Just like any small or medium-sized business, a rock band is a mixture of personalites, talents and ego that somehow fuse together to form a distinctive sound and brand identity. The best perform at a high level over the long haul while also avoiding the high cost of turnover. Rarely, does any company or band achieve long-term success with a revolving door ushering members in and out.
Today on TSB, we countdown the Top 5 Seamless Bands of all-time.
The criteria for selection is as follows:
2. Audience Appeal
3. Distinctive Identity
4. Internal Stability
Consequently, acts like Van Halen, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles and Deep Purple fail to make the grade because of frequent personnel changes over the years. Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Guns N' Roses and The Police fall short as far as longevity is concerned. Considering that mega-stars like Metallica, KISS and AC/DC just missed on cracking our Top 5 might raise some eyebrows, but hey, given our criteria, that's what makes this list interesting to debate.
So here they are, the Top 5 Seamless Bands of all-time ...
The Canadian power trio has had the same lineup since 1973 when Neil Peart took over behind the drum kit and locked himself in for the long haul with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. Canadian Music Hall-of-Famers, Rush ranks fourth behind The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith for the most consecutive gold or platinum albums by a rock band.
The Bad Boys from Boston fell off the rails in the early eighties but earn points for putting everything back together with their original line-up still intact. Since forming in 1971 and re-forming again in 1984, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer have helped Aerosmith become the best-selling American hard rock band of all time,having sold 150 million albums worldwide. The band plans to begin a new U.S. tour in April of 2009, in support of their as-yet-untitled 15th studio album.
3. THE ROLLING STONES:
Despite several changes over the years, the Stones have maintained three original members through no fewer than 5 decades in the music business. Since 1962, drummer Charlie Watts has been keeping the beat for Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the rest of the Stones who have racked up 24 studio albums, nine concert albums while selling more than 200 million units worldwide.
The Irish rock superstars have never had a line-up change since their first album was released back in 1980. Along the way, Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.have sold more than 140 million albums worldwide and have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band. Throughout their career, as a band and as individuals, they have consistently campaigned for human rights and social justice causes, including Amnesty International.
And the top-ranked Seamless Band of all time is ...none other than that "little ole band from Texas" ...
1. ZZ TOP:
Formed in 1969 in Houston, Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard hold the distinction of being among the few rock bands still composed of its original members for nearly 40 years. Even original manager/producer, Bill Ham lasted until 1996 as ZZ Top developed a brand image uniquely their own. Gibbons and Hill are almost always pictured wearing sunglasses (a nod to 1979's "Cheap Sunglasses"), matching duds and trademark chest-length beards. Ironically, the drummer, Beard, is the only guy in the group without one, preferring a mustache. In 1984, the Gillette Company reportedly offered Gibbons and Hill $1 million each to shave their beards for a television commercial but they declined, stating "We're too ugly without 'em".
In July 2008, the band announced they have signed with producer Rick Rubin and are recording a new album as ZZ Top aims to move back to their pre-80's "La Grange" sound. And while we're at it, here are the three "sharped dressed men" themselves captured "Live from Texas".
"We've been coming out with you for a long time, ... And it's the same three guys playing the same three chords right here" BILLY GIBBONS