Skip to comments.The Five Most Overrated Rock Bands/Artists Of All-Time
Posted on 03/25/2011 1:05:27 PM PDT by GSWarrior
There is no way to quantify if a band or artist is overrated. Its more of a feeling than anything else.
There exists in popular music a hierarchy. Its been created, and is constantly altered, by both natural and artificial means. At the top sits The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis, Michael Jackson, U2, and Madonna. At the bottom rests the 8th place American Idol contestant. Everyone else fall somewhere in between.
Determining which artists are overrated and which are correctly rated is not a science. Its not even an art. Its just an exercise to start a conversation. Its a lot like asking the question who is the greatest guitarist of all-time or what rocker, if still alive, would be a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice.
For this article, Land of Punt will throw out five artists we think are overrated and why we think that way. Hopefully our choices will elicit a response other than apathy. Maybe youll cheer, maybe youll purse your lips in anger, or maybe youll do a little of both.
LOPs intention with this list isnt to denigrate the five artists enumerated below, but to examine the machinations and politics of music and the music industry. The hierarchy of artists we refer to is that of the macrocosm not the pecking order of your own personal microcosm.
Before you freak out and delete our bookmark from your favorites, hear LOP out. When we say Bob Dylan is overrated we are not disparaging his contributions to popular music. What we are saying is if Dylan is rated a 9 (for example) Land of Punt believes his rating should actually be an 8.3. Hes just a bit overrated but overrated nonetheless.
First of all, the dude has released over 60 albums in his career but has only sold 70 million units. Almost assuredly if you own one Dylan album you own them all. So if you do the math there are about 1.16 million Dylan fans in the world.
By the way, only five of his albums have reached number one. To put that in perspective, Dylan has the same amount of number one albums as Metallica and less than half the amount of Jay-Z.
Dylan has probably composed a gazillion songs in his life, but not once has he charted a number one single or written a bridge.
The reason why Dylan is so highly rated is Rolling Stone Magazine. They absolutely love the guy. Sure, hes influenced a bunch of artists but the number of people who actually say Hey, lets listen to some Dylan is rather small. Dylan is not synonymous with fun.
Of course, if youre a songwriter or a poet youre a big Dylan fan. But to most of us hes like a Socratic dialogue. You know that its brilliant but you dont want to experience it unless youre getting college credit.
To prove our points, in 2004 Rolling Stone Magazine named Dylans Like A Rolling Stone the number one song of all-time. Thats just Rolling Stone being sycophantic about a song that most people only need to listen to once in their life.
Fleetwood Mac could launch an arena tour of America right now and sell out every show. They are one of the biggest bands from the 1970′s, theyve sold over 100 million albums throughout their career, and the lineup of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood is legendary.
Yet, they are a one album band. Rumors. 1977. Thats it!
Okay, their self-titled 1975 album was pretty good and 1982′s Mirage went number one, but most people drive to a Fleetwood Mac concert with Rumors blaring in the CD player.
The band has been around since 1968, and with the exception of a few years in the 1970′s, Fleetwood Mac has mediocre at best.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are members of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame as both a group and as individuals.
How in the heck did they swing that?
For one, they are beloved by Rolling Stone Magazine. Secondly, they epitomize the bleeding heart liberalism of the 1960′s. Ignorant baby boomers, with their free love and ridiculous peacenik attitudes, love them some CSN&Y.
But the main reason CSN&Y are rated so highly is the guys were well-liked. They knew everyone. If rock and roll in the late 1960′s and throughout the 1970′s was a high school, then Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was the popular kid who always wore the fashionable jacket.
That has to be it because how else would they have joined the immortals of rock and roll?
In more than 40 years as band theyve released just 16 albums. That includes studio, live and compilations. Theyve only seen one of their studio albums reach number one and most of their stuff is just downright awful.
Their highest charting single is Just a Song Before I Go which reached #7 in 1977. Their only other top ten hit was Wasted on the Way which peaked at #9 in 1982.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded some good stuff but certainly not enough to warrant a place in the hall of fame.
