San Francisco Chronicle

Sunday December 19, 1999

The Music That Rocks Our World:
The Bay Area's
Top 100 All-Time Best Bands

NOTE: Look for the Kingston Trio listed at #51 below. -- Jerry

  Last revised: February 23, 2006.

Down a set of dark and dusty steps is a basement room cluttered with stereo equipment, stacks of CDs and records, and half-empty cups of coffee.

This is The Chronicle's Pop Music Laboratory. A team of experts recently adjourned to this room on a Friday evening to examine in detail the history of San Francisco pop music. They didn't emerge until the early hours of Saturday morning. In that time their goal -- to compile an authoritative, comprehensive list of the 100 greatest bands ever to emerge from the Bay Area -- was accomplished.

The Chronicle pop music staff -- Pop Music Editor Joel Selvin, critics James Sullivan and Neva Chonin, and Datebook Entertainment Editor Mark Lundgren -- debated each band at length, weighing the merits of such disparate entries as Green Day, Tower of Power and E-40.

Each candidate was evaluated using the same criteria. The first consideration was the quality of each band's work. The second was the magnitude of the band's contribution or influence. Points were added for originality and durability. Then the team mixed in that elusive quality we called ``San Francisco-ness,'' which bolstered acts like Sylvester and the Tubes.

The geographical guidelines were, roughly, Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz -- the greater Bay Area. We ruled out the Central Valley, and bands such as Cake and Pavement, because no matter how hard it tries, the Central Valley isn't the Bay Area. We also prohibited sideline groups and spin-offs to handle that sticky matter of Grateful Dead offshoots.

Artists who spent only a portion of their career in the Bay Area, such as Van Morrison, Neil Young and Tom Waits, were ranked according to the work they did while living here.

The list is entirely rockcentric, which means that although we included several blues and folk musicians, their ratings were calculated from a rock perspective.

For each entry, we selected a ``Definitive Song'' -- not necessarily the group's biggest hit, but rather the single track that best sums up the band's sound and style.

--Joel Selvin

1. SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE
What could be more San Francisco? Black. White. Boys. Girls. Soul. Rock. Hints of the Beatles and Bob Dylan alongside echoes of Ray Charles and James Brown.

Sly was his own greatest hit -- a Vallejo church kid and doo-wop wannabe who produced Beatlesque hits for white teens and became the boss soul man of Bay Area black radio before launching his own group.

Sly and the Family Stone changed the way music was played -- from the way Stevie Wonder sang to the funky rumblings behind Miles Davis. They pointed the future of jazz to Herbie Hancock and made the Temptations grow up. There would be no Prince if there hadn't been a Sly Stone. Michael Jackson is such a fan, he bought the publishing rights.

The black prince of Woodstock may have succumbed to his private demons, but his music lives on in the reverberations. They're still heard vividly -- original, brilliant and dangerous enough to be scary.

Definitive Song: ``I Want to Take You Higher'' (1969)

2. CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL
John Fogerty's childhood recollections of a South he only imagined from his El Cerrito home made Creedence the great American rock band that the Band was supposed to be but never was. Dismissed as a Top 40 band by hipsters living in the golden age of FM, Cree dence had the last laugh: Those swampy hits outlasted their detractors to become classics.

Definitive Song: ``Born on the Bayou'' (1969)

3. THE GRATEFUL DEAD
House band for the dawning of the psychedelic era, the Dead started out playing for Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters parties and wound up being the cosmic consciousness of a nation of Deadheads. In the late, great Jerry Garcia, the band had a centrifuge whose music could span Chuck Berry, Django Reinhardt, Bill Monroe and Ornette Coleman in a single set. With a mandate to explore the widest possibilities of ensemble rock improvisation, the Dead pushed the music into places it never went before. Or since.

Definitive Song: ``Dark Star'' (1970)

4. FLAMIN' GROOVIES
Inspiring generations of stubborn refuseniks, the Groovies were an anomaly in psychedelic San Francisco, playing switchblade rock in the ballrooms of peace and love. While singer Roy Loney went solo with the Phantom Movers, bandleader Cyril Jordan took the group to England, where a partnership with Dave Edmunds led to a punk-era revival.

Definitive Song: ``Shake Some Action'' (1976)

5. METALLICA
Before there was grunge, there was Metalli ca. The multiplatinum Los Angeles-born, San Francisco-bred band's speed metal and messy hair provided a potent antithesis to the poppy '80s. The members' hair is shorter in the '90s, but they still rock louder than anyone else.

Definitive Song: ``Master of Puppets'' (1987)

6. JEFFERSON AIRPLANE
As impossible as it may have been to just throw together all those disparate elements -- Marty Balin's pseudo-soul folksinging, the warbly contralto of Grace Slick, guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's brilliant blues finger picking, Jack Casady's experimental bass playing, Paul Kantner's stoney polemics -- on the nights it came together, nothing else was ever like an Airplane flight.

