “Black Hearted Woman”, “Revival”, “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”, “Melissa”, “One Way Out”, “Ramblin’ Man”, and “Jessica”.

    Addendum: “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”, “Whipping Post”.  And, of course, one of the best live albums of the rock era: At Fillmore East(1971). · 17 minutes ago

    Edited 12 minutes ago

    One day when I was a kid (14?) I was walking home from a friend’s house and found a nearly new copy of Filmore in its dust jacket but without the album cover. I knew of the Allman Brothers, but never paid much attention to them up to that time. When I got home I put it on and spent the rest of the night playing Whipping Post over, and over, and over…

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    @MJMack

    Led Zeppelin from 70-75 was pretty outstanding as well. Of course they stole most of their greatest hits from other artists and never gave them credit.

    [Comment edited for Code of Conduct Violation]

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    @kgrant67
    Kevin Walker: The Allman Brothers Band, 1969 – 1973:  “Black Hearted Woman”, “Revival”, “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”, “Melissa”, “One Way Out”, “Ramblin’ Man”, and “Jessica”.

    Addendum: “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”, “Whipping Post”.  And, of course, one of the best live albums of the rock era: At Fillmore East(1971). · 32 minutes ago

    Edited 27 minutes ago

    I recently purchased a record player and last week I picked up At Fillmore East on vinyl.  Man, if that ain’t about the greatest thing ever.  And everyone talks about all those poor souls dead at 27 – Morrison, Hendrix, Joplin, et al.  Duane was 24…TWENTY-FOUR!  

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    @Pilli
    Kevin Walker: The Allman Brothers Band, 1969 – 1973:  “Black Hearted Woman”, “Revival”, “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”, “Melissa”, “One Way Out”, “Ramblin’ Man”, and “Jessica”.

    Addendum: “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”, “Whipping Post”.  And, of course, one of the best live albums of the rock era: At Fillmore East(1971). · 1 hour ago

    Edited 56 minutes ago

    Amen to the “Live at Fillmore East”! One of the albums I still play regularly.  The guitar improvisations are awesome.

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    @bourbonsoaked

    AC/DC – 1978-1980. Powerage, Highway to Hell, Back in Black. Their two best Bon Scott-era albums, then he dies and is replaced with Brian Johnson and they release the 3rd best-selling album of all time. Not a bad song in the bunch, from “Rock and Roll Damnation” and “Sin City” to all of Highway to Hell right through “Have a Drink On Me”. All fantastic.

    Govicide – I respect the attempt, but…seriously?

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    @Flapjack

    I’ll go way out there and suggest Primus, 1991-93.  Les Claypool’s riffs, arguably one of the greatest bassists, render the electric guitar virtually obsolete on Sailing the Seas of Cheese and Pork Soda, but Larry LaLonde finds a way to be creatively chaotic regardless.

    I realize most here probably won’t like (or even know) Primus, but there is it.

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    @Valiuth

    I like Rush 1978-1982, but I will also second AC/DC and I want to give a a particular nod to Queen. 

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    @edwarddentzelcom

    Bourbonsoaked: Yes, seriously. Don’t think that I’m a Bon Jovi fan because I named them. However, I will admit to being a huge Def Lep fan.

    But, by any objective standard Bon Jovi was huge at that time. Sales, sold-out concerts, memorabilia, MTV, etc. They were everywhere. Was it cheesy? Somewhat . . . but that’s not part of the question. I suppose I could have said Guns N’ Roses who came out around the same time but that Lies album was a step backwards . . . my opinion.

    AC/DC–huge fan–is an excellent selection as well, especially considering they changed singers. And obviously Back in Black is in top ten selling albums of all time. But, I still think my Bon Jovi choice is appropriate given the standards provided by the original post.

    I mean, for my money, I’ll take Queensryche’s string of albums Rage for Order, Operation: Mindcrime, and Empire as some of the strongest albums in a row by any band anywhere.

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    @eyrkos

    Cream. 1966-1968.  They made as big an impact as Hendrix on all later bands.  Led Zep and The Who were following a trail blazed by Cream.

    “Sunshine of Your Love,” “White Room,” “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” “Strange Brew,” “Crossroads,” “Badge.”  Even the odd-ish Led Zeppelin 3 was presaged by the odd single “Wrapping Paper.”

    And I believe they credited the artists who came before them.

    Anyhow, all these bands were great.  We’re just dancing on the head of a pin…

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    @user_140429

    Creedence, of course, especially concentrated in 1969-1970.

    “Proud Mary,” “Green River,” Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” “Willie & the Poor Boys,” “Fortunate Son,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain?”, etc. etc.

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    @CandE

    My votes:

    Beatles 1966-1970

    Miles Davis 1955-1960

    Igor Stravinsky 1910-1913

    Yeah, I know only one is a band, but the work each of these artists did defined their genres for decades, and remains quintessential to this day.

    -E

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    @GusMarvinson

    Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. From Live Bullet in 1975 to Like a Rock in 1982, Bob cleaned house. A short list has to include Turn the Page, Travelin’ Man/ Beautiful Loser, Night Moves, Come to Poppa, Rock and Roll Never Forgets, Old Time Rock and Roll, Sunspot Baby, Hollywood Nights, Against The Wind, Fire Lake, Betty Lou, You’ll Accompany Me, and Like a Rock.

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    @

    What a quaint and chronologically provincial question. Clearly you’ve never heard of Beethoven or Mozart. The Big Bands have been mentioned already. One might add the Kingston Trio or Peter, Paul and Mary. Later came the Beach Boys. The 50s’ early pop-rockers, too many to mention. Music and musical tastes are creatures of their times. One hopes that people live THROUGH those times rather than becoming trapped within them like a bug in amber.

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    @GiveMeLiberty

    I like most of the bands folks have mentioned (they’re basically the soundtrack to the first 20 -30 years of my life) and can’t really say who was the best for any particular brief period.  This is a little like arguing which is the best sauce or gravy when they are all yummy.  However, I would like to add to this list a nice little Bordelaise I call The Police.  Five albums from ’78 – ’83, the global tours for each, and then they said “good enough” and ended it.  Of course Sting is still haunting us but that’s nothing like the abuse of The Rolling Stones.  Please make it STOP!

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    @jameslileks

    Elvis Costello was on fire from bout ’78 to ’82; he did an album of outtakes that was better than most of the stuff his peers produced. One year saw two albums with 20 songs each. Crack drummer, signature-sound keyboardist, Nick Lowe production – couldn’t miss.

    Then, alas, he became bored with his talent for short melodic songs, and turned out a batch of albums he might as well have titled “Complicated Sludge.”

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    @Guruforhire

    Smashing Pumpkins before the breakup.

    Siamese Dream and Melon Collie were cultural touchstones of the 90s.  Their later work has been not as good, and Billie Corgan has really jumped the shark.

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    @GusMarvinson
    James Lileks: Elvis Costello was on fire from bout ’78 to ’82; he did an album of outtakes that was better than most of the stuff his peers produced. One year saw two albums with 20 songs each. Crack drummer, signature-sound keyboardist, Nick Lowe production – couldn’t miss.

    Then, alas, he became bored with his talent for short melodic songs, and turned out a batch of albums he might as well have titled “Complicated Sludge.” · 17 minutes ago

    Odd how Costello reversed the typical process artists undertake of complex arrangements to simpler, more accessible arrangements.

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    @TheKingPrawn

    I realize now how anti-social I really am. I don’t like most of the bands listed except the Ramones and the big bands.

    I should go completely off the reservation and mention Tourniquet. Their first two albums in ’90 and ’91 had mind bendingly good guitar.

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