This one is easy. Is Tom Petty a big enough star to perform at a Super Bowl halftime show? The answer is no. But he did as much in 2008 at Super Bowl XLII.
Now, Petty has been extremely successful throughout his career. Hes sold more than 50 million albums worldwide and Tom Petty concerts continue to sell out year after year.
But, hes never had a number one album or a number one single.
One of the reasons why hes on our list is because ever since his 1981 album, Hard Promises, all his stuff sounds the same.
Another reason why hes overrated is he doesnt elicit much enthusiasm. Hes not very exciting. Yes, LOP likes him and you probably do too, but when you hear the name Tom Petty your eyes dont light up and your heart doesnt flutter. More than likely you just shrug your shoulders and say meh.
Furthermore, the Bay Area punk trio is often credited with ushering in the 1990′s wave of punk-pop bands. Music critics often cite them as progenitors of a whole new generation of punk.
And thats why they are on our listtheir association with punk music. For as we all know, theyre not punk rockers theyre pop stars. They write catchy tunes that feature whining lyrics about contrived political oppression.
Yet, they have more in common with Burt Bacharach than they do in Johnny Lydon.
If they lost the ridiculous eye makeup, dropped the bogus teenage angst, and shopped at the Banana Republic theyd make one heck of a pop band.
Only two types of people think Green Day is actually punk. The first type is record executives who want a safe, accessible brand of pop/rock music they can label and sell as punk. The second type is kids who want to listen to punk music as they drive around in their parents BMW.
In the shopping mall of popular music, Green Day is the store Hot Topic.
After all, what do a bunch of American kids born in 1972 have to rebel against? Not having cable? No Goonies 2? Sega Dreamcast not given enough of a chance to succeed?
Bottom line, the last thing any punk band would ever want is their music used in a Broadway musical. If punks thought mainstream music was commercial and corporate (both anathema to their world view), they should know Broadway is ten-times worse.
My favorite line: In the shopping mall of popular music, Green Day is the store Hot Topic.
Oddly enough, for most over-rated bands, I would include:
I don't really like either Elvis or the Rolling Stones but I'm not sure they're over-rated to the extent that these others are.
The Beatles are the greatest group in history. As for Elcis, there is ony one KING.
Dylan is the greatest songwriter of all time. His standing has nothing to do with Rolling Stone but with the quality of his songs.
Crosby, Stills and Nash (forget Young) released one of the greatest albums ever recorded. Young added nothing to the group.
Personally I like Stevie’s music better than Fleetwood Mac though it isn’t a bad band.
There is a long list of rockers I would classify as overrated including Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, Boston (flame away), Blondie, Yes, ELP....no doubt others will come to mind.
Green Day is shopping mall punk. Garbage.
The Pistols were it. Not the poseer and bankwagon jumping Clash or all the US frauds like Henry Rollins.
The Ramones were good but it was sort of comic book punk. MC 5 or Iggy and the Stooges - nah.
Except horrendous vocals.
Beatles. They name EVERYTHING after them in New England...it gets tired real fast...
I agree with Bob Dylan, CSNY and Green Day
I would add Jimi Hendrix and The Doors
Agreed on Dylan, Green Day, not on the others.
I’ll add two:
Dave Matthews Band. I do NOT get the appeal. Soft, whiny shit. He’s a good musician, but that doesn’t mean the SONGS are good.
The Grateful Dead. Unless you’re stoned, it’s just not that good.
The Beatles are hardly overrated. Extremely creative and their songs stand the test of time very well. U2 is a good band too not one of the very best but very good.
REO should be thrown in jail for introducing the power ballad.
U2 by a million miles. Total trash with weak songwriting and laughable lyrics.
Led Zeppelin. Bubble gum heavy metal. Kind of like Abba meets Black Sabbath.
[Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young]
I’ve never heard of these guys.
Any thing hip-pop
The Beatles were pretty good in a lot of ways, but shoot, they were overrated. The junk they put on their later albums earns them the most self-absorbed, arrogant band award in my book. I really resented them toward the end. There, I’ve said it.
