I thought about several:
Rush - Nah, Canada can and should do better.
Crosby, Stills, & Nash - All great vocalists and songwriters with success elsewhere before getting together, but whenever I hear the best they can do together I can't help but think they're missing a Canadian to make their best music.
The Police - At their best they were great. But ... there are better.
Peter, Paul, & Mary - They did get everyone of all ages singing a drug song disguised as a kid song. But with that and making a hit out of a John Denver song (therefore paving the way for "Annie's Song" and "Thank God I'm a Country Boy) as their high points, I don't think so.
ZZ Top: That Lil' Ol' Band from Texas does what they do better than anyone else, blues-tinged rock with a Texas edge, but if we're going to consider blues-tinged rock, we have to look hard at our next band.
Cream: Arguably rock's first "supergroup," with Clapton (rumored,- or should that be rumoured - to be God) on guitar. I think we have a winner.
Best trio of all time for me has to be Buddy Holly and The Crickets. Playing for a while as a trio with Jerry Allison on drums and Joe B Mauldin on double bass, the legacy those guys left us with will never be repeated by anyone else in our lifetime.
And then as big Al says above, Cream: The Police, and Crosby, Stills and Nash although I preferred them with Neil Young if I have to be picky! But the original Crickets are unbeatable to this day. .
Pam got me thinking about rockabilly bands from (slightly) before my time. How about the band called The Tennessee Three (who changed their name to Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two)? Sure, Cash got all the attention and most of the glory, but he backing musicians unique style were a big part of his sound.
I suspect there are a lot of trios among rockabilly bands from the late 50s and punk bands (The Ramones, for one) that were a trio and should be considered as at least contenders.
Big Al, I thought of two more and I don't how I overlooked them! The Walker Brothers and The Bee Gees. The WB were very big in the UK mid sixties after emigrating from the States. Don't know if they had quite the same impact in the US. The Bee Gees of course - big worldwide. :-)
Pam, the Walker Brothers are a name I've heard, but I couldn't name anything they sung. My brother-in-law is a fan of Scott Walker, but in the US my impression is that he is more of a cult act, despite them being from the US according to Wikipedia.
The Brothers Gibb should be on the short list by any reasonable criteria.
Al, the WB biggest hits were The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore and Make It Easy On Yourself, both numbers one's in the UK, followed by a string of minor hits. Then Scott Walker had a few solo hits, Joanna and Lights Of Cincinnati spring to mind. Yes he's now a cult act. He uses slabs of meat as instruments. He was on TV a few years ago demonstrating playing a leg of lamb with a violin bow. The commentator looked a bit flabbergasted! Gone a bit weird and was a recluse for years, living in an old mill town over here. Been racking my brains for more trios. The Ronettes I guess would qualify and The Supremes.
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