Definitive Article: Rock A-Z

a nerdy list fit for rock geeks and grammar freaks

by Jay Boller

SHaving a rock band is a joyous thing in and of itself. But having the grammatical wherewithal to include a definitive article before the name of said band? Classic. The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones will continue to be the debate of choice among rock snobs for centuries, but one fact cannot be ignored: They both are “The” bands.

Nothing against the Led Zepplins or Radioheads of the world, but with a “The” band, you know what you’re getting. Personally, I’d much rather have something comforting, say a band I KNOW is comprised of beatles or rolling stones, serenade me than some mystery troupe of songsters with an ambiguous name.

The following is an alphabetized summary of the greatest bands to don the “The.” While filling certain letters was obvious (V = Velvet Underground, clearly), some were rather laborious. How many “The” bands choose a Q word for their name? With that said, some groups are merely filler because of their respective letter’s resistance to being used widely in band names. Furthermore, some disingenuous bands such as Arcade Fire and Ramones imply that they’re “The” bands. But they are not, and in turn, were not included.

Without further ado, THE list at the bottom of THE paragraph you’re reading is THE best “THE” bands ever. The Ö the Ö the Ö

The THE list

A – The Animals

B – The Beatles (Runner-up: The Beach Boys) – We won in 1776 and 1812, so painful as it may be, we’ll concede this one.

C – The Clash (Runner-up: The Cure) – Punk-reggae always trumps English-mope, although both absolutely rule.

D – The Decemberists – I attempted to remain somewhat objective, but my immense distaste for The Doors omitted them.

E – The Elected – An unspectacularly solid indie folk band that takes the “E” cake on account of The Eurhythmics being lame.

F – The Flaming Lips

G – The Good Life – Emotive, folky and concept album loving Nebraskans.

H – The Hold Steady

I – The Icarus Line – Moderately bad-ass L.A. rock band, alas, here by default.

J – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

K – The Kinks

L – Le Tigre – Traitor-speak for “The Tiger”. This New York electro-punk band is fronted by the spouse of a Beastie Boy.

M – The Mountain Goats (Runner-up: The Mars Volta) – Prolific and talented songwriter outranks obscene, albeit directionless, talent.

N – The Nortoious B.I.G.

O – Os Mutantes – Or “The Mutants;” they were ahead-of-their-time late 60’s Portuguese psych-rockers.

P – The Pogues

Q – The Queers – Pure filler. They’re an ’80s pop-punk band whose profound lyricism rarely goes beyond beer and girls. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

R – The Rolling Stones (Runner-Up: The Replacements) – Minnesota alt-rock heroes The Replacements are hugely popular and influential, but ya know, it’s The Rolling Stones.

S – The Stooges (Runner-up: The Smiths) Similar to the gut-wrenching decision for the letter “C,” Iggy Pop and his Stooges narrowly edge out The Smiths.

T – The Temptations

U – The Umbrella Sequence – Local electro-rock band who are good, but mainly here because The Used are terrible and U’s are rare.

V – The Velvet Underground

W – The Who

X – The X-Rays – Was forced to what I thought might be a band name. Turns out they’re a U.K. folk-rock band. 1,127 views. Yup.

Y – The Yardbirds

Z – The Zombies