[I originally posted this one back in 2008, and frankly I can't remember anything else I did that year; I assume I was having fun and being reasonably productive, but I can't prove it. In any case, as is my wont, I've changed a couple of entries and done some cosmetic re-writing, just so you don't confuse me with Marlene Dietrich singing this.
Enjoy, if possible. -- S.S.]
Best Post-Elvis Pop/Rock Band or Solo Act That Should Have Had a Mega-Career But For Whatever Reason Didn't!!!
Okay, we're talking one-hit wonders, groups or acts who had a couple of records that may have been critically acclaimed but sold negligibly, or just people that nobody ever really heard of but were fricking fantastic anyway. This is, admittedly, even more subjective than usual. Do the MC5 count? Everybody knows they were great, but they never sold that many records and broke up after three albums. How about Nick Drake? Until that car commercial made him a sort of household word, he'd been basically an obscure dead guy for decades.
Like I said, it's subjective. For me, then, I think the pornography standard applies -- i.e., I know a beautiful loser when I see one.
And that said, my top of my head Top Ten would be:
10. The Monks
These guys only made one studio album, which wasn't even released in their home country until 25 years after the fact. But as the above live clip from their fabulous 1999 reunion show demonstrates, they invented Blank Generation punk rock when Richard Hell was still in junior high school.
9. Brinsley Schwarz
The Band with pop songs, and, as you can see, one hell of a live act. IMHO, of course, they should be considered gods for no other reason than giving the world the original version of "What's So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding".
8. The Records
It is perhaps not an exaggeration to say that if it wasn't for these guys and this song the blog you're reading now wouldn't exist.
7. Kevin Salem
My favorite hard-rocking guitar-wielding singer/songwriter of the 90s. Why he remains obscure when, say, a nit like John Mayer walks the streets a free man is, frankly, beyond me.
6. The Wonders
Let's be honest -- if these guys had been an actual band rather than a fictional construct for a movie, they would have made the Hall of Fame years ago.
5. The Merry-Go-Round/Emitt Rhodes
Another power pop god who inexplicably slipped through the cracks. Fortunately, one of the best tracks from his 1970 solo album featured prominently in the soundtrack of The Royal Tennenbaums, thus reminding people (besides the Bangles, who covered one of the songs above) of just how good he is.
4. The Rising Sons
Featuring the rather awesome talents of Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal before they got famous. The fact that this track languished unreleased in the vaults of Columbia Records for nearly three decades before it was finally unleashed on the world is pretty convincing proof of the non-existence of God, IMHO.
Their template was The Replacements doing Bruce Springsteen covering the entirety of Exile on Main Street. It is not an exaggeration when I say that I would cheerfully cut off both of my testicles for the chance to have played on a song as great as the above. And almost everything on the album it's from is as good, BTW.
2. Moby Grape
They all sang (gloriously), the all wrote (brilliantly), their lead guitarist was one of the most innovative American players of the decade, and their debut album is a timeless masterpiece that deftly mixes rock, country, blues, gospel, and psychedelia. So why aren't these guys as famous as, oh, Crosby, Stills and Nash?
And the number uno band that time forgot and should be currently relaxing on the Riviera inhaling cocaine and Cristal absolutely is....
1. The Floor Models
Come on -- like I really have to explain this?
Alrighty, then -- what would YOUR choices be?