I haven’t written anything in awhile. That stops now.
I promised you guys a lot in 2018. Disney, Music, Super Nintendo, Wrestling, and dammit I’m going to deliver!
But I need something to get me back into the writing habit. Rather than try to sit down in front of one of my ongoing (and long overdue) projects, I’m going to do a small simply blog with implications for 2018. Why? Because it’s fun, and it’s the perfect way to get that writer’s spirit back into me.
With my 2018 musical countdown forthcoming, I think actually listing out my favorite bands and artists will be a good precursor for things to come. Not only will this give you an idea of my general musical tastes, but it will also prepare you for a lot of surprises. Like, a band on this list may only end up with 2 or 3 songs all year long in the end. Crazy, right? Well I like a LOT of songs from a lot of different artists, but these are the ones that I generally tune to when I’m looking to scratch that musical itch. These are the bands that I own the most songs for and listen to the most overall, even if their individual songs don’t always crack the top list. Some of them I own their full discography on the internet, CD, or cassette tape! Remember those? Some I may even have on vinyl, although I’m admittedly not a vinyl collector like some of my friends are. Hey, more power to you guys!
So put on your earbuds, headphones, or just crank up that speaker, and enjoy my countdown:
MY TOP 50 FAVORITE BANDS AND MUSICAL ARTISTS
Quick Note: This will not be a long, drawn out post, as I’m just getting back into the swing of things after a long writing hiatus, but also because I find writing about music in depth to be a challenge. So just enjoy the list!
50. CREEDANCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL
Who doesn’t like rock & roll with a hint of folk music? CCR’s hit “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” was our traveling song when I did high adventure hiking in Philmont, New Mexico with the Boy Scouts of America.
49. STONE TEMPLE PILOTS
I don’t remember how I was originally introduced to STP, but I do remember the song that got me hooked on them: “Interstate Love Song.” I still play this regularly while driving down the interstate. Naturally.
48. FRANK SINATRA
I wouldn’t be doing my Italian heritage proud if I didn’t listen to Ol’ Blue Eyes, now would I? I also enjoy hearing his rendition of “New York, New York” play at Yankees games, because that means the Yankees won.
Corey Taylor and company have some of the coolest masks this side of the Halloween shop, but I’m not so sure if I’d feel safe in a mosh pit at one of their concerts. Iowa doesn’t have many claims to fame, but this should be near the top of their list, between Seth Rollins and Field of Dreams. And The ‘Burbs.
My being a fan of these guys stems back to when I was first discovering my true musical identity. Like most of you, Enema of the State was the album that got me hooked. Think they’re finally acting their age?
45. LED ZEPPELIN
Okay, I’m gonna say this here…”Stairway to Heaven” is a great song, but it’s not the only song people should identify with them! That’s been the case for longer than I can remember. I still rock out to “Immigrant Song,” the CAW music of my podcast partner Dan Peck’s character, Dan “The News” Hansen.
44. 3 DOORS DOWN
I’ve seen these guys live! Well, sort of. They performed the Summer Rock Series at Universal Orlando while I was working there, and I happened to be the greeter at Revenge of the Mummy for their set. I kept letting rotation bump over me so I could enjoy them.
My introduction to R.E.M. came in the form of “Losing My Religion,” one of the best songs ever written, and covered amazingly by a band who will appear later in this list. Ironically, their album Monster is my least favorite album, and it’s the first one I owned.
My introduction to Korn came via a song called “A.D.I.D.A.S.” which stands for “all day I dream about sex.” We would play this song on our way to work at our summer job (I was 14) so my mom would drive me and four friends, and we’d “censor” the dirty parts for her. All day I dream about stuff…all day I dream about firetrucks…we were so funny at that age.
41. MARILYN MANSON
When it comes to the darker side of metal, this is the poster child. As great as Manson’s music is to me, all my favorite songs by him are covers. Specifically, “Tainted Love,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Personal Jesus.” I’m also a big fan of his version of “This is Halloween” but I still choose the original version when given the option.
40. 30 SECONDS TO MARS
“Kings and Queens” was basically the overplayed song in everything for awhile, but it’s the song that got me into 30 Seconds to Mars and is probably still my favorite hit by then. Oh yeah, and I didn’t hate Jared Leto’s Joker in Suicide Squad. I also really liked Suicide Squad. Fight me.
