What a happy band! Electric Light Orchestra is the culmination of a desire to create a fusion of modern electronica and classical symphonies. The results are honestly a better fit than peanut butter and jelly. The band’s predominant style is pop, but this is seriously the best pop out there. They make Journey look like bottom feeding hacks. From Mr. Blue Sky to Don’t Bring Me Down, ELO keeps you looking up. My favorite line by them? “Hey there Mr. Blue, we're so pleased to be with you. Look around see what you do, everybody smiles at you.”
Let’s get this out of the way: I don’t particularly care for Peter Gabriel. I suppose hipster snobs will dislike that. Whatever. Genesis was at its best when Phil Collins was in the lead. Genesis has always had the capability of surprising you. In one moment they’re poppy and happy like the song Invisible Touch, or they’re talking about finding comfort in the arms of a prostitute in Mama. Genesis is progressive rock at its best. My favorite line by them? “You keep telling me I’ve got everything, you say I’ve got everything I want. You keep telling me you’re gonna help me, you’re gonna help me, but you don’t.”
8. Creedence Clearwater Revival
It’s hard to believe that a bunch of city boys from San Francisco mastered the genre of Southern rock. From singing of bayous and catfish, CCR certainly knew how to evoke pastoral imagery. It’s so folksy and chill that you can’t help but nod your head and tap your foot. It’s also perfect drinking music. To me, CCR is a more palatable version of Lynyrd Skynyrd. My favorite song by them, Down on the Corner, perfectly captures a picture of loving people in a small town. Really, their songs are what America should ideally be like. My favorite line by them? “You don’t need a penny just to hang around, but if you’ve got a nickel, won’t you lay your money down?”
7. Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper is cool. Seriously, the guy was the original “bad boy” of rock in an era where radio stations forced you to be either clean cut or out on your ass in the street. If all you know by him is School’s Out, trust me, he has a lot more to offer than just that. From No More Mr. Nice Guy to Poison, Alice Cooper just had attitude. His music videos for MTV were really ahead of their time too, with Poison deserving special notice for its sexuality. Alice Cooper is easily my pick for best hard rock. My favorite line by him? “Welcome to my nightmare, I think you're gonna like it."
Queen is just bursting with energy. It should also be noted that Freddie Mercury was the coolest gay guy that ever lived. Seriously, who are we left with now? Elton John? Anyway, Freddie Mercury was known for his ridiculously great vocal range. He could even do operatic songs as evidenced by Bohemian Rhapsody. From more obscure songs such as The Invisible Man, to crowd pleasers like Another One Bites the Dust, Queen is replete with good material. My favorite line by them? “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.”