[I first posted this one sometime in 2010, which I believe is technically back in the Pleistocene Era. In any case, as is my wont, I've done some re-writing and added a new entry, just because I love you all more than food. Enjoy, if at all possible. -- S.S.]
CULT FIGURE(S) OR CULT BANDS WHO BY ALL RIGHTS SHOULD HAVE HAD AT LEAST ONE FRICKING TOP TEN HIT OVER THE COURSE OF THEIR CAREER, BUT BY NOW IT'S LOOKING EXTREMELY UNLIKELY THEY EVER WILL!!!
And my totally top of my head Top Six is:
6. The Detroit Cobras
No cooler rock band trod a stage in the first decade of the current century. Needless to say, the world wasn't ready, and apparently it's still not.
5. Rob Laufer
Laufer is another alumnus of Beatlemania (see my number one choice, below) who turned out to have genuine talent above and beyond doing imitations of the Fabs. And as I've probably said here on several occasions, his 1995 Wonderwood album is one of the greatest power pop records ever made, with at least three songs -- including the Robin Zander-covered "Reactionary Girl," heard above in the composer's version -- that in any sane world would have been ubiquitous on every radio in the land.
4. R. Stevie Moore
Bloomfield, New Jersey's king of D.I.Y, and still either too smart, too weird, or both, for the room.
3. The Rutles
Okay, granted, their legend was never going to last more than a lunchtime, but I was convinced that at least one of the songs -- like the ominously Lennon-esque "Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik" -- from their 1996 pretend vault exhumation set would finally get Rutland's finest to the toppermost of the poppermost
2. Peter Blegvad
Singer/songwriter/guitarist/cartoonist Blegvad's "Daughter" got a lot of exposure via Loudon Wainwright's very nice cover on the 2007 soundtrack of Knocked Up, and justifiably so, but what a pleasure it would have been to hear the composer's original 1995 version on the radio. And he's got boatloads of songs this good, in case you were wondering.
And the Numero Uno it's-lonely-being-a-genius pop/rock act of them all simply has to be...
1. Marshall Crenshaw
Technically Crenshaw did co-write the Gin Blossoms' "Till I Hear It From You," which cracked the Top Ten in 1995, but please -- at least one of the countless gorgeous songs he's recorded under his own name since his 1982 debut album should have been a bona fide smash. I mean, come on.
Alrighty, then -- who would your choices be?