39. THEORY OF A DEADMAN
You can thank the WWE for introducing me to Theory of a Deadman, using their music for PPV events and making me a fan. Their music is interesting to say the least, touching on odd subjects with a hint of comedy thrown in. As I write this, “Rx (Medicate)” is currently blowing up the airwaves, and it a very addicting song, no pun intended.
38. ROB ZOMBIE
I became a Zombie fan later in life than most, beginning with my purchase of The Sinister Urge, but I’ve been a fan ever since. I still haven’t watched his versions of Halloween yet. I know, I know. I will do it, I promise!
37. BLACK SABBATH / OZZY OSBOURNE
As much as I love Black Sabbath, I also enjoy Ozzy’s other works too. The Prince of Darkness can do no wrong! Except bite the head off a bat. Oh, and have a reality show with his LOUD wife and ridiculous daughter. Jack was okay I guess. Rock on, Ozzy!
Canada doesn’t always give us the greatest musical imports, but they did well with this trio. While I don’t think I could go “all Rush, all the time” like they do in Fanboys, I can enjoy Rush on the regular, despite my sister’s intense hatred of them. They are a major key in Ready Player One too!
Look, if “Bohemian Rhapsody” starts playing, and you don’t immediately start singing along and rocking out to it with me, we probably can’t be friends. I’m not even sure how we became friends in the first place. Anyone else excited about that Freddie Mercury biopic?
So I bought a Seether CD the same day I bought a Staind CD. I liked both bands, listened to both often and together for some reason, and always considered them both favorites. However, one is on this list, and the other is merely an honorable mention. Safe to say my musical tastes continue to change of the years.
33. RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
How did I discover the Red Hot Chili Peppers, you ask? They performed “Give it Away” on the Simpsons. Specifically, “Krusty Gets Kancelled” from season four. They performed in their underwear as opposed to nude, which is a wonderful thing to discover about a band when you’re age still consists of a single digit.
32. BILLY JOEL
Okay so he’s #32 on my list, but I’ll challenge anyone to tell me this man isn’t one of the greatest modern musicians of all time. Billy Joel’s music covers so many different pitches and feelings that it’s impossible not to get swept up in song every time he plays. Psssh, who DOES need a house out in Hackensack anyway?
31. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
People love to bash my home state of New Jersey. Yeah? Well we gave you the Boss. This man is a GOD TO YOU. You’re welcome, world. “Radio Nowhere” was my entrance theme when I was a manager on the Northeast Independent Wrestling scene briefly…but only if I worked babyface on a Jersey show.
Evanescence used to be top 5 for me, but as my music tastes grow and evolve, I push some artists back while others move forward. Still, I adore Amy Lee’s vocals, and Fallen is still in my top 10 favorite albums of all time list. Perhaps I should get to that sometime soon. Amy Lee’s version of “Sally’s Song” gives me chills when I play it.
29. JONATHAN YOUNG
If you don’t know who this man is, go look him up on YouTube right now. He does rock covers of Disney songs, as well as other mainstream music in all kinds of different genres, and almost all of them are home runs. Seriously, go listen to him now. I’ll wait.
28. GREEN DAY
Dookie is another top 10 album. I still listen to it and rock out to it. “Basket Case” is the song that hooked me, as if you had to guess. They died in Lake Springfield in the Simpsons Movie, all because they wanted to speak about the environment. Boo-urns.
27. PEARL JAM
When it comes to the grunge movement of the 1990’s, most people put Nirvana at the top of the list. I am a Nirvana fan as well, but I think Pearl Jam is better, and as a result, they rank higher than Nirvana, every time. “Even Flow” was the first song I heard, and I never looked back.
26. VAN HALEN
I have a soft spot for 1980’s music, as well as hair metal bands. I love everything about the 1980’s, I mean, it was the decade I was born after all. Van Halen have a classic sound…they sound like the 1980’s to me. I don’t care what combination of musicians I get either, just give me some Van Halen and let me Jump.
25. IRON MAIDEN
For a long time, Iron Maiden was just a casual band for me. Then I met a crazy Maiden fan (we’ve since lost touch) and I really began to appreciate their music. Now I’m crazy about them! Their documentary “Fight 666” is required viewing for anyone who enjoys their sound.
