Thursday, September 04, 2008

Is Noel Racist?

So, Noel Gallagher, one my favourite living musicians and songwriters, has posted his Top 10 of Rock N Roll bands on the Oasis website at

It's not worth a butchers, as sadly you have to sign up to register for, but to save you the hassle, he tells on the blog

"In the dressing room the traditional debate has started about 'The Top 10'. This means the top 10 bands of all time. No solo artists allowed. No female artists allowed. No collectives allowed (Public Enemy etc.) This is the 1,000th time we’ve been here with this. It never gets any less interesting for me. For the record, THE DEFINITIVE top 10 is..

1: The Beatles
2: The Rolling Stones
3: The Who
4: Sex Pistols
5: The Kinks
6: The La's
7: Pink Floyd
8: The Bee Gees
9: The Specials
10: (Peter Green's) Fleetwood Mac"

Looking at the list, I've got to say I quite like most of what's in it. I love the Stones (though I am sick of hearing how great the Beatles are, and their music doesn't do much for me these days, for some reason). The La's only released one album, and there are only a handful of good tunes on that. Where are The Smiths? and the Stone Roses? Where are American bands like The Beach Boys, The Byrds and CSNY?

More importantly, there are no black musicians in the list, besides half of the Specials, but that then puts Jerry Dammers in front of Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, James Brown, and a lot of other dudes. There isn't much of a black influence beyond their ska, and the cod-funk/soul of the Bee Gees in their 70s era. Well, I suppose the whole thing is a list of artists influenced by black blues musicians, but it's so....damn white.

I remember the late John Peel talking about his music taste, and saying how it would be a shame if, though you might like, say, vanilla ice cream, that was the only kind of ice cream you ever ate. What about strawberry? What about Magmums, and Cornettos? You get the point.

Since much of black music is about collectives (like most of the great acts in hip hop, like NWA, Public Enemy, Wu Tang Clan, etc), especially my beloved Massive Attack, that's a huge chunk of black music out.

And then there's no female artists? What the fxxx? Gallagher and his fellow rockers may have loved the 60s and 70s, so what about Aretha Franklin, surely one of the greatest singers of all time? Janis Joplin, Carole King, Karen Carpenter, hell, do Blondie count if Debbie Harry promises wear a strap-on?

Given that a few months ago, Gallagher made some questionable comments about how Jay-Z shouldn't play Glastonbury because the festival "has a tradition of guitar music....I'm not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It's wrong", one has to wonder if the grandad of today's music scene (he has a lot to do with the Kaiser Chiefs and the Arctic Monkeys) is a bit of a racist, sexist old git on the sly. Your thoughts?

For the record, here's my list, which will no doubt change tomorrow on reflection. And bollocks to the aforementioned restrictions. In no particular order:

1. The Rolling Stones.
2. The Clash.
3. Bob Marley.
4. Jimi Hendrix (in all his various guises).
5. Stevie Wonder.
6. The Verve.
7. U2.
8. Neil Young.
9. Led Zeppelin.
10. Massive Attack.
11. Fuck the Beatles, they're over-rated.

1 comment:

FatManc said...

"that then puts Jerry Dammers in front of Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, James Brown, and a lot of other dudes"

- no solo artists allowed!

I doubt this means that Noel is racist. If one of the rules was "no black artists allowed", that would be racist.

My own huge record collection contains very very few black artists but I refuse to believe that this makes me racist. I just like guitar bands.

I suppose he could have made a token effort and thrown Next in....