Please see part 1 here.
Toots and the Maytals
Toots Hibbert is second only to Bob Marley in reggae history as singer and songwriter. Career spans early-’60s ska to today. Gritty, soul-dripping voice along the lines of Otis Redding. Should be next reggae Rock Hall inductee (then Jimmy Cliff).
Returned a Byrds-like jangle to modern rock in early-’80s. Enigmatic lyrics and unique allergy-inflected vocals from oddly charismatic Michael Stipe. Most important American band of ’80s and early-’90s. A lock.
Most important rock band of last 20 years, period. Has uniquely combined guitar grandeur of arena rock, punkish independence, Celtic spirituality, even electronica: all held together by Bono’s transcendent vision and charisma.
THE grunge band – put the genre and Seattle on the map. Kurt Cobain’s brooding integrity, ragged voice, and monster guitar flamed out quickly but left indelible mark. Nevermind was rock album of ’90s.
Cooper has been a hard rock/metal journeyman for 20 years, but the original Alice Cooper band combined shock, glam, hair, with chunky, tuneful rock ‘n’ roll to make something new and dangerous. Was much more integral part of pre-punk than most realize. Original sound not dissimilar to NY Dolls, whom they preceded.
Visionary Peter Gabriel and excellent musicianship made them one of the two (with Yes) great prog-rock bands in first half of the ’70s. Elaborate, theatrical live show and high concept albums left when Gabriel went solo in ’75 and band settled on drummer Phil Collins as unlikely lead singer. Drifted in a more pop-rock direction, verged on electronic side of modern rock for a time in ’80s before absorbing the regular-Joe pop of solo Collins into band sound.
It astonishes me that Traffic isn’t in the Rock Hall yet: late British Invasion-era pop-rock band with some great tunes, evolved into jazzy jam band, all led by singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist Steve Winwwod, one of the brightest talents in the history of rock. What’s the freaking problem?
Veering between sublime beauty and egregious pomposity, the Yes catalog is very large and uneven, but the supreme musicianship, welter of great music, and enduring if vague cosmic vision make them one of the two great prog-rock bands. And they’re still at it.
Since he first picked up a guitar, Todd Rundgren has put his indelible stamp on a wide swath of excellent music. Rundgren has been the driving force behind the bands Nazz, Runt (“We Gotta Get You a Woman”), and Utopia (Adventures In Utopia); interspersed with an ongoing solo career highlighted by the timeless albums Something/Anything?, A Wizard, A True Star, and singles “I Saw the Light,” “Hello, It’s Me” and “Can We Still Be Friends.” Rundgren’s production career spans 30 years and includes all of his own releases and a multitude of others, including Badfinger (“Baby Blue”), The Band (Stage Fright ), Grand Funk (We’re An American Band , Shinin’ On), Meat Loaf (the 12-times-platinum Bat Out Of Hell), New York Dolls (their seminal self-titled debut), Psychedelic Furs (Forever Now, with “Love My Way”), Patti Smith Group (Wave), and XTC (Skylarking).