Every Easter, millions of Americans celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ—a rebirth that, if you follow the tenets of Christianity, saves the believer's soul. We music lovers here at the Dallas Observer, however, can't help but wonder what musical artists could be resurrected this holiday to save their genres.
Might seem sacrilegious but, hey, so is a lot of what's called "music" these days.
Robert Johnson (1911-1938)
You know that song about the guy who traded his soul to the devil in order to become the greatest guitarist that ever lived? Well, that was Johnson. The story's true. Every rock song ever made owes a debt to his King of the Delta Blues Singers duology.
Ian Curtis (1956-1980)
Joy Division was arguably the most important band of the post-punk movement, and Curtis was that movement's most influential and enduring frontman. Dead by his own hand at 23, his dark, painful and enigmatic lyrics are a tragic document to a life transformed into art.
Freddie Mercury (1946-1991)
No greater rock-and-roll frontman existed before or has existed since Mercury, period. Many have tried to emulate him—even more are trying to emulate his work with Queen these days—but none have managed to capture a fraction of his glamtastic, larger-than-life persona on- or offstage.
Hank Williams (1923-1953)
Robert Johnson is often called the "grandfather of rock and roll," but he'd probably wind up in a hung jury if country music pioneer Williams took him to court over the title.
Nina Simone (1933-2003)
It's only now, after her death, that we know Simone suffered from bipolar disorder. How much of her intensely emotional performance and trademark seesaw stage persona grew out of her condition? Modern R&B owes her a debt of gratitude that it's yet to pay.
The Notorious B.I.G. (1972-1997)
Gangsta rap was a West Coast thang until Biggie Smalls released Ready to Die in 1994. The ensuing East Coast-West Coast feud further devolved into a nebulous event open to historical parody, while the rank-and-file the genre now recruits has largely forgotten why Biggie's street-inspired work was so powerful.
Patsy Cline (1932-1963)
Probably the most important female country vocalist ever, Cline's name is often invoked by lesser talents whose reverence for her, considering how Wal-Mart-bad their music is, seems more like ignorant mockery.
John Lennon (1940-1980)
Can't imagine we have to explain this one to you.
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Miles Davis (1926-1991)
As much as jazz is about improvised experimentation, Davis' jazz was about experimental growth. In other words, the genre knew no limits during his almost 50-year reign as its undisputed leader.
Michael Jackson (1958-1992)
The guy who made Thriller and Bad became the "king of pop" and vanished from this plane of existence during the year that followed the release of Dangerous. We want that guy back.