Who Is The Biggest Band In The World?
In the most recent issue of Rolling Stone, (Issue 1148, January 19, 2012) Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney lit up the interwebs with comments that decried Nickelback’s status as the “biggest band in the world.” While Long After Dark will not argue that Nickelback and Nickelback clones are a terror to the airwaves, it won’t give much thought to them being the biggest band in the world. Disclaimer: I honestly don’t know a single Nickelback fan, but maybe I need to get out more. Instead Long After Dark asks, who is the biggest band in the world? Here are some of the candidates:
– Certain veteran acts will always be hot whenever they produce a record or go out on tour. U2, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Radiohead, and Bruce Springsteen are some of the best examples. But it would be tough to say that any are in the height of their popularity at this moment in time. U2 is the biggest out of the bunch right now, having just finished their record-setting 360 Tour. The Irish band missed a bit with 2009’s No Line On The Horizon, but are due for another big record some time within the next year or so.
– Of the middle-aged bands that are in full swing right now, the Foo Fighters are likely the biggest at the moment. After releasing their first number one record this spring, the band embarked on a lengthy world tour that will run into mid-2012 and have already hinted they are in the beginning stages of recording another album this year. Other similar bands in this category are Pearl Jam, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, and the Beastie Boys.
– The third tier is the plethora of new acts that have come into their own over the last couple of years. What rock music really needed, these bands have been elevating themselves to the arena tours and center stages of festivals lately. The biggest name in this bunch is The Black Keys. Even though the duo has been around for the last decade, their sudden popularity has elevated them to another level of stardom over the last year. Other acts like this include Mumford & Sons, Bon Iver, and My Morning Jacket.
After some deliberation, it is a close call between the Foo Fighters and Black Keys on my ballot. Keeping in mind The Black Keys’ album came out in December, it’s tough to gauge where they ranked in 2011 sales-wise, but they have been dominating the airwaves lately with singles from El Camino and might have a slight edge over the Foos. There is no right or wrong answer, but who do you think is number one?