From Symphonies to Wax to MP3: My Top 5 (Favorite) Bands by the Decade

By Loryn Stone

As a writer and blogger, I have a constant arsenal of topics taking up space in my laptop, all itching to be pulled apart, dismantled, and destroyed by the heap of words I call my opinion. You name it, I have notes on it, all ready to go. But this time, I decided to do something a little bit different. I blasted a message out there, into the Ether known as the Twitterverse, asking my friends there if there were any topics that needed a specific Loryn flavor of destruction. And from all the topics I ramble over on a consistent basis, I was delighted to find that a good portion of my buddies out there wanted to discuss one of my all time favorite topics- MUSIC!

Disclaimer: I’m not smug enough to declare myself an expert in any topic. Because you know what? For everything you think you know, someone else is willing to put in the man-power to make sure they consistently know more than you. There are people out there who just power consume media, up to and including music. Devouring album or show or movie, etc., one after the next.

But during my time as an Internet Lurker (official job title) I learned one important lesson: Be Yourself. And when I was given the challenge of naming my Top 5 Favorite Bands/Artists by the Decade, I knew I wanted to give it a try. Now, because I’m a contrarian stinker, I almost turned this challenge inside out and made it my Top 5 Bands from my decades. But then I realized that I was born in 1985 and that would not only leave out a lot of kick ass music, but this blog post would be over really fast. Given also that it’s Sunday, and Christmas Eve…well…this is the only fresh content you’re going to read on the internet today.

Let’s make it a good one. HIT IT!

Top 5 Classical Composers

  1. Johann Sabastian Bach

Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor is enough to make anyone swoon.

  1. Antonio Lucio Vivaldi

Winter. Enough Said.

  1. Ludwig von Beethoven
  2. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  3. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Like it or not, his musical contribution to ballet is lovely.

Fun Fact: Back in college, in addition to a multitude of writing classes (because BA in Creative Writing, duh), I took several music history and theory courses. My professor, James Domine, was one of the coolest dudes I’d ever met. He was the conductor for the local San Fernando Valley symphony orchestra, was just this awesome long haired guy who looked like a beach bum version of Ace Frehley, and coined the phrase “You know….the babes with the horns” when describing Valkyries to the class.

From that day forward, I knew babe with the horns was my destiny.

But another thing Mr. Domine ground into my head was understanding that what we classify as classical music, for the most part, is not. There are many eras that pre-date classical, such as Baroque, Romantic, Classical, etc. But for the sake of simplicity, I’ll talk about them all under the Classical Music label.

Top 5 Pre-1950s Music

  1. Cab Calloway
  2. Raymond Scott
  3. Carl Stalling

There’s absolutely no doubt that the Jazz scene was incredible from the 1920s-1940s. So many artists left huge impacts in history, and by absolutely no means should they be discounted. That said- I just don’t listen to many of them. I could have skipped this portion completely and just jumped into a different decade, but there was no way I could let my Top 3 here go ignored.

Now, if you’ve read my blog post about Top Spooky Awesome Shit, you’ll know my feelings about Cab Calloway boarder the inappropriate. His partnership with the Fleischer Brothers for the early Betty Boop cartoons was huge. His dancing makes me tingle and any dude who gets along with puppets is a man I want in my life.

Now, in case you think you’ve never heard of Raymond Scott or Carl Stalling, let me just say that you have. Carl Stalling was the lead composer for Looney Tunes Merrie Melodies cartoons, and much of his sound was inspired by (or directly taken from) Raymond Scott’s Big-Band compositions. (And of course, me being me) I love cartoons. I love cartoon soundtracks. And all three of these guys hugely impacted cartoons.

Powerhouse, anyone?

Top 5 1950s Bands

  1. Elvis Presley
  2. David Seville
  3. Les Paul
  4. The Ventures
  5. The Five Satins

This portion was somewhat difficult for me to narrow down, but I think I’ve settled into a happy place. I’ve listened to a handful of Elvis songs, and I appreciate the teen-idol aspect of his early existence. He’s fun. Going back to cartoon land, I love David Seville and the whole Chipmunks explosion. It’s amazing and hugely impactful to me as a cartoon nerd. Les Paul, truthfully, not so much for his music on a personal level, but his importance in the structure of musical instruments. Seriously, I played a Les Paul electric bass once and it melted in my hands. It practically played itself. I was a complete novice at the time and I sounded amazing.

I also have a soft spot for Beach Rock, a sound that became solidified in the 1960s. But I love The Ventures, and they formed in the late 50s. Now, bands like The Five Satins are a little more superficial because I don’t know much of their catalogue. That said, I love that neat Doo-Wop sound and I think they capture it perfectly. And ever since I saw the “Tale of the Prom Queen” episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark, and the dead girl drove away with her dead boyfriend with “In the Still of the Night”, I’ve been in love with the song ever since.