A lot of the 80s bands that were “influenced” by Zeppelin are far better than Zeppelin themselves were.
Journey BEFORE Steve Perry was a very interesting band, but not very popular.
You have probably never heard this on the radio.
Any jam band—such as DMB— is likely overrated.
Has anyone mentioned the Monkees, Partridge Family or the Archies? And how about Iron Butterfly? Vanilla Fudge? Ultimate Spinach?
All those but Blondie definitely suck. How about Kansas, Joan Arbitrage (or whatever),
Are you kidding? The Who is the best rock band of all time!
I think there’s needs to be people not in the band saying good things about the band for them to be overrated. Everybody knows Journey and REO stink, even the people going to their concerts.
Dylan, Springsteen and U2.
Never listened to Bob Dylan, love Fleetwood Mac, hate Green Day, like Tom Petty, never heard of that other band.
The Doors.....waayyy overrated.
Never got it.
Maybe it’s just that Rolling Stone Mag is overrated...
I agree with the Beatles. Especially after the first couple albums. They were like 4 Justin Beavers that lasted longer than he will.
U2 had some nice songs - but are way overproduced.
Of the more recent bands I would add Dave Matthews Band and Hootie and the Blowfish. So fake and derivative.
I agree. Except that REO had a bitchin’ guitar player IIRC.
I agree with you. I’ve always hated U2 especially.
The Beatles were very lucky they hooked up with George Martin. I think without him they would have been fairly average.
no other way to say it.
you are totally out of your mind.
bob dylan overated? you are kidding right?
Nirvana or as I call it “whine rock”
ok, yes, now we have a winner.
I like REO’s older stuff. The late 70s/early 80s releases (when they first “hit it big”) was decent, and you’ve got to admit “Can’t Fight This Feeling” is an 80s staple and earworm. Most of their post-1981 stuff is pretty bad though.
Nirvana or as I call it “whine rock”
You’d have done better if you hadn’t pushed the punk rock equivalent of the Monkees as “it” for punk. The Sex Pistols, while a lot of fun, were a fabricated band put together largely to be controversial and draw a lot of attention to the genre. And while I still love to blast out Anarchy in the UK periodically I always know that the worst thing Lydon’s done in PIL is better than anything the Pistols ever could have achieved.
Rush. I just don’t get it.
The Police are also overrated, IMO.
The list fails to prove its stated thesis and moves the goalposts at will. If there’s “no way to quantify” then why is the author quoting record sales figures?
Actually there is a way to quantify: count media appearances and mentions and record company hype and compare these to longevity, sales, tickets, etc. It’s more difficult but the author can’t be bothered. Which doesn’t exactly buttress his position.
A better column and/or more easily-tested thesis would be: which bands’ hype outstripped their output and/or their influence?
You leave Dylan off the list simply because of the musicians who were influenced by him. Frankly I can do without any folkie with only an acoustic guitar for accompaniment but I love the Byrds and you can draw a line from Dylan to the Byrds to ... Tom Petty who is also on this list and should be excused.
And why - *WHY* - does any critic use the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a measurement? The selection committee is comprised strictly of has-been hipsters like Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone and his army of sycophants. Arguments about who’s in and who’s out are pointless when the selection committee is simply playing favorites and CSN are particular favorites (read: friends) of Wenner.
No doubt the majority of responses here will be ‘bands that are/were popular but the poster doesn’t personally like them’ and that, unfortunately, is the wrong way to go about it.
The list should be focused on media-fueled creations and so here are five of them:
Any Maurice Starr/New Kids/Backstreet Boys/NSYNC product
Dixie Chicks (both pre and post GWB controversy)
Ugh I'd say THEY'RE over-rated.
Please, put down the crack pipe.
This smells like an AA entry.
The Clash was a fantastic band. “Sandinista” a terrific album. In fact, I think I will listen to it later today.
Since I love actual music the Sex Pistols are excluded. Ramones were not bad and could actually play their instruments unlike the SP.
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