Top 10 Power Trios
Rhythm guitar? We don’t need no stinkin’ rhythm guitar!
10. ZZ Top
The classic cars, the sunglasses, the beards, ZZ Top wasn’t just a band, they were a way of life cooler than the life you will ever know. The music – sweaty Tex-Mex rock – isn’t bad either. Just try listening to “Legs” (or just about any track off of “Eliminator”) without getting a little hot yourself. Not bad from a bunch of guys who look like evil Santa.
9. Green Day
The boys who went from “Dookie” to politically-charged punk rock opera have lost a few points since Billie Joe started giving touring guitarist Jason White most of the guitar work. Still, respect to a band who was once referred to as “snot-core” in “Rolling Stone” for remaining popular for (ready to feel old?) over 20 years.
8. Dinosaur Jr.
The best ’90s alt-rock band not named the Pixies might not be as well known as other names on this list, and that’s a shame because the group were pioneers. Turning up the distortion and feedback, twisting and speeding up the bass line and generally giving hardcore punk a new context, they were truly a musician’s music. The frontman from No. 1 on this list, for instance, was a huge fan.
They might have the combined maturity of an 11 year-old, but the Blink boys were on the CD mix or first generation iPod of every highschooler from 1999 to 2005. They won us over with that Fruit of the Loom ad/video for “All the Small Things,” and we’ve been wondering what our age is ever since.
6. The Jimi Hendrix Experience
You can’t really talk about rock ‘n’ roll generally without mentioning the Experience. Jimi himself has come to represent all of late ’60s popular culture, and in the four short years and three albums the group was together they’d bring psychedelia to the forefront, write “Purple Haze” and light up—among other things—their instruments.
No band does as much with only three guys as Muse. Practically virtuosos on every instrument, they made a name for themselves with critically adored “Absolution” and its single “Hysteria,” otherwise known as “that impossible bass song on Rock Band.” Recently the group has been experimenting with symphonic rock. Frontman Matt Bellamy is something of an iconoclast with an axe.
They might be the biggest nerds in rock. They might glorify Ayn Rand in song. They might even be Canadian. But despite these shortcomings, Rush is at the center of the prog-rock universe. If you ever wondered what “1984” in space would be like, look no further than “2112.” Oh, and two words: Neil Peart. Two more words: best drummer.
3. The Police
Guess who the highest-earning band was in 2008. Not RHCP, not the Foo Fighters nor Fall Out Boy nor Green Day. It was The Police, who released their first album “Synchronicity” 25 years prior. It was on this album that we first met that French lady of the night, Roxanne. Even now traces of the band can still be heard in the music of contemporary post-punk acts.
Late ’60s supergroup Cream, led by Eric Slowhand Clapton, was one of the first bluesy hard-rock acts to come out of the United Kingdom. They famously covered “Crossroads” and other standards, as well as writing their own material, such as “Sunshine of Your Love.” If you want to hear some of the greatest guitar solos in history, check out Clapton’s greatest hits album, “The Cream of Clapton.” Hot cream.
There’s little to be said about this band that hasn’t been said already. Many listeners today can imagine all rock on a timeline labeled BN and AN—before and after “Nevermind.” The band’s legacy is all over popular rock to this day, which is why Nirvana is rock’s number-one power trio.