Every year when I see who is getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, my reaction is either “it’s about time” or “why them?” Maybe sometimes both.
This year, I got to thinking: what makes a band deserving anyway? So I listed my 10 favourite bands and looked for the similarities. Here’s the list: The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Deep Purple, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Queen, The Who, The Rolling Stones, CSNY, The Kinks, Dire Straits, Jethro Tull, U2.
OK, that’s more than 10, but nevermind. And I know your list is different and that’s cool.
But what sets them apart? Genre/subcategory? Nope. Great musicianship? Mostly, but not – with the greatest respect to those listed – universally. Killer song writing? It helps, I suppose. Clothes? Just kidding.
Maybe it’s a combination of curiosity and fearlessness. I tend to think of my favourite artists as explorers, trying new ideas, poking around in unfamiliar places. Even after they’ve forged their own sound and persona, there’s a restless drive to seek out the new and see what it has to offer.
That drive, that curiosity, that willingness to try something new is why the music of these bands still sounds fresh and exciting. That spirit of exploration keeps the music young.