Definitive Song: ``Somebody to Love'' (1967)

7. SANTANA
Carlos Santana's ``Supernatural'' success this year marks 30 years as the undisputed champ of global rock. He is one of the few true stylists on the electric guitar. His original, Woodstock-era group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Definitive Song: ``Incident at Neshubar'' (1975)

8. TOWER OF POWER
Back to Oakland. Not only did Tower of Power's horn section set the standard for soul brass of the '70s -- it also put its punch on records for Elton John, Phil Collins and others. But Emilio Castillo and Steve (Doc) Kupka's songs such as ``You're Still a Young Man,'' ``Down to the Nightclub'' and ``So Very Hard to Go'' stand the test of the years. A new generation of jazz and funk players invariably cite Tower as a prime influence.

Definitive Song: ``What Is Hip'' (1973)

9. GREEN DAY
In the early '90s, Green Day took punk rock to the top of the charts and transformed Berkeley's tiny Gilman Street club into a cause celebre. Incredibly, the band accomplished this without compromising one iota of its goofy verisimilitude and independent credibility -- which is probably why it's still huge going into 2000.

Definitive Song: ``Longview'' (1994)

10. MOBY GRAPE
Famously, Columbia released five singles from the debut album simultaneously. Such pressure was bound to take its toll, and it did. Legal trouble, Skip Spence's hospitalization for mental illness at Bellevue, and the band's never-ending disputes with manager Matthew Katz made the group one of the biggest underachievers of the '60s. Still, the Grape's best moments of high-strung acid-folk-rock defined the decade.

Definitive Song: ``Omaha'' (1967)

11. DEAD KENNEDYS
As much a cultural force as a rock band, Jello Biafra and Dead Kennedys made San Francisco ground zero for political punk. Their first single, ``California Uber Alles,'' got the ball rolling on a controversial career that eventually sparked a national debate on censorship over their 1985 sophomore album, ``Frankenchrist.''

Definitive Song: ``California Uber Alles'' (1979)

12. SYLVESTER
It would be hard to be more San Francisco than Sylvester. He was the only member to survive the insane '70s theatrical group the Cockettes, and when he became a gay disco diva, he took his show to the Opera House for a fabulous extravaganza he titled ``Flowers While You Live.'' The gifted singer died of AIDS in 1988 at age 38.

Definitive Song: ``You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)'' (1979)

13. THE TUBES
The Tubes were the greatest rock band in the world for a second, although nobody outside San Francisco knew it. They simultaneously spoofed and celebrated '70s excess. Typically, the band's only big chart success was a slick, wimpy ballad played with Hollywood sidemen (``She's a Beauty''). But Quay Lewd, the faux English rock star teetering on towering platform boots, reigned supreme.

Definitive Song: ``White Punks on Dope'' (1975)

14. PRIMUS
Led by the proud weirdo bassist Les Claypool, the group reinvented progressive rock for the grunge era. Album titles say plenty about Primus' commitment to absurdity: ``Sailing the Seas of Cheese,'' ``Pork Soda.'' The band also originated one of the most brilliant slogans in rock history: ``Primus Sucks!''

Definitive Song: ``John the Fisherman'' (1989)

15. NEIL YOUNG
The gentle California strummer (``I Am a Child'') has also been appointed the Godfather of Grunge for his electric guitar fetish (``Like a Hurricane''). He's rock's consummate curmudgeon, and also its voice of compassion. His star-studded annual Bridge School concerts have set the standard for benefit shows and have become the most eagerly anticipated concert events in the Bay Area.

Definitive Song: ``Rockin' in the Free World'' (1989)

16. CHRIS ISAAK
The lonely surfer. It took a fluke hit from a David Lynch film soundtrack to launch this moody guy. But he's become a San Francisco evergreen with his sultry good looks and deadpan gags with sidekick/drummer Kenney Dale Johnson.

Definitive Song: ``Wicked Game'' (1990)

17. TUPAC
He made his name with L.A.'s Death Row Records, but Tupac Shakur was a product of Marin's meanest streets. He was rap's chosen figure, full of light and dark, and his mysterious shooting death and that of his archrival Notorious B.I.G. will always be one of pop music's strangest sagas.

Definitive Song: ``Dear Mama'' (1995)

18. RANCID
Together with Green Day, Rancid was and is the toast of Northern California's '90s punk scene. Rising from the ashes of the ska-punk outfit Operation Ivy, the band's sound updated the Clash's reggae rock to fit the world of urban/suburban California youth. Credited with finally making the Mohawk fashionable.

Definitive Song: ``Time Bomb'' (1995)

19. VAN MORRISON
His Marin County years -- from ``And His Band and Street Choir'' (1970) through ``Inarticulate Speech of the Heart'' (1983) -- form the heart of his peerless body of work. And one of the best things about living in the Bay Area during those years was Morrison's frequent appearances at small clubs. He was playing somewhere around town almost every week for years.