24. THE OFFSPRING
I don’t remember how I became a fan of the Offspring, but I think it had something to do with Raven using “Come Out and Play” as entrance music in ECW. I don’t know what’s happening with those poor neighborhood kids, but I hope they’re gonna go far, since they really aren’t alright.
23. GUNS N ROSES
I’m old enough to remember when “Welcome to the Jungle” was overplayed to death on the radio. But I’m glad it was, because it made me learn who the band was, and become a big fan of theirs. To me, they have a vibe that I’ll never grow out of. Slash has to be one of the top 5 guitarists of all time, hands down.
22. THREE DAYS GRACE
Here’s how this band’s story goes for me. “I Hate Everything About You” is a good song, I’ll check these guys out! Oh wait, they went bankrupt and broke up? That sucks, I liked them. Wait, what’s that, they’re back and better than ever? Did that even happen? Yay!!!
21. FALL OUT BOY
Although their songs are a tad to emo for my taste, I saw them perform at Vans Warped Tour and became a pretty big fan. I mean, their band name is a Simpsons reference! What’s not to love?? I love the song “Immortals” they did on the Big Hero 6 soundtrack, but Jonathan Young blew it out of the water with his cover. Have you listened to him yet?
Finnish opera metal! What’s NOT to love?? They blew me away with their covers of “Phantom of the Opera” and “Walking in the Air.” I get emotionally invested in those songs every time I play them. And I don’t care who the vocalist is…they’re ALL GREAT!
Classic rock from down under, at its absolute finest. I can’t pinpoint when I became an AC/DC fan, but it happened in the early 90’s when Beavis & Butt-Head were all the rage. Did you know this is Vince McMahon’s favorite band? He even tweeted condolences when Malcolm Young passed away. I’ll never not be a fan of AC/DC.
If you asked me who the greatest American rock band of all time was, this would be my answer. Not only are they still rocking today, but they got their own roller coaster at Walt Disney World! How many other bands can say that? “Love in an Elevator” is my guilty pleasure ballad. I could play it on repeat for hours.
17. ALICE IN CHAINS
Even though I’ve always been a big fan of Alice in Chains, my love for them intensified when I met my good friend and former coworker, Jonah. Jonah is THE Alice in Chains fan, and his love for them is contagious. “Would?” is my favorite song of theirs, but as if you had to guess, “Man in the Box” was the first song of theirs that sold me.
16. LACUNA COIL
Here is a band I discovered during the brief time I had satellite radio. The station I listened to (I legitimately forget their name, sorry) played “Swamped.” I was so hooked on that one song I immediately went to Limewire and downloaded everything that said Lacuna Coil on it. I then purchased every album of theirs I could, and still love them today. Remember how I said I’d mention a band that covered “Losing My Religion” earlier? This is them.
15. FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH
Another discovery from satellite radio. The song in question was “The Bleeding,” and the story is basically the same as Lacuna Coil’s. They have one of the most metal names for a metal band of all time too. Have you heard their covers of “Bad Company” or “House of the Rising Sun?” Go do that, now.
The only hip hop act to grace my top 50 is Eminem, the white rapper who speaks to me on a personal level even though I’ve never been a struggling kid like he was. I don’t remember how I found out about him, but my mom allowed me to buy The Marshall Mathers LP, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I see some pretty intense hatred for him online these days, but I’ll never turn my back on Em. DMX, that’s a different story…
13. COHEED & CAMBRIA
When “Welcome Home” became huge, I ended up buying the Good Apollo album it came on (I’m not writing all that out) and became a mega-fan off the bat. I was even lucky enough to see them perform at Orlando’s House of Blues. They are even better live, and their high energy show left me exhausted but extremely satisfied.
12. FOO FIGHTERS
Dave Grohl. ‘Nuff said.
One of the newest discoveries on this countdown, I fell in love with “Heaven Nor Hell” and started seeking out as much Volbeat as I could. As much as I love their sound, I usually need the lyrics in front of me in order to sing along. I know I’m not alone in that one, but I don’t care!
Some people may think it’s weird or even hypocritical of me to have a Christian band in my top 10, but here they are. Skillet was introduced to me by one of the guys who trained me in professional wrestling, Justyn Glory, who came out to their song “Savior.” I have a ton of their music in my collection, and I love how their sound can vary from “rocking out” to “soft somber piano.”
