Distinctions Not Cost-Effective
(Or: Who Cares?)
AC/DC: No sexual preference implied.
Ambrosia: Nominated for several engineering awards.
The Babys: Their demo was a videotape--in 1976.
Brownsville Station: They weren't smokin' in that boys' room--just
taking a quick dump.
Terry Callier: The black Jim Webb, only warmer--and less
Climax Blues Band: Did you quit yet? Did you quit yet?
David Allen Coe: Has never killed me.
David Crosby/Graham Nash: See Graham Nash/David Crosby.
Tim Curry: Hotter than Meat Loaf.
Rick Derringer: The first cut on his solo debut was called "Let
Me In," and it should have. Later he started trying to knock down the
Earth Quake: Their "Friday on My Mind" (on Beserkley
Chartbusters) cut Bowie and the Easybeats. The rest was
Focus: Out of it.
Frijid Pink: Not to be confused with the Frost--at least not
if you come from Detroit.
Gentle Giant: The first "progressive" band ever produced by a
"progressive" radio programmer--AOR theoretician Lee Abrams, who was
to the '70s what Mitch Miller was to the '50s.
Graham Central Station: I ask you, is Sly's bassist going to
name his spin-off Graham Cracker?
The Grass Roots: I found only one of their many hits tolerable--1967's
tragically inaccurate "Let's Live for Today."
Sammy Hagar: He covered Patti Smith's "Free Money." He also
covered Donovan's "Catch the Wind." And this is a heavy metal guy.
Peter Hammill/Van Der Graaf Generator: Jon Pareles argues that
if we honor high school punks we should also honor high school
poets. I say we stick to high school punk poets.
Michael Henderson: A very great bass player.
Peter Ivers: When he failed to cross Sparks and Randy Newman,
he mutated into Rodney Bingenheimer.
Paul Kelly: One great song--"Stealin' in the Name of the
Lord"--was good for a decade's worth of rep. And the song wasn't all
Jackie Lomax: He was soulful, he had blues eyes, and it wasn't
Harvey Mandel: Ron Wood made better solo albums. And Bill Wyman
The Manhattans: I recommend their 1980 best-of, but for albums
I'll take the Chi-Lites. Or the Detroit Emeralds. Maybe even Boston.
Phil Manzanera: Randy California made better solo albums. And
Jay Ferguson came close.
The Moody Blues: In 1970, while under the influence of
marijuana and my new Toyota, I bought "Question," which sure beats
Mantovani, reportedly their greatest influence.
Giorgio Moroder: As a solo artist he was the Ross Bagdasarian
of his time, but without Alvin Chipmunk who could care?
Michael Murphey: No longer needs borrow his Cadillacs.
Graham Nash/David Crosby: See David Crosby/Graham Nash.
Nazareth: If they were a carpenter you'd really get them
confused with Lazarus.
The Partridge Family: At least the Osmonds were a cultural
presence. All David Cassidy had going was nice nipples and prime time.
Pearls Before Swine/Tom Rapp: I never understood who they/he
thought they/he were/was throwing their/his accretions at/before.
Player: Why didn't they just call themselves Pimp and get it
Kenny Rankin: Invented folk-jazz.
Terry Reid: Persistence beyond the call of talent.
Renaissance: Truly pseudo-genteel art rock--they get into the
country club, where the Moody Blues would be blackballed by some
REO Speedwagon: When the banality achieves a certain density, I
thought, velocity no longer matters. Then they began to score hit
Cliff Richard: Everyone knows the only great rock 'n' roll
record ever to come out of England was by Lonnie Donegan.
Biff Rose: Still stoned.
Sadistic Mika Band: Don't let the name worry you--it's a
transliteration of the Japanese "No Pope, daddy-o."
Ben Sidran: Beware of Ph.D.s playing rock and roll. Or jazz. Or
blues. Or whatever it is.
Sons of Champlin: Their claim to fame was as Haight-Ashbury's
first rock band. They regrouped so stubbornly they may yet be the
John David Souther: Souther sounds insipid until you listen
close. Then you realize he isn't that nice.
Michael Stanley Band: Cleveland's answer to Pere Ubu.
Ray Stevens: Like Jerry Reed, a novelty artist with lover-boy
delusions, except that even when he was hot he was lukewarm.
Stuff: Stuffing. Or anyway, backing.
Sutherland Brothers and Quiver: Not as in "Shakin' All Over"--as
in "I shot an arrow in the air."
Third World: Great name, but too often Fifth Wheel would be
Jim Webb: Spent the decade sitting in his paper cup.
West, Bruce & Laing: Move me no mountains.
Paul Williams: The best thing he ever did in his life was to
say he looked like a gym teacher from Bryn Mawr.
Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the '70s, 1980
||Subjects for Further Research