It's a good letter. This is gonna take a while to write, so I'd better get to it. I left out a few because this one was already getting too long.
The Man in Black. The one who began every performance with the phrase, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash". He was dark and mysterious, conflicted and deep. His songs spoke to people who weren't used to being spoken to. He wrote about the poor, the hungry, the convicted.
He meshed country perfectly with rock, and put his characteristic spin on all of it. He was a gift to the world of music, and I'm proud to say that I have a friend who can do a dead-on impersonation of him. Though many of his songs are famous the world over, I think that my personal favorite performance of his is actually a cover. This one.
This is the music of my childhood. Jim Croce was a true singer songwriter, and this song will forever remind me of my relationship with my own father.
Easily my favorite band from my days in college, this group shot to fame on the hauntingly beautiful lyrical stylings of Dolores O'Riordan. Her voice is nothing short of amazing. I love them because they are Irish, I love them because their music runs deep in my soul. This is the song that I would listen to back then when I missed the man who would become my husband someday.
This band made the cut because my brother was a little obsessed with them when we were kids, so I listened to them more than most people probably did. Any of their songs comes on the radio, and I'm instantly back in the 80's.
This British punk band was only together for about a decade, but influenced music in a way that makes it seem like they were around for much longer. Without them, entire genres of music might not exist as we know them today.
The dark and brooding group that arguably inspired the entire goth movement, their influence is undeniable. It would have been impossible to be an angst ridden teenager in the late80s/early 90s without being a fan of The Cure. There was only one song you ever played when you were sobbing over a breakup, and it was this one.
One of the most gifted guitarists ever, he's been playing music for decades. In bands, as an individual, he has done it all. He is the only person in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times, and he's earned every one of them. He's had (and some would say caused) his fair share of heartbreak and loss in this life, but always found a way to channel those emotions through his music and speak to those who would listen.
My personal favorite of his songs is this one, because it shows off those wicked guitar skills, with no need for an amp.
Say what you will. They're a guilty pleasure and I can't help myself. Chris Martin is such a hyperactive person that just watching him perform makes me tired. They have a tendency to be cliche and predictable at times, but every so often a song like this one comes out, stabs me in the heart and reels me back in.
Cage the Elephant
They haven't been around long, but I love 'em anyway. I have a thing for old fashioned garage bands, and they are one. Their lyrics are the kind that make you think, and I love music that does more than just entertain me. This one is my favorite.
Any group that can start a song with a opening from a mariachi band and incorporate it seamlessly has my vote. They've been a constant on the playlist for every alternative station around for about a decade, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. I had a hard time picking which song to include here, so I chose both. One, my personal favorite. The second, a kickass cover.
C & C Music Factory
So what if they really only released a few decent songs? This one was played at least twice at every single dance I went to in junior high, and we all had the moves. You know you did too. Come on, let's sweat.
Creedence Clearwater Revival
No list of C bands could possibly be complete without CCR. One of the lights that burned brightly then faded just as fast, they are firmly cemented as part of rock history. Writing some of the most significant songs of a generation will do that.