(Note from Moosejuice: It’s really cool sometimes to find out from other writers who they think are the best unknown or overlooked bands. Robert here came up with some really good ones.)
The history of the music industry is littered with bands that looked as if they had everything in their proverbial locker, but never really made it big.
How do we define making it big?
For the purposes of this argument, we’ll look at selling out stadiums on world tours, having albums that went multi-platinum, and just the general sound that a band produced.
Which bands should have been bigger than they were, and what got in their way?
Super Furry Animals
It is perhaps easy to identify where it all went wrong for this Welsh group, as they started out in 1993 just as the likes of Pulp, Suede, Oasis and Blur were riding the crest of the ‘Britpop’ wave that many who were growing up in that era still cling to today.
A lot of their work was critically acclaimed, too, it just happened to be the case that a lot of bands were releasing five-star rock and roll at the time, and someone had to miss out.
Still, the Super Furry Animals maintain something of a cult following around the world to this day, although they tend to make their living from being a ‘recognized name’ support act rather than headliners in their own right.
The Music’s problems could easily be seen as similar to those of the previous band. Although their brand of alternative rock was fresh, snappy, and great to listen to, they suffered from the likes of Muse and Coldplay emerging in the UK at the turn of the century.
Elsewhere around the world, the emergence of the Foo Fighters as global stars, a reborn Green Day, and a questionable liking of American ‘nu-metal’ meant that there weren’t many places left for them to go.
They still got three great albums into their career and played some great venues as support for top bands, but there’ll always be the feeling they should have been a main headline act themselves.
Don’t get us wrong, The Darkness did well, but after bursting onto the scene with frontman Justin Hawkins’ staggering falsetto voice in late 2002, world domination seemed to beckon.
What followed was a string of controversies and an ill-advised attempt by Hawkins himself to become the UK representative for the Eurovision Song Contest a few years ago. The band split, reconciled, and are now touring and recording once again, but there aren’t any grand proclamations over how far they’re going to go this time.
The Swedish rockers have had cult success around the world, and have some of the most definitive, instantly recognizable songs of the last fifteen years.
Truth be told, that is probably the way they would have wanted it to be – nothing about the band has ever screamed ‘mainstream’ – but there is no doubt that they could have been a dominant musical force in another time.
Why didn’t it happen for them? It is hard to day, but perhaps the biggest reason has been the number of bands trying new sounds and ideas in recent years.
What do you think? Should these bands have been bigger, or did they find their level where they belong?
Robert is an online content writer with a passion for the music industry, and has been inspired by some of the bands listed to the extent that he started to learn guitar online for himself, although it remains to be seen whether he’ll ever make it big!