Top 5 Singular Musical Forces

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Great bands are a dime a dozen. How often has a great band broken up, only to have the individual efforts of the ex-members lambasted by critics and public alike? Sometimes the chemistry of a band, collectively, makes them great, but sometimes it's "The Talent," a singular musical force.

When I speak of a singular musical force, I speak of musicians who transcend a group, band or even a musical genre. These are artists in the truest sense of the word.

Singular musical forces do not just achieve singular success: Their achievements range from critical and commercial successes and often are accrued over multiple decades. To qualify for this list, the artist must be alive, so no Beethoven, obviously.

These are current artists, who are so remarkably badass as to only be called what they are: Singular Musical Forces.

5. My Friend Russ Willis

Everybody who grew up playing music knows that one guy who is just incredible.

That's my friend Russ. Obviously, it's slightly biased by personal experience, but Russ makes the list if for no other reason than the fact that he could play "Eruption" by Van Halen, note-for-note, when I first met him at age 12.

Russ currently plays in some of the best local acts you can find around town. My personal favorite is Don't Poke the Bear. If you've never seen them, go do so as they are one of best rock acts you can hear around town.

Russ plays just about every instrument under the sun and also is one of the best dudes I know.

4. Paul McCartney

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Maybe you've heard of a little band called The Beatles? You haven't?

Oh, well, they were sort of a big deal. You should check them out.

What about Wings? Maybe you actually haven't heard of Wings, but that's actually OK.

McCartney is such a badass that he married a chick with a fake leg. I mean, how bored do you have to get having the most beautiful women in the world throwing themselves at you that, just for a change of pace, you hook up with the amputee? Pretty badass, I'd say.

McCartney does, in fact, transcend generations and musical genre. He may not still be putting out the defining music of his time -- he just turned 70 this week, so give him a break -- but he can still charge $400 a ticket for a show and asses will still be firmly in seats.

He also wrote "Rocky Raccoon," one of my favorite songs ever.

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Danny Elfman, Elvis, Bob Dylan.


No Trent Reznor? Really? Prolific songwriter, musician, and producer? Oscar-winning composer? Geez.


I concur. At 19 (and loathe to metal) my first three "real" concerts were The Grateful Dead, Luther Vandross and Prince, (Sign O' the Times tour). His music changed my awareness begining with "Controversy," and his live show was the best, ever. Oh, and he also spotlighted Shela E. Seeing her perform on the full kit was AMAZING.


this was a freaking awesome article. thank you sir!

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