Rock Bands To Die Out By 2026

January 25, 2009
Kelly Clarson - Winner of AI 2002

Kelly Clarson - Winner of AI 2002

There was once a time when rock co-existed peacefully with soul and pop. Then came a series of onslaughts from techno, dance and hip-hop. Rock came through slightly wounded but on the whole largely unscathed.

Now a new voracious predator has moved in, and is devouring all the native species. Since 2002, when Kelly Clarkson won American Idol’s first season, products from reality TV have made steady inroads into the rock and pop music charts (though I must admit to a sneaking regard for Kelly, since she does co-write lots of songs, has tried to stand up for herself and also sounds kind of rocky).

Labels have long regarded solo recording artists as a lot easier to work with than a volatile four-piece band. Easier to control, easier to style,  far more compliant (ie easier to bully), and providing a good outlet for the company’s tame song-writing factory.  Compare this with an on-the-edge rock band,  riven with the angst of youth, who dress how they like, and for whom helping with promotion is akin to selling your soul to the devil. Plus there’s always one member of the band whose recreational drug use spirals out of control.

Carrie Underwood - Winner of AI 2005

Carrie Underwood - Winner of AI 2005

Today the labels’  life has been made even easier.  The participants of American Idol and similar shows are beholden to the system from day 1.  Any contestant that shows a spark of individuality, originality or character never makes it to the finals, voted out by a public easily manipulated by the svengali-like judges. 

The finalists emerge from the show with an overwhelming ‘debt of thanks’  to the hierachy.  Plus they’ve had a bucket-load of publicity, which a good record company can easily capitalize on.

Taking a leaf out of these sing-along, hyped-up karaoke TV shows, the record industry at large has redoubled its efforts to find solo performers.  A&R guys are given remit to seek out new single artists, ripe for manipulation and promotion.


So let’s see if the figures match these observations.  Taking the Year End Top 50 charts from 1969 to 2008 at 5 year intervals, it’s straight-forward to count the number of slots occupied by rock bands (see the raw data appended).  And sure enough, these figures show an ominous downward trend.  Letting the computer find the line of best fit and linearly extrapolating the data, it’s possible to see that, by 2026, the year-end top 50 will be totally devoid of rock groups.    An appalling conclusion, sure to send shudders down any rock fan’s spine.

Linkin Park

Linkin Park

The picture may look bleak, but there is some light brightening the landscape. 

Solo artists suck big time when it comes to outdoor festivals.  How often do you see the fans yawning and chatting as the thin weak voice of the solo performer rises from the stage only to disappear unheard presumably into some big hole in the ground.  Yes, the fans are all patiently waiting for the decent rock group headlining act. 

Kings Of Leon

Kings Of Leon

So rock  bands are an endangered species soon to be confined to the wildlife-park equivalent of festivals and college gigs.   And of course inane Guitar Hero tracks!



Data (from year end charts at

2008 8 in top 50 Metro Station – Shake It, One Republic – Stop & Stare, Coldplay – Viva La Vida, Buckcherry – Sorry, Secondhand Serenade – Fall for You, Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day, Paramore – Misery Business, Three Days Grace – Never Too Late

2004  11 out of 50 Bowling For Soup – 1985, Jet – Are You Gonna Be My Girl, The Killers – Somebody Told Me, Linkin Park – Numb, No Doubt – It’s My Life, The Darkness – I Believe In A Thing Called Love, Counting Crows – Accidentally In Love, Maroon 5 – She Will Be Loved, Green Day – American Idiot, Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes, Evanescence – My Immortal,

1999 10 out of 50  Santana – Smooth, Jamiroquai – Canned Heat, Dave Matthews Band – Crush, Pearl Jam – Last Kiss, Blink 182 – What’s My Age Again?, Blink 182 – All The Small Things, The Offspring – Why Don’t You Get A Job?, The Offspring – Pretty Fly For A White Guy, Savage Garden – I Knew I Loved You

