As a group and individually.
After that it would be Dylan.
Being just 58 I hope I can play in your sandbox....
However with also being English what I grew up with is likely well different to others here.
My defining band and musician would have to be Deep Purple and Ritchie Blackmore. I just dug ( and still do) the whole fantasy escape that music truly is.
While the vast majority of my peers raved over Led Zep and Pink Floyd, I was banging my head to Purple, Sabbath and Hawkwind.
slaw, I don’t know what you mean by "best describes you/your life as you see it." I’ll just say the band that currently really knocks me out is The Fabulous Superlatives, Marty Stuart’s "backing" band (they are actually more like collaborators), comprised of the fantastic Nashville studio drummer and harmony singer Harry Stinson (he is SOOO good), guitarist Kenny Vaughan (I first heard him live in Lucinda Williams’ band on the Car Wheels tour), and Nashville studio pedal steel great Chris Scruggs playing bass (he’s also a real fine drummer).
If you want to be as blown away as was David Letterman, watch the clip of Marty and TFS performing live on Dave’s old show, viewable on You Tube. Just insanely great.
Hmm...I took a look at the original post and it asked " What band's output would you say best describes you/your life as you see it?" Most of the replies indicated what the reader liked to listen to, which is cool. I enjoy seeing what others like to listen to. My response may be more to the point. One line from a George Harrison song (someone here will know the title) goes approximately: "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there." In my case, I'm not sure what I started out to do, but here I am and I'm pretty content. I like being in my 60's, except for the aches and pains.
Being as timeless as they are, The Band have been on my turntable and in my CD players since 1969 (I didn’t "get" them until a year after Music From Big Pink came out, but for years have listened to that album every single day. Seriously.).
And you don’t more timeless than, or more applicable to the "human condition", than J.S. Bach. There were more geniuses in his time, and he was---and remains---the King of the hill.
I could live on a musical diet of just The Band and J.S. Bach if I had to, but I’d sure miss Dylan, Iris Dement, Buddy Miller, Dave Edmunds, Hank Williams, Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams, and all my other favorites. Luckily, we mid-century relics have our massive music libraries to elevate us out of the mundane. I truly pity young people; they are in for some bad times ahead. Hope reincarnation is a myth!
Hank Williams: "No matter how I struggle and strive, I’ll never get out of this wor-uld alive."
I’m the OP. I can assure you what I meant is what (one) band’s output coincides with your life? Does this make more sense?
Interestingly enough that you are including Lucinda Williams here, since it wasn’t long ago you were asking for recommendations for your upcoming vinyl; purchases.
You must be frustrated at the turn this thread has taken, because members are largely just listing bands and albums that they like. I have to admit that your question is a really difficult one to answer, because it is really hard to commit to one artist; and I think that is what some thoughtful respondents have stated.
I really like the way some have listed a number of their foundational artists, and then mentioned that there are of course many others. That is how I feel after further thought.