We've Got Your Back: The 10 Best Backing Bands of All Time
We've got your back — Guitar World's guide to the 10 best backing bands of all time.
01. Crazy Horse
From 1969’s Everybody Knows This is Nowhere all that way up through the excellent Psychedelic Pill from 2012, the partnership between Neil Young and Crazy Horse stands as one of the most prolific in rock lore.
While the band has gone through its share of incarnations through the years, the drum-tight rhythm section of Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina has been intact since the ‘60s, and guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro has been a steady fixture since 1975’s Zuma.
In the realm of backing bands, Crazy Horse are far from the tightest act around, drifting lazily but deliberately between tempos with the occasional burst of cacophonous noise thrown in for good measure. But Young has never tapped them for metronome-like precision; he always comes back to them because, in the purest musical sense, they complete each other.
“I don’t think of my guitar solos as guitar solos,” said Young in a classic Guitar World interview, “because when we play, we’re like a big band jamming and taking long rides together.”
And so Crazy Horse stand atop the heap of backing bands for an unparalleled ability to elevate their frontman to new heights, never hesitating to take a leap out of the pocket when the music calls for it. Assuming their signature stance, huddled tightly around Molina's drum set, you get the undeniable impression that they're in another world entirely, journeying through strange landscapes with no particular destination in mind.
Neil Young said it himself: “I can’t do this with anyone else.”
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