Monday, May 29, 2006

The latest edition of the LA Weekly took note of the 10th anniversary of the death of Sublime lead singer Bradley Nowell. The story suggests something that I find so obvious as to be barely worthy of argument: Sublime belongs on a a very very short list of the most influential bands of the last 15 years, even though they never had mega-hits of their own. (The story says their highest album chart ranking was #13, and their highest single peaked at #87; that tells you everything you need to know about what's wrong with mainstream musical taste, IMO.) The article does a nice job of summarizing how Sublime anticipated several trends, mostly involving new musical fusions.

I'm not sure just how heavily Sublime's music penetrated the national consciousness; I first heard What I Got on the quirky independent public station WYEP in Pittsburgh, but Santeria got a lot of national alternative rock-type airplay I think. Their music remains unquestionably huge in SoCal, however. Case in point: this weekend KROQ played their top 500 all-time requested songs, and Smells Like Teen Spirit was surprisingly only #2. #1? Date Rape. Sublime also grabbed the following slots in the countdown: 16 (What I Got), 27 (Smoke Two Joints), 39 (Wrong Way), 59 (Santeria), 74 (Doin Time), 95 (Bad Fish), 122 (April 29, 1992), and 247 (Caress Me Down). That's 7 of the top 100, and 9 total.

Given that KROQ is one of the most influential radio stations in the world, I imagine that Sublime's influence will only grow over time; it's just a shame their body of work didn't have the same chance...

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