MUSIC :: My Top 20 Bands

First of all, thank you to Laura at Lyrique Discorde for the inspiration. After reading her Top 20 Bands list {and finding we have quite a few in common 😉 }, I realised that I have never actually tried to compile my own similar list.

At first I thought it would be so easy, then the next instant I wondered if I’d be able to choose just twenty bands, and as I started browsing my music I realised that so many of my all time favourites are solo artists rather than bands {that list is on the way too}. In the end all of these bands have one thing in common, namely that I can never get sick of listening to them and never want to. In most cases it was also love at first listen.

The no brainers {a.k.a. the dinosaurs}

Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Doors

No brainers for very good reason. These are the bands whose music has not only stood the test of time, but who still continue to awaken a passion for and love of music in kids the world over every damn day.

Led Zeppelin

  • first song heard: Black Dog
  • favourite album: Physical Graffiti
  • comments: I still don’t think anyone has ever managed to pull off their unique blend of rock, jazz, blues, and hedonistic mythology with anywhere near as much swagger or success.

The Rolling Stones

  • first song heard: Start Me Up {I think, could have been Satisfaction}
  • favourite album: tied between Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street
  • comments: Let’s face it, very few people have ever managed to be as cool as Keith was back in ’72 ever.

The Beatles

  • first song heard: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  • favourite album: White Album
  • comments: I dare say I don’t even listen to their music enough because every time I do I wonder why the hell I don’t listen to it more.

The Doors

  • first song heard: Break On Through
  • favourite album: LA Woman
  • comments: The Doors came to life for me just before the movie of the same name was released. Their music was like nothing I had ever listened to, and Jim’s hypnotically poetic lyrics combined with that melted chocolate voice were too much to resist.

Not that I even wanted to.

The punk legends

The Clash, The Replacements, Blondie

There were so many great bands of the late 70’s and early-ish 80’s who embodied punk attitude but these are my favourites. Bands like The Sex Pistols and the New York Dolls are some of the others but these are the ones I listen to and love the most.

The Clash

  • first song heard: Rock The Casbah
  • favourite album: London Calling
  • comments: Joe Strummer. That is all.

The Replacements

  • first song heard: Androgynous
  • favourite album: Tim
  • comments: one of those bands {and there have been many} where my husband gets a new music obsession that he can’t stop listening to, which naturally means that I get to listen to it a lot too. Sometimes that’s a good thing, like with The ‘Mats, other times not so much. {#sorrynotsorry Tom Waits.}


  • first song heard: Heart of Glass
  • favourite aIbum: Parallel Lines
  • comments: I’ve mentioned Blondie here many times, and what more is there to say? Yes I am sick of having to defend their punk credentials to people who think they just rode the CBGB’s wave to fame, and all you really have to do is take a look at Debbie Harry today and tell me she’s not as punk as it’s possible to be?

We like it loud

Guns N Roses, Dinosaur Jr, The Cult

Three loud bands but three very different stories. One came from the ashes of the L.A. metal scene, another from the English goth scene, while the third heralded the dawn of a whole new genre. Different philosophies, attitudes, habits, and just about everything else means that the only place they co-exist happily is on my playlists.

Guns N Roses

  • first song heard: Sweet Child O’ Mine
  • favourite album: Appetite For Destruction
  • comments: original lineup only thank you. No Izzy and Adler, no GNR.

Dinosaur Jr

  • first song heard: In A Jar
  • favourite album: Green Mind
  • comments: they still make my ears hurt and I like it. Easily one of my favourite live bands of all time.

The Cult

first song heard: Revolution

favourite album: Electric

comments: I can say that this is undoubtedly the only band with whom I rode the wave from very British 80’s goth to pure 90’s rock. Still very heavily featured on all my party playlists too, Wildflower was the anthem for me circa 1990.

Living in the 90’s

Magic Dirt, The Lemonheads, Hole, Nirvana, The Pixies

Before I start getting all nostalgic about the golden days of grunge and flannel shirts I should come clean: I wasn’t actually listening to a whole lot of grunge back then. When bands like Soundgarden and Sonic Youth were being touted as the icons of a new sound I was, sad as it is to admit, still coming out of my obsession with big haired pretty boys in soft metal bands. Of this bunch it was The Pixies that first caught my attention, Nirvana and Hole when they were impossible to avoid, and The Lemonheads I actually resisted for a very long time. Magic Dirt are, of course, my homegrown sentimental favourites.

