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Bands hit singles Music music videos photography Sweet

Glam Rampage: The Sweet.

Brian Connolly, Steve Priest, Andy Scott, and Mick Tucker comprised the glam maestros known as {The} Sweet. SchrΓΆdringer’s definite article notwithstanding, these great men rose to achieve world domination in the 70s. Extraordinary catchiness paired with pure power escalated Sweet to the uppermost echelons. They also projected a sense of great fun, often sorely lacking in hard rock.

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Bands Cheap Trick hit singles Music music videos photography

Trick, Cheap.

Robin Zander, Tom Peterrson, Bun E. Carlos, and Rick Nielsen made copious amounts of aural nirvana, particularly in the late 70s, as Cheap Trick. The concerts in Budokan were recorded in 1978, but not released in the US until demand became so frenzied that Epic had little choice. Intended solely as a Japanese album, the LP jettisoned the band into the realms of world domination. This was preceded by Heaven Tonight, the band’s greatest studio achievement. Several pieces from this classic are captured here performed live at various venues. Cheap Trick’s highs were nothing short of vertiginous.

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composers Eerie Spatiality epoch-defining Geniuses Jazz Keyboardists Music music videos photography pianists Thelonious Monk

The Mysteries of Monk.

Unquestionably one of the titanic figures of 20th century music, Thelonious Monk composed and performed mountains of material that now has classic status, but during his initial heyday in the 40’s, it was often dismissed as too quirky, too dissonant, too…weird. Well, Monk’s work is indeed all of those things, but in just the right amount. There is an uncanny air of ineffable mystery that permeates his playing that is striking. His style is angular, uses silence beautifully, and is deeply personal and idiosyncratic. Although hugely influential, no one has ever sounded remotely like him.

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Bands composers Music music videos photography Robyn Hitchcock Soft Boys

Dreamer of Trains: Robyn Hitchcock.

Robyn Hitchcock is one of the more prolific and gifted figures in a certain (eccentric) quadrant of music history. After leaving The Soft Boys, a Neo-psych outfit he founded, Hitchcock emerged as a most formidable solo figure. Heavily influenced by Dylan, and Syd Barrett, his compositions tend towards the obscure, the ineffable, the humorous, the surreal. He remains a vital figure to this day.

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Audio Bands hit singles Lou Reed Music music videos photography Punk Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground, and Lou Reed.

The Velvet Underground consisted, in their heyday, of vocalist/guitarist Lou Reed, keyboardist/bassist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and Moe Tucker on the drumkit. Doug Yule replaced Cale in 1969, and Teutonic songstress Nico appeared on the group’s debut record.

Often cited as Godfathers of Punk, this hugely influential New York band mixed art rock, minimalism, garage rock, and often quite taboo lyrical subject matter. Brian Eno commented on the group’s initial lack of sales, “Everyone who bought one of those 30,000 albums (referring to the “Banana Album”) ended up starting a band.”

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Music Singers Syd Barrett music videos photography composers Poetic Genius hit singles Auteurs Psychedelic Music Bands

Look Homeward, Angel: The Great Syd Barrett.

Syd Barrett, co-founder and main braintrust of Pink Floyd until his mental state made his departure inevitable, was without doubt one of the greatest, most original musicians of his time. Until being ousted from the band, he contributed the vast majority of the material.

Embarking on a solo career, Barrett composed and performed a wealth of brilliant, if patchwork, songs. Flashes of his genius abounded, but his increasingly erratic behavior made production quite challenging, indeed. Syd released 2 albums worth of material, then retired to private life for the rest of his days.

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Allan Holdsworth Fusion Jazz Miles Davis Music music videos photography

Electric Jazz.

Great moments in so-called Fusion. Miles pretty much invented it, then along came Mahavishnu Orchestra. The latter’s John McLaughlin is a towering instrumentalist, and is featured also in Davis’s Jack Johnson. Belew and Fripp are gods. But perhaps this music’s most brilliant practitioner might be guitarist Allan Holdsworth. A titan of the instrument, revered by Eddie Van Halen, Frank Zappa, and countless others, Holdsworth’s improvisations induce breath-holding and goosebumps.

Addendum: as this post evolves, more will be revealed. Inserting now some Weather Report, featuring Wayne Shorter. And *now*, Jeff Beck.

And furthermore: Pat Martino. And Larry Coryell.

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composers hit singles Music music videos photography Producers

Mr. Lee Hazlewood.

Lee Hazlewood came to be known as a songwriter for, and vocalist with, the wonderful Nancy Sinatra. His gravelly baritone was the perfect compliment to Sinatra’s pure-as-gold pipes. But he was far, far more than that. Listening to his solo material, it’s hard not to be won over by the deadpan idiosyncrasies that pervade his songs and delivery. Wry humour, outright quirkiness, and a wistful sense of loss are Lee’s calling cards. A wonderful musician, the leading light of “Cowboy Psychedelia”. But most importantly, he’s utterly, unapologetically himself.

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Bands Gang of Four Guitarists hit singles Improvisers Music music videos photography

Gang of Four.

Formed in 1976 by guitar maestro Andy Gill, vocalist Jon King, drummer Hugo Burnham, and bassist Dave Allen, Gang of Four produced some of the most crucial music of the late 70s-early 80s. Acerbic, satirical lyrics that were extremely socially aware were the group’s calling card, as was Gill’s formidable guitar work. The rhythm section generally laid down hard funk grooves, yet the music was spare, angular, jagged. A critical assemblage.

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Charisma composers dancing hit singles Music music videos Nick Cave photography

Nick Cave.

The Australian-born Nick Cave delivers his poetic, visionary compositions with mind-boggling intensity and fervor. Bad Seeds Mick Harvey, Blixa Bargeld, and others support Mr. Cave in his oft-times dark, tormented sojourn through the hinterlands. These performances are fierce, cathartic, electric.