Definitive Song: ``Bright Side of the Road'' (1979)

20. SONS OF CHAMPLIN
This band of Marin County natives was the real deal, one of the best unknown bands of its time. Its 1969 debut -- a double-record set on which neither pictures nor even the musi cians' names appear -- is a pinnacle of hippie rock. But after more than a dozen years of plugging away with one of the best bands in the world, vocalist Bill Champlin called it quits and moved to Los Angeles. There he won Grammy awards as a songwriter the first two years and joined multiplatinum popsters Chicago, although he returned in 1997 for a sentimental reunion with the original Sons.

Definitive Song: ``Freedom'' (1969)

21. ROMEO VOID
Debora Iyall was one of those extravagantly imaginative artist types that San Francisco breeds. Her flair for the jagged lyrical image set against the stark, moving backdrop provided by her band made Romeo Void the new wave band of San Francisco.

Definitive Song: ``Never Say Never'' (1981)

22. STEVE MILLER BAND
Some people call him Maurice because he speaks of the mysterious pompitous of love. From his Fillmore days with the Steve Miller Blues Band (Dallas boyhood buddy Boz Scaggs on guitar) to his high-flying '70s hits, Miller was always one of the most conscientious careerists of the San Francisco rockers. But he made a lot of great sides along the way.

Definitive Song: ``The Joker'' (1973)

23. BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY
Janis Joplin never sounded better than she did backed by the four wacky fellows she started out with. She never topped the Monterey Pop Festival performance that anchored her legend. And guitarist James Gurley could be one of the most underrated forces of nature in rock history.

Definitive Song: ``Ball and Chain'' (1968)

24. DOOBIE BROTHERS
Most popular band in the country for a minute or two. A tricky but successful lead singer switch at the peak of popularity took the band's music in a more urbane direction and extended its shelf life many years.

Definitive Song: ``China Grove'' (1973)

25. CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN
Perhaps the quintessential band of the ``college-rock'' heyday of the 1980s, Santa Cruz's Camper messed with every style it could get its hands on. Absurdity was the one constant, beginning with the song that first got the band noticed: ``Take the Skinheads Bowling.'' David Lowery went on to front Cracker.

Definitive Song: ``Life Is Grand'' (1988)

26. BOZ SCAGGS
He defined San Francisco for more than a decade, spanning the free-form FM radio of the late '60s (the majestic 12-minute blues ``Loan Me a Dime,'' featuring Duane Allman) and the blue-eyed soul-disco of the late '70s (``Lowdown,'' ``Lido Shuffle''). Part owner of the nightclub mainstay Slim's.

Definitive Song: ``Loan Me a Dime'' (1969)

27. TOM WAITS
He's a rag man with a philosophy degree, the piano man in the carny's traveling bar car. He's been a Sonoma County resident for nearly a decade. Rock's most prominent avant- gardist toured most of 1999 after several years in near seclusion.

Definitive Song: ``Innocent When You Dream'' (1987)

28. TOO $HORT
Oakland's Too $hort (Todd Shaw) was the West Coast's first rap star, recording four albums on his own before making his major-label debut with 1988's ``Born to Mack.'' That album went gold; his next four CDs went platinum. Meet the real original gangsta.

Definitive Song: ``The Ghetto'' (1990)

29. JOURNEY
Inventors of the power ballad and champions of the '80s baseball park concert, Journey ruled the world for an instant. One of MTV's early video moments was Steve Perry shaving his mustache. Even if they'll never admit it, many of today's young, hip rockers started out playing air guitar to Journey records.

Definitive Song: ``Open Arms'' (1982)

30. DIGITAL UNDERGROUND
The godsons of George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic, these Oakland caricatures made some of hip-hop's silliest, most infectious grooves -- ``Doowutchyalike'' and the groupie anthem ``Freaks of the Industry.'' Launchpad for Tupac Shakur and the Luniz (``I Got 5 on It'').

Definitive Song: ``The Humpty Dance'' (1990)

31. FAITH NO MORE
San Francisco's Faith No More hit the big time with its 1985 album and single, ``We Care a Lot.'' The band filled the long, lonely gap in good Top 40 music until grunge came along to save the day. In the '90s, band members branched out to form Imperial Teen (Roddy Bottum) and Mr. Bungle (Mike Patton).

Definitive Song: ``We Care a Lot'' (1985)

32. EN VOGUE
Mixing the R&B girl-group tradition with hip-hop and lots of sex appeal, this quartet of funky divas was an MTV staple in 1992 with the impossibly catchy single ``Free Your Mind.''

Definitive Song: ``Free Your Mind'' (1992)

33. QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE
On any given night, they were better than the Dead. Although flashy guitarist John Cipollina was nominally the chief attraction, guitarist Gary Duncan was the band's real tightrope walker, a jazzy jammer who could hold his own with the best. Vastly underrated band remembered mostly these days -- sigh -- for Dino Valente's puerile ``Have Another Hit'' and not the band's glory days at the Fillmore.

