Musical Influences

I have begun writing about music on The Cinema 4 Pylon with greater frequency, but I always feel that if someone is going to write about music or even review albums on their site, it helps to give the reader some way to know something about the writer's musical likes or even possibly dislikes.

It's a little hard in my case, because I own so much damn music. I mean, I have a lot of music, and just like with movies, the music that has most influenced me (or even riled me) tends to stick with me forever. The list below is by no means everything that I have enjoyed in my life, but it is a pretty good window into my tastes, bad or otherwise. Included on this list is just about any recording artist (including some prime comedians) that I feel belongs in my personal pantheon. I don't necessarily listen to all of these artists or their music consistently; some of those included (such as Peter, Paul and Mary) may have had a key record that was important to me at a certain time in my life (their version of John Denver's Leaving on a Jet Plane, my favorite song as a young child). But the bulk of the artists on this list are on my constant replay list. They are the ones that would comprise the foundation of the library of my own radio station were it ever to come to fruition. Or at least just a constant playlist on my own computer (probably the closest I would ever come).

Someday, I may attempt to alphabetize this list or even try to create some order to it. Or maybe not... maybe never. For now, I thought it might be more fun to create the list as a sort of "wordcloud," since that is how I tend to think of all the music I like inside my head anyway. It makes it easier to snatch the perfect song out for showing singing or to kill a certain number of minutes at the bus stop in the rare instance where I have forgotten my headphones. Whether that massive, amorphous blob of great music is stored in my head or in a device in my hand, that's sheer heaven to me.

Rik Tod Johnson's favorite and/or most influential all-time recording artists, bands, singers and songwriters of all time (in absolutely no order whatsoever): 

