Nickelback marches forward
To love or to not to love? When it comes to Nickelback, this is always the question.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular and profitable rock bands of the 21st century, the Canadian quartet simultaneously has been the constant target of professional and wanna-be critics who hate their sound, hate their lyrics, hate their look and, most certainly, hate their success. And yet … there’s that success.
Formed in 1995, Nickelback has been one of rock’s most prolific bands, turning out nine studio albums from 1996-2017. Six of those albums climbed into the top six of Billboard’s Hot 100, including three that peaked at No. 2 and one that went to No. 1. Number of albums Nickelback has sold worldwide? A reported 50 million, which makes them the 11th best-selling band of all time. Total concert tickets sold? Somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 million. Number of sold-out international tours? Eleven.
Such statistics, of course, are likely to provoke a rebuttal from this country’s collection of Nickelback haters—something along the lines of: Yeah, but how much of that success has occurred in the US of A? There’s no way American rock fans support Nickelback! Eh, not so fast. According to publishing and recording rights company BMG, when it comes to foreign bands doing business on U.S. soil, The Beatles lead the pack. Right behind the Fab Four? Not the Rolling Stones, not The Who, not Pink Floyd—not even Canadian power trio Rush.
No way—Nickelback? Seriously? Yes, Nickelback. Seriously.
Of course, Nickelback is hardly the lone member of the Love/Hate Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rather, they’re simply the latest in a decadeslong continuum of polarizing rock bands—bands whose overwhelming success was met, for whatever reason, with underwhelming respect from a large segment of the music industry, be it journalists, social media trolls or even peers.
To wit: A notch to the left of Nickelback on that aforementioned continuum is Creed, the only band to finish “ahead” of them in Rolling Stone magazine’s 2013 readers’ poll titled “Ten Worst Bands of the Nineties.” Creed, of course, took the baton from fellow commercially impactful ’90s acts such as Limp Bizkit (No. 3 on the “Worst Bands” poll) and Hootie & The Blowfish (No. 6). Before that, ’80s bands such as Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard were simultaneously celebrated and scorned … as were the likes of Styx, Journey and KISS in the ’70s.
So, rest assured, as long as electricity exists to power the amps that guitars are plugged into, there’s another band standing in the on-deck circle, waiting to assume the next spot on the love/hate spectrum. When that band arrives, they’d be wise to steal a page from their predecessors’ handbook: Ignore the negative chatter and stick to the game plan. By doing so, that band just might enjoy Nickelback-like success someday. And maybe even land a residency in Vegas.
Hard Rock Hotel, 9 p.m. Feb. 23-24, 27 & March 2-3, starting at $50.50 plus tax and fee. 888.929.7849 AXS