Readers Poll: Who Is the Most Overrated Artist in Rock History?

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I'm so sorry, Chris. [Ha! -- ed.]
The concept of "overrated" and "underrated" has always confused me. There are groups that are critically lauded, yet got little commercial love, like The Band. And then there are groups that were almost universally reviled by critics, like Journey, who consistently managed to sell out shows, sell millions of albums and continue to kick ass on the karaoke circuit.

What defines "overrated" and "underrated," anyway? If critics and fans adore you and a loud minority hasn't drunk the Kool-Aid, does that mean you're overrated? If you sound like someone farting into a tin can and only the cool kids like you, are you then underrated? Can you be both these things at the same time? Mom, are we there yet?

I think that Bon Iver is overrated because I don't think that Justin Vernon's project is as earth-shaking as everyone else in my line of work perceives it as being. I still listen to For Emma, Forever Ago on occasion, so I obviously don't totally hate him, er, them. I also think that Arctic Monkeys are extremely underrated, and many disagree, so the adventure begins again.

In the middle area there are two subheadings: Groups that are rated just as they should be, whose influence and popularity are not in dispute, and they just sort of sit there, like the Beatles or Nirvana. Few people will say they straight-up hate either of those two, and when they do, they give you one-note reasons why.

And then there are the groups that you either love or hate with your entire being, like the Smiths, U2 or Metallica. And that is where we find ourselves today with this readers poll. Who is the most overrated artist in rock history?

Brace yourselves, U2 and Pink Floyd fans. It might get frightening.

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Photo by Groovehouse
Rush

Lots of bands feature the technical meedly-mee on guitar and even the excited thunga-wunga on bass. Only Rush (and millions of bands who never made it anywhere) also feature a male harpy screeching songs about Tom Sawyer or a war amongst the goddamned trees. -- Tim


U2

I think the sound they developed to distinguish themselves from other rock bands really worked for them originally, but they have released so few genuinely interesting songs over such a long career that I really think their massive popularity is mostly just a result of them having the right sound at the right time.

I don't think they're a bad band by any means, I just think they're pretty average songwriters and musicians who came up with an aesthetic that was appealing (and pretty ahead of its time) and never really went to a very artistically interesting place with it.

They have obviously been really influential, but again, I think it's mostly their aesthetic and not their songwriting ability that has had an impact on modern bands like Coldplay (although those dudes are following in U2's shoes by making a whole lot of uninspired albums after that first one, in my opinion). Bono is a pretty great singer though, and probably a great human or whatever. -- Kenny


I would have to go with everyone in U2 except The Edge. Bono for obvious reasons, and the rhythm section because they're pedestrian at best. Reverb and delay can only hide so much lack of talent. -- Colby


The Rolling Stones and Nirvana are the only two bands that should ever play football stadiums. -- Creg


Bonus: Bono

Seems like no one gave a shit about U2 as "songwriters" until they started hanging out with Nelson Mandela and dressing like Doctors Without Borders. I find trouble positing Bono as a savior of any type, so all the Jesus Christ poses and Masonic hand gestures in photos need to take they asses on. Best thing U2 ever did was let Johnny Cash cover them. -- Shelby

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32 comments
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FUCK THAT GUY
FUCK THAT GUY

That Joe guy can fuck himself with a wiffleball bat wrapped in barbed wire, Pink Floyd is AMAZING,

Rob
Rob

I don't know if it classifies as rock but Madonna is the lamest ever.

David Houston
David Houston

David Bowie!  Everything AFTER Hunky Dory was utter manure.

H_e_x
H_e_x like.author.displayName 1 Like

So wrong it boggles the mind.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Of Montreal. I gave them a chance, I even saw them live, but they just don't do it for me.

GlenW
GlenW

Ouch. Pink Floyd with Roder Waters is great, lousy without.In the last year I've become a huge Saxon fan. Very underrated, not to mention underplayed, in the US.Agree with the Dylan and Springsteen asessment.

numberwang
numberwang

Muse? I wouldn't call them overrated

They aren't talked about that much at all. Their last album wasn't good, but they are hardly in the news every day.

