The 5: Power Trios
This Week on the 5: Rock’s Great Bands with Three Members
All good things come in threes, including triangles, tricycles and rock power trios. A bass, a guitar, and a drummer. What else could you need? The power trio became particularly prominent in the late 60′s and then again in the 90′s. Here are 5 greats. Who’d we miss?
- Cream: Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce. Cream set the standard by which all rock power trios are measured. They were known for their extensive (and often simultaneous) solos on stage, but Cream was extraordinarily versatile when it came to studio work. They could do straight pop (‘I Feel Free’, ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’), psychedelia (‘Tales Of Brave Ulysses’), and blues (‘Born Under A Bad Sign’, ‘Crossroads’) flawlessly. Each member of the band – Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Jack Bruce – forever changed the way their respective instruments in terms of sound and approach. The fact that they did this in a three year span is even more astounding.
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience/Band Of Gypsys: Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell. Modeled after Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell – took rock to new heights sonically on stage and in the studio. Their performance at The Monterey Pop Festival shook the music world to its very foundation. The three studio albums – Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland were game changers. Band Of Gypsys – which Hendrix formed with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles after the Experience broke up – laid the foundation for the funk rock explosion that happened in the 1970s. The fact that musicians are still mining, discovering and exploring their works of both bands all these years later is a testament to how much these bands brought to the table
- The Police: Sting, Andy Summer and Stewart Copeland. Formed in the wake of the British punk explosion in the mid 70s, The Police used punk’s energy as a starting point to explore world music, reggae, rock, jazz and sophisticated pop structures to create a sound that bands are still trying to duplicate. In an era where songwriting was at a zenith, Sting’s work stands heads and shoulders with anyone from that era. It wasn’t a surprise to anyone that when their 2007-2008 world tour – their first nearly 25 years – broke sales records around the globe.
- Nirvana: Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl. By fusing punk, Beatles-eque studio techinques and angst-ridden lyrics, Nirvana gave rock a much needed kick in the ass with the 1991 major label release Nevermind. Kurt Cobain was the band’s heart, both bassist Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl on drums were the band’s soul as they rescued fans for the self-indulgence and campiness that had become ‘hair metal’. Cobain’s suicide in 1994 put an abrupt halt to the band, but their influence – and the bands that followed in their wake, is still being felt today.
- Rush: Neal Peart, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson. Incredible musicianship, astute songwriting (primarily written by drummer Neil Peart) and a consistently good live show has made Rush one of the most beloved bands in rock history. Their sound is always extremely diverse: Hard rock (‘Fly By Night’, ‘Freewill’, ‘Tom Sawyer’), Progressive (’2112′), power pop (‘New World Man’), and everything in between. With the recent success of their latest album, Clockwork Angels and their induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame shows that 45 years after the band’s formation, Rush is still popular.