St. Vincent DeJamz 5-28-13

One thing this feature strives to do is introduce readers to good music. Over the past few months, we’ve covered everything from folk to EDM.  We’ve paid tribute to some of the first bands we’ve ever loved, like the Spice Girls and ‘N Sync, and we’ve gushed over the artists that headline our festivals and dominate our radio waves today, such as Beyoncé and Vampire Weekend. This week, it seemed right to take a look at some of rock’s greatest legends. Though many of us were not necessarily alive to witness these artists in the height of their careers, each of these artists has had a real impact on the music we love today.

1. “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley: If his music alone hasn’t had a lasting impact on rock ‘n’ roll, his iconic pompadour hairstyle has certainly earned him lasting recognition and made him a permanent fixture in Vegas wedding chapels. There’s no doubt that you’ve all come across this song at some point, though. It captures the charm of the King of Rock in less than three minutes, which you can’t deny is an incredible feat.  

2. “Franklin’s Tower” by Grateful Dead: Grateful Dead, man. Even at a college campus in 2013, you’re sure to find a few “Deadheads,” because these guys, led by the lyrical genius of the late Jerry Garcia, are one of the most avant-garde rock influences. Their carefree and uplifting “Franklin’s Tower” is a tribute to the group’s talent as songwriters and musicians.

3. “Mercedes Benz” by Janis Joplin: While you might recall some of Janis Joplin’s greatest hits like “Piece of My Heart” or “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder),” there is no denying the enduring power of this short but playful song. Sung a cappella, this song arguably provides the most insight into the charismatic personality of one of rock’s greatest female legends. 

4. “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen: As one of the British quartet’s top hits, “Fat Bottomed Girls” is an undying, stereo-blasting hit that has been covered by artists from Kid Rock to Phillip Phillips. But to be clear: no one can ever get on Freddie Mercury’s level – sorry, Kid Rock. There’s no doubt about the influential clout that Queen procured through the release of countless rock hits like this one.

5. “Peace of Mind” by Boston: Not to be overshadowed by other major rock groups, this group undeniably fits into the category of hard rock’s pioneers. With singles like this, Boston shows off their skills as both lyricists and guitarists.

6. “Touch Me” by The Doors: One of the group’s catchiest tunes, this groovy love song has yet to fade in influence. The recent death of native Chicagoan and Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek has prompted a renewed appreciation for the group, which is remembered for many countless hits sung by the late, but ever brilliant, Jim Morrison.