Mike
Mike

Bon Iver is definitely overrated. If this was the 90's he wouldn't have been even a blip on the radar. He sounds like an indie Christopher Cross.

Julian Bajsel
Julian Bajsel

How are we supposed to take this seriously?  Pink Floyd?  Really?  DSOTM is arguably the greatest album of all time, and they had a string of classic albums/songs after that.  You'd be hard pressed to find a more creative, ground-breaking and thought-provoking band in the last few generations.  I can only imagine that listening to them back then was like listening to the future.  Hell, they still sound fresh to this day.  Including them is blasphemous, like listing Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin.  ...and Slayer?  That's this guy's golden standard?  I think Joe Blow's opinion was included just to get a rise out of people with taste.

To be fair, Radiohead should be included simply because they're so popular and tons of people either don't like their music or don't get what they're doing, but I don't see them mentioned at all.  This coming from a big Radiohead fan.

The failure to include KISS, however, is the biggest crime of all.

No
No

I'm assuming you don't know what "arguably" means.

Julian Bajsel
Julian Bajsel

Of course I know what it means.  Come on already.

Joe obviously doesn't think they're one of the greatest classic rock bands ever.  I don't have a problem with that.  No musical act ever pleases everyone and that doesn't shock or offend me one bit.  However, if all he has to back up his claim is "derrr durrr derrp, if it ain't metal it sucks!  All hail Slayer!!", that just shows he's a clown doing a disservice to the genre he loves by painting his crowd as a bunch of close-minded musical simpletons.

His comments were only added to bait people like me into generating ad revenue.  I actually came here genuinely interested in reading why someone intelligent or knowledgeable thought Pink Floyd was overrated.  However, if I wanted to read the half-ass poorly thought out opinions of trolls, I could just go read comments on YouTube.  If all they had was Joe's "analysis", Pink Floyd really shouldn't have been added to the list.

Josh
Josh

Of course they're immature, its armchair critic work by people from FB and twitter. That's exactly what we are, immafuckinture dicks. It makes the article that much funnier especially given craigs intro pointing out the utter pointlessness of such discussion. It is the bastion of idiots and know it alls.

That said, I'm quoted in it so:

Fuck you, I'm not immature!

rob
rob

Can't agree on Dylan or the boss. So they may be well past their prime, but they've both put out some of the most influential albums in the history of rock n roll. And how can Pink Floyd be overrated when dark side stayed on the charts for 20 years or however long it was. Overplayed?Hell yeah. But I wouldn't call them overrated. And to the guy hatin on Rod Stewart...I used to completely agree with you until I really listened to all the Faces albums again and his stuff with Jeff Beck. Dude could sing and those are all great albums. Bono was the first person who came to mind when I saw this and lo and behold he's the first picture.

Redmond Silverfield
Redmond Silverfield

The article mostly contains immature contributions (surprisingly not as much as one might expect for the U2 section), so it's hard to take it seriously.Anyway, I personally would go with The Beatles. Not because I hate, or even dislike, them. In fact, I love them. But most people seem to have an attitude of "Oh, it's The Beatles, of course it's great." instead of trying to objectively rate each song. And even though there are a large number of true Beatles fans, there just seem to be too many people who don't really know their work beyond 'Hey Jude', 'She Loves You' and other such hits.

Pankflerd
Pankflerd

re: Pink Floyd -- if they had actually written as though they had heard something other than Money and stopped writing like they were a teenage boy, I think I might have listened.

sms
sms

Metallica

Rigel2112
Rigel2112

so what bands do you like? 

Wyatt
Wyatt

This is a reader poll, smart guy, the author might not agree with a single selection here. 

Christina Lynn Hildebrand
Christina Lynn Hildebrand

funny thing EVERY person I have met thats from the north so far reveres Bruce Springsteen and bon jovi as "the greatest musicians ever." Go figure.

Evan
Evan

Mozart. Name me one good Mozart album. You can't! Quick, name me 5 good Mozart songs without using Google. Mozart is a washed up hack. 

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