Great Musicians You’re Not in Love With

I’m sure everyone has a list of well-respected musicians that you either don’t like–or you don’t like as much as others. I sure do. This is a thread to list and discuss these musicians. Here’s mine:

  • Prince
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Charlie Parker
I’m sure there are others, but let me stop here. I actually like Prince and Stevie–but they’re far from my favorites. And yet, I know musicians and critics think the world of them. I never got the love for Armstrong. It’s not like I’ve listened to a lot of his music, though, so I wonder if I just didn’t hear enough of his stuff. My reaction to Parker is similar, although I think I appreciate and enjoy his music a bit more. With him, and maybe Armstrong, too, my theory is that I heard many different saxophonists who were heavily influenced by him prior to listening to Parker. It was like his thunder was stolen because of this. Then again, I heard a lot of Hendrix-influenced guitarists before really listening to Hendrix, and that did not diminish my appreciation for Hendrix. I’ll try to add more names to the list.

8 thoughts on “Great Musicians You’re Not in Love With

  1. Bob Dylan. I’ve watched documentaries, listened to albums, but that hasn’t really changed my reaction to him. I enjoy a few songs, but, ultimately, I don’t really like his singing/voice. Honestly, I’m not really blown away by his songs (independent of his singing) as well–at least the ones I’ve examined more closely.

    I wasn’t really a Rolling Stones fan, too–I especially didn’t get why people thought they were so great. But I’ve gained a greater appreciation for them. Additionally, I can understand the reason some consider them one of the great rock n’ roll bands, if they base this on the fact that the Stones seem to be the best representation of rock n’ roll. It’s like the way Die Hard is a great movie because it’s one the greatest action films of all time. The Stones may not be innovative, original, or even great musical geniuses, but they do (early) rock n’ roll really well–in a representative way. I’m not sure if that’s the argument advocates make, but I find this a compelling argument.

  2. I would expect this to be a very long list for almost anyone who loves music with some amount of discernment. The list of musicians we don’t love is bound to be far longer than the list of musicians we do love, great or not great.

    I could list probably a dozen or more in each genre I don’t love. I have a keen interest in 70s soul music, but I don’t love it, so you could put every great musician in the genre on my list. I freaking love “Take Me to the River” and “Let’s Stay Together,” but I can’t say I love Al Green, at least not yet.

    Similarly, although I like a lot of disco, which was my gateway drug to popular music, I can’t think of a single disco artist I love, and I’m quite fond of several, including the Bee Gees, KC and the Sunshine Band, and ABBA, although I don’t know if even disco-lovers would consider these the greats. Who are the disco greats, anyway? I guess Donna Summer, whom I admire but can’t say I love.

  3. The idea of the thread is to name musical giants, as determined mainly by other musicians and critics, whom you either like tepidly, at best, or dislike strongly. And you should like the genre of music of that musician—or at least not be indifferent or adverse to it. For example, you may not like James Brown, but don’t include him if you don’t really care for funk. Indeed, I would prefer hearing about great musicians that perform in genres you really like. For example, are there any giants of heavy-metal who elicit a tepid response?*

    I’m quite fond of several, including the Bee Gees, KC and the Sunshine Band, and ABBA, although I don’t know if even disco-lovers would consider these the greats. Who are the disco greats, anyway? I guess Donna Summer, whom I admire but can’t say I love.

    Chic comes to mind. I’m no disco expert, but you’ve got a lot of good ones.

    Edit

    *Here some other examples for me:

    Sly and the Family Stone
    I’ve gone through at least two of their acclaimed albums, and musically I wasn’t really blown away. Again, the music wasn’t bad, and I liked some of it, but not to the degree as other musicians. Parliment/Parliment-Funkadelic is another band like this.

    In jazz, I was never into Oscar Peterson for some reason. Maybe should give him another try.

    1. The idea of the thread is to name musical giants, as determined mainly by other musicians and critics, whom you either like tepidly, at best, or dislike strongly. And you should like the genre of music of that musician—or at least not be indifferent or adverse to it.

      Okay, got it. I guess I was thrown off by your naming Bob Dylan.

      Chic comes to mind. I’m no disco expert, but you’ve got a lot of good ones.

      Man, I can’t even think of three Chic songs, so I must really not be in touch with the genre.

    2. Good point about Dylan. I thought I’d include him, even though I’m not generally a fan of folk music, because he’s such a giant. Also, I did spend some time listening to his music and watching documentaries on him, and in spite of that, I still don’t really care for him (except for a few songs.)

      I would be interested in hearing if you don’t really like really important or big name musicians, even if you don’t generally like the genre.

      With Chic, I can only name three songs: “Everybody Dance,” “Good Times,” and “Le Freak (Freak Out).”

      1. Are you equally unmoved by Dylan’s rock tracks? What about his Christian songs?

        The Chic situation is why it’s not the easiest to answer your question about great metal musicians. You can name three Chic songs and I can name two, so it would seem Chic isn’t really one of the gigantic acts in the genre, but for people who are into it, maybe they are.

        Metal’s a niche genre. Most music fans can name Black Sabbath as a metal band, but they couldn’t name three of their songs (we once debated whether Black Sabbath was the first metal band, but you only seemed to know “Paranoid” and “Iron Man” and I wouldn’t have bet on “Paranoid”) or anyone who’s been in the band besides Ozzy.

        So are the giants acts of general acclaim, or great acclaim within fans of the genre? Ask a baseball fan who the stars of today’s game are, and they’ll list ten people most non-fans have never heard of, you know? And I’ll bet if I showed you all ten of their faces, you wouldn’t be able to name any of them without guessing. There are no Derek Jeters these days. Sorry; I just added another, less meaningful example to the one I already gave. Ha.

    3. I forgot to answer this:

      Are you equally unmoved by Dylan’s rock tracks? What about his Christian songs?

      I haven’t listened to a lot of his Christian songs–and I don’t have clear recollection of the ones I heard. I will say that there are songs that I like by him, but not enough of them to make me empathize with those who are really enthusiastic about him.

  4. So are the giants acts of general acclaim, or great acclaim within fans of the genre?

    I think I’d go with general acclaim. However, I don’t agree that in order to meet this criteria many people have to know many of their songs. Many people that Picasso, Bach, Beethoven are artistic giants, but if they can’t name three or more of their works, I don’t think that disqualifies them as having general acclaim.

    But I also like to know the opinions of the people who knowledgeable about the genre, too–particularly for lesser known or less popular genres or sub-genres. For example, many people may not know Cecil Taylor or Ornette Coleman. If I say I like free-jazz, but I don’t really care for those two, that would be a good example for this thread. (I do like Taylor, by the way, but I’m not as enthusiastic about Coleman, as a composer as a composer.)

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