Cheap Trick, Harry Nilsson, Stevie Wonder, R.E.M., Björk, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Buddy Holly, Oingo Boingo, Spike Jones and His City Slickers, David Bowie, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, the Velvet Underground, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Tom Lehrer, Pete Townshend, Drive-By Truckers, Tom Waits, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Tim Minchin, Ludwig van Beethoven, George Carlin, the Clash, Flight of the Conchords, the Bee Gees, Chuck Berry, Fountains of Wayne, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Man or Astro-Man?, the Fratellis, the Isley Brothers, the Beatles, Queens of the Stone Age, Peter Gabriel, Bernard Herrmann, TV on the Radio, Camper Van Beethoven, They Might Be Giants, Built to Spill, the Sonics, Ken Stringfellow, Van Morrison, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, the Who, Ennio Morricone, Willie Dixon, Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, the Kinks, Hüsker Dü, the Stooges, Peter Sellers, John Lee Hooker, Helen Kane, Jethro Tull, Bo Diddley, Sturgill Simpson, Ray Charles, Peter, Paul and Mary, the Flesh Eaters, Electric Light Orchestra, Too Much Joy, Meat Puppets, Pylon, Jim Henson's Muppets, Cream, the Minutemen, Jane's Addiction, Billy Childish, the Mars Volta, Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians, the Zombies, Jeff Tweedy, Syd Barrett, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Ry Cooder, the Cramps, the Hudson Brothers, Portishead, Tony Bennett, the Loud Family, Squeeze, Howlin' Wolf, Suicide, Lou Reed, Vic Mizzy, John Prine, Fishbone, the Monkees, Jack White, Bob Mould, Joe Cocker, Jeff Buckley, the Young Fresh Fellows, Johnny Cash, Cab Calloway, Max Steiner, Linda Ronstadt, U2, Peter Tosh, Violent Femmes, Sam and Dave, Maria Bamford, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Kronos Quartet, the Alan Parsons Project, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ike and Tina Turner, David Seville, Joe Walsh, T. Rex, Stan Freberg, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Santana, Carl Stalling, Danny Elfman, Squirrel Nut Zippers, the Pogues, Bob Dylan, the Hollies, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ryan Adams, Imperial Teen, the Tragically Hip, Raymond Scott, the J. Geils Band, the Moody Blues, Social Distortion, the Toadies, the Posies, St. Vincent, Booker T. and the MG's, Soundgarden, Maurice Chevalier, the Everly Brothers, Tommy James and the Shondells, Jason and the Scorchers, the Turtles, Possum Dixon, Dean Martin, Sam Cooke, Ian Hunter, Marshall Crenshaw, Homer and Jethro, Tom Jones, Eddie Cochran, the Smithereens, Marvin Gaye, Paul Weller, the Squirrels, the Style Council, Martin Mull, John Zorn, Ramones, Treat Her Right, Mark "Otis" Johnson, Procul Harum, John Mellencamp, the Sex Pistols, Muddy Waters, Jon Auer, Little Richard, Paul Williams, David Cross, Sonny Rollins, the Police, Yo La Tengo, Alice Cooper, James Brown, the Pursuit of Happiness, Yes, D.O.A., Frédéric Chopin, the Spent Poets, Whiskeytown, the Tubes, Zoot Sims, Mel Blanc, Big Star, John Carpenter, Sloan, the Blasters, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Juan García Esquivel, Victor Borge, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the Raconteurs, Richard Pryor, X, Matthew Sweet, Kraftwerk, the Jackson Five, John Williams, the Golden Palominos, Patton Oswalt, Beck, Charlie Parker, the Doors, Bobby "Boris" Pickett, Journey, Prince and the Revolution, Hank Williams, the Rolling Stones, Woody Guthrie, the Breeders, the Irish Rovers, the 13th Floor Elevators, Sonic Youth, Primus, Eric Clapton, Iggy Pop, Delbert McClinton, Nervous Norvus, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, Elliott Smith, Rockpile, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, John Lennon, the Runaways, Glenn Gano, fIREHOSE, Cliff Edwards, Gary "U.S." Bonds, the Byrds, Can, Stone Temple Pilots, Willie Nelson, George Gershwin, Juliana Hatfield, Public Enemy, Liam Lynch, Eddie Cantor, Talking Heads, Waylon Jennings, the Firesign Theatre, the Knack, Steve Martin, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Rod Stewart, Dave Alvin, Aerosmith, Of Montreal, Brenda Lee, the Soft Boys, the Cars, Fugazi, Butthole Surfers, George Harrison, Jim Croce, Shel Silverstein, Leadbelly, the Psychedelic Furs, the Specials, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Let's Active, Shivaree, the Whigs, Professor Longhair, Sharon Van Etten, the A-Bones, George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers, the dB's, the Fleshtones, Veruca Salt, Toto, the Kingsmen, Scruffy the Cat, Living Colour, the Replacements, Neil Diamond, the Yardbirds, John Zacherle, Supertramp, the Kingston Trio, Bill Hicks, Belle and Sebastian, Sly and the Family Stone, the Mavericks, P.J. Harvey, Elephant Revival, Leonard Cohen, Golden Smog, Savages, Tommy Dorsey, Harry Chapin, Ministry, Was (Not Was), Todd Rundgren, Guadalcanal Diary, Pete Seeger, Sweet Gene Vincent, Scatman Crothers, Jonathan Coulton, Wire, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Cole Porter, Tim Curry, Pat