Today, I present you with my top 8 favorite bands and non-theatre singers. While 50% or more of the music I own is show tunes, I do enjoy other types of music too, so let's delve in!
#8 - Pink Floyd
Ah, Pink Floyd. Their music is so interesting, so surreal. A lot of times their albums are more like art than a plain old recording. Take Dark Side of the Moon for example. It's such an experience if you sit there in the dark, pop your headphones in, and just listen. Many of their other albums are like this too. I can never put a finger on exactly what's so special about their music. It just is.
#7 - Liz Phair
Liz Phair got her start in the 90's and is still going strong today. Her voice may not be the most amazing in the world, but it's her lyrics that are stunning. They're very truthful and raw, especially on her first album, Exile in Guyville. She doesn't try to disguise anything; she just comes out and tells everything like it is. Even though she doesn't use your traditional poetic language, her songs are definitely poetic. She may have gone more mainstream in recent years (although I've heard Funstyle is very good and not as mainstream, so I'm going to have to check it out), but she's still an extraordinary artist.
#6 - Elton John
Elton John is a music legend. If you don't know who he is and at least one of his songs, then you're probably living under a rock. I've never heard a song of his that I didn't like, and his music tackles a variety of subjects. There's Your Song, one of my favorite love songs of all time, and then you've got more upbeat tracks that just make you want to move around like The Bitch is Back. Not to mention his piano skills. Just watching him play is mesmerizing! He's definitely one of the most talented musicians alive today.
#5 - Billy Joel
Of course the piano man had to make the list! Billy Joel's songs remind me of show tunes (so it's no surprise that they made a jukebox musical out of them). Many of them tell stories, such as Scenes from and Italian Restaurant and his most famous song where he got his nickname from, Piano Man. Every time I hear one of them, the writer in me starts to think up stories I could write inspired by the lyrics. Like Elton John, Billy Joel has amazing technique that's fascinating to watch. If you've ever seen him play Angry Young Man with his hands jumping up and down at a furious pace, you know what I'm talking about.
#4 - Jethro Tull
There is no other band quite like Jethro Tull. Headed by flutist Ian Anderson, this band is amazing. Just imagine a rock band with flute, and that's what you've got. Being a flutist myself, I find Anderson's fluting awesome to watch. He dances around on the stage while rocking out with flute solos no one else could ever match. The band's songs are interesting and beautifully crafted. While they may not be the most famous band in the world, Jethro Tull is worth checking out. You'll never be able to hear a rock-type flute solo again without thinking of them.
#3 - Queen
With many famous songs and one of the most extraordinary singers of all time, Freddy Mercury, Queen is one of the best bands of all time. They have so many iconic songs, from We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions that has now become a sports anthem, to everyone's favorite, Bohemian Rhapsody. Even their work that isn't quite as famous as some of their other stuff is great. Freddy Mercury had an amazing voice that no one will ever forget - just listening to some of his performances sends chills surging down my spine! Queen is one of those bands that will have a legacy that will live on forever.
#2 - The Beatles
I wanted to put The Beatles at #1, but I felt like that would be a little too obvious. But even at spot two on this list, they're the most inspirational band of all time. Even though they broke up years ago, they still sell a crazy amount of recordings each year. Some of their songs are poetic, while others like I am the Walrus make no sense, but are still fun to listen to. Their songs are everywhere, from TV commercials to movies to churches, and no matter how many times you hear them, you can never get sick of them. The Beatles have made such an impact on music. I've never met a music fan who didn't like them.
#1 (The London) Suede
Suede (or The London Suede as they're known as in the US) is my absolute favorite band of all time. They're not very well known since they didn't last long, but the songs that they did record in those years are amazing. Headed by their lead singer Brett Anderson, who has one of the strangest yet most complex voices I've ever heard, the bands songs are usually about drugs and sex, but these topics that people usually frown upon in mainstream music are addressed in such a different, almost poetic way. You have to really listen to their songs to get the true meanings behind them. If you're looking for an introduction to this band, check out the song Animal Nitrate. It was how I found out about Suede, and you won't be able to stop listening to it for days, if not weeks!