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What’s the Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band Ever? (Part 2)

And The Winner Is…
We recently undertook the task of figuring out who was the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll of all time. The conclusion? The Rolling Stones.


The four core members of The Rolling Stones: (from left) Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Ron Wood.

Here are five reasons the “lads from London” are the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll band ever:

1. Endurance
July 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary of The Rolling Stones’ first gig (at London’s Marquee Club). In all likelihood, the band will commemorate the occasion with a 2013 tour. Industry analysts are already predicting that a 50th Anniversary Tour will become the most profitable music tour of all time. No other Rock ‘n’ Roll band of this stature has lasted this long. Put in perspective, The Beatles existed for only about 10 years, or just one-fifth the amount of time The Stones have been playing together. The Stones have outlasted the administrations of eight U.S. presidents.

And the band has lived through one technological advance after another; The Stones started out appearing on black-and-white television, then prospered on MTV during the 80s music-video explosion and now have taken up permanent residence online. (The Rolling Stones was also the first big act to broadcast a concert via the Internet, when a 20-minute video was “streamed” in 1994.) Many passing fads have come and gone during this time, yet The Stones remain as steady and unchanging as the Rock of Gibraltar. The group is one of the few musical acts to chart Number One albums in three separate decades—yet more proof of its enduring appeal.


The five-decade writing partnership between Jagger and Richards has created some of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s most durable songs. The pair produces music under the name “The Glimmer Twins.”

2. You Can’t Get Them Out of Your Head
Tune in to any Classic Rock channel and you’ll hear reason after reason why The Stones are our top pick. The group’s signature tunes (and there are many) include “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Brown Sugar,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Start Me Up,” “Paint It, Black,” “Wild Horses,” “Get Off My Cloud,” “Street Fighting Man,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Ruby Tuesday,” “Gimme Shelter,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “19th Nervous Breakdown,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” “Angie,” “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It),” “Miss You,” “Shattered” and the list rolls on and on.

Aside from its long string of hit singles (which includes nine Number One smashes), the group has racked up an amazing number of album sales. Among the 24 studio albums, 12 live albums and various compilation albums, The Stones have amassed worldwide sales topping 200 million albums. Beyond that, starting with “Sticky Fingers,” the group had eight straight albums hold the Number One spot on the U.S. charts.

3. The Live Performances
The Stones’ last tour is now considered the highest-grossing tour of all time, earning $558 million. During this tour alone, some 4.6 million fans caught one of the band’s 147 shows. Calculating the total number of people who have seen The Rolling Stones in concert over the decades is probably impossible, but some estimates have claimed the band has played between 2,000 and 2,500 total full-scale concerts, which excludes television appearances and similar gigs. (Another way to think about that total is one show per night, every night…for almost seven straight years.)

In addition, The Stones played the single biggest concert ever, when its February 2006 concert on the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) was attended by an estimated 1.5 million people. At this point, it’s safe to assume that The Rolling Stones have played Rock ‘n’ Roll music live to more human beings than any other group ever. And each and every audience member has gotten their money’s worth.


The cover of The Stones’ sprawling 1972 epic “Exile on Main Street,” which “The ‘Rolling Stone’ Album Guide” called “the best double album in rock & roll history.”

4. Artistic Achievement
Judging artistic achievement can be tricky, because it’s partly a subjective exercise. Nonetheless, over time a critical consensus is reached about the worth of certain works of art. And among Rock ‘n’ Roll acts, no other outfit can match The Stones for musical masterpieces—not even The Beatles, whose classic works really consist of five albums (“Rubber Soul” (‘65), “Revolver” (‘66), “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (‘67), “The Beatles” which is usually called “The White Album” (‘68) and “Abbey Road” (‘69)).

Meanwhile, The Rolling Stones have made no fewer than eight albums which are now considered undisputed Rock ‘n’ Roll masterpieces: “The Rolling Stones, Now!” (‘65), “Aftermath” (‘66), “Beggars Banquet” (‘68), “Let it Bleed” (‘69), “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” (‘70), “Sticky Fingers” (‘71), “Exile on Main Street” (’72) and “Some Girls” (‘78). The Stones’ five-year period between 1968 and 1972 is considered one of the greatest creative streaks Rock ‘n’ Roll music has ever seen.

5. Consistent Personnel
No major older band still retains its original line-up, but The Stones come close. Three of the original five members (lead vocalist Mick Jagger, rhythm guitar genius Keith Richards and master drummer Charlie Watts) are still active. Even the band’s replacement members have been around for a long time.

Guitarist Ron Wood, for example, has been playing with the group since the mid-70s—more than 35 years. Even “newcomer” bassist Darryl Jones, who replaced original member Bill Wyman, has been with the band for nearly 20 years. Only two members of the group ever officially quit, and Richards has repeatedly stated that The Rolling Stones is a lifetime gig. (“The only way out of this band is in a box,” he once quipped.)


Secret Weapon: Drummer Charlie Watts, seen here on stage and behind plexiglass screens containing that show’s set list.

Keepers of the Flame
Although The Rolling Stones have assimilated other forms of music into its overall sound, at its core the band has remained faithful to its Blues-steeped influences. (The band was named after a song by Blues legend Muddy Waters, as was Dylan’s classic “Like a Rolling Stone” and the magazine “Rolling Stone.”) Even now, whenever he travels, Keith Richards carries Chuck Berry’s entire body of music with him—so obsessed is he with the great early rocker. And like the great Blues artists, The Rolling Stones have always planned to carry on playing their unique style of music even into their senior years. Back in 1972, an interviewer asked Mick Jagger if he could see imagine himself still belting out “Satisfaction” on stage in his sixties. “Yeah, easily” replied Jagger, without hesitating for a single second. And on they roll.