Magic Dirt

  • first song heard: Amoxycillin
  • favourite album: can I say all of them including EP’s? If not then What Are Rockstars Doing Today?
  • comments: a happy musical surprise that came in one of my favourite forms: when you discover that you love the support band better than the headliners. My husband and his brother played their Life Was Better EP to death back in ’94 but it took me until I saw them live opening for The Beasts Of Bourbon in 2007 to fall head over heels. The rest is history.

The Lemonheads

  • first song heard: Mrs Robinson
  • favourite album: The Lemonheads
  • comments: I hated Evan, I really did. Too pretty by far. But due to my husband being a mega fan and me being a good wife who accompanied him to see them live, I gave in. They rule. They really do.


  • first song heard: Violet
  • favourite album: Live Through This
  • comments: I got on board with Nirvana long before I discovered the music of his wife’s band. And I still can’t explain why but when Live Through This was released I felt compelled to buy it and listen to it immediately. And was so blown away it would have to be on any top ten album desert island list I ever make. It never gets old.


  • first song heard: Smells Like Teen Spirit
  • favourite album: Nevermind
  • comments: I like to tell the story of how my husband and I were THIS CLOSE to seeing Nirvana play live at what would ultimately be their last full live show before Kurt’s overdose in Rome and subsequent death not long after. The story I tell less often is of the first time I heard the name Nirvana being mentioned and because I did not like the girl who was gushing about them I decided not to like this band she was talking about. She might have even mentioned tickets to some new thing called Big Day Out where they were playing, to which I would have shaken my head and said no thanks. But listen to them I did, and despite all the angst, theirs and mine, it remains the soundtrack to an integral time in my life.

The Pixies

  • first song heard: no idea but something off Trompe Le Monde
  • favourite album: Trompe Le Monde
  • comments: my husband can claim the credit for introducing me to some of my favourite music but the honour for turning me onto The Pixies goes to my cousin, and extra points go to him considering it was in the middle of my Skid Row obsession.

Grrrl power

The Julie Ruin, Le Tigre, Dum Dum Girls, The Bangles

Girls with guitars who kick arse. Still gets me every damn time.

The Julie Ruin

  • first song heard: Oh Come On
  • favourite album: Run Fast
  • comments: being a Le Tigre fan {eventually, see below}, it was a given I’d give Kathleen Hanna’s new band a listen. What wasn’t a given was that I’d love it so much and I honestly don’t know anymore which of her bands is my favourite. It may be that the pop of TJR is better suited to me than, say, the abrasiveness of Bikini Kill, but the one thing I can not resist is a strong feminist message when it’s combined with a dance-able beat.

Le Tigre

  • first song heard: Deceptacon
  • favourite album: Le Tigre
  • comments: I can be a real dumbass sometimes. Like when my husband, who knows me well after all, tries to get me to listen to a band that he just knows I’ll love. And I stubbornly refuse because I think I’ll probably hate it, and then he goes and watches a doco about that band and I try to read a book but keep listening to the doco instead because damn this band have some killer songs… And he was right because Le Tigre weren’t just a band whose music I love but who have also had a huge influence on me in ways I never expected.

Dum Dum Girls

  • first song heard: Bedroom Eyes
  • favourite album: Too True
  • comments: I always feel like giving myself a pat on the back when I discover cool new music all by myself. Some late night YouTube surfing unearthed a band I feel like I’ve known and loved forever. Alas they have since disbanded but the music remains. {And on a side note frontwoman Kristin’s new solo stuff is bloody brilliant.}

The Bangles

  • first song heard: Manic Monday
  • favourite album: Different Light
  • comments: maybe another no brainer, I was an 80’s kid after all. And obviously one whose future penchant for rocking all girl bands was clear.

The newbies

The Preatures

Can I say the word obsessed just one more time?

  • first song heard: Is This How You Feel?
  • favourite album: Blue Planet Eyes
  • comments: one listen was all it took. We’ve seen them live a few times already and all I can say is that Isabella Manfredi is a fucking queen.

There were sooo many bands who were almost on the list but didn’t make it, names like: Garbage, The Who, The Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, Wilco, Bikini Kill, The Dandy Warhols, and Abba. And my Top 20 Solo Artists list is coming very soon. And by “soon” I mean as soon as I can decide who gets the cut.



4 Thoughts

    1. Aw thank you so much! I’m basically just too much of a chatterbox to not give so much background info lol! I wanted to add videos and playlists but tbh bit too much effort. 😉

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