The Best American Band: Poll Results

It’s time to declare winners in our “best American rock ‘n’ roll band” poll, and it ends in a three-way tie between Aerosmith, the Beach Boys, and the Doors.  Other bands receiving votes were the Allman Brothers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Eagles, Steely Dan, and Van Halen.

In terms of hits on the blog, the most popular best American band posts have been, in descending order, Steely Dan, Pearl Jam, the Eagles, the Beach Boys, the Allman Brothers, the Doors, Rage Against the Machine, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the White Stripes, and R.E.M.

Thanks to everyone for voting on this crucial cultural question!

The Best American Band: Time To Vote!

We’ve published a number of posts with our thoughts on the Best American Band, and we’ve given everyone time to think about that extraordinarily weighty issue. Now, it’s time for you to vote. We’ll check back in a week and declare a winner. Please, vote for just one of the candidates.

The Best American Band: The White Stripes

The White Stripes

The White Stripes

I admit that I am a big fan of The White Stripes. I like the simple, straightforward nature of their songs, the inventive guitar work of Jack White, the basic, garage-band percussion of Meg White, and the no-frills quality of the vocals and lyrics. And yet, for all of the simplicity of the sound, the songs seem to have lots of diverse influences — like blues, surf music, and reggae to just name a few. I’ve got The White Stripes on a bunch of my Ipod musical genre-oriented playlists, and there’s a reason for that.

I’ve noted before that my tastes run more to the hard rock end of the spectrum, and therefore I have great admiration for Jack White’s very tasty guitar licks. Ball & Biscuit, one of my favorite songs, captures the ragged edge, live-sounding aspect of the band’s work. The guitar on that song variously utilizes feedback, distortion, and picked-out solos, and then returns to a basic blues riff with a bit of a twist. The song isn’t sung, it’s muttered. The percussion sounds like it has been pounded out on the bottoms of overturned metal ashcans. I’ve written before that I listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Call Me The Breeze before law school exams to get me ready, but I think if I were taking a law school exam these days Ball & Biscuit might be a contender. It demands cranked-up volume and some air guitar work on the part of the listener. The same group then can record a sweet song like We’re Going To Be Friends, a paean to first-grade friendships, or Hotel Yorba, which is pretty hysterical. Go figure.

The Ipod speaks very well indeed of The White Stripes. I recognize that Richard might be harshly critical of this notion, but I think any group that has recorded songs like Ball & Biscuit, Do, Hotel Yorba, Rag & Bone, In The Cold Cold Night, It’s True That We Love One Another, One More Cup of Coffee, Offend In Every Way, I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, and Seven Nation Army — among many others — is an easy finalist.

Edited to add: Time to Vote for your choice for Best American Band!