Friday, 21 September 2012

Got Your Back

Gibson has this list of 10 Backing Bands Who Propelled Their Leaders To Fame and Glory.

The Spiders From Mars (David Bowie)
The Band (Bob Dylan)
The Heartbreakers (Tom Petty)
The Revolution (Prince et al)
Booker T. and the M.G.'s (Various)
The Experience (Jimi Hendrix)
The Attractions (Elvis Costello)
The Wailers (Bob Marley)
The E Street Band (Bruce Springsteen)
Crazy Horse (Neil Young)

Not sure I can think of any substitutes, but I gotta question The Band and Crazy Horse. Can anyone seriously contend that Bob Dylan wasn't already a household name before he hooked up with The Band? Or that he needed them afterwards? Ditto Neil Young. I've seen/heard Neil Young fill an arena with just his warbly voice and an acoustic guitar. With all due respect to Crazy Horse, any backup band would do.

BTW, can anyone name those guys?

Along the same lines, although Hendrix was not a household name before he teamed up with Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, and as good as they were, I wonder how long it would have been before he took the world by storm anyway.

At the opposite end of the scale: as strong as they were - and as much as they were the obvious leaders and the driving creative forces - I find it hard to distinguish between Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, between Marley and The Wailers, between Springsteen and the E Street Band. They were units. The leaders were part of the band.

Probably the most interesting band on the list is Booker T and The M.G.'s. Those guys were the backup band. Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Albert King ... the list goes on.

Ah, hold on a minute! If we're going to include backup bands that supported more than one act, where are The Funk Brothers, who played on more hit records (for Motown) than everyone on the list combined?

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