ROLLING STONE’S LIST OF THE 200 GREATEST SINGERS OF ALL TIME IS JUST INSANE!
I usually wouldn’t even pay attention to something like Rolling Stone’s list of The 200 Greatest Singers of All Time, because, after all, aren’t all these “greatest” lists subjective? But this one caught my attention because the frequenters of the internet are outraged that left off the list—of two hundred singers, remember—is none other than…Celine Dion!!! That is an outrage! (And to do this now, when she just shared her devastating news that she may never sing again, is especially cruel.)
To the mind of many, she should stand atop it!
I do have to admit that I’m not a fan of her songs, but I totally recognize that she is one of the greatest singers ever! So, knowing that Celine is not on it, that inane list had me pissed-off before I even got a gander at it. The same for Mr. X. And we kept getting more hot under the collar as we went through it all.
Remember—this is a list of the greatest singers, not performers nor songwriters, nor the most popular people in the field. Singers. Period. That’s why so much of it is maddening.
Every now and then, as we perused it, we’d come upon a name, such as David Ruffin, (the original Temptations lead singer,) and we’d both go, “Yes!” But more often than not, we were beyond disgusted and befuddled that people like Ozzy Osbourne and Courtney Love were on there at all, and not even near the bottom of the list!
Oh, and they’re both ahead of Barbra Streisand!!! Rolling Stone has her at #147! Who wrote this list??? Surely no one who knows much about music. (By the way, I dislike Barbra personally, for reasons you’ll just have to wait for my book to learn about, but her singing ability is undeniable.)
So, here are my own Top 10 Singers of All Time:
1—Ali-Ollie Woodson, the Temptations’ third lead singer. I’ve seen him perform solo several times, once as up-close as you can be to a person without performing the vertical mambo, and that man sang with every fiber of his being. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it before or since. [Note: He tragically passed away in 2010. If you have time, please read my tribute to him here, so you can understand his greatness a bit: itsnotaboutme.tv/news/miscellaneousali-ollie-woodson-rip.]
2—Adam Lambert (I say this as someone who has seen him perform live a few times, mostly before he was famous, and I could barely catch my breath at the magnificence I was witnessing. I tried my hardest to get him noticed back then, to no avail. But I did give him a lot of convincing reasons to audition for American Idol, which I hope Adam remembers, even a little bit.)
3—Barbra Streisand, (whom, as I mentioned above, I dislike personally, but I’m a fan of fairness and honesty, so here she is.)
9—Sammy Davis, Jr.
10–Patti LuPone (She’s another one with whom I have a personal beef, but that does not negate her superior singing talent.)
That Top 10 is followed closely by, in no particular order: Barry White, Paul McCartney, Ronnie Specter, and David Ruffin, who are all on Rolling Stone‘s, as well. But mine also features Andra Day, Hugh Jackman, Maxwell, Eva Cassidy, Lea Michelle, Tori Kelly, Celine Dion, Johnny Mathis, and Tony Bennett, all of whom did not make Rolling Stone’s Top 200. Insane. (And, of course, my two dark horses–Gerry Marsden and Martin Short—didn’t make their list, either.)
I’m sure many others would also include Elton John, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, (who are all on the list,) and Sting, as well, who I was shocked to discover, is not on it!
By the way, as I went along, I did have to keep reminding myself that the list is of the best singers, not necessarily the best voices, and there is a bit of a distinction there. And, just to remind everyone, including Rolling Stone, I published a list entitled My Favorite Voices of All Time right here in ItsNotAboutMe.TV…almost a decade ago!!! But I guess it’s flattering to be imitated, right? (You can still read it here if you’re curious; it’s way shorter than 200!: itsnotaboutme.tv/news/list-my-favorite-voices-of-all-time.)
So here are some singers who are on the list, deservedly so, in my opinion: Bonnie Raitt, Alicia Keys, Marc Anthony, Benda Lee, Amy Winehouse, George Strait, (of whom Mr. X is a big fan,) Darlene Love, Christina Aguilera, (who they put as only #141, when she should be at least #20!,) Neil Young, Donny Hathaway, Jackie Wilson, (whom I was very happy to see on there,) Michael Jackson, Steve Perry, Janis Joplin, Minnie Ripperton, Sade, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, Teddy Pendergrass, Etta James, Louie Armstrong, Curtis Mayfield, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke. And, of course, Aretha Franklin, but, in my humble opinion, she’s far from being #1, where Rolling Stone has placed her.
I have no problem with some of the others, but there are many people on the list who should definitely not be: Iggy Pop, Lana Del Rey, SZA, Debbie Harry, Dion, (whose songs I absolutely adore, especially Runaround Sue, during which I cannot ever sit still, so please play it when I’m declared deceased, just to make sure that I really am dead before burying me!, but he’s still not one of the 200 greatest singers of all time!,) Levon Helm, Ozzy Osbourne, Courtney Love, Lou Reed, Roger Daltrey, Leonard Cohen, (who’s a wonderful songwriter but an awful singer,) Taylor Swift, (same as Cohen, with the added bit of being a genius marketer of herself along with a wonderful performer and show put-together-er, but not a great singer,) Usher (marvelous dancer, but mediocre singer,) Chuck Berry, and nails-on-a-chalkboard-sounding Bjork, of all people!!!
In case you can’t tell, I do not think of most metal, punk, or grunge people as the best singers in the world. And then there’s the added confusion of many on this list being famous foreigners, of whom I’ve never heard, so I can’t judge them. But I still doubt that any of them deserve to be above Barbra Streisand!
And why are there no opera singers on their list? Some of them, (Enrico Caruso, Placido Domingo, and Maria Callas,) are probably the greatest singers in history!!!)
Maybe the music mag was just trying to be controversial, knowing they’d get more eyes on their article if everyone was upset by some major omissions, but that’s not the job of a reputable magazine. (Or maybe they just are not one!) All publications need to do the right thing, always.
In case you’d like to see this head-scratching list for yourself, here’s the link: www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/best-singers-all-time-1234642307.
And please share who you would add or delete to your own list of The 200 Greatest Singers of All Time in the Comments section below. I’d love to see everyone’s.
[Note: On a show business-related note, I’m going to try to live-tweet the Golden Globes tomorrow night, @MajorCelebrity, but if I get too involved with the show to split my attention, I’ll publish my full review of the festivities sometime next week.]