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Top 5 “V” Artists

September 30, 2014

The Vs.  The name of Kingston’s Jr. A Hockey team.  Also the final letter on the ‘8’ of a telephone keypad.

Most importantly, the starting letter of a surprisingly decent crop of late-alphabet letter artists!


5. Velvet Underground
I still haven’t fully bought into the magic but I’ve come around enough for them to merit a Top 5 spot.


4. Velvet Revolver
Years ago, when the concert I attended was delayed for at least an hour, things looked bleak.  Thankfully, the whole band eventually showed up and played a great set!


3. Van Halen
I practically insist you visit Mike’s page for a comprehensive look the Van HALEN years.


2. Verve, The
Not to be confused with Verve Pipe, The (who had the hit single The Freshman).  Part of an absolute Golden Age of music from the UK.


1. Vines, The
Nirvana clone with a Thom Yorke-ish singer? Hardly!  Highly Evolved is one of the stronger debuts of the 2000s, one of the ones from the early days of the project that I frequently revisit.

An album that shares its title with a George Orwell novel & at least one other ‘V’ are on deck this week, enjoy!

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  1. This is a good list, hard to argue with it. Except it’s lacking Violent Femmes! Oversiiiiight! 🙂

    • OVERSIIIIIIGHT! Lol, why didn’t I trademark that? I could have just charged you 5 cents!

      • Or just get Raine Maida to sing OVERSIII-EEE-III-YAH-YAH-YAH-EEE-IIIGHT-TAH!

      • Eeeee-ayee-eeee-ayee-eeee, yeah!

      • Not sure how the spelling would be let’s not forget Superman’s Dead also featured the lyric, ah – now – a -woo-ooo, now-a-woo-ooo,now-a-woo-ooo!

      • Of course! That’s the best lyric on the record!

      • ‘like’ to all of the above – and considering the royalties I would owe for borrowing ‘theory of a nickelcreed’ you should get trademarking ASAP, it could be a fruitful side business!

      • I’d better get on it!

  2. Not a bad list, Geoff, but the order is a little weird. I like The Vines but can’t imagine them topping any lists. The Verve is excellent as well and would definitely be in the running for my Top 10, but ahead of Van Halen? A brave choice, my friend. I had been on the fence about VU for many years, but back in 2001 my band at the time performed their debut album at a Halloween party in NYC with a guest vocalist on each song. Learning to play that album perfectly really opened my eyes to how special they were…and it also introduced me to the underrated greatness of John Cale. His contributions to VU only scratch the surface of how good he is.

    Other “V” artists that deserve some recognition: Stevie Ray Vaughan (not even in your Top 5?), Van Der Graaf Generator, Mike Viola, Vanilla Fudge, Luther Vandross, Steve Vai, Townes Van Zandt and the previously-mentioned Violent Femmes.

    • Good to hear there’s hope for VU – it’s one of the groups that seems to be adored but I hadn’t really understood why. That’s a good reminder about how when you learn to play a song, you appreciate the craft that much more – I shall try to learn some VU to see if that does the trick!

      Stevie Ray Vaughan – I have zero doubts about his talent with an electric guitar. I find after one song though, I’m convinced and ready to move on to something else whereas with the other Vs, I’m much more keen to hear full records.

      Townes Van Zandt is one I’ve just been introduced to recently, I could seem him making a future list

  3. jprobichaud permalink

    I agree with “Keepsmealive”. Violent Femmes warrants a mention for sure. I’d also submit The Veils. One of my all time favourite bands.

    • Veils are new to me (at least I don’t recognize the name) – the Femmes make an appearance on the 1001, haven’t got to the album yet. The hits I know and like of course!

      • jprobichaud permalink

        I highly recommend The Veils. Frontman Finn Andrews is the son of Barry Andrews (of XTC and Shriekback). As for the Femmes, well, their debut is one of the best debuts ever.

      • And the self-titled debut is the one that’s on the list – the XTC connection doesn’t hurt the Veils’ case either!

  4. Nice to see Velvet Revolver in there. Possibly my favourite of the V artists listed, there (though admittedly I only really listen to Contraband and haven’t really fully immersed myself in the sounds of the Velvet Underground).

    Reckon there’s room for Townes Van Zandt and VietNam in there. Oh, and not forgetting Vetiver!

    • Supergroups can often be underwhelming – I think with VR I was sold on the live show, neat seeing them do a mix of GNR (It’s so easy), STP (Sex type thing) and VR all in one set!

  5. THANK YOU for the linky-poo Geoff!

    I have to differ with you on the Guns N’ Pilots. I had no use for them. Sorry. I’m not sad to see Slash go on with his excellent solo career.

    For me, sub in Steve Vai. And then we’re good.

  6. I enjoy the ‘Letter List’ posts as they invariably set me to surveying the Vinyl Connection catalogue. Firstly in my head, then (when the neurones necessarily fail) the excel spreadsheet.

    Other than the mighty (though perhaps historically over-rated) VU, I have precisely NONE of the other artists on your list. Slightly less surprising is that I cannot instantly come up with vast vistas of Vs. Sure, there are New Romantic synth poppers Visage, Swiss electro-harpist Andreas Vollenweider and that single excellent album by Steely Dan protege Rosie Vella. But major VC contenders for a Top 5 V-list? Well, here it is:

    3. Vangelis – inventive, prolific, more interesting than you’d think (if you like electronic music).
    2. Velvet Underground – at #2 basically for their first album.
    1. Van Der Graaf Generator – the only progressive band embraced by the Sex Pistols. Still dense, dramatic, often disturbing.


  7. Postscript:
    In the catalogue I just located 213 V entries: VARIOUS
    Does that count?

    • I hadn’t heard of Van Der Graaf Generator prior to today – and now two recommendations from two reliable sources.
      That ‘Various’ artist would be tough to beat – had to exclude ’em to make it more of a level playing field!
      Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll definitely need some excel spreadsheet assistance when I get to the Xs!

  8. A lil SR Vaughan? Really this is a great list. And props for naming the Vines – my latest love.

    • My thanks Sarca – I think they got lumped in with all the other “The” bands back in the early 2000s but for me (and glad to hear you too) they’re a standout!

  9. Another PS: In a post a little while back I wrote about burglary and the Van Der Graaf Generator album “H to He”. Might be of interest.

  10. Glad to see some praise for Highly Evolved. Although it got a lot of praise at the time, it also seemed to receive backlash but I still enjoy it. Here’s what I had to say about it a couple of years ago ..

  11. I’d add Vangelis, but solely for the Blade Runner soundtrack.

  12. Has anyone mentioned Voivod yet? With all you crazy Canucks flying around here I thought someone would’ve brought them up by now!

    Umm… I’d have Van Halen, Van Der Graaf Generator, Voivod, Vio-Lence, and I’ll throw in Voices, a new British band whose debut last year was outstanding!

  13. I’m with you on Velvet Underground, I want to love them but, alas, I only like them. I like the idea of them more than the actual thing if that makes sense. The Verve and Urban Hymns was great though huh!

    • That makes plenty of sense to me – I think I’ve said I preferred the idea of another group at some point in the project as well – no complaints about Urban Hymns over here!

  14. Count me among those who never got into Velvet Underground. But then, I’d include Vampire Weekend, if only for the song “A-Punk.”

    • I haven’t heard much Vampire Weekend yet – but what I’ve heard I’ve quite enjoyed. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them make it to the Top 5 if I revisit the lists some day!

  15. Just had a belated realisation that no one mentioned Gene Vincent! Massive oversight from EVERYONE (myself included for which I feel considerable shame)

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