It's the plight of every musician. You struggle and struggle to make it big in the business, only to find that even the most modest margin of fame barely comes with a modicum of respect. Even artists with a lot of influence on later, more popular musicians fall by the wayside in the annals of rock and roll. After all, the world already has five Rolling Stones. While the Stones can't get no satisfaction, hundreds of other bands can't get no respect.
In some circles it's a badge of courage to fawn over the most obscure, unknown bands. There is a joke that as soon as a band becomes well-known it becomes passe to like them. But then there are musicians who are known only for one thing, if for anything at all, whose musical catalogue exhibits the known range and influence five times that of more popular bands. After all, where would Daniel Johnston and Klaus Nomi be if it weren't for documentaries spreading their gospel far and wide? Below, ten musicians She Said thinks deserve more credit.
Sure, everyone knows who he is, but what goes unnoticed these days is exactly how revolutionary Holly's music was in its own time. He was the first rock and roll musician to write his own songs, the Beatles named themselves after insects in homage to him and even Bob Dylan thanked him during his 1998 Grammy acceptance speech.
Watch this video and image hearing any kind of music this fast in 1957.
Everyone knows and loves "Dock of the Bay" (not She Said) but the song was released post-mortem. The whistling part at the end? That's because it wasn't finished yet; Redding's wife, Zelma, tried to prevent its release for that reason. In his short career (he was 26 when he died), Redding wrote tons of songs much better than "Dock," and yet, do you ever hear those on the radio? He also helped launched the career of Booker T. and the M.G.s
, influenced everyone from the Bee Gees to the Counting Crows and penned the song that became Aretha Franklin's signature
of the world know what's up.
Monday, She Said lamented most people's limited knowledge
when it comes to Jamaican music genres. Might she recommend two study materials? The documentary The Studio One Story
and the book Reggae: The Rough Guide
, both of which chronicle the musical genre's evolution from ska to rocksteady to reggae as we know it now.
Prince Buster was there in the very beginning, yet few people know him now. His music lives on in more popular covers by The Specials, The Beat, The Toasters and of course Madness. Also, he's still alive and kickin', thank goodness, perhaps because of his 10 rules to live by
Guided by Voices
The kings of lo-fi have such an extended catalogue that one of their albums, Bee Thousand
features 55 tracks, most less than 2 minutes and recorded on four-track recorders. Over the years, founding member Robert Pollard threatened to break up the band many times, mostly in part to years of obscurity. He made good on the promise in 2004 after 21 years of playing together. Oddly, in later years they received lots of critical praise but never had a radio hit. Always the bridesmaid.
Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Every October, Screamin' Jay gets trotted out as his biggest hit is added to Halloween playlists. To be fair, it's kind of his own fault. His bizarre sense of fashion, his tendency to scream more than sing (hence the name) and his questionable parenting skills
had led to his image as a larger-than-life theatrical character. He originally planned to be an opera singer, but ended up being more Vaudeville than anything else.