Ten Modern Bands More Important Than The Beatles

Beatles

If you read or watch any media anything this week you’ll likely hear ravings about the Beatles remastering their archive and coming out with their own Rock Band game complete with replica instruments.

While there is no questioning how important the Beatles were to rock n’ roll, there’s also no question they have little to no impact on Generation X, Y and whatever the hell is on the way. Meaning, all the people in the desirable 18-35 year old demographic do not care about the Beatles.

Here are ten bands that have much more influence than the Beatles regarding music and art being consumed in the 21st century. This list is about consumption and mass acceptance in pop culture, not necessarily artistic merits. I did not include massively influential indie acts like Fugazi because honestly, this list of major bands is pretty widespread and likely were influenced by the important indie bands anyway.


  • 10. Nine Inch Nails: Any rock band that has loud guitars married to digital tones likely covets Trent Reznor.

  • 9. Dr. Dre: While most rap artists today are sloppy compared to classic Dre, what he did in the 1990s is still the blueprint for modern rap. Would Jay-Z be as commercially viable without Dre’s crossover success 15 years ago?

  • 8. Queens of the Stone Age: It’s weird I know, but who would think a stoner metal band would be the perfect sonic backdrop to sell products and movies?

  • 7. Wilco: Alternative country legends have gone a different direction lately, but the new 30-something go-to band is such a staple in home music libraries it’s like having On The Road on your college bookshelf.

  • 6. Blur: While they don’t have the name recognition of Radiohead, bands like the Fray, the Killers et al. are actually aping these guys.

  • 5. The Clash/The Ramones: These are the oldtimers but who would think The Ramones would be acceptable baby music – seriously, there is a lullaby album – and the Clash are now required classic rock.

  • 4. Radiohead: Heard of Arcade Fire, Band of Horses, Animal Collective, Silversun Pickups, Peter Bjorn and John etc? Well, they all bow to Radiohead.

  • 3. Guns N’ Roses/Metallica: It’s hard to remember that these two bands ruled airwaves for nearly a decade, and listening to Appetite for Destruction is still a religious experience. When you hear hard rock from Avenged Sevenfold and their ilk blaring from earbuds of today’s unruly teens, you can actually discern GN’R and Metallica riffs quite easily.  

  • 2. Dave Matthews: Unfortunately he gave birth to John Mayer and all the other acoustic rock of today heard in coffee houses, elevators, college dorms and nearly everywhere. It’s almost ambiguous now, like a dull white noise that kills your aural palette.   

  • 1. Nirvana: Every other rock band not aping Radiohead or Guns N’ Roses is aping Nirvana. Or Pearl Jam. But the cultural impact definitely favors Nirvana. A virtual Kurt Cobain in Guitar Hero 5 cements that fact.