Definitive Song: ``Pride of Man'' (1969)

34. CHARLES BROWN
His smooth, urbane '40s piano and ballad stylings didn't make Brown an obvious candidate for the guitar-driven blues renaissance of 1968, although his signature ``Driftin' Blues'' found its way into the repertoires of Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield and others. When his turn finally came in the late '80s, Charles was ready -- living in Berkeley senior housing, working as a janitor, but practicing three hours a day. When the money started rolling in, he moved downstairs. One of music's real greats and one of life's real gentlemen.

Definitive Song: ``Somebody to Love'' (with Bonnie Raitt) (1992)

35. JONATHAN RICHMAN
In the post-glam, pre-punk '70s when rock music was the stomping ground of arena dinosaurs, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers kept the underground flame burning with a sound somewhere between the Velvet Underground and the Dave Clark Five. ``Roadrunner'' is a much-copied classic.

Definitive Song: ``Roadrunner'' (1975)

36. HOT TUNA
Taking public what were essentially their hotel-room jam sessions after Jefferson Airplane concerts, childhood friends guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady have continued this extraordinary collaboration through four decades. Considering how long some of their shows can be -- clocked at more than eight hours one epic night -- they might just be warming up for the next century.

Definitive Song: ``Candy Man'' (1971)

37. DJ SHADOW
Part of the Berkeley-based Solesides crew. DJ Shadow brilliantly broke the rules and expanded the horizons of underground hip- hop with his lauded 1997 solo debut, ``Endtroducing . . .'' He has since collaborated with a pantheon of edgy experimentalists to produce some of the most innovative music around.

Definitive Song: ``Midnight in a Perfect World'' (1997)

38. JOHN LEE HOOKER
The man who made the guitar a threat. Now 80, he recently marked the 50th year of his breakthrough R&B smash ``Boogie Chillun.'' After stints in swinging London and on the hippie circuit with Canned Heat, Hooker is enjoying his third or fourth career renaissance, which began with 1989's Grammy-winning ``The Healer.'' He's been a Bay Area man since 1970.

Definitive Song: ``Boom Boom'' (1963)

39. THE RESIDENTS
To quote a fitting cliche, only in San Francisco. Still an enigma after decades of recording, the Residents -- known for their anonymity and odd disguises -- spew out satiric songs that land somewhere between electronic hard core and avant-jazz. Their cover of a Stones standard ranks as a classic in its own right.

Definitive Song: ``Satisfaction'' (1976)

40. HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS
What started as a loose-knit Corte Madera jam session after ``Monday Night Football'' became the most popular American rock band of 1985. They were always Marin County hippies in golf clothing -- their motto was ``infiltrate and double-cross'' -- but they never regained their credibility after the misunderstood ``Hip to Be Square.'' Anybody who doesn't think this band can rock with the greatest should check Lewis and company anonymously backing up Nick Lowe on ``I Knew the Bride.''

Definitive Song: ``Workin' for a Living'' (1982)

41. BLUE CHEER
Mere mortals with the command of thunder. The original power trio could have been the loudest band to ever play the Fillmore.

Definitive Song: ``Summertime Blues'' (1968)

42. COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH
One of the great names of the psychedelic '60s, Country Joe conjures up memories of Woodstock's half-million giving the ``Fish'' cheer. ``Feel Like I'm Fixing to Die Rag'' was agitprop pop, but the band also excelled on acid-rock inventions.

Definitive Song: ``Section 43'' (1967)

43. COUNTING CROWS
Rootsy six-piece Berkeley group had a whopping debut with the multiplatinum (``August and Everything After''), featuring the tone-setting modern lament ``Round Here.'' Since then, faux-dreadlocked singer Adam Duritz has become a bona fide rock star, with his dating tendencies attracting as much attention as his songwriting. This year's ``This Desert Life'' should prove to be the record that guarantees the band long-term respect.

Definitive Song: ``Round Here'' (1993)

44. FLIPPER
Born of the punk band Negative Trend, San Francisco's Flipper ruled the underground in 1982 with their beyond-hard-core masterwork ``Sex Bomb.'' It was the perfect paean to life on California's underbelly: loud, sloppy and brilliantly dumb.

Definitive Song: ``Sex Bomb'' (1982)

45. HAMMER
Hammer went from Oakland A's batboy to Saturday morning cartoon show, always a crowd pleaser. He sold 10 million albums and spent every penny. Paid for a mansion in Fremont -- complete with a private baseball diamond -- in cash. Since his bankruptcy, he can be found preaching gospel in local churches.

