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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Top 20 Greatest San Francisco Musicians, Nos. 15-11

Posted By on Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 10:12 AM

See also:

* The Top 20 Greatest San Francisco Musicians, Nos. 20-16

* The Top 20 Greatest San Francisco Musicians, Nos. 10-6

Here we are with the second installment of our list of the 20 greatest San Francisco musicians ever. (If you missed yesterday's first edition, check it out here.) Note that to qualify for this list, artists had to have a strong association with San Francisco itself, not other Bay Area cities. We'll be rolling out a new section of this list every day this week -- now let's going on S.F. greats numbers 15 through 11:

Huey Lewis and the News
  • Huey Lewis and the News

15. Huey Lewis

Turn your cynical switches to the off-setting and try to take us seriously for a moment. We'll start by pointing out the obvious: Back to the Future would have been significantly less cool, as a movie, if it weren't for "The Power of Love." In addition, thousands of post-wedding first dances would've been less touching if "If This is it" had never been written. Plus, nerdy uncles the world over would feel significantly less confident in their everyday endeavors if it weren't for "Hip to be Square." Huey Lewis and the News put out so much effortlessly great pop music in the '80s, we should all remain in awe to this day -- especially when the band did so much for the San Francisco tourist board (see: the video for "I Want a New Drug"). -- Rae Alexandra

Roy Loney
  • Roy Loney

14. Roy Loney

Roy Loney epitomizes the San Francisco musical ethos with a freewheeling, impossible to pin down style that's able to distill the entire history of rock 'n' roll into concise three-minute blasts of unbridled abandon. Loney was born in the city and started The Flaming Groovies, one of America¹s most underrated bands, in 1965. Loney was the band's main songwriter (with guitarist Cyril Jordan) and a riveting lead singer, known for his wild stage antics. After playing teen clubs and parties for about a year, the band put out a 10-inch LP called Sneakers on their own label, showcasing their unique brand of primitive rock. They signed to Epic in 1968 and released the legendary Supersnazz album, which was a commercial failure. After two more essential albums, Flamingo and Teenage Head, Loney left the band for a solo career and cut the rockabilly flavored Out After Dark, another underrated masterpiece credited to Roy Loney and the Phantom Movers. He broke up the Movers in 1981, but continues to record and perform with a wide variety of musical friends and relations. As Roy Loney and the Longshots, a band consisting of Young Fresh Fellows' Scott McCaughey (R.E.M.), Jim Sangster, and Tad Hutchinson, he made two more solid albums, Full Grown Head and Action Shots, as well as the Record Party EP. He still works his day job at Jack's Record Cellar on Scott Street and appears sporadically on Bay Area stages. His latest album is Got Me a Hot One (Hotsak 2009). -- J Poet


13. Fat Mike

Based on his musical contributions alone, "Fat Mike" Burkett might not warrant inclusion here. The leader of NOFX is responsible for a number of great punk songs, yes, but also some that are uninspired, juvenile, and simplistic. Yet Burkett easily belongs here, because -- along with leading one of the most successful independent punk bands of all time -- he created and remains committed to Fat Wreck Chords, the label he founded in S.F. in 1990. The list of groups that have been on Fat Wreck make up a who's who of punk rock from the last two decades (and occasionally earlier), with Against Me!, Descendents, None More Black, Dillinger Four, Lagwagon, Avail, The Dickies, and Propagandhi all sporting that chunky vinyl logo at one point or another. Moreover, Fat's managed to consistently succeed at something other still-breathing punk labels like Epitaph, Fearless, and Fueled By Ramen have lapsed in: Nearly every name on Fat legitimately feels like a punk band, even if all those bands create a variety of sounds. Finally, let's not forget the subversive genius of NOFX's own songs, like "Liza and Louise," "Please Play This Song on the Radio," and "Don't Call Me White." -- Reyan Ali

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