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jaketheripper's avatar

What musical artist do you think is tragically underrated?

Asked by jaketheripper (2776points) August 19th, 2009

Any artists you find incredible that no one you know likes or has even heard of?

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46 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

The Comedian Harmonists

robmandu's avatar

Jeff Buckley, but moreso when he was alive than now.

kyanblue's avatar

The Ruse—their song ‘Beautiful is Gone’ was recently an iTunes Free Single of the Week, so I think they’re going to become popular soon, though; iTunes has a good ear for these kinds of things.

Oh! And Anberlin. I’m too lazy to check out all of their songs, but I’ve been planning on it.

Grisaille's avatar

Check out this thread as well.

jaketheripper's avatar

Saints Never Surrender, They just broke up but they were incredible and nobody I knew had ever heard of them. Also in a different vein TV on the Radio

jaketheripper's avatar

@kyanblue anberlin is great, and Stephen Christiansen (anberlins singer) just came out with an album of solo work under the name Anchor and Braille. I think it’s amazing, but not that similar to anberlin.

filmfann's avatar

He is well known, of course, but no one I know has heard of him.

Tom Waits

mirza's avatar

Yo La Tengo and Richard Hawley

photographcrash's avatar

Rilo Kiley. Kevin Devine. Also, Michelle Branch’s country band, The Wreckers. I hate most country, but I love this band.

dannyc's avatar

Jeff Beck, finest guitarist on the planet.

marinelife's avatar

Randy California of Spirit.

Randy's avatar

@photographcrash Yes! Kevin Devine. He is amazing.

dpworkin's avatar

I don’t see how Jeff Beck and Tom Waits are tragically underrated.

cookieman's avatar

Ryan Adams

No one I know has heard of him.

drdoombot's avatar

Michael Jackson.

mistered's avatar

old dirty bastard

aprilsimnel's avatar

Andy Partridge
Paddy McAloon

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Buzzsaw and the Shavings

THATguy's avatar

Jeff Buckley
Ryan Adams

cookieman's avatar

@photographcrash: Thanks.

It’s a shame how overlooked he is; although, Letterman at least has him in fairly regularly.

rebbel's avatar

Emiliana Torrini
Nick Drake

Try them, seriously.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Most of my “idols” of the music world nobody else my age really likes (Barbra Streisand for example) but I don’t think that means they are underrated.

One person I really believe is underrated Anastacia. Everyone has heard of her but I am the only person I know that actually appreciates her. Not only do I love her music and her voice but I also love the fact that, in this current world of pop singers (for the most part, there are exceptions I know) being given songs to sing and make hits of, she writes her own stuff that is usually meaningful and genuinly sounds like it’s from the heart. Also, her voice blows me away.

and she’s HOT

whatthefluther's avatar

wtf? How did I miss this thread? Well, most of you know my passion is music so you can’t get me to shut-up, but feel free to pass up what’s likely to be, at least partially, a repeat of prior soap-box spouting. I’m never bashful about talking music so here are my comments on some truly excellent choices, a bunch of favorites:
The 3 probable suicides: I don’t believe any of their deaths were ruled suicides but all three battled depression and all three gained much greater fame following their deaths. I own the catalogues of all three, which is admittedly not tough to do with Jeff Buckley. He barely knew his dad, Tim, but they shared remarkable talent, a truly beautiful voice and tragic deaths at young ages (in their 20s). Jeff’s album Grace is a masterpiece and a regular in my playlist. I’ll admit that I did not.“discover” Nick Drake until after his death. Over the years, I noticed so many musicians listing Drake as an inspiration, I felt compelled to check him out. And I fell for him big time. The man put such so much emotion in his music, I feel he literally drained his very soul into his recordings until there was nothing left to sustain him.. And of course, we benefitted from that and I actually have feelings of guilt listening to his songs. Just like I do for the third guy, not mentioned above. I can not listen to any album by this guy without breaking out in tears. This guy also put it all out there and was a huge talent. He, like the other two, escaped my seeing him live. I was at another concert the day he died. I can’t even remember who it was, but I remember the singer of the band I was there to see announce that Elliott Smith had died and I guess he dedicated a song to him, but I was devastated and am not surprised I remember nothing of that evening but the news itself. I am and always have been a huge from his very raw early indie stuff through the more heavily produced Dreamworks stuff, as well as the two posthumous offerings. And he died a mysterious death (two stab wounds to the chest, probably self-inflicted) after finally slaying his drug demons and being apparently quite happy and clean. But he suffered much abuse at the hands of his step dad and had a life long battle with depression. All three gentlemen died tragically at young ages but left us remarkable legacies.
Another we lost tragically at a young age, while surfing in Hawaii, if I recall correctly, was the mastermind of the incredible band Spirit, Mr. Randy California. Spirit was a unique band with a big sound wonderful harmonies and animated music (1984, Nature’s Way, Garbage, Zoo, sorry if the titles are incomplete or a bit off). I believe the bald drummer was Randy’s step father, and I must say that was one tight band. It was also my brother’s favorite band and I grew up listening to them. An album of their greatest hits is in my regular play rotation ands Nature’s Way is among my favorite all-time songs. Great call @Marina.
I agree with @pdworkin that Jeff Beck and Tom Waits should not be on this list. They are among the very best and arguably the very best at what they do and although their success has been eclipsed by others of lesser talent, they have enjoyed a high level of success and very high peer praise.
That’s kind of how I feel about Ryan Adams, who, if you read my and Sherry’s fluther interview, is among my top favorites. Being such a huge fan, ever since his Whiskeytown days, I feel he has not enjoyed the success I believe he deserves, but that is probably just a selfish projection. Of course this guy is too prolific for his own good and frankly had some ego problems that he appears to finally be maturing out of since he hit 30 a couple of years ago. I’m pleased to see other fans here….I think you’d agree the man fucking nailed Oasis’s Wonderwall and what would you give to hear audio or see video of his high school punk band The Patty Duke Syndrome? The man is truly amazing.
OK, I feel the need to wrap this up, so let me give you my two guys that I have named before on similar questions. These two guys are as prolific as Ryan Adams and are two of my top three favorite singer/songwriters alive today (Bob Dylan is the third) and selfishly I’m glad no one has heard of them because I can still catch them at small clubs in L.A.. Both of these guys are wonderful story tellers and seeing them perform live is a treat and highly recommended. If you get an opportunity you might try youtube or their fan sites, but I’m afraid I’m too exhausted to get links. I’ve been a fan of the first one longer….the second I discovered when he opened for the first at the Troubadour several years ago and blew me away. Their names….Richard Buckner and Damien Jurado. Do check them out. Peace. See ya….Gary aka wtf (sorry about typos/errors….later)

