Now just by claiming that these performers are universallyloved means that everyone who doesn't love them will come out and let us allknow. But the general point here is that unlike the Grateful Dead who have theirloyal followers and their loyal haters, the musicians listed below have allachieved an admirable level of success and don't inspire the same kind ofcontempt or animosity. Sure, plenty of people may be sick of hearing some oftheir music, but they don't disrespect it. Just about everyone has at least oneBeatles song they like--and even if they're not fans of the group can stilladmire their accomplishments and acknowledge their abilities.
10) AC/DC: Probably the most arguable on the list,AC/DC excite their audiences with their whiplash power chords and thebanshee-howls ignite concertgoers to a frenzy. A great baseball pitcher likeTrevor Hoffman has used "Hells Bells" to announce his entry into the game andthe group's tough hard rock sound has been assimilated into the culture in waysfew would have expected several decades ago when they started. Sure, they'renot everyone's cup of preferred tea, but they don't enrage anyone either. Ifanything, even people who don't like their music seem to get a kick out ofwatching Angus Young in his schoolboy uniform headbang and moonwalk across thestage. That's entertainment!Led Zeppelin: Since the band played so manydifferent types of music, there's a little something for everyone. And whilemany people may be tired of them thanks to the excessive radio exposure, the bandtriumphs with their pure musical skills. Robert Plant may sing a little "high"for some people's tastes, but aside from dogs who are sensitive to suchpitches, it doesn't seem to be enough to make people clear the room.
8) Neil Young: Oh, plenty of people don't care forthis old croaker. They think his voice is whiny and maybe he plays too loud,but after five decades of public service, people have gotten used to having ol'Neil around and nearly everyone admires the man's energy and dedication torocking the free world at the going free-market rates.Stevie Wonder: Stevie's talents are undeniable. Hecomes across as humble and good-natured and you'd have to be a real Scrooge tofind fault with the way the man expresses what's in his heart. Does the factthat he's blind elicit a sympathy vote? Perhaps. You can never rule out acertain amount of human empathy. But if his music sounded like he was skinninga cat, people wouldn't care what the man's situation was. They would beg forhim to stop. But his music isn't like that yet. (You never know, maybe he'llteam up with Trent Reznor next.)
6) Aretha Franklin: Her new hat has won people overfor good. But her incredible vocal pipes aside, there has always been avulnerability to Aretha that has enraptured people and swung them over to herside. She has something that goes beyond the usual charisma of a popularperformer. There's a realness there that no amount of studio trickery can hideor replicate. Would the music business have the patience to bring along atalent like hers today? Is there a music business to do such a thing?The Rolling Stones: Oh sure, everyone makes theGeritol or the Viagra jokes and Allen Klein knows they haven't made a decentalbum in years, but their classics, the albums and singles that made theirreputation are pretty much universal anthems now. And more bands have copiedthe Keith Richards sound if not the Keith Richards lifestyle to suggest that heshould do like Oprah, Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray and come out with his ownmagazine and his own line of kitchen supplies. Mick can do make-up.
4) Jimi Hendrix: No matter how poorly his estate hasbeen handled, no matter how many bizarre reissues mutate the man's initialessence, there doesn't seem to be anyone dumb enough to suggest that Hendrixdidn't have talent and couldn't play the electric guitar. Sure, some of thefashions look a tad overdone and odd these days and some of the stoned rapsfrom the stage make for a good warning that posterity is not for acidheads, butthe actual music silences its potential detractors.Elvis Presley: Now, not everyone loves Elvis, buteven those who don't still deal with him better than, say, Neil Diamond, BarbraStreisand, Cher and any number of showbusiness veterans. Even all those horrible movies he was in can't generate anytrue negativity. Pity? Perhaps. Sorrow at the wasted talent? Sure. But Chuck Daside, I haven't heard too many people get down on the man.
2) The Ramones: This really amazes me. Because therewas a time when the Ramones were strongly disliked if not outright hated bycertain factions of the rock community. But these days kids and their parentsand their grandparents and even their great-grandparents all do a "Gabba GabbaHey!" with a feeling of pride and accomplishment. How can you hate a band thatenjoyed being a cartoon? You gonna tell me Fred Flinstone wasn't cool?The Beatles: You might be tired of some of theirsongs. You might not like some of those tunes. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" doesn'texactly inspire me to be a better person, but the band recorded so muchdifferent music that like an All-You-Can-Eat Chinese-American-Italian Buffetthere really is something for everyone. People even have their favorite member.And for some it's even Ringo. And he was the drummer and drummers can tell youhow little respect they get. Most of them get stuck carrying their own drums!