I know exactly zero about the Band. I know they backed Dylan for a while. I know the Staple Singers covered “The Weight.” I know Joni Mitchell appeared in their concert movie “The Last Waltz.” OK, I guess I know three things about them.

Band AllMusic page

Aretha Franklin

How embarrassed should I be that the first time I put Aretha Franklin the person together with all those great Aretha Franklin songs was seeing her sing “Think” in “The Blues Brothers”? (Answer: Very.) All I know is, you can have Whitney, Mariah, and all those other female R&B singers who can “really sing”—I’d rather listen to Aretha Franklin 1,000 times over.

Aretha Franklin AllMusic page


The Animals are one of those groups that had a lot of hits and you would recognize them if you heard them, but if someone said, “Name an Animals song,” you would have no idea.

Animals AllMusic page

Al Green

If hearing an Al Green song doesn’t instantly make you smile, you must be having a really bad day.

Al Green AllMusic page


Not sure what to say about Aerosmith. A group that went from “Dream On” to “Dude Looks Like a Lady” to American Idol. That’s quite a career.

Aerosmith AllMusic page


I’m probably about to lose a lot of cred with my jazzbo/Joni Mitchell friends, but I love AC/DC. A lot. Nothing like hearing “Back in Black” at the beginning of a Raiders game—just ask Max.

AC/DC AllMusic page

Abbey Lincoln

The only time I saw Abbey Lincoln live, she spent most of her time yelling at the band. I think she was drunk. Nonetheless, she is amazing. This one is for Cedric, who reminded me that “Abbey” comes before “AC/DC.”

Abbey Lincoln AllMusic page