Benatar, Judas Priest, Lex Baxter, Ferrante and Teicher, Junior Wells, Los Lobos, Black Flag, the Shaggs, Pavement, Genesis, 10cc, Daniel Johnston, the Beastie Boys, Philip Glass, Bob Marley, Klaatu, Don McLean, Television, War, Flip Wilson, Carl Perkins, the Sheepdogs, Wanda Jackson, David Lynch, Faith No More, Robbie Fulks, Wreckless Eric, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, Bad Brains, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Keely Smith, Patti Smith, Tin Hat Trio, Junior Walker and the All Stars, Donnie Iris, Public Image Ltd., Geggy Tah, the Waterboys, Thurl Ravenscroft, the Fabulous Wailers, Lone Justice, Thelonious Monk, Aimee Mann, the Plugz, Dave Brubeck, King Missile, Chris Isaak, Eurythmics, Smashing Pumpkins, AC/DC, Buzzcocks, Elastica, Petra Haden, the Smiths, Liz Phair, Tin Machine, Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, Them, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the Pretenders, Lewis Black, the Flaming Lips, Yatsura, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Rocket from the Crypt, OK Go, Robert Johnson, Pianosaurus, Throwing Muses, Richard and Linda Thompson, the Three Suns, John Cameron Mitchell, Randy Newman, Natalie Merchant, the Vince Guaraldi Trio, Louis Prima, the Kings, Tenacious D, Paul McCartney & Wings, Ween, Modest Mouse, Phil Harris, Tito and Tarantula, Dire Straits, the Bangles, Nazareth, the Reverend Horton Heat, Lonnie Donegan, the Rainmakers, Patsy Cline, Gerry Rafferty, Destroyer, Gary Numan, Howard Shore, Pau Simon, Link Wray and the Ray-Men, the Dead Kennedys, Kirsty MacColl, Cracker, Gorillaz, Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge, the Flying Lizards, Led Zeppelin, Elmore James, the Coasters, the Animals, Rickie Lee Jones, Glen Campbell, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Ivy, Gang of Four, Louis Armstrong, the Kingbees, Rufus Wainwright, the Raincoats, Mr. Bungle, Otis Redding, Rancid, Stan Ridgway, Glenn Miller, Michael Penn, the Jim Carroll Band, Fred Astaire, Danger Mouse, Justin Townes Earle, Nina Simone, Weezer, the Olivia Tremor Control, Loggins and Messina, XTC, the Fastbacks, Flop, the Roots, Lou Reed, Marti Jones, Danny Kaye, Madness, Allan Sherman, Misfits, Ben Folds, Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, the Woggles, Rob Zombie, the Germs, Quincy Jones, Morphine, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Everclear, Apples in Stereo, Rush, Frank Sinatra, the Raveonettes, Joe Jackson, the Carpenters, Murder City Devils, Royal Crown Revue, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, the Band, Old 97's, Eddie Izzard, Roy Clark, Pink Floyd, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Fischer-Z, Ed's Redeeming Qualities, Loudon Wainwright III, Gordon Lightfoot, the Swell Season, Laurie Anderson, Nelson Riddle, Roky Erickson, Gogol Bordello, Rainbow, Wall of Voodoo, Dave Edmunds, Los Campesinos!, Soul Coughing, Kurt Vile, Rage Against the Machine, Mitchell Froom, Rosemary Clooney, Southern Culture on the Skids, National Lampoon, Mojo Nixon, the Presidents of the United States of America, the Knickerbockers, Michael Nesmith, Henry Mancini, Sleater-Kinney, Dread Zeppelin, Louis CK, Neil Sedaka, Roxy Music, Godley and Creme, Tears for Fears, Groucho Marx, Super Furry Animals, Nat King Cole, Barnes and Barnes, the Pixies, Roy Orbison, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Django Reinhardt, the Bonzo Dog Band, Game Theory, the Jam, the Rutles, Muse, DJ Shadow, Queen, Blur, the Magnetic Fields, Mike Patton, Oblivians, the Ventures, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the Flamin' Groovies, Slim Gaillard, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Beat Farmers, Fleetwood Mac, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Buck Owens, Derek and Clive (Peter Cook and Dudley Moore), Mekons, Tangerine Dream, Uncle Tupelo, Sammy Davis Jr., the Residents, Nick Lowe, Adrian Belew, Midnight Oil, Lykke Li, Don Dixon, the Stray Cats, Dan Bern, Cage the Elephant, Dr. John, the New Pornographers, Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult, the Dead Milkmen, Nellie McKay, the Banana Splits, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Bill Cosby, John Denver, the Sweet, the Beach Boys, the White Stripes, Lucinda Williams, Billy Bragg, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Bobs, Angelo Badalamenti, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Akira Ifukube, Louis Jordan, Bob Newhart, the Minus 5, the Guess Who, Metric, Elton John, Steely Dan, the Shins, Spoon, Wilco, Radiohead, the Skatalites, Nirvana, the Drifters, the Steve Miller Band, Warren Zevon, the Arctic Monkeys, Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Courtney Barnett, Brian Eno, Aretha Franklin, Arlo Guthrie, the B-52's, Blondie, Devo, B.B. King, Bill Haley, Cake, Lyle Lovett, M. Ward, Red Hot Chili Peppers, ZZ Top, Roger Miller, Shovels and Rope, the Ty Segall Band, the Vaselines, Eddie Noack.

So, yeah... I love a lot of music. Just don't get me started on the stuff that I hated. That list would be even longer.


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