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Top 5 “R” Artists

August 28, 2014

It took some discipline not to shorten the subject to “R”tists.

It also took some editing to trim the list down to 5!

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5. Refreshments, The
They may have over-committed to the ‘bandits on the run to Mexico’ motif but their two mid-90s records (Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy & The Bottle and the Fresh Horses) are keepers.  Their King of the Hill theme song is also Top 5 Theme Songs-worthy.

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4. Rush
Has there been a better trio?

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3. Rolling Stones, The
Speaking of trios, has there been a better consecutive three-pack of records than Let it Bleed/Sticky Fingers/Exile on Main Street?

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2. R.E.M.
There are better albums than Automatic for the People.  But not many.

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1. Radiohead
A band with 2 of my Top 5 albums.  Tough to argue with those credentials.

The Chili Peppers and one of my least favourite Radiohead discs are up next, enjoy!

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55 Comments
  1. I’d put the Replacements instead of the Refreshments. Otherwise pretty hard to argue with these 5!

  2. Rush and the Stones are the most likely crossover with my Top 5. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the Refreshments actually! I’d add Rainbow in definitely.

  3. I along with HMO would take Rush/Stones also I would include REM for me personally as well as I really enjoyed the Monster album(1994).

    • I only know the hits from Monster (but I liked them), it’s tough to beat REM’s decade from 1987-1997.

  4. So happy to see The Refreshments on this list. I know they’re a wildcard entry that most people either aren’t aware of or wouldn’t rate that highly, but they were a key artist for me in the mid-90s and still a favorite (the love of their music continues via the still-active Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers). Your other choices are great, although I wouldn’t rank Radiohead as highly as you did. The Stones & Rush would be my Top 2 for sure. Other nominees would include Lou Reed, Redd Kross, the aforementioned Rainbow, Return To Forever, Rockpile, Linda Ronstadt, Todd Rundgren, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Renaissance, Terry Reid, The Ramones, Bonnie Raitt, Roxy Music, Runrig, The Rubinoos & Rodrigo y Gabriela.

    • Refreshments & Ozma, I’m pleased to see our musical reference points are back after they diverged a bit with the Morrissey-led Ms!

      Now it’s like asking a parent to pick a favourite child but can you single out a favourite stones record?

      So far I’ve preferred Rundgren as a producer (great stuff with NYD and as you covered previously with XTC’s Skylarking) – haven’t got to his ’73 album yet, which is on the list along with something/anything.

      The Rubinoos I only know from the Avril Lavigne ‘girlfriend’ plagiarism incident – glad to hear there’s more to them than that sound-alike song!

      • I can’t narrow down The Stones to just one, but I have several favorites: Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Some Girls and Between The Buttons.

        Rundgren’s discography is a tough nut to crack but there are some brilliant records and a bunch of amazing songs on the more questionable albums. And pretty much everything he did as part of Utopia is astounding.

        I’m enough of a Rubinoos fan that the first time I heard Avril Lavigne performing that song on SNL, I immediately turned to my wife and said, “that’s a ripoff of The Rubinoos.” I was pleased to find out that I wasn’t the only one who heard it.

  5. If I were not at work right now I would be listening to your awesome post songs! R rocks! Great list!

    • My thanks sourgirl – ‘R’ might be in my top 5 letters @ the end, along with B, P, S, and maybe L!

  6. ianbalentine permalink

    Lou Reed, Roxy Music, Ramones and the Replacements. I would omit Radiohead and The Refreshments and replace with 2 of the afore mentioned, but that’s me. Never heard the Refreshments. Great list, though, can’t argue with Rush, Stones and REM!

    • Thank you sir – now the question is, which REM era is your favourite?

      • ianbalentine permalink

        Oh, without a doubt the beginning…Murmur, Reckoning…just unbeatable!

  7. Solid top five, although admittedly, I’ve never been a Rush fan. Who could argue with Radiohead, Rolling Stones, and R.E.M. I might also submit Ride and Rheostatics.

    • Ride has one on the 1001 (nowhere) – no rheostatics alas.
      I know you’re not a huge hip fan – though you may appreciate the live version of Nautical disaster on ‘live between us’ as Gord starts singing ‘bad time to be poor’ towards the end!