Definitive Song: ``U Can't Touch This'' (1990)

46. THIRD EYE BLIND
Self-titled 1997 debut was stuffed with radio-ready songs, including the momentarily ubiquitous ``Semi-Charmed Life.'' The follow- up, ``Blue,'' sounds as if it could continue the streak. The band, led by spotlight magnet Stephan Jenkins, opened for U2 and the Rolling Stones mere months after it graduated from the local dives.

Definitive Song: ``Semi-Charmed Life'' (1997)

47. TONY TONI TONE
Oakland R&B all-in-the-family trio slicked up Al Green and Kool & the Gang for a new generation with such Top 40 hits as ``Feels Good'' and ``Pillow (Lay Your Head on My).'' Multi-instrumentalist Raphael Saddiq has collaborated with John Mellencamp and the Bee Gees.

Definitive Song: ``The Oakland Stroke'' (1990)

48. AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB
AMC belongs to an exclusive, unenviable club of bands that spent entire careers amassing critical acclaim and commercial indifference. The group's gorgeous, moody music continues to inspire a devoted cult following, and its talented founder, Mark Eitzel, remains to carry the torch as a solo singer-songwriter.

Definitive Song: ``Hello Amsterdam'' (1994)

49. BOBBY FREEMAN
San Francisco's first rock 'n' roll star. Freeman wrote and sang ``Do You Wanna Dance?'' when he was barely out of Mission High -- a song since covered by the Beach Boys, John Lennon, Bette Midler, the Mamas and Papas and others. His 1964 Top 10 hit ``C'mon and Swim'' introduced the talents of 19-year-old songwriter-producer Sly Stone.

Definitive Song: ``Do You Wanna Dance?'' (1958)

50. THE AVENGERS
Not only did the Avengers bring the British punk aesthetic to the Bay Area, they succeeded in upstaging the Sex Pistols at their notorious Winterland concert in 1978. ``We Are the One'' remains the band's unofficial anthem.

Definitive Song: ``We Are the One'' (1978)

51. KINGSTON TRIO
More than a few of the rock musicians who put San Francisco on the map in the '60s started out strumming along to Kingston Trio albums. Plus, they showed the Beach Boys how to dress.

Definitive Song: ``A Worried Man'' (1959)

52. BEAU BRUMMELS
The Beau Brummels revolved around the shadowy tenor of Sal Valentino and the song craft of Ron Elliott. They were the Merseybeat from North Beach. Their latter-era Warner Bros. albums include the minor masterpieces ``Bradley's Barn'' and ``Triangle.'' But nothing matched the dark bite of the group's Beatles knockoffs produced by a young Sly Stone.

Definitive Song: ``Just a Little'' (1965)

53. HOODOO RHYTHM DEVILS
A hard-luck story. Greatest bar band ever on a good night, the Hoodoos couldn't buy a break through three major-label albums. The two bandleaders -- Glenn Walters and Joe Crane -- made the great, undiscovered album on their own label (with help from guitarists Steve Miller, Ronnie Montrose and Link Wray). Clive Davis falls asleep auditioning the band at a Berkeley nightclub. It never happens for the Hoodoos.

Definitive Song: ``Safecracker'' (1976)

54. SPEARHEAD
Michael Franti emerged from the breakup of the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy to find acclaim -- and more commercial success -- as the leader of the edgy reggae band Spearhead. ``There's a Hole in the Pocket'' was an MTV hit that aptly reflected the group's pro-people, antipoverty agenda.

Definitive Song: ``There's a Hole in the Pocket'' (1994)

55. JELLYFISH
Out of the ashes of the little-remembered Beatnik Beatch arose Jellyfish, a frankly Beatleseque pop group of some magnificence. It landed a big record deal, cut a couple of promising albums and went into the wind. The band's floppy hats quickly looked dated.

Definitive Song: ``That Is Why'' (1990)

56. NEGATIVLAND
Classic David and Goliath: This loony collective boiled down its two decades of found- sound and tape-loop experiments with a brilliant piece of parody, merging U2's ``I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For'' with the foul-mouthed outtakes of ``American Top 40'' announcer Casey Kasem. It cost them dearly: Island Records sued them almost out of existence and crushed their label, SST. The group still satirizes fearlessly.

Definitive Song: ``U2'' (1991)

57. ROBERT CRAY
The Portland-based bluesman liked playing in the Bay Area so much he moved here and recruited the house band from Larry Blake's Rathskellar to back him up. San Francisco never sounded so Southern.

Definitive Song: ``Smoking Gun'' (1987)

58. GRAHAM CENTRAL STATION
Ooh wee, was this band funky. Bassist and vocalist extraordinaire Larry Graham, fresh out of Sly and the Family Stone, would lead the band onstage and snaking through the audience playing ``Can't Turn You Loose'' on melodicas, then they would strap on their instruments and start the song for real without missing a beat. And play a 40-minute medley. They don't make 'em like that anymore.

