Aimee Mann's looks have never really gotten in the way of her music, but were she not an artist of such uncompromising integrity, they easily could have. After breaking from the New Wave band 'Til Tuesday in the late '80s, Mann butted heads with record execs looking to commercialize her solo music, and one can imagine the suits urging her to smile, tease those blonde locks and play up the sex appeal that's made her every indie nerd's dream woman. Instead
Neko Case could be an acne-scarred hunchback with three teeth and a receding hairline, and she'd still wow you with her music. The country-noir chanteuse is among the finest songwriters in the game, and on albums like 'Fox Confessor Brings the Flood,' she delivers stark, mesmerizing, at times terrifying short stories set to music
As true Ramones fans will tell you, Joey Ramone wasn't always the singer of the iconic NYC band. The gangly fellow born Jeffry Hyman started out on drums, holding down rudimentary beats while Douglas Colvin, soon to be known as Dee Dee Ramones, handled vocals.
After guitarist Johnny Marr left the Smiths in 1986, remaining members Andy Rourke, Mike Joyce and Morrissey attempted to soldier on without him. They recruited Ivor Perry, formerly of the band Easterhouse, to take his place and set about recording a follow-up to 1987's 'Strangeways, Here We Come.' Perry is a fine player, and the four might have
The first sound you hear on Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' is Kurt Cobain's guitar, but it's Dave Grohl's introductory drum fill that really gets things going. That percussive blast sparked the '90s alt-rock revolution, but if it hadn't have been for Grohl's wise mother, the war might not have had its opening shot.
In 1970, Alex Chilton was a man without a band. The 19-year-old Memphis rocker had tasted success as a member of the Box Tops, scoring a No. 1 hit with 'The Letter,' but the group had gone kaput, leaving him to record demos and produce local artists
Little is known about the real Tom Waits, and for the better part of his 40-year career, that's what's made him one of the most intriguing singer-songwriters in the game. After emerging in the '70s as a lounge-rat crooner, he wiled out in the '80s, reinventing himself as the comically gruff chronicler of over-the-top underworld characters he's played ever since.