When reflecting on his career to date, Howard Stern will undoubtedly reference icons of the music world that helped steer him into the realm of radio. While he’s faced his own controversies with an opinion that could cut down the strongest of personalities, Stern has a relationship and adoration of music that goes way beyond his urge for a hot take.
While not perhaps gifted with the talents to muster up the sounds of his idols The Beatles, Stern soon found his own path into the music industry. Having been encouraged by his father to learn other elements of audio from a young age, Stern was quickly lured in by the medium of radio and, at the age of five, Stern was set up in the basement of his family home as his father equipped his son with a microphone, turntable and tape machine.
Years later and Stern hosts the biggest and brightest names on the planet on his relentlessly popular radio show, sharing the booth with the great and good to shape the music industry — even those who had inspired him to get behind the mic in the first place.
Of course now, as we reflect on his career so far, the accomplishments of Stern from Sirius XM radio to America’s Got Talent needs no real introduction, but it is his commitment to continually push himself into an area of expression that was lacking a leading face is admirable. Over the years, Stern’s views and opinions on all things pop culture have had his listeners pining for more.
Recently, while taking a caller as part of his broadcast, Stern entered a discussion about the three greatest rock bands of all time. While the caller kicked things off with Led Zeppelin, Queen and Rush as his picks for the best, Stern laughed him off with unbelieving humour. “If you’re talking overall singular artists, then I can talk to you about James Brown, and I can talk to you about a lot of other people who were important,” Stern responded.
“If you’re talking overall singular artists, then I can talk to you about James Brown, and I can talk to you about a lot of other people who were important,” Stern caveats. It should come as no surprise that the host follows it up with his favourite group: “And f–k all the bullshit with Buddy Holly and the Crickets all that crap, none of it matter until The Beatles, f—k Elvis, f—k Crickets, all that shit… I tell you, The Beatles are the number one band of all time.” In the past, Stern has made his love of the Fab Four very clear, by even referring to Paul McCartney as a “modern-day Beethoven.”
With regards to the two following slots, Stern moved away from his beloved Beatles and offered him their rivals, the Rolling Stones, even suggesting that their songs are nothing short of masterpieces: “The second group, without a doubt, no argument, The Rolling Stones! Because The Rolling Stones did something so unique, they built off a blues foundation, and they created masterpieces,” he said.
Taking up the third position on the podium of Stern’s favourite rock bands is another blues-based British band, Led Zeppelin. “When they came about,” Stern begins his eulogy, “these riffs that Jimmy Page came up with, John ‘Bonzo’ Bonham on drums and Robert Plant’s vocal were insane.” Before his faithful co-host, Robin Quivers, quickly adds: “You have to think of what happened to music after this. Music changed!”