Definitive Song: ``Can You Handle It?'' (1974)

59. JOE SATRIANI
The most respected of the guitar-magazine cover boys, Satriani makes instrumental records that are as tasteful as they are showy. As a teacher, he can claim an impressive list of students including Steve Vai and Metallica's Kirk Hammett.

Definitive Song: ``Surfing With the Alien'' (1987)

60. PARIS
Boasting intellectually and politically charged rhymes and compelling beats, Paris (Oscar Jackson Jr.) broke out of the Bay Area with 1990's ``The Devil Made Me Do It.'' He didn't have Chuck D's clout, but he may well have been the West Coast's own minister of culture.

Definitive Song: ``Bush Killa'' (1990)

61. JIM CARROLL BAND
The ``Basketball Diaries'' author came to San Francisco in search of punk rock and alternative literary history, and he fused the two on his debut album, ``Catholic Boy'': ``It's too late/ To fall in love with Sharon Tate . . .''

Definitive Song: ``People Who Died'' (1980)

62. JOAN BAEZ
The queen of folk music danced onstage and sang with the Grateful Dead at the Fillmore in the '60s and has a sly twinkle in her eye that is 100 percent rock 'n' roll. Who else would have put a civil-rights anthem on the pop charts?

Definitive Song: ``We Shall Overcome'' (1963)

63. THE YOUNGBLOODS
The group recorded the quintessential hippie anthem while still in New York, but moved to Marin County soon thereafter. Before the solo career of leader Jesse Colin Young descended into banality, this vigorous little band turned out some effective folk-rock inventions, although it never got past the one big hit.

Definitive Song: ``Get Together'' (1967)

64. ELECTRIC FLAG
After his stint with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band made him America's premier star guitarist, Mike Bloomfield moved to Mill Valley and put together this landmark band, whose first appearance was the historic 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. Besides the dubious distinction of giving the world Buddy Miles, the Flag cut a killer first album, before Bloomfield retired to playing the blues in North Beach clubs and Mitchell Brothers porn movies.

Definitive Song: ``Groovin' Is Easy'' (1968)

65. ELVIN BISHOP
With the incendiary soul belter Jo Baker by his side, the ex-Paul Butterfield Blues Band guitarist ruled the Bay Area club scene when that still mattered. His greatest hit came later (``Fooled Around and Fell in Love''), with future Starship vocalist Mickey Thomas no less. But Bishop's moment had already come and gone.

Definitive Song: ``Rock Bottom'' (1972)

66. SAMMY HAGAR
Vulgar, loud and obnoxious, Sammy Hagar was a born rock star. Undoubtedly best known for the 11 years he spent singing with Van Halen, Hagar managed a platinum solo career both before and after his stint with the Dutch boys.

Definitive Song: ``Only One Way to Rock'' (1981)

67. SHEILA E.
Pedigreed Latin timbales player Sheila E. came to the fore under the tutelage of Prince (when he still called himself that), who wrote, produced, played and sang most of the vocal parts on her breakthrough hit. The sex appeal, however, was all hers.

Definitive Song: ``Glamorous Life'' (1984)

68. COMMANDER CODY AND HIS LOST PLANET AIRMEN
Bringing a blend of barrelhouse C&W and Southern rockabilly to the San Francisco scene, Cody and cohorts were a lovable, oddball bunch -- from goofy Bill Kirchen on guitar to friendly Andy Stein on sax and violin to the cigar-chomping Commander himself. Always underrated, Cody and company opened the door for country and western in the rock underground, and were an obvious inspiration to the whole Austin, Texas, scene. Special mention for the holiday record ``Daddy's Drinking Up All Our Christmas.''

Definitive Song: ``Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar'' (1971)

69. GREG KIHN
The most commercially successful of the Beserkley Records acts, Kihn scored an early MTV hit, kept out of the No. 1 slot only by Michael Jackson's indomitable ``Billie Jean,'' and slowly dissolved. Guitar whiz Joe Satriani played on his band's final major-label album, Weird Al made a hit Kihn spoof called ``I Lost on Jeopardy'' and Kihn himself is now a San Jose morning DJ.

Definitive Song: ``Jeopardy'' (1983)

70. THE MERMEN
Surf music has never sounded so ambitious. Guitarist Jim Thomas -- a real-life regular on the Ocean Beach breakers -- is a compositional savant, creating dreamy, expansive seascapes that have more in common with prog rock and Prokofiev than ``Pipeline.''

Definitive Song: ``The Drowning Man Knows His God'' (1995)

71. THE RUBINOOS
At the height of the local scene's infatuation with loud guitars and paralyzing rock came these Berkeley smarty-pants musicians, barely out of their teens, playing a kind of frothy power pop that simultaneously spoofed and celebrated their bubble-gum roots. Their cover of Tommy James and the Shondells' oldie ``I Think We're Alone Now'' was a chart hit before Tiffany.