The Debate Rages On
Music lovers root for their favorite bands like sports fans supporting their preferred team. Emotions can run high, because music is precious to nearly everybody. No wonder so many young people want to learn music production and join the recording industry.

What do you think is the greatest band of all time? Oh yeah? Well maybe you’d like to step outside and settle this thing once and for all…

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posted by Phill Powell in Music Production,News Blog and have No Comments

What’s the Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band Ever? (Part 1)

It’s the type of debate everyone has an opinion on – and might even lead to a nosebleed for those really passionate about the subject. Still the question remains: What’s the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll band ever?


The Rolling Stones 2006 concert “The Bigger Bang Tour,” the most profitable music tour ever.

Before we answer the question, let’s first define the terms:

Hey, We’re Talking Rock ‘n’ Roll Here!
Don’t be fooled: Rock ‘n’ Roll music is not the same thing as Rock, which is an umbrella term that covers many musical sub-genres. On the other hand, Rock ‘n’ Roll refers to the “original recipe” that occurred when Rhythm & Blues was first mixed with Country. To be precise, Rock ‘n’ Roll is typically 12-bar Chicago Blues, but accelerated and amplified through electric instruments.

The emphasis in Rock ‘n’ Roll is on the beat and that important sense of rhythm is exactly what separates it from Rock music. Put another way, the main musician in Rock is the electric guitarist. The primary player in Rock ‘n’ Roll had better be the drummer…or you should get your money back immediately (because the band probably sucks).

Groups vs. Performers
While we’re defining terms, we should be specific about the type of musical outfit. Remember, we’re talking about Rock ‘n’ Roll bands—not solo performers. A band is a specific type of musical unit, and one that depends on the personalities and interaction of its members. Granted, Elvis Presley almost always had an ace band supporting his vocals, but he’s known as a solo performer. So, for our purposes, we won’t be considering individual performers. (Sorry, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, etc.)


Sure, The Beatles were fantastic…but some of the band’s music is more Pop than Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Why Not <INSERT NAME OF YOUR FAVORITE BAND HERE> Instead?
If our original question had been “What is the favorite all-time Rock band?” the answer would be simple: The Beatles, which has been embraced by each successive generation of music fans since the 60s and which has sold more albums than any other musical act, according to industry estimates. But that wasn’t our question.

We want to pinpoint the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll band of all time. And while The Beatles started out playing Rock ‘n’ Roll music, as its career progressed, the band routinely ventured away from Rock ‘n’ Roll and into other sounds (some of them quite experimental). It’s probably more accurate to consider The Beatles the greatest Pop-Rock band of all time, because its sound almost always had a soft melodic edge. Similarly, if we were selecting the greatest Rock band of all time, we might choose a group whose sound carried more sheer electric power, like The Who or Led Zeppelin.

The Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band Ever 
Okay, enough discussion. The greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll band ever is…ta-daaa!…The Rolling Stones.


The original line-up of “The Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band Ever,” circa 1965: (front row) Mick Jagger, Brian Jones; (middle) Bill Wyman; (back row) Charlie Watts, Keith (Captain Jack Sparrow’s father) Richards.

The Debate Rages On
Music lovers root for their favorite bands like sports fans supporting their preferred team. Emotions can run high, because music is precious to nearly everybody. No wonder so many young people want to learn music production and join the recording industry.

What do you think is the greatest band of all time? Stick around for Part Two of our series – we lay out the evidence that proves our claim: The Rolling Stones is the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll band of all time.

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Bootsy Collins Live Online Concert, Celebrating 15 Years of The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus

He’s probably the most famous bass player alive. A funk legend since the ripe old age of sixteen (when James Brown personally selected him for his back-up band, The J.B.’s), William Earl Collins has been famous since the early 1970s.


Famed bass-master Bootsy Collins will stream the funk via a live web event later this week. 

Of course, you may know him better by his trademark star-shaped sunglasses and platform shoes, or his nickname – which is explained by the title of his 1977 funk masterpiece “Ah…The Name is Bootsy, Baby!” And now Bootsy Collins, the musical legend who pioneered the slapping funk bass sound that we all now take for granted, is joining forces with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is celebrating its 15th year on tour. To mark the event, on Friday, January 20th between 6 and 7:30 pm Pacific Time, Bootsy Collins will jam LIVE from the bus! You can catch the FREE CONCERT online – thanks to NewTek, TodoCast and of course the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus! The live streaming event features Bootsy Collins with special guests Verdine White and ace session player Bernie Worrell.

For more details or to watch the event, visit the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus online.


Watch a live concert from Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bootsy Collins, Friday, January 20th, 2012.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer
Anyone that wants to learn how to make music that sounds like your favorite artists should know who Bootsy Collins is – a 1997 inductee into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame (as part of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic), Bootsy has played with everyone from Madonna to The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards to Snoop Dogg. His own musical projects (such as his group, Bootsy’s Rubber Band) have stretched the limits of both funk and bass playing too.

Get Hands-on Digital Music Experience
Do you want to learn how to become a music producer or professional musician? Why not spend your summer at music camp learning from the professionals? The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus will again be partnered with Digital Media Academy for The Academy of Music and Video Production. This two-week academy is held at prestigious university locations like Harvard, Stanford and UCLA. During the camp you’ll get hands-on training and learn from music professionals while using the latest cutting-edge music and video production hardware – like Apple’s Logic Pro. Once you’ve learned the techniques, you can create the music, just like Bootsy! Who knows maybe someday you might even be inducted in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog and have No Comments