9. BREAKING BENJAMIN
This band has a lot of hate among my closer friends. The thing is, no one can ever give me a concrete answer as to why, they just hate them. Fortunately, many of my friends love them as much as I do, so I always have Breaking Benjamin buddies anywhere I go! I’ve missed three chances to see them perform live now…that has to change soon.
8. AVENGED SEVENFOLD
Introduced to me through a friend in college, “Bat Country” was a pretty cool song, so I kept listening. With each new album, A7X gets better and better. I now make it a point to get their new CDs the day they’re released. “Afterlife” was my favorite song for a long time, but I think “Hail to the King” is sitting right next to it.
7. BON JOVI
Look at that hair! LOOK AT IT! Another fantastic sound from New Jersey, Jon Bon Jovi and company have been rocking my world for as long as I can remember. I play their classics, I play their new stuff, I play them all the time. There aren’t many Bon Jovi songs I skip, although while I do like “Wanted Dead or Alive,” I think it gets more hype than its worth.
Another discovery thanks to the WWE and satellite radio. WWE gave me “I Dare You” and XM gave me “Save Me.” Somewhere in there, I heard “Heroes” and it snowballed from there. Shinedown have a very rare and unique ability to make all their songs sound uniquely different while still keeping their soul in tact. I can’t think of too many other bands with the range that these guys have.
THE icons of metal! My sister can be credited for turning me on to Metallica. She made me a mix tape (remember those) of songs to get me interested in music, and included five tracks by Metallica on there. “Enter Sandman,” “Fuel, “No Leaf Clover,” “Nothing Else Matters,” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Any more need to be said here? Okay, one thing…I bet none of you will guess my favorite song by them. Give it a try.
4. WEIRD AL YANKOVIC
I’ve already done two blogs about Weird Al, so go check those out to see my favorite Al parodies and originals! He’s still the only musician I’ve seen live more than one time, and I have ZERO regrets there!
My top 3 bands are here for the sole reason that it’s impossible for me to really pick a favorite song. There’s too many to count, and I love almost everything they produce. Case in point: Halestorm. This was the quickest love at first listen I think I’ve ever had. “I Miss the Misery” was the song that did it, and my collection grew like mad. I have a gigantic crush on Lzzy Hale too, more than any other female on this list.
2. LINKIN PARK
Losing Chester Bennington earlier this year was the hardest loss I’ve ever experienced based on the world of music. Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory will go down as my favorite album ever, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I will hold onto those memories forever. Hybrid Theory is perfect top to bottom, and even its weakest track is still a hit for me (Cure for the Itch for those curious).
And here we are, at number one. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. “Down with the Sickness” locked me in and I’ve been a mega-fan ever since. Sadly, I haven’t seen Disturbed live yet, but they are my #1 priority. I can’t put it into words here how much I love this band, so I think I’ll give them a blog all their own. If I could have anyone’s vocal talents, it would be David Draiman’s, hands down. Or Jonathan Young, who you’ve totally listened to by now.
Well there you have it! Who makes your list? Leave them in the comments!
HONORABLE MENTIONS: 10 Years, 311, AFI, All That Remains, Alter Bridge, Audioslave, Beach Boys, Beastie Boys, Beatles, Bring Me the Horizon, Chevelle, Creed, Daughtry, A Day to Remember, Dio, DragonForce, Dream Theater, Dropkick Murphys, Drowning Pool, Elton John, Everclear, Faith No More, Flyleaf, Fozzy, Fuel, Genesis, Godsmack, Goo Goo Dolls, Heart, Hoobastank, Imagine Dragons, In Flames, In This Moment, Incubus, Jimmy Buffett, Jonathan Coulton, Journey, Judas Priest, Kid Rock, Killswitch Engage, Killers, KISS, Limp Bizkit, Live, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Manowar, Megadeth, Michael Jackson, Motorhead, Muse, Motley Crue, Neil Diamond, Nickelback, Owl City, P.O.D., Pop Evil, Pretty Reckless, Puddle of Mudd, Rammstein, Reel Big Fish, Rise Against, Rolling Stones, Saliva, Scorpions, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Staind, Stone Sour, The Struts, Sublime, Sum 41, System of a Down, Tears for Fears, Tom Petty, Toto, Twenty One Pilots, Type O Negative, Weezer, The Who, Will Smith, Yellowcard, Zebrahead, ZZ Top.