Top 5 1960s Bands

  1. Tiny Tim
  2. The Doors
  3. Led Zeppelin
  4. Creedence Clearwater Revival
  5. Blue Oyster Cult

Finally, the 1960s, when it gets easier to like music not for their #1 hits and cutsie looks, but for the fucking music, man. Some of you might be yelling at me for leaving The Beatles and Pink Floyd off the list, but, well…make your own damn list!

Now, in the midst of these amazing classic rock bands, you might be wondering- who the fuck is Tiny Tim? Well, in traditional cartoonish fashion, Tiny Tim was a “sort of serious, sort of comedy, all weird” gentleman who played the ukulele and went on many a late comedy show and sang in a very high, very strange falsetto. His debut album God Bless Tiny Tim was an incredible piece, mostly covers from songs written between the 1910s-1930s, and its where the brilliant song “Living in the Sunlight, Loving in the Moonlight” came from, used in the pilot episode of Spongebob Squarepants.

Top 5 1970s Bands

  1. KISS
  2. Alice Cooper
  3. AC/DC
  4. Iron Maiden
  5. Michael Jackson

This is where shit starts getting really cool. KISS is my second favorite band of all time, and even though I get a kick out of the 80s work, the 70s is where they really shine. Similarly, artists like Alice Cooper are off to an amazing start in the 70s and that excellent sound carries its way into the 80s. As for my loves AC/DC, I have zero preference for Bon Scott vs. Brian Johnson. I adore them both and to me, they slip seamlessly from one singer to the next. Iron Maiden has gotten me through many a hard time, and Eddie is the ultimate metal mascot.

I’m putting Michael Jackson in 70s because I can, but we all know he rocked the 80s and half of the 90s. As for those of you yelling that I left David Bowie or Queen off the list? Well…shoot me, their sound is a little droning for me at times. Especially Queen, sorry to say. Although as a music lover, their contributions will never be discounted by me.

Top 5 1980s Bands

  1. WASP
  2. The Police
  3. Riot
  4. Scorpions
  5. Dokken

And right away, I’m contradicting myself calling The Police an 80s band because they technically formed in the 70s. But their 80s sound makes me want to go to the beach and stalk someone from afar. It’s a beautiful headspace to be in. The 80s is hard because there’s so much excellent music, as well as booming rock anthems, but my 80s runner-ups are The Cure, Depeche Mode, and Culture Club. Their music is so damn satisfying.

Top 5 1990s Bands

  1. Green Day
  2. Oasis
  3. L’arc-en-Ciel
  4. Nirvana
  5. Marilyn Manson

The 90s is where music, on a personal level, really started to mean something to me. By the time I was 9 in 1994, I was browsing music stores, had a clear idea of what bands were beginning to impact me, and could defend what my favorite songs were on albums. By 10, I was sitting alone in a corner with headphones on, avoiding people. I know, I’m not painting a very happy picture, but that’s the imperative age where music and art really beginning helping a person form, especially me as an insecure and unhappy pre-teen lost with a host of up-and-coming identity issues.

Top 5 2000s Bands

  1. HammerFall
  2. Linkin Park
  3. Lady Gaga
  4. Dir-en-Grey
  5. Incubus

The year, 2006- A boyfriend at the time made me a burned CD of his favorite HammerFall songs. At the time, HammerFall only had 4 albums. It’s crazy to think now that I existed in a world without the song Blood Bound, but all good things must be born. Well, I dumped the boyfriend and kept the band and it was the best decision I ever made. The same boyfriend introduced me to The Angry Nintendo Nerd on Youtube, (later renamed Angry Video Game Nerd, but that’s a topic for another post). Those were great years.

Now, I know Linkin Park is one of those bands people make fun of other people for liking, but I don’t even care. I love their first few albums, including the remix one. Pts of Athrty brings me to tears. I still have a memory of my sister, smiling telling me “Hey Loryn! That lyric reminds me of you!” I replied, “Which one?” She said, “Even the people who never frown eventually break down.”

To this day, thinking about that makes my brain halt and mull over existence, every time.

Top 5 (favorite) Genres!

  1. Heavy Metal / Doom Metal / Power Metal / Classic Rock
  2. 90s Alternative
  3. Anime Music / Eurobeat
  4. 80s Rock/Pop/New Wave
  5. Soundtracks and Showtunes

We’ve reached the end, my friends! Truth be told, I don’t listen to new bands that I’m aware of. Everything that I listen to these days are bands from previous decades. I still collect new music and support my loved bands new releases, but we’re sort of at a standstill. So, tell me: What bands from 2010+ should I listen to? What will change my life, my mind, my soul? Be sure to tell me and you’ll get mad shout-out points.


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