A friend popped up with a thought bubble of a question the other day. 'Best band of all-time?' closely following it up with 'Don't think. Just say it'. 'The Rolling Stones' urged itself out of my mouth. Most strangely, I thought, a nanosecond later. 'Cuz that's not true, not to my knowledge, no. I don't even consider myself a Rolling Stones fan. Not in the least. Sure, I think ‘Pass the Wine’, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, and ‘Paint it Black’ are special. But. Best band of all time?!
Deconstruction, over-wrought analyses later, I was wiser (as all writers think they are): I think that the declaration was more of a reflex action response at that moment, to an eager beaver who was jumping around, answering the question on my behalf, with those obvious two words – 'The Beatles. The Beatles. The Beatles!' (As if repeating yourself helps. Rhetoric, yes. Plain repetition, noooo). You know how you feel like countering The Beatles enthu-cutlets you’re bound to encounter on a daily basis, with some Stones cred? That’s where it was coming from. If anything, ‘I Want You’, ‘Something’, ‘She Said She Said’, ‘Mother’ and ‘Come Together’ are special in my book too, even if I think The Beatles are overrated. It’s that universal mass appeal that their music has, which encompasses in its outdated Beatlemania, airport lounges and hotel lobbies and hold-the-phone-line music, which is seriously questionable. Purely rationally speaking, of course.
But then, where's the room for reason in this debate?
And that’s when the brain-ping appeared. The intended immediacy in response to the original question ('Best band of all-time?') is meant to negate reason. Because music that echoes with you, just like books you love, even films you dig, is way too personal, way too abstract, and much too beautiful for anything as mundane as reason to find a place in it. Reason tells me that my one word response to 'Best solo artist of all time?' - Madonna - isn't correct. And no, I’m not talking about all the cool producers she collaborates with. It’s like, factually incorrect. Because god knows there's Prince and man, there was a Michael Jackson. A Beck. And friggin' David Bowie. But I shall claim, for myself, Madonna. Yes. And OK, so I’d like to amend my answer to the first question (mind rattling between The Doors and Radiohead notwithstanding) with – Pink Floyd.
Bring it on!
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