The Five Most Overrated Rock Bands/Artists Of All-Time

The Five Most Overrated Rock Bands/Artists Of All-Time

There is no way to quantify if a band or artist is overrated. It’s more of a feeling than anything else.

There exists in popular music a hierarchy. It’s been created, and is constantly altered, by both natural and artificial means. At the top sits The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis, Michael Jackson, U2, and Madonna. At the bottom rests the 8th place American Idol contestant. Everyone else fall somewhere in between.

Determining which artists are overrated and which are correctly rated is not a science. It’s not even an art. It’s just an exercise to start a conversation. It’s a lot like asking the question who is the greatest guitarist of all-time or what rocker, if still alive, would be a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice.

For this article, Land of Punt will throw out five artists we think are overrated and why we think that way. Hopefully our choices will elicit a response other than apathy. Maybe you’ll cheer, maybe you’ll purse your lips in anger, or maybe you’ll do a little of both.

LOP’s intention with this list isn’t to denigrate the five artists enumerated below, but to examine the machinations and politics of music and the music industry. The hierarchy of artists we refer to is that of the macrocosm not the pecking order of your own personal microcosm.

Bob Dylan
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Before you freak out and delete our bookmark from your favorites, hear LOP out. When we say Bob Dylan is overrated we are not disparaging his contributions to popular music. What we are saying is if Dylan is rated a 9 (for example) Land of Punt believes his rating should actually be an 8.3. He’s just a bit overrated but overrated nonetheless.

First of all, the dude has released over 60 albums in his career but has only sold 70 million units. Almost assuredly if you own one Dylan album you own them all. So if you do the math there are about 1.16 million Dylan fans in the world.

By the way, only five of his albums have reached number one. To put that in perspective, Dylan has the same amount of number one albums as Metallica and less than half the amount of Jay-Z.

Dylan has probably composed a gazillion songs in his life, but not once has he charted a number one single or written a bridge.

The reason why Dylan is so highly rated is Rolling Stone Magazine. They absolutely love the guy. Sure, he’s influenced a bunch of artists but the number of people who actually say “Hey, let’s listen to some Dylan” is rather small. Dylan is not synonymous with fun.

Of course, if you’re a songwriter or a poet you’re a big Dylan fan. But to most of us he’s like a Socratic dialogue. You know that it’s brilliant but you don’t want to experience it unless you’re getting college credit.

To prove our points, in 2004 Rolling Stone Magazine named Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” the number one song of all-time. That’s just Rolling Stone being sycophantic about a song that most people only need to listen to once in their life.

Fleetwood Mac
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Fleetwood Mac could launch an arena tour of America right now and sell out every show. They are one of the biggest bands from the 1970’s, they’ve sold over 100 million albums throughout their career, and the lineup of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood is legendary.

Yet, they are a one album band. Rumors. 1977. That’s it!

Okay, their self-titled 1975 album was pretty good and 1982’s Mirage went number one, but most people drive to a Fleetwood Mac concert with Rumors blaring in the CD player.

The band has been around since 1968, and with the exception of a few years in the 1970’s, Fleetwood Mac has mediocre at best.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are members of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame as both a group and as individuals.

How in the heck did they swing that?

For one, they are beloved by Rolling Stone Magazine. Secondly, they epitomize the bleeding heart liberalism of the 1960’s. Ignorant baby boomers, with their free love and ridiculous peacenik attitudes, love them some CSN&Y.

But the main reason CSN&Y are rated so highly is the guys were well-liked. They knew everyone. If rock and roll in the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s was a high school, then Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was the popular kid who always wore the fashionable jacket.

That has to be it because how else would they have joined the immortals of rock and roll?

In more than 40 years as band they’ve released just 16 albums. That includes studio, live and compilations. They’ve only seen one of their studio albums reach number one and most of their stuff is just downright awful.

Their highest charting single is “Just a Song Before I Go” which reached #7 in 1977. Their only other top ten hit was “Wasted on the Way” which peaked at #9 in 1982.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded some good stuff but certainly not enough to warrant a place in the hall of fame.

Tom Petty
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This one is easy. Is Tom Petty a big enough star to perform at a Super Bowl halftime show? The answer is no. But he did as much in 2008 at Super Bowl XLII.

Now, Petty has been extremely successful throughout his career. He’s sold more than 50 million albums worldwide and Tom Petty concerts continue to sell out year after year.

But, he’s never had a number one album or a number one single.

One of the reasons why he’s on our list is because ever since his 1981 album, Hard Promises, all his stuff sounds the same.

Another reason why he’s overrated is he doesn’t elicit much enthusiasm. He’s not very exciting. Yes, LOP likes him and you probably do too, but when you hear the name Tom Petty your eyes don’t light up and your heart doesn’t flutter. More than likely you just shrug your shoulders and say “meh.”

Green Day
green day
Green Day is an unmitigated success. They have sold over 22 million albums in their career and won four Grammy Awards. Recently their albums American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown were used to score a Tony Nominated jukebox musical.

Furthermore, the Bay Area punk trio is often credited with ushering in the 1990’s wave of punk-pop bands. Music critics often cite them as progenitors of a whole new generation of punk.

And that’s why they are on our list–their association with punk music. For as we all know, they’re not punk rockers they’re pop stars. They write catchy tunes that feature whining lyrics about contrived political oppression.

Yet, they have more in common with Burt Bacharach than they do in Johnny Lydon.

If they lost the ridiculous eye makeup, dropped the bogus teenage angst, and shopped at the Banana Republic they’d make one heck of a pop band.

Only two types of people think Green Day is actually punk. The first type is record executives who want a safe, accessible brand of pop/rock music they can label and sell as punk. The second type is kids who want to listen to punk music as they drive around in their parents BMW.

In the shopping mall of popular music, Green Day is the store “Hot Topic.”

After all, what do a bunch of American kids born in 1972 have to rebel against? Not having cable? No Goonies 2? Sega Dreamcast not given enough of a chance to succeed?

Bottom line, the last thing any punk band would ever want is their music used in a Broadway musical. If punks thought mainstream music was commercial and corporate (both anathema to their world view), they should know Broadway is ten-times worse.

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