The Beatles are probably the face of “Classic Rock”. The iconic band changed the face of rock music, but is it possible that their popularity has eclipsed the popularity and respect that several other bands deserve? This article will tell you about 8 of these classic rock bands and explain why we think they are unfairly underrated.
1) The Rolling Stones
It’s hard to think The rolling stones like underrated, right? I mean, aren’t they one of the most famous and oldest bands of all time? But when you closely consider the impact they’ve had on the industry and the classic rock genre, you’ll see why I think they don’t get as much credit as they deserve. Consider the British invasion of the 1960s. And while the Beatles often get all the credit for this revolution, the Stones deserve a lot more recognition for their place in that time and decades after.
And if you’re not convinced by the incredible sound and rhythm of this band that rocked our world for five decades (even if it’s impossible not to be), the writing prowess of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have given us some of the greatest and most iconic rock songs in musical history.
Even as you read this I’m sure you can replay the lovely melodies and vocal beauties they’ve created. The defeat of the Raspberries was the decision to choose the right music over the popular sound. For some reason, people didn’t just want to listen to their music. It hasn’t always been that way. They had some success early on. Their inability to capture the hearts of the public prompted them to quit the music scene in 1974. A 2004 reunion (30 years later) was not enough to get them back on track.
Raspberries got a certain level of recognition with their 1972 hit “Go All The Way”, especially when it graced the hit movie, guardians of the galaxy. You can also quickly point out its functionality in an episode of HBO’s short-lived series, Vinyl. However, much of the group and the magic they created have been forgotten by most of us. We think the band has been largely misunderstood, not only by the audience but also by their own record company. For us, that’s why we think they’re one of the best bands to ever walk the face of the earth.
3) Garden birds
Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page are just a few of the gifts the Yardbirds have blessed the world with. These three are still considered the most electrifying guitarists the world has ever seen. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992, the group became very influential in the 1960s and remained so until the end. They were fearless and experimented with various styles including psychedelic rock and punk. The London group had to thank Paul Samwell-Smith, Anthony “Top” Topham, Jim McCarty, Keith Relf and Chris Dreja for their success.
4) Grand Funk Railway
On a typical 1970s day, the stadiums were full just to watch Grand Funk Railroad perform. For most fans, it was Mel Schacher’s thunderous bass; for others, the raw and powerful words of Mark Farner gave them chills. And yet, there are those who just couldn’t believe the incredible talent of the band’s drummer Don Brewer. Do you remember the classic episode of The Simpsons, Homerpalooza? It is perhaps the only form of reference that we have seen or heard in recent times. Truth be told, they were popular with fans, but very unfairly treated by music critics.
Songs like “Some Kind of Wonderful” may appear occasionally on classic rock radio, but that only scratches the surface of the cultural reassessment the Grand Funk Railroad deserves.
5) April wine
Have you never heard of April Wine? No? It’s strange. For a rock band with over 20 albums to date with gold and platinum hits under their belt, you might wonder why they aren’t as famous as their music has been successful. It’s simple, the native Canadian rock band is mostly overshadowed by other bands like The Typically Hip (not that the latter was better in our opinion). Well, maybe not in the ’70s when April Wine was serving up some of the best rock tunes the world has ever heard to date. Songs like “Say Hello” and “Roller” will probably be a benchmark for the younger generation forever.
6) T. Rex
You will probably remember T. Rex for just one song, Bang a Gong (Get It On), electrifying string magic from 1969. Although their biggest hit, it’s not the band’s only great song (as the radio stations will have you believe). Their influence was both musical and cultural. Guitarist and singer-songwriter, Marc Bolan had a character on stage that was both frank and sexual. The group, which started music with psychedelic folk before switching to electric sound, had a fairly short run after a car crash that killed Bolan in 1977.
About the Mellotron, Sitar, Harpischord and brass sections, no one did it better than the English rock band Traffic. In fact, compared to them, The Beatles would rank poorly when it came to experimenting with different instruments. And that’s something the Beatles seem to have a lot of credit for; their supposed fusion of everything. Why won’t Traffic get more recognition then? The Traffic era spawned the fusion of jazz and rock, using great songs and catchy hooks.
They’ve earned a bit of respect, but if you consider the level of recognition other psychedelic bands have (compared to whom Traffic has produced better music for), you’ll see why records like the John Barleycorn Must Die of 1970 are well deserving of. more accolades than he ever had.
8) The Kinks
Let’s talk a bit about history. One of the first rock songs to successfully use guitar distortion was the Kinks’ first hit song, “You Really Got Me”. Their loss was the rise of The Beatles as the world’s greatest rock band and the gradual death of the first wave of the British invasion. They produced incredible music even until the mid-1970s, but the recognition we thought they deserved faded over time.
You can hear a few of their songs spinning on classic rock radio, but these pop-ups don’t do justice to the dozens of albums The Kinks produced in their prime. They were not only among the early pioneers of heavy metal and hard rock, but also inspired several other great bands like The Clash and Oasis, to name a few. When we talk about the history of riff based music and The Beatles, the Kinks should definitely appear in such conversations.