Coming from San Jose, California, The Doobie Brothers have been active for almost 50 years. The band originally featured mainstream rock and roll sounds with a combination of folk, R&B, and country. The group’s musical direction changed in 1975 when lead singer and guitarist Tom Johnson left the band and was replaced by Michael McDonald, who steered the band toward the soul genre.
The band was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004 and continues to tour regularly, performing 70 to 80 shows every year, on average. The Doobie Brothers remain popular worldwide and are currently touring with Santana as part of their 2019 summer tour.
Recommended Listening: A few years before the Doobie Brothers’ famous pop hit, “What a Fool Believes,” snatched a few Grammys, their song “Long Train Runnin” was one of the band’s best songs and is instantly recognized by rock lovers everywhere. If we had one recommendation, it would be to listen to both!
The Velvet Underground
Formed in New York City in 1964 by singer and guitarist Lou Reed, multi-instrumentalist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Angus MacLise, The Velvet Underground's integration of rock and the avant-garde led to poor sales in their debut album but eventually led the band to recognition and success as well as critical acclaim. In 2003, the Rolling Stones called it the "most prophetic rock album ever made." The Velvet Underground's music contains provocative matters, musical experiences, and nihilistic themes.
The band has also been accredited for influencing the development of new wave music and punk rock. To this day, the band remains one of the most influential rock groups in history. AllMusic wrote that "Few rock groups can claim to have broken so much new territory and maintained such consistent brilliance on record, as the Velvet Underground has during their brief lifespan."
Recommended Listening: Our favorite song from this legendary band is "Venus in Furs", the melody and lyrics are a brilliant combination of pain and seduction, and perfectly summarize the band's bleak themes and anarchistic style, which made them so revolutionary. It’s mind-boggling when you realize this one was recorded and released in the late ‘60s, back when many of our parents were just barely born.
Best known for their iconic and undying 'Hotel California', this band is one of the only musical teams on our list that is still actively touring today! The Eagles were formed in Los Angeles in 1971 and went on to become one of the world's best-selling bands, with over 200 million records sold. Their music is often self-described as "California Rock." The band's musical sound was also described as soft rock, folk-rock, country-rock, or in short - rock, rock, rock!
You can go see the band perform, as they're currently touring the United States and playing their iconic greatest hits. If you're an Eagles fan or want to be one, this is perhaps the last chance to see the legendary band play live.
Recommended Listening: Despite the obvious answer being "just listen to Hotel California!", we chose to be a bit more original and recommend their debut song from the second album, "Desperado," which is the Eagles' big artistic statement regarding the evils of fame and success. The song has been played at almost every live concert they’ve performed in the past 40 years and often is the last song of the show.
The Allman Brothers Band
The Allman Brothers Band was an American band that incorporated elements of blues, jazz, and country music. Formed in Jacksonville, Florida in the late ‘60s by brothers Duane and Gregg Alman, as well as Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, and Jai Johanson. The band was known for its mix of jazz, blues, and country music, and their live shows were often described as sounding like improvised jam sessions.
The band was considered to be one of the pioneers of southern rock, although they chose to identify themselves as "a progressive rock band from the south." At that time, having two lead guitarists play in a band was still quite unheard of, and the brothers managed to complement each other to create an influential sound that is still considered iconic today. The band, unfortunately, suffered a tragic history, with multiple members passing away for various reasons. The band was since recognized and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, as well as receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
Recommended Listening: One of the band's most beloved and legendary songs, "Whipping Post," was released in 1969 back when Gregg Allman was just in his 20s. The song is a brilliant piece of southern rock, and you can find both a 5-minute studio version as well as a 23-minute live centerpiece from their live album "At Fillmore East."
The band that managed to combine Led Zeppelin’s hard rock and The Rolling Stones’ smooth blues tones, Aerosmith, which was formed in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1970, is best known for their charismatic and outspoken singer Steven Tyler. One of the best-selling American hard-rock bands of all time, with over 150 million records sold worldwide, Aerosmith is one of those bands that every man, woman, and child has at least one favorite song from.
The band was originally influenced by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and others. What's interesting is that Aerosmith ended up becoming a major influence on many of the world's most famous bands. According to Perry, Eddie Van Halen once told him that his band Van Halen "started out on the suburban L.A. club circuit, playing Aerosmith songs". Aerosmith is credited for being a huge inspiration to iconic bands such as Guns N' Roses, Metallica, and Mötley Crüe.
Recommended Listening: Released in 1973 in their debut album, the song 'Dream On' took a few years to catch on, but once it was discovered by the general public, it quickly turned into one of the '70s most emotional and motivating ballads and a personal favorite among many fans and non-fans alike.