Best Musicians by Best I Mean Favorites

It’s really hard to make a list of the best (IMO of course) musicians or bands when there are so many that have influenced me in some way or another so I will base this list on how often I listen to them, their musical composition, their style, their influence on me, the lyrics and whether or not it is still as good today as it was when it came out.

They aren’t in order of which one is the best-best because they are all the best to me and unfortunately, they’ll get listed one way or another and it feels unfair since I really cannot choose.  It depends on my mood I guess AND while compiling this short list, I find myself thinking “No, they are the best…no this is the best”, man… they are all the best and I wish I could rotate them so they all get to be on top.

Pink Floyd

To start, hands down Pink Floyd will always be my favorite band for a myraid of reasons.  My dad was a huge fan of them so I have been listening to them since I was a wee little one and throughout my life, Pink Floyd has been there.  When I joined the Navy and was scared to be so far away from home for the first time, Pink Floyd was there.  It gave me comfort when I was scared.  Comfortably Numb was playin when my first daughter was born.  It was amazing.  Just as she passed through the birth canal, there was a moment of silence and all that was spoken was, “I have become comfortably numb” before she started crying.  That was an EPIC moment and one of the reasons why Pink Floyd will always be magical to me.  I cannot even start to choose which song would be my favorite because SO many of them are my favorite BUT I do have a particular love for the song High Hopes.

High Hopes
Pink Floyd
Beyond the horizon of the place we lived when we were young
In a world of magnets and miracles
Our thoughts strayed constantly and without boundary
The ringing of the division bell had begin
Along the long road and on down the causeway
Do they still meet there by the cut
There was a ragged band that followed in our footsteps
Running before time took our dreams away
Leaving the myriad small creatures trying to tie us to the ground
To a life consumed by slow decay
The grass was greener
The light was brighter
With friends surrounded
The night of wonder
Looking beyond the embers of bridges glowing behind us
To a glimpse of how green it was on the other side
Steps taken forwards but sleepwalking back again
Dragged by the force of some inner tide
At a higher altitude with flag unfurled
We reached the dizzy heights of that dreamed of world
Encumbered forever by desire and ambition
There’s a hunger still unsatisfied
Our weary eyes still stray to the horizon
Though down this road we’ve been so many time
The grass was greener
The light was brighter
The taste was sweeter
The nights of wonder
With friends surrounded
The dawn mist glowing
The water flowing
The endless river
Forever and ever
Songwriters: POLLY ANNIE SAMSON,DAVID JON GILMOUR,POLLY ANNE SAMSON
© BARTON MUSIC CORPORATION
For non-commercial use only.

Can you imagine?  I cannot imagine having such exemplary skill to be able to move millions (maybe even billions of people by now) with songs.  Not just songs to make money but songs that are magical, meaningful, artful and move the soul in so many directions with simple but powerful chord progressions and somehow always with a sense of looming doom but also hope for a better world, a better tomorrow.  Notice also, this song was co-written by his wife Polly.

That’s not to say that all their songs are like this one but damn!, there is no other band in the world that could even come close to producing such meaningful and lasting work.

Layne Staley

From Alice in Chains but also Mad Season.  He died in 2002 back in my hometown of Seattle.  I grew up with him.  Not that I met him but that his music was always somewhere with me. Sure, Nirvana and Pearl Jam where topping the airwaves but Alice in Chains moved me much like Pink Floyd.  There was more to Layne than ever met the eye and you heard it in his lyrics.  Most people know of Alice in Chains but not too many hear of Mad Season.

This is not to say that ALL of the Alice in Chains albums were not epic because all of them are good and I think I have all of them.  But Mad Season was different.  Mad Season showcased a whole other side to Layne that really made his lyrics (poetry) stand out as well has an entirely different musical style that reminds me of jazz but also still bears that unique alternative, grunge quality.

Their most popular song off the album was River of Deceit.

My pain is self-chosen
At least, so the prophet says
I could either burn
Or cut off my pride and buy some time
A head full of lies is the weight, tied to my waist
The river of deceit pulls down, oh oh
The only direction we flow is down
Down, oh down
Down, oh down
Down, oh down
Down, oh down
My pain is self-chosen
At least I believe it to be
I could either drown
Or pull off my skin and swim to shore
Now I can grow a beautiful shell for all to see
The river of deceit pulls down, yeah
The only direction we flow is down
Down, oh down
Down, oh down
Down, oh down
Down, oh down
The pain is self-chosen, yeah
Our pain is self-chosen
Down, oh down
Down, oh down
Down, oh down
Down, oh down
Songwriters: BARRETT MARTIN,JOHN SAUNDERS,LAYNE STALEY,MIKE MCCREADY
© Songtrust Ave,ST MUSIC LLC
For non-commercial use only.