Jess's avatar

Van Morrison is probably only known for “Brown Eyed Girl” but he is the best singer, songwriter, all around musician, lyricist and soul seeking person if you dive into his more obscure stuff.

marinelife's avatar

@whatthefluther re: Randy California. It was Hawaii, but he died when he saved his son from drowning. His son, 10, lived, but Randy did not make it.

Thank you very much for introducing me to Jeff Buckley. I had never heard him before. What amazing vocal chops!

AstroChuck's avatar

I’ve always wondered why Mountain never made it bigger than they did. Leslie West is a guitar god.

whatthefluther's avatar

@AstroChuck…Nice choice. West did enjoy some success after Pappalardi and Wright departed Mountain and he and Corky Laing joined with Cream’s Jack Bruce to form West, Bruce & Laing. I saw both groups live and you’re right West was an exceptional guitarist. See ya….,Gary aka wtf

cookieman's avatar


Mississippi Queen!
You know what I mean

AstroChuck's avatar

@cprevite- My favorite is For Yasgur’s Farm.

cookieman's avatar

@AstroChuck: They should have been as big as Zeppelin.

Grisaille's avatar

let’s not get ahead of ourselves, now

cookieman's avatar

“could” have been as big as Zeppelin?

Grisaille's avatar

getting warmer

cookieman's avatar

“may” have been as big as Zeppelin?

in an alternate reality?

Grisaille's avatar

there ya go.

filmfann's avatar

Sonny Landreth is terrific, yet largely unknown.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I forgot to mention Patti Russo, she’s EXTREMELY underrated.

gurnblansten's avatar

Robert Wyatt?


As popular as she was during her lifetime, I think Karen Carpenter has always been vastly underrated and overlooked as one of the finest female pop singers of all time, if not the best. She had an instantly recognizable voice, rich and warm, mellow and smooth, and very unique in its quality.

There is another singer by the name of Teresa Teng, who has been greatly overlooked since her tragic death 15 years ago. She had an outstanding voice——excellent control, great microphone technique. Because she was known mostly in Asia, Teresa Teng never got her just dues abroad, which was a shame.

whatthefluther's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES…..Thank you for the introduction to Teresa Teng…..what a marvelous voice. And, I do agree with your assessment of Karen Carpenter, as well.

I already ranted, at length, above, but, as we are talking about ladies, I think I shall add
toni childs who did receive some exposure thanks to the Thelma & Louise film, as well as some support from Peter Gabriel, as I recall, but retired to raise a family many years ago after releasing what I believe are three remarkable albums.

See ya…..Gary/wtf

TheRealOldHippie's avatar

There was a British psych group in the late ‘60’s called Kaleidoscope which no one on this side of the pond ever heard of more than likely. They changed their name to Fairfield Parlour since there was an American group by the name of Kaleidoscope, but that didn’t help either. They only put out about 3–4 LPs and a bunch of singles, but were absolutely fantastic.

On this side of the pond – the late Doug Sahm (of the Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornadoes) is an icon here in Texas and should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Shame), but so should a lot of people who aren’t in there. He could do any kind of music – rock, blues, Mexican, country – you name it, he could sing it. Prior to his death he was working on a country album which is finally going to be released. He was a super talent and very much under-appreciated.

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