Definitive Song: ``I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend'' (1979)

72. DAN HICKS AND THE HOT LICKS
The inimitable, wry Hicks, a drummer for San Francisco rock pioneers the Charlatans, packaged his sly cynicism in a Hot Club de France faux jazz sound (complete with two wonderful female ``Lickettes'') to showcase the wit and wisdom of one of the great characters of the San Francisco music scene.

Definitive Song: ``Where's the Money?'' (1971)

73. INVISIBL SKRATCH PIKLZ
The most influential DJ crew in the world lives in San Francisco when not on tour, which is most of the time. Individually and as a crew, the members of the Piklz have won countless competitions, influenced a generation of aspiring turntablists and put San Francisco's alternative hip-hop scene on the map.

Definitive Song: ``Invasion of the Octopus People'' (1996)

74. COUNT FIVE
A pet project of the late rock-critic wild man Lester Bangs -- he called it ``the all-time slop- bucket copy of the Yardbirds'' -- the Five's sole hit reached No. 5 on the pop chart, appropriately enough. The teenage group reportedly turned down $1 million in bookings to stay in school, ending its brief run at trashy immortality.

Definitive Song: ``Psychotic Reaction'' (1966)

75. THE DUROCS
Songwriter Ron Nagle had already attracted something of a cult following with his 1970 solo album, ``Bad Rice,'' and clever, witty songs for the Tubes (``Don't Touch Me There''), Pablo Cruise, Barbra Streisand and others when his collaboration with multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Scott Mathews emerged. Way too smart for the mass market, way too pop for the rock underground, the Durocs -- named after a brand of hog -- remain one of San Francisco rock's great anomalies.

Definitive Song: ``Savin' It All Up for Larry'' (1979)

76. CLUB NOUVEAU
On the heels of his 1986 hit by Berkeley's Timex Social Club (``Rumors''), producer Jay King's No. 1 remake of the Bill Withers soul oldie made the song a standard, served as the template for future hip-hop/soul remakes and launched the career of Thomas Foster and Denzil McElroy, the creative brains of Club Nouveau who went on to become the Svengalis behind En Vogue.

Definitive Song: ``Lean on Me'' (1987)

77. TRANSLATOR
New wave-era Beatles devotees were good enough to draw Crawdaddy founder Paul Williams out of self-imposed rock-critic retirement (when he sang their praises in his book ``The Map''). One of the gems of Howie Klein's locally influential 415 label.

Definitive Song: ``Everywhere That I'm Not'' (1982)

78. RED HOUSE PAINTERS
Like Mark Eitzel's American Music Club, Mark Kozelek's Red House Painters were a critically acclaimed, singer-songwriter-based band that never managed to sell enough records to keep its major label happy. Kozelek continues as a solo artist, and the Painters' poetic oeuvre has influenced bands as far- flung as Sweden's Cardigans.

Definitive Song: ``Cabezon'' (1995)

79. POINTER SISTERS
background vocalists for Elvin Bishop and born singers. They were wearing thrift- store chic out of necessity when San Francisco producer David Rubinson spun them into gold, long before their chart run of slick hits like ``He's So Shy'' and ``Slow Hand.''

Definitive Song: ``Yes We Can Can'' (1973)

80. SMASH MOUTH
San Jose bar-band veterans latched onto the slap-happy ska-punk sound, then veered into wise-guy astro-pop when their ``Walkin' on the Sun'' single went huge. Second major-label album, out in '99 and all over TV commercials and movie trailers, proves the group has staying power.

Definitive Song: ``Walkin' on the Sun'' (1998)

81. IMPERIAL TEEN
Take two seasoned pros from Faith No More and Sister Double Happiness, blend in two inspired rookies, and the resulting quartet is an exquisite pop confection with an acerbic bite. From their first album, ``Seasick,'' ``You're One'' gave the band its first MTV- aired single.

Definitive Song: ``You're One'' (1996)

82. IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY
Ethereal hippie rock at its most limpid and transcendental, It's a Beautiful Day flew on the Mediterranean sound of David LaFlamme's violin and the sunny harmonies of LaFlamme and the late Patti Santos. Management problems made the band lifelong litigants and relegated the former Fillmore headliner to footnote status.

Definitive Song: ``White Bird'' (1969)

83. DISPOSABLE HEROES OF HIPHOPRISY
The Disposable Heroes were the act to see in the early '90s. The San Francisco duo of Rono Tse and Michael Franti (formerly of the avant-industrial jazz band the Beatnigs, later of Spearhead) blended multigenre, multicultural messages and mad beats into eclectic and wonderful music.

Definitive Song: ``Television: The Drug of the Nation'' (1992)

84. COLD BLOOD
Pint-size soul belter Lydia Pense mowed 'em down in front of her honking hippie soul band from the last days of the Fillmore. But four albums failed to spread the word.

