One such list appeared on the Fox News website from writer Mike Mettler in the form of his piece entitled, 11 Bands Better Than the Beatles. With all of the hubbub and focus on the Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and their first visit to our shore some 50 years ago, Mettler clearly thought he could stir the pot by kicking a sacred cow in the shins.
The problem…most, if not all of Mettler’s list is laughable at best. Let me be perfectly clear; I am not a fan of the Beatles. In case that wasn’t completely clear…I AM NOT A FAN OF THE BEATLES! Yet I still find Mr. Mettler’s list absolutely without merit.
So who’s on the list? Here you go:
1. Led Zeppelin
2. The Rolling Stones
3. The Velvet Underground
6. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
8. The Band
9. The Clash
10. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
11. The Replacements
While many of the bands on the list are among my favorites, I’m not certain that any of them would qualify for the title of “Better Than the Beatles.” For me U2 comes the closet, with their continually evolving style, monster live shows and influential impact on generations of musicians to come.
Zeppelin? Sorry to Zep fans, but overblown bombast, Tolkien-like lyrics and recycling the blues just doesn’t get it done for me. The Stones? Certainly this is a time honored debate and the timing is right because the Beatles and the Stones came about at the same time. I certainly think the case can be made for the bad boy Stones being better than the good guy Beatles.
Velvet Underground? Laughable at best. The darlings of music critics everywhere and often cited as an influence to curry favor with music critics, does anyone really listen to this bilge? Sorry, but I may be among the few who don’t really think Lou Reed was a genius and that the Velvets are basically unlistenable. Radiohead? See comments on critics above...sorry just don’t hear it.
Love Tom Petty and listen often...but really? Rush? I like the band, but my only reaction to them being included here is...HA! The Band? See Rush. The Clash? They among my favorite bands, but these guys really were more about the raw edge they brought to their music than for their song craft. Keep in mind; they could barely play when they first started.
Bruce Springsteen? Great songwriter, awesome live performer, simply not in the same league with the Beatles. The Replacements? Similar comments to those about Velvet Underground and Radiohead regarding critics, but at least the Mats where entertaining to listen to.
While I certainly think that the fawning attitude that many have about the Beatles is more than a little overblown, I really think that Mettler is trying too hard to stir controversy and fails miserably in trying to make his case.