Re: Best Rock Bands
In my way of thinking The Beatles were the standard bearer overall. Led Zeppelin did take the blues and totally morph it into something much heavier, different, but quite good and very involving. Pages powerful chording and big impact leads combined with Robert Plant's acrobatic vocals; they still hold up as prototypical in the hard rock category. Such heaviness, but still melodious, it's hard to overate their influence. Jimi Hendrix opened up that world further by taking the guitar to new frontiers which to this day countless others are inspired by. The Band took Traditional Americana Folk into a fully formed rock realm and must be noted for that invaluable contribution.
Changing gears: I like how Cheap Trick still reminds me of many things I love about the Beatles and their last two albums are really worthy returns to form for them. I am a big Yes fan for both a dramatic change of pace and pure musicianship. I wish they could have one more surprise "comeback" as they are still touring and recording. As for other bands which stilll tour and record I'd have to say Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers would be at the top of the list. They don't push boundaries, but they do what they do at such a consistent high-level of quality I would say on any given night when they play they may be the best band a concert goer will ever see live. Advance word on their new album, "Mojo" which comes out next month, is that it will present a new darker and heavier sound overall. Sounds Interesting. Personally I'm not a big U2 fan, but I'll give them their due as, perhaps, the most involving politically charged band. Joshsua Tree still sounds like a "shot over the bough" and even their more pop rock is pretty good if somewhat polarizing. I'm hoping Crowded House has another amazing album in them. Neil Finn and company is the rare blend of a band that has a real pop singer songwriter sensibility. I've left out bands I also feel are entitled to be considered as part of the elite "best", but I've pretty much said my piece and will give it a rest.