Has anyone ever told you about a current band or musician, using the statement, “They’re going to be bigger than the Beatles!” to describe them? What does that really mean, “bigger than the Beatles?”
In every generation there are a handful of musical artists who completely take over the world. They sell out concerts in every corner of the planet, everything they touch “goes Platinum” (one million units sold), they gain new fans every minute of every day. Even people who don’t listen to the music genres these artists are producing in at least know their names.
I set out to find current bands the public believe will be this generation’s “next big thing,” musical artists of this generation. I put out a few parameters – influential musicians/bands of the last 25 -30 years who you believe will still be selling albums and gaining new fans even after they have retired, passed on or left the business for whatever reason. I opened it up to any artist, any genre/musical style and these are the top five vote getters from my broad scale poll.
5. The Smiths/Steven Morrissey – Signed to independent record label, Rough Trade Records, The Smiths are easily regarded as the most important independent alternative rock bands to come out of Britain in the 1980’s. The Smiths success aside, [Steven] Morrissey as a solo artist has had ten separate top ten singles on the UK Singles Chart and has been called “one of the most influential artists ever” by NME magazine and “one of the most singular figures in Western popular culture from the last 20 years” by Pitchfork Media.
4. Dave Matthews – For 13 years, from 1990 to 2003, Matthews focused primarily on working with his band, aptly named Dave Matthews Band, receiving the Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group for their song “So Much to Say” in 1997 and the Orville Gibson Award for Best Acoustic Guitarist in 2002. While the band is still together and performing as a unit, Matthews himself has several solo and group projects under his wing, as well as political and charitable ventures keeping him in the public eye. With everything he has on his plate, it is hard not to compare Matthews to another politically and charitably active musician of another generation, John Lennon.
3. Green Day – Formed in Berkeley, California in 1987, Green Day is credited alongside The Offspring as a major force in launching the punk revival and have influenced many young artists along the way to join the movement. Twenty-three years later, Green Day remains innovative in their song writing, and continues to influence new artists and gain new young fans. With more than two decades of experience under their collective belt, it’s not inconceivable to put Green Day into the same class as the Sex Pistols or the Ramones, in the punk genre library.
2. Michael Jackson – With his King of Pop moniker and recent death putting him in the very public eye, I was surprised not to hear a resounding response for Michael Jackson to be on my list. After tallying the votes, he really did come in second place. Starting out as the unmistakable voice behind the Jackson 5 before moving on to his multi-platinum solo career, Michael Jackson has earned a spot in this list of the “next big thing” in music. He has already shown that he has staying power and the ability to gain new fans every day, the only question (and it isn’t even really a question) is will that success and influence continue for the next ten, twenty, fifty years?
1. Nickelback – One major contributor to the success Nickelback has experience is their diversity and double single releases. Turn on the radio. Surf to the local pop station and you’ll hear Chad Kroeger’s unmistakable voice. Now switch over to a hard rock station and there he is again on a completely different song that may never find its way to the pop stations. Canadian natives, Nickelback is listed as the second best selling foreign musical act in the U. S., following behind only the Beatles. Both bands are still selling albums but of the two only Nickelback is still producing new material, giving them the best chance, financially speaking, of being “bigger than the Beatles.”