As a kid I Growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s my family was a Christian Music only family. Sometime before I was born my parents chose to forgo listening to mainstream artists that they previously liked such as Neil Diamond and The Eagles. So my earliest memories of music were of listening to Sandi Patti, Larnelle Harris, Amy Grant, and Michael W. Smith on vinyl. I slowly began to branch out after receiving a tape player/cd player to other Christian artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, Dctalk, The Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, and Jars of Clay as I began building my own music collection. Many of these bands are still favorites to this day…but that’s not what this blog is about.
It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I started tuning into the mainstream radio and widening my musical palette to other genres. I had definitely heard songs by artists like The Beatles and The Beach Boys, and as best I can remember it was the songs “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and “I Get Around” by each band respectively. This blog post ranks my top 10 favorite mainstream artists and a few that just missed the cut, showing how many songs I like by each artist in the process.
1.The Beatles (72 Songs)
Music in general has much to thank The Beatles for as they innovated and experimented musically helping create some of the genres we have now. Picking one favorite song would be a fools errand, but some of my faves are, “while my guitar gently weeps,” “I Want You (she’s so heavy),” “If I Fell,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Sometimes,” and “Yesterday.” I revisit their catalogue on a weekly basis and deem Abbey Road as their magnum opus.
2.Coldplay (50 Songs)
A very divisive band, Coldplay is a worldwide favorite, and with that status comes a lot of hate as well. I for one, love the band, and though their earnestness Can border on trying a little too hard, I enjoy pretty much every release in their catalogue not named A head full of dreams, with Viva La Vida being my pick for their best overall. Some favorite songs are, “Sparks,” “In My Place,” “The Scientist,” “Lost,” and “Paradise.”
3. Michael Buble (36 Songs)
He’s on my concert bucket list, and he has made a living out of modernizing cover songs, though more recently he’s included more originals. I still think the covers are his strong suit and love his big band approach to entertaining. A few favorites of the top of my head are “Fever,” “Feeling Good,” and “Everything.” 2005’s It’s Time is my top album of Mr. Buble and one of three I own. As a bonus the guy is a terrific interview and funny to boot.
4. Lifehouse (27 Songs)
Like most everyone I was introduced to this alt rock band via smash single “Hanging By A Moment,” but I also enjoy almost everything else in their discography. Their debut album is full of songs I return to often like “Unknown,” “Sick-Cycle Carousel,” “Breathing” and the epic closing song “Everything” which for my money is their best overall song. Other strong albums by these fellas are Stanley Climbfall, Who We Are, and Out Of The Wasteland. I own every Lifehouse album except 2010’s Smoke & Mirrors which I just couldn’t get into.
5. The Beach Boys (25 Songs)
Outside of their Greatest Hits I’ve never actually owned a Beach Boys album, though Pet Sounds on vinyl is on my wishlist. I do however enjoy many of their songs, and living in Florida with plenty of sun I have more opportunity than most to roll the windows down and enjoy the dreamy harmonies. Favorite overall song by them is hands down “God Only Knows” which is also in the conversation of my favorite overall song of all time. Others I jam frequently are, “Surfer Girl,” “In My Room,” “I Get Around,” and “Catch A Wave.”
6. Billy Joel (20 Songs)
Billy Joel has written some truly amazing songs, like the classic piano bar “Piano Man,” “Movin’ Out,” “She’s Always A Woman,” and my favorite Joel song “The Longest Time.” He has a knack for Earworm melodies that are story or character based, keeping his appeal broad to the Everyman.
7. Chicago (16 Songs)
This ensemble band has some of my favorite lip syncing songs, especially the Peter Cetera era. Songs “Hard To Say I’m Sorry,” “You’re The Inspiration,” and “Will You Still Love Me?” are my most listened to among others.
8. U2 (16 Songs)
I know there are huge fans of everything U2, but due to the fact that I didn’t follow their discography until 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind I’m more a fan of individual songs than albums. In fact, I don’t think I own a single album by the band other than their greatest hits collection. One song not considered a hit per se that I really like is “Love Is Blindness,” otherwise I’m usually listening to “One,” “The Sweetest Thing,” “When Love Came to Town,” “Beautiful Day,” or “Where The Streets Have No Name.”
9. 21 Pilots (17 Songs)
These guys would be higher if they had been around longer, but they make the list because of a terrific live show, (of which I’ve seen) and a great ability to write personal songs wrapped deeply in metaphor. Their album Blurryface is a masterpiece and will be difficult to top. Predecessor Vessels is also a great album and contains favorite songs “Car Radio,” “Trees,” and “House of Gold.” Blurryface is all over the place in style, and an album I’ve heard over one hundred times since it’s release. It continues to surprise with layer after layer, keeping my favorite song from the album constantly changing. The whole album is recommended, but I’m still enjoying “Ride,” “Stressed Out,” “The Judge,” “Message Man,” “Hometown,” and “Goner.”
10. John Mayer (14 Songs)
A guitar genius, and a guy with a knack for sappy love songs, I just can’t help from liking “My Stupid Mouth,” “Daughters,” and “In The Blood.” Continuum and it’s Bluesy guitar work is my overall favorite album from him, and contains favorite songs “Waiting On The World To Change,”Dreaming With A Broken Heart,” “The Heart of Life,” and “I’m Gonna Find Another You.”
Just Missed The Cut:
Boyz II Men – (12 songs) – a staple of my “I Love the 90’s Playlist,” my favorite tune by them is “Its So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday.”
Brian Mcknight – (12 songs) – Silky smooth and impossible to sing along to though I try, my favorite song is a tie between “Home” and “Anytime.”
*NSYNC – (14 songs) – A guilty pleasure, their songs are just so darn catchy! If I only had to pick one as a favorite it’d be “It’s Gonna Be Me” but “Gone” is a close second.
Adele – (13 songs) – Dang can she sang! Love the emotion in her voice, and you can palpably feel it in my favorite song “Someone Like You.”
Alan Jackson – (12 songs) – As a whole I dislike country but I can make a few exceptions for this guy and a few select others (Josh Turner, Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood). Favorite song is “Where I Come From” or “Summertime Blues.”
What about you? What are your top artists of all time? I’d love to see your list!