Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Most Innovative Popular Musicians

I have posted David Bowie's music on here more than any other musician. His music holds up well for me and seems modern for the times. Books like the one here make the case he was innovative in not just his music, but his look, his stagecraft, in lifestyle.

What musicians have been groundbreaking for you. 

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

David Byrne and the Talking Heads.

Deb

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Talking Heads, Velvet Underground, Roxy Music, The Stooges are four that come to mind. These are bands that didn't sound much like anything else at the time. I should also add the MC5, but you really had to see them live to fully appreciate them. They were never captured well on record.

pattinase (abbott) said...

STOP MAKING SENSE was one of the best nights I ever spent in a theater, Oh, yes the MC5.

Charles Gramlich said...

Bowie would probably to get my vote as well.

George said...

My son Patrick, who just attended her concert in San Francisco last week, would vote for Bjork.

pattinase (abbott) said...

YES! Great choice.

Anonymous said...

I was actually in the audience at the Pantages theater in Los Angeles the night they filmed "Stop Making Sense." (Well, one of the nights. I think the movie was culled from footage from two concerts.)

Deb

Anonymous said...

Never cared much for Bowie, sorry.

I'd say seeing B. B. King at the Fillmore East in 1969 was a mind-blowing experience.


Jeff M.

Richard R. said...

When The Doors first album came out, I was floored, couldn't stop playing it. Then when I first heard Jimi Hendrix he blew me away and the same for Crosby Stills and Nash.

Charlieopera said...

Cream ... all three, Clapton, Bruce and Baker ...

Todd Mason said...

In music, stagecraft, lifestyle:

Louis Armstrong, since jazz was one of the central popular musics at the time he began his career, and he also performed straight-ahead pop later. (Pop's pop.)

Sun Ra and His Arkestra. Probably not the first communal band, but among them in popular consciousness, and damn did they make for an impressive sight. Rock acts from George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic through the MC5 and Bowie to Chumbawamba were influenced by them, as were such later jazz bands as the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse...though, like Tom Petty and to an extent the Dischord Records folks, and the MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL axis of punks, more in their attempts to divorce themselves from corporate music practice, and make sure things were affordable and accessible for their audiences...while some of the key Dischord folks also were (and are) cheerleaders for community involvement and the healthy living philosophies of "straightedge" punk (and beyond punk)...and some of their inspiration was in the older punks who had put together such projects as Alternative Tentacles Records, the band Crass and its offshoots, and Rough Trade the cooperative recording label.

I don't worry about stagecraft too much, and we don't really get to know too much about musicians' lifestyle except through what we hear and see filtered through various sources who might have their own agendas. Sammy Davis's dancing doesn't do too much to his music, except immediately detract from the amount of effort he could put into a song (even when the song was furthered by a tap break), and that's true of everyone else (except to the extent the performance isn't really about the music but the totality of the theater performance--the opera, as the Italians might put it).

I think KICK OUT THE JAMS, the live record by the MC5, is a pretty telling document, but I never did see them in performance. I certainly have seen other bands in performance who were inhibited in the recording studio in a way they weren't in front of an audience. DC punk bands Autoclave and Fidelity Jones come to mind thus.

Bowie first flowered in the same hothouse that produced the original Pink Floyd (with Syd Barrett) and the "Itchykoo Park"-style work of such already extant bands as Small Faces, to say nothing of some Liverpudlian guys...at least two of whom remained influential in various ways and at least fitfully innovative until their passing.

And the various ways the Byrds were remarkably influential verges on the stupid in its copiousness, and sometimes its offhandedness between arguments and regrouping (reflocking?). And among the bands and choruses with choreography that wasn't spontaneous, the Drifters could use a mention, as inspirations for all sorts of folks, including a notable knot of activity in Detroit.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think we need to add Joni Mitchell. Nice assessment, Todd.

John said...

Les Paul who invented many of the playing tricks and recording effects now commonplace in the use of the electric guitar. Every rock musician owes him a heap of thanks.

Anders E said...

Oh, Im such a typical European of my age. First -

Dr. Feelgood. Rock music stripped to its very bones and played with the menace of GET CARTER. Great.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHm7uIC84YM

..and then the Sex Pistols happened. Unlike anything ever before, really.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-8x6FxybOY

pattinase (abbott) said...

the mid-seventies were lost to child-bearing and child care for me. They are my lost years.