Phew.  It’s so elegant and so foreboding but also he says we choose it.  And, in my eyes, it’s like he nailed the definition of suffering, self loathing in a few minutes.  Understanding such a thing as young as he was is something that has taken centuries of humanity to come to grasp and he told me in a few words when I was 16-17 years old.

I cannot over emphasize enough how much there was to him.  I know it’s my opinion and all that but he was more than just a musician.  He knew things.  He felt and heard things that most people to this day still cannot comprehend.  He is the only musician I shed genuine tears for when he died.  I still remember where I was when I heard the news.  I was driving in my car on the 94 freeway in San Diego and it struck me deep down because he really was more than a musician.  He was a saint in my eyes.

And here is one from Alice in Chains Unplugged (MTV)

Nutshell
Alice in Chains
We chase misprinted lies
We face the path of time
And yet I fight
And yet I fight
This battle all alone
No one to cry to
No place to call home
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
My gift of self is raped
My privacy is raked
And yet I find
And yet I find
Repeating in my head
If I can’t be my own
I’d feel better dead
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
Songwriters: Layne Staley,Michael Inez,Sean Kinney,Jerry Cantrell
© BMG Rights Management
For non-commercial use only.

Did you read the lyrics?  It’s like he was a prophet and his words are truer today than they were then.  R.I.P Layne.  I may not be a “super-fan” because I didn’t chase you down, get all up in your business and invade your privacy or try to pretend that I am better fan than others because they know what color your underwear was.  Nope.  I loved you because what you wrote, what you sang, who you were deep down.  A beautiful person.

Pink Floyd has made my number one for favorite band but YOU are my favorite, my number one when it comes to your poetry and composition.

Fleetwood Mac 

I don’t know how anyone could not love Fleetwood Mac.  I love Stevie Nicks.  The white witch goddess of [fill in the blank].  It’s so hard to pic the best of the best but it’s a toss up between Gold Dust Woman, The Chain, Landslide (of course) and Rhiannon.  I will have to pick…

Ugh.  I don’t feel good having to choose a fav to share but because I seem to listen to this one so much, I figure I will pick it.

Led Zeppelin

They don’t become legends because they sucked.  Zeppelin is a lot like Floyd to me, been with me a long time.  Something that I attribute to my folks for bringing me up listening to such great musician.  SOOOO many good songs but I do have a favorite it and it’s not Physical Graffiti.

Ten Years Gone

Phew.  I just cannot get enough of it.  Something about the intro guitar.  It just makes me feel so… I don’t know what the word is but I feel somehow at peace and little on edge.   There’s nothing I don’t love about this song.

Radiohead!

Radiohead should be on the forgotten artists from the 90s but I think people do remember them.  Again, like with all the artist listed, it’s really, really, really hard to choose which song to list here and I am torn between High and Dry and Fake Plastic Trees.  I think they are most known for Karma Police. Radiohead is my go-to when I really just need to chill a bit. It’s like my cry music but without the crying.

Dang it.  So hard to pick… UGH.  SO hard but okay I will choose to include.  Okay.

Fuck it, you get two because I also really love High and Dry

Their songs are also super fun to play on guitar which ups the game when it comes to them.  Who doesn’t want to sing along?  Damn good.

Enya

Like I have said before, my musical taste are wide but for this particular post, it’s about the albums or artist that I listen to the most often and of those Enya makes the list.  I think I have five of her albums but the song Caribbean Blue is one of the most ‘magical’ to me.  I first heard this in drama class when I was a high school freshman  (1993-4).  The teacher used to put her on to help us when writing our monologs or dialogs.

From then I found her to be the most relaxing and again, it’s really hard to choose which song should make my list or album for that matter.  But for her, I think I would have to go with Shepherd Moons since I like all the songs on that album but The Very Best of Enya is a pretty good compilation since I had purchased CDs back then just for one or two songs off the albums which you can get on that one.  Do you remember the days when you had to buy the whole album just to get one song?  Things have changed.

Anyway.  I hope that you enjoyed my short list of best musicians and by best I mean my favorites and even then, it’s not all of them.

 

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