Posted by: pop-break | November 10, 2011

Music Cities USA: San Francisco

erin petrie looks at the musical history of the city by the bay …

San Francisco is an iconic city — the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, cable cars on steep hills. The anchor of the Bay Area (which is home to other West Coast heavyweights like Oakland, Berkeley, Silicon Valley and the Napa Valley wine country), it’s the cool, hip-yet-grounded younger sister of California’s flashier population center (Los Angeles).

The city’s music history is the same — the famed Haight/Ashbury and associated counterculture spawned legendary ’60s and ’70s musicians like Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Moby Grape, Santana. And the list goes on. The city became a psychadelic music hotbed, rivaling the United Kingdom as a produce of the distinctively ’60s genre.

But some of the most influential bands from San Francisco are ones that you’d never think were from there. Here are my top three:

1. Sly & the Family Stone

Sylvester Stewart proved that the Eastern Seaboard and Detroit weren’t the only locales capable of producing quality funk and soul. In 1967, he merged his band Sly & the Stoners with his friend’s group Freddie and the Stone Souls and thus the diverse collective Sly & the Family Stone was born.The integrated multi-gender, multi-racial group churned out hit after hit in the late ’60s and early ’70s in their psychadelic-infused funk style: “Dance to the Music,” “Family Affair,” “Stand,” “Everyday People,” ”

“Hot Fun In The Summertime”

2. Faith No More

They’re probably not a household name these days, but they had an invaluable impact on alternative and metal music in the ’80s and ’90s. They catapulted into the homes of countless people around the country thanks to their decent airplay on MTV. “Epic” was their biggest single and displays their strengths: the in-your-face style, the spoken/rap countered with melodic rock. Songs like “We Care A Lot” and “Anne’s Song” are classic early ’90s gems. Despite their mediocre success, they remain a big influence on alternative and nu metal.


“Anne’s Song”

3. Creedence Clearwater Revival

They were not, in fact, born on the bayou. Despite their superstar status in southern rock and numerous references to the swampy lands of the lower Mississipi River region, they actually hail from the City By The Bay. “Born In The Bayou,” “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” — they were all based around distinctly Dixieland details. They do have one hit that references their home state — “Lodi,” about a small town in California’s Central Valley. The chorus, however, goes “Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again.”

“Proud Mary”


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