1994 18 out of 50 Bon Jovi – Always, Aerosmith – Crazy, Culture Beat – Mr Vain, Counting Crows – Mr Jones, Nivana – All Apologies, Bryan Adams – All For Love, U2 – All I Want Is You, Aerosmith – Amazing, James – Laid, John Melloncamp – Wild Night, Wet Wet Wet – Love Is All Around, Rod Stewart – Having A Party, Green Day – Basket Case, Prince – The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, Beck – Loser, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Mary Jane’s Last Dance, Meatloaf – Rock And Roll Dreams Come True,The Offspring – Self Esteem

1989 18 out of 50  B52s – Love Shack, U2 – All I Want Is You, Guns N Roses – Patience, Fine Young Cannibals – She Drives Me Crazy, Bon Jovi – Lay Your Hands On Me,  U2 – Angel of Harlem, Guns N Roses – Paradise City, Bon Jovi – I’ll Be There For You, Aerosmith – Love In An Elevator, The Cure – Love Song,  Love and Rockets – So Alive, Roxette – Listen To Her Heart, Bad English – When I See You Smile, Roxette The Look,  Motley Crew – Dr Feed Good,  Warrant Heaven,  Great White – Once Bitten Twice Shy, Tom Petty – I Won’t Back Down

1984 19 out of 50  U2 – Pride (In The Name Of Love), Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark, ZZ Top – Legs,  Culture Club – Karma Chameleon, Prince – Purple Rain, U2 – I Will Follow, Culture Club – Miss Me Blind, Huey Lewis and the News – Heart Of Rock and Roll, Twisted Sister – We’re No Gonna Take It, Prince – Let’s Go Crazy, Bruce Springsteen – Cover Me, Bon Jovi – Runaway, Scorpions – Rock You Like A Hurricane, Van Halen – Jump, Huey Lewis and The News – I Want A New Drug, Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot – Bang Your Head (Mental Health), Laid Back – White Horse, Quiet Riot – Mama We’re All Crazee Now, Twisted Sister – I Wanna Rock

1979 20 out of 50  Bob Seger – Old Time Rock and Roll, Earth, Wind and Fire – September, Blondie – Heart Of Glass, Earth, Wind and Fire – After The Love Has Gone, Journey – Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’, Blondie – One Way or Another, Earth Wind and Fire – Boogie Wonderland, Supertramp – Take The Long Way Home, Supertramp – Take The Long Way Home, Styx – Babe, Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing, Eagles – Heartache Tonight, Toto – Hold The Line, Allman Brothers Band – Crazy Love, AC/DC – Highway To Hell, ELO – Don’t Bring Me Down, Meatloaf – You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth, Police – Roxanne, The Knack – Heartbeat

1974 14 out of 50 Lynyrd Skynrd – Sweet Home Alabama, Bachman Turner Overdrive – Takin Care Of Business, Redbone – Come and Get Your Love, Chicago – Wishing You Were Here, Eric Clapton – I Shot the Sheriff, The Hollies – The Air That I Breathe, Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock and Roll, Golden Earring – Radar Love, Bachman Turner Overdrive – Let It Ride, The Carpenters – I Won’t Last A Day Without You, Brownsville Station – Smokin In The Boys Room, David Bowie – Rebel Rebel, Steve Miller Band – Living in the USA, Bachman Turner Overdrive – You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

1969 21 out of 50 Foundations – Build Me Up Buttercup,  Steam – Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, Spiral Staircase – More Today Than Yesterday, Credence Clearwater Revival – Proud Mary, The Beatles – Something, Archies – Sugar Sugar, Doors – Touch Me, Rolling Stones – Honky Tonk Women, Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising, The Beatles – Come Together, The Ventures – Hawaii 5-0, Zombies – Time Of The Season, Clear Clearwater Revival – Down On The Corner, Crazy Elephant – Gimme Gimme Good Lovin, Blood, Sweat and Tears – You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,  The Beatles – Get Back, Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Rock and Roll Restaurant, Credence Clearwater Revival – Green River, The Guess Who – These Eyes, Santana – Jingo, Beach Boys – I Can Hear Music

