Updated: May 11, 2021
Let's narrow it down to ten bands...Based on output, influence, continued relevance...Sure to elicit some debate...Here we go....In no particular order
The Velvet Underground: No hits....but it's been said that every person who bought the first Velvet Underground started a band...so for that, and Lou Reed's contributions to expanding the canvas of Rock music, they make our list.
Chicago: NO ONE could touch the original Chicago live. Terry Kath is the most underrated guitarist in Rock history, plain and simple, and they're still out there playing that incredible list of hits.
The Band: They were good enough to back Bob Dylan, and their hits on their own have become a part of the American Rock n Roll Songbook. Watch The Last Waltz, and you'll see how good they really were.
Aerosmith: The original band still together after all these years...tons of hits...a 2 phase career...drugs, sex, drama. Aerosmith personifies what Rock n Roll is all about.
The Doors: Didn't last as long as some of the other bands on the list, but there's no denying the Doors influence. Their mix of Blues, Jazz, Rock n Roll and Beat poetry was totally original and the kind of music that made you stand up and take notice.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: They say you can tell the quality of a musician by the company he keeps...How about Dylan, George Harrison, Del Shannon, Jeff Lynne, Stevie Nicks, Mike Campbell and Roy Orbison, 'Nuff said!
The Eagles: This choice could just as easily been The Byrds, but I went with the "Sons of The Byrds," due to the number of hits and the fact that they're still playing. This pick could have also been CSN&Y, if Graham Nash hadn't been born in the U.K.
The Ramones: Like the Velvet Underground, no real hits...until ad agencies got ahold of their catalog after most of the members had died. The Ramones live were an experience unlike any other. It wasn't until I saw them live that I "got it." Johnny Ramone is certainly one of the most influential guitarists of all time, and their first four albums stand up with any band in existence. Special mention for their album "It's Alive," one of the greatest live albums in history..
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Despite being on a crappy label, and not being part of the "San Francisco Clique" that includes the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Santana and Jefferson Airplane, Creedence dominated AM radio in the late 60's unlike any other band except the final band on our list.....
The Beach Boys: Listening to The Beach Boys is like going to church. The music is SO good, it can't possibly be of this earth. No questioning the genius of Brian Wilson, but the other brothers, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston are/were pretty special too. Pet Sounds is the greatest piece of recorded music I've ever heard in album form.