  8. Ramones
    Roxy Music
    John Renbourn
    Return to Forever
    The Rutles

    • Nice diversity, especially the closer!

      • Thanks Geoff. Your process highlights both points of connection and the diversity of music lovers’ tastes.

        Personally, I may (or may not) take the opportunity to reassess Rush who I have failed to appreciate over many years. Anyway, here’s to diversity!

        PS. When you’re feeling mischievous, why not invite a ‘battle of the trios’? I’ll lead with Cream.

    • Cheers to that!
      When my band back in University recorded a few songs with a local producer, I remember him saying “I’d rather chew cardboard than listen to Rush” – and he had been a Rush fan as a teen but clearly had changed his tune!
      Perhaps he craved more of a verse-chorus-verse structure which Rush doesn’t tend to provide. They’re definitely an ‘in the mood’ for band, Geddy Lee’s voice isn’t one that really drifts by unnoticed.

      As for the trios, I’ll see your Cream and raise you a Police! That has the makings of an excellent tournament bracket…

  9. Great top five. I was going to include Rage Against the Machine and Ramones, but you have a solid list there.

    • My thanks Sarca – The Ramones are a group I look forward to exploring more. I didn’t understand the fuss (isn’t it just 3 chords??) but the more people I talk to, the more I think I’ve missed the point with them.
      Their debut ‘The Ramones’ is on the list – now multiple reliable sources have said it’s a good one!

      • It is! For me, it’s all about the energy their music conveys. It really carries!

      • That’s exactly what one of my teaching colleagues said – he liked putting on James’ “laid” when looking for something mellow and The Ramones for the energy!

  10. You have a good list there. Radiohead in the no 1 spot! Rolling Stone definitely deserve their spot. I loved REM’s Automatic for the People as well. But then there’s also Red hot chilli Peppers, the Ramones, the Roots, Rancid, Rage against the machine… That top 5 is a hard one.

    • When an artist letter is that strong (that I forgot all about the Roots), that’s a good problem to have!

  11. One of your least fave Radiohead albums is coming up? Interesting. Perhaps it’s Kid A?

    • Its follow-up!

      • Ah. Weird that that got into the 1001 list. Unless every radiohead album did

      • No Pablo Honey alas 😦
        But the rest of them made the cut – I think in later editions, amnesiac may have been taken out to make room for other albums, but one of those is probably In Rainbows!

  12. Great choices!

    I don’t think I have too many “R”s in my collection. Rammstein? Riverside, Rishloo, Rainbow, Rise To Remain, Rush, Radiohead, Red Fang, RATM and Roger Waters is the height of it really.

  13. Oh God! I accidentally hit something and Rush is playing—please make it stop before he starts singing—oh an’ instrumental—thanks Geoff! …I know-I should be over my slight Rush impediment by now after a couple years bloggin’—-What can i say -we all got quirks!
    Other than that-no complaints—thanks for not putting the Ramones in just because you feel like you have to-you got to follow your heart and call it like you see it.

    • haha – Pavement had a great lyric in the song stereo, “what about the voice of Geddy Lee? How did it get so high? I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy!”

      No worries, I was definitely NOT a Rush fan back in the day, I didn’t get the appeal. Seeing them live definitely helped and then I started to really appreciate the musicianship and the quirkiness of the song structures.
      I liked with your top 10 you focused on ‘favourites’ as opposed to ‘best/most critically acclaimed’ – for me ‘top’ is synonymous with favourite as well, it’s the most reliable metric I have!

  14. Ramones ‘n’ Stones. Also would have Otis Redding on my list.

  15. I love ‘Sway’, and it’s nice to see that Stipe is mates with Radiohead…but I have a question: Should Little Richard be filed under ‘L’ or ‘R’ ? Just in case you’ve overlooked one of the founding fathers of rock’n’roll! 😉

    • On my spreadsheets he’s listed under “L” (another good letter) – his ‘whap babaloobob ba dop bam boo” on Here’s Little Richardis easily one of the Top 5 album opening lines!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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