Panic At The Disco

January 23, 2009

Panic At The DiscoRyan Ross (vocals/guitar) and Spencer Smith (drums) attended the same High School in Las Vegas. With a friend Brent Wilson (bass, ex-member) they started jamming together in the evenings. The informal practice sessions soon morphed the group into a rock band, christened Summer League. After a few gigs, the friends reckoned their band’s sound was a bit on the ‘thin’ side, so a search started for an extra guitar player. Brent met Brendon Urie, inviting him along to audition to play guitar. But when it was realised that Brendon’s singing voice was the best of the group, he was persuaded to take over lead vocals. To celebrate their new line-up, a new name was called for. The foursome settled on Panic! at the Disco (the ! was later discarded).

Pete Wentz (see Fall Out Boy Songs) saw PATD performing, and suggested to the band that they approach the Fueled by Ramen label. Pete’s intincts proved correct as the record company offered PATD a contract. The band’s first album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out came out late in 2005. Their first single – I Write Sins Not Tragedies – was released from the album. The single’s video included a mock circus wedding – the circus idea is a constant theme of the band’s tours. To raise their image, the band embarked on a protracted US tour, as a support act. By the end of the tour their popularity had increased to such an extent that they became the headline act. A second single from the album, But It’s Better If You Do was released early in spring 2006, rising to number 26 in the charts. This single is many people’s favorite of all Panic At The Disco songs.

On tour though, the internal squabbling in the band turned from playful to resentful. Eventually Brent Wilson made the decision to quit. This left the group short of a bass for the UK and European leg of their tour. Fortunately Jon Walker, who was a friend from school days, stepped up to fill the role.

The band’s sophomore album, Pretty. Odd came out early in 2008. It reached #2 in both the US and UK albums chart. Key tracks off the album include Nine in the Afternoon and That Green Gentleman.

Best Band’s (from 100BestEverything) ratings for PATD: Music 5 stars out of 5. Character 4 stars out of 5. Live Performance 3 out of 5.

The Fray

January 23, 2009
The Fray

The Fray

Isaac Slade and Joe King were pupils at the  Faith Christian Academy, Denver.  Three years after school a happy meeting at a local record shop resulted in them arranging to meet up to discuss and play music.  One thing led to another, and soon they’d put together a band.  They persuaded Ben Wysocki (drums) and Dave Welsh (guitar) to join them.

The boys all had a common interested: piano, and this perhaps explains why their unique brand of piano rock works so well.  Isaac Slade and Joe King both discovered an early passion for music playing the piano.  King even competed in several piano competitions before dropping it in favor of the guitar, considered amongst his peer group to be a ‘way cooler instrument’. Wysocki and Welsh had also played piano at a young age, but after enduring being sent to piano lessons for a few years, swapped to the drums and guitar respectively.

All four grew up in strongly religious families, and have strong spiritual values. Thanks to their church connections, the group got their first taste of playing gigs at local Church halls.  To begin with, Isaac’s song lyrics were Christian based.  Then one day, when working at Starbucks, he had the sudden realisation that he could sing about the wider world within the contect of his faith.   Armed with a set of new worldly-wise songs, the band started playing local club venues.  Isaac’s brother, Caleb, joined the group to play bass guitar. However sibling tensions obviously ran high, and soon he left citing ‘musical differences’.  Later on Isaac was to say that Caleb’s leaving was his inspiration behind the words for ‘Over My Head’ (a song first titled ‘Cable Car’). 

The band’s name, The Fray, came about after a intelligent decision-making process after a gig at Caleb’s high school graduation dance.  The audience were asked for possible names for the band – several were volunteered, written on a piece of paper, and put in a bowl.  The band members removed all the slips of paper apart from one, which remained at the bottom of the bowl.  On the last slip of paper was written ‘The Fray’.  The name stuck – the boys liked it because that’s the way songwriting often felt!