Definitive Song: ``You Got Me Hummin' '' (1969)

85. EDDIE MONEY
An NYPD dropout who came west to sing in rock bands, Ed Mahoney never lost the common touch. His debut album launched two Top 10 hits, and the Money man was on his way. Ah, the luck of the Irish.

Definitive Song: ``Two Tickets to Paradise'' (1978)

86. CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND
The Bay Area's answer to the Rolling Stones, the Watchband suffered from the worst tendencies of mid-'60s pop production: L.A. session musicians recorded much of their work. Still, the group left a handful of garage- rock classics, including ``Let's Talk About Girls.'' Recently reunited for a garage-rock festival in New York.

Definitive Song: ``Are You Gonna Be There (At the Love-In)'' (1967)

87. MONTROSE
When onetime Van Morrison sideman Ronnie Montrose hooked up with an unknown vocalist named Sammy Hagar from a Top 40 band, they made a junior Zeppelin with some real crunch. Although guitarist Montrose went on to try commercial hard rock with Gamma in the '80s and made some serious solo records, nothing he did again ever matched the impact of those first two albums.

Definitive Song: ``Rock Candy'' (1974)

88. 4 NON BLONDES
Linda Perry, the up-front lesbian with ``I Want It All'' tattooed on her knuckles, is the kind of character that has always made San Francisco what Robin Williams called ``a human game preserve.'' Plus she sings great.

Definitive Song: ``What's Up'' (1993)

89. E-40
Self-made millionaire and Sik Wid It label founder E-40 (Earl Stevens) has been a pivotal influence on the Bay Area rap scene since he started selling his CDs from the trunk of his car in 1988. His sexy, slow-inflected drawl and profound funkability made ``1-Luv'' a radio staple in 1995.

Definitive Song: ``1-Luv'' (1995)

90. THE CALL
The heroic sound of the Santa Cruz band attracted such big-name fans as Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson and Garth Hudson of the Band, and U2's Bono -- they all appeared somewhere on the Call's eight albums. Although the Call never really rose above the Berkeley Square level of the provincial Bay Area scene, Michael Been (John the Baptist in Scorsese's ``Last Temptation of Christ'') ranks as one of the list's most passionate voices and spiritually committed songwriters.

Definitive Song: ``The Walls Came Down'' (1983)

91. PABLO CRUISE
So popular with the upscale apres-ski crowd, this band beat out Elvis' attendance record at the Sahara Tahoe.

Definitive Song: ``Love Will Find a Way'' (1977)

92. THE UPTONES
Along with Operation Ivy, the Uptones formed the core of the Berkeley ska-punk scene that paved the way for the likes of Rancid. A hard-edged, upbeat band that would have been huge if it hadn't been years ahead of its time.

Definitive Song: ``Rude Boy '' (1995)

93. EDWIN HAWKINS SINGERS
They were the Northern California State Youth Choir when one of the most left-field hits of all time vaulted the newly renamed Edwin Hawkins Singers to the top of the pop charts.

Definitive Song: ``Oh Happy Day'' (1969)

94. MOTHER EARTH
This band of Texans lived in Berkeley long enough to record the classic ``Livin' With the Animals,'' where one showstopper blues alone established the career of Tracy Nelson, a blues belter easily the equal of Janis Joplin.

Definitive Song: ``Down So Low'' (1968)

95. CONSOLIDATED
From 1985 to 1994, Consolidated combined social activism with hard-edged rap, striking a template that's made many a band wealthy since. ``Friendly Fascism'' is the title track off the second, and finest, album.

Definitive Song: ``Friendly Fascism'' (1989)

96. THE CHARLATANS
Couldn't play. Couldn't sing. But sure knew how to look the part. Bingo. The quintessential San Francisco band, the guys who started it all that long-ago summer of '65.

Definitive Song: ``Alabamy Bound'' (1966)

97. NEW RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE
What started as a project for Jerry Garcia to learn pedal steel guitar ended up as the longest-running act in hippie country-rock.

Definitive Song: ``Panama Red'' (1973)

98. CHROME
Helios Creed and the late Damon Edge created a strange new world of do-it-yourself aesthetics, brain-frying guitar and a horrific science-fiction otherworld to rival William Burroughs' ``Naked Lunch.'' Somehow, they found the common ground between psychedelic amorphism and industrial grind.

Definitive Song: ``Half Machine Lip Moves'' (1979)

99. JEFFERSON STARSHIP
``Miracles'' was really the last gasp of the old Airplane, but by the mid-'80s, a different band with a similar name was making the exact hollow, empty pop Airplane originally rebelled against.

Definitive Song: ``We Built This City'' (1985)

100. MR. BIG
Big hair. Neither a tribute to the sheer tenacity of lead vocalist Eric Martin nor guitarist Billy Sheehan's skill with power tools, but rather to the surefire appeal of a sickly sweet power ballad.

Definitive Song: ``To Be With You'' (1991)