If you like to engage in the occasional heated argument about music (and lets face it, who doesn’t?). One of most disagreed upon subjects is that of underrated musicians.
You could argue that the reason for this, is that it is impossible to say whether one artist has made a bigger contribution to music than another, with record sales, magazine covers, signature instruments and Christ like adoration often only telling half the story.
Here is our love letter to 5 brilliant singers and instrumentalists who definitely deserve more recognition.
5: Townes Van Zandt
Townes Van Zandt was a folk singer from Texas who rose to prominence in the late 1960s. Van Zandt penned some of the most beautifully poetic songs ever written and for those unaware of the singer, his 1969 album ‘Our Mother the Mountain’ is definitely worth checking out. Like many cult folk icons, Van Zandt struggled with depression and alcoholism for much of his life. He passed away in 1997 on New Years Day.
4: Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce – The Smiths
They say as band are only as good as there rhythm section, and The Smiths had one of the best indie music has ever known. Rourke and Joyce where not only solid but could at times be equally as creative as the great Johnny Marr. Morrissey and Marr tend to get all the plaudits for there brilliant mixture of musical whimsy and dramatic vocals, but the rhythm section definitely gave the band their edge.
3: Chris Bear – Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear are one of the most original and innovative bands of the last decade and in all fairness any member of the 4 piece could have made this list. Chris Bear is somewhat of an oddity in modern rock music and is more akin to the drummers and drumming styles of the 1960s. Bear’s own playing style uses the drums as a more textural component within a song, each hit seemingly separate and purposeful yet perfectly rhythmic.
2: Joey Santiago – The Pixies
The musical generation that the Pixies helped usher in, was perhaps most well known for its anti-guitar heroes, with the overindulgent solos of the 1970s and 80s becoming relics of the past. Because of this, grunge rock guitarist often get something of a bad rep that is totally undeserved. Joey Santiago in his own self conscious way, helped prove that working within your limitations can often produce the best results. Thanks to him, the Pixies achieved one of the most uniquely brilliant sounds in rock music history.
1: Ringo Starr – The Beatles
Sure, its a pretty obvious choice but a completely fair one.
For all of the great things John Lennon did in his life, he still deserves a slap for the “not even the best drummer in The Beatles” quote that has become forever attached to Ringo.
Ringo was a solid, decent drummer and luckily a pretty easy going chap, who seems to easily brush off the ridicule he often gets about his drumming ability. Doubters should check out ‘Rain’, ‘Ticket To Ride’, ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ and ‘A Day In The Life’.
‘Yellow Submarine’ however, is completely unforgivable.