Two EPs were the first releases from the band. ‘Movement’, which sold well after gigs, then ‘Reason’ which was more successful, with the song Cable Car getting a lot of radio time of the local station KTCL.  A talent scout from Epic Records spotted the potential in the band, and in 2004 the boys signed to the record label.

The group’s first album How to Save a Life came out in September 2005.  Soon after the band embarked on a nationwide tour, supporting Weezer.  Two tracks from the album made it big, Over My Head  and How to Save a Live (which featured on the soundtrack for Grey’s Anatomy). 

January 2009 saw the release of The Fray’s second album,  self-titled The Fray.  The first single to be released from the album, You Found Me went on to phenomenal chart success.

Best Band‘s (from 100BestEverything) ratings for The Fray: Music 4 stars out of 5. Character 4 stars out of 5. Live Performance 3 out of 5.


May 7, 2008


Lacey Mosley spent her early years in Arlington (TX).  As a young teenager, she was given at bass guitar on Christmas day.  The guitar became a passion.  At the age of 16, after a series of fights with her mom, she went to live with her grandmother in nearby Gulport.   Attending Gulport highschool she made a new circle of musical friends, and soon she was playing in a school band.

Lacey took to going with her grandmother to church – through which she found a new sense of purpose to her life.

A couple of years later Lacey moved to Temple.  Here she me James Culpper (drums), Sameer Bhattacharya (guitar), and Jared Hartmann (guitar).  Toghether they formed and band, with the name Passerby.

The band became a popular live act, playing over 100 gigs around Texas, and releasing 3 EPS.  By this time Lacey had dropped playing the bass, and was concentrating on fronting the band vocally.  After a couple of short-term stand-in bass-players, Pat Seals joined the band to become permanent. 

Soon the record label Octone Records had signed them up on a record deal.  Someone found out that the name PasserBy had already been trademarked, so the group chose a new name, Flyleaf.  In 2004, the band released the popular single, Breathe Today, which was promoted with a brill video.

The band’s first proper album, self-titled, was released in fall 2005. Singles from the album include I’m So Sick, Fully Alive, and All Around Me.  A hectic tour schedule followed, throughout the US, Europe and Australia.

Best Band‘s ratings for Flyleaf: Music 4 stars out of 5. Character 4 stars out of 5. Live Performance 4 out of 5.


March 27, 2008


Shortly after arriving at University College London (in fall 1996), Chris Martin bumped into Jonny Buckland.  They both loved playing music, and between them formed a band, called Pectoralz.   Soon they recruited a third member, Guy Berryman.  The band practiced daily, and soon were playing to small venues in the Camden area. 

In 1998, Will Champion was enlisted to play the drums (he was a total novice, but a talented musician, so quickly picked them up).  The band was complete muscially, but they still weren’t happy with the name, so tried <i>Starfish</i> before eventually settling on – Coldplay.

The first release from the the band was the <i>Safety</i> EP, of which only 500 copies were made – which nowadays change hands for a small fortune ($5000 plus).   In the summer of 1999, the band played Glastonbury – great for word-of-mouth marketing.

After some bust-ups in the band (Will Champion once stormed out, only to return when begged to do so by the rest of the band), the foursome decided on some band democracy – all revenues would be divided 4ways, and everyone’s name would appear on song credits.

Late 1999 also saw the release of their first album Parachutes. The hit singles Yellow and Trouble came from the album.  The band hit the US for a promotion tour.

The band’s second album A Rush of Blood to the Head was released in 2002 to worldwide success.  Singles taken from the album include In My Place, Clocks and The Scientist. A Rush of Blood to the Head went on to achieve chart success – hitting number one both sides of the Atlantic. The band embarked on a megatour, with over a 100 live performances.

X & Y, Coldplay’s third album, came out in 2005. Wonderful tracks off the album include Speed of Sound and Fix You.

Chris Martin is now married to Gwyneth Paltrow, the Hollywood actress, who has taken title roles in lots of blockbuster movies, like Emma.  (A talented couple!)

Best Band‘s ratings for Coldplay: Music 5 stars out of 5. Character 4 stars out of 5. Live Performance 4 out of 5.