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Rollin Stone's Top 100 Singers

AuthorMessage
koin_era345tus

Posts: 294

new Posted: 09:54PM Oct 30, 2012

The full list: (thanks to Stereogum for the copy-past friendly list )

100 Mary J. Blige
99 Steven Tyler
98 Stevie Nicks
97 Joe Cocker
96 B.B. King
95 Patti LaBelle
94 Karen Carpenter
93 Annie Lennox
92 Morrissey
91 Levon Helm
90 The Everly Brothers
89 Solomon Burke
88 Willie Nelson
87 Don Henley
86 Art Garfunkel
85 Sam Moore
84 Darlene Love
83 Patti Smith
82 Tom Waits
81 John Lee Hooker
80 Frankie Valli
79 Mariah Carey
78 Sly Stone
77 Merle Haggard
76 Steve Perry
75 Iggy Pop
74 James Taylor
73 Dolly Parton
72 John Fogerty
71 Toots Hibbert
70 Gregg Allman
69 Ronnie Spector
68 Wilson Pickett
67 Jerry Lee Lewis
66 Thom Yorke
65 David Ruffin
64 Axl Rose
63 Dion
62 Lou Reed
61 Roger Daltrey
60 Björk
59 Rod Stewart
58 Christina Aguilera
57 Eric Bourdon
56 Mavis Staples
55 Paul Rodgers
54 Luther Vandross
53 Muddy Waters
52 Brian Wilson
51 Gladys Knight
50 Bonnie Raitt
49 Donny Hathaway
48 Buddy Holly
47 Jim Morrison
46 Patsy Cline
45 Kurt Cobain
44 Bobby "Blue" Bland
43 George Jones
42 Joni Mitchell
41 Chuck Berry
40 Curtis Mayfield
39 Jeff Buckley
38 Elton John
37 Neil Young
36 Bruce Springsteen
35 Dusty Sprinfield
34 Whitney Houston
33 Steve Winwood
32 Bono
31 Howlin' Wolf
30 Prince
29 Nina Simone
28 Janis Joplin
27 Hank Williams
26 Jackie Wilson
25 Michael Jackson
24 Van Morrison
23 David Bowie
22 Etta James
21 Johnny Cash
20 Smokey Robinson
19 Bob Marley
18 Freddie Mercury
17 Tina Turner
16 Mick Jagger
15 Robert Plant
14 Al Green
13 Roy Orbison
12 Little Richard
11 Paul McCartney
10 James Brown
09 Stevie Wonder
08 Otis Redding
07 Bob Dylan
06 Marvin Gaye
05 John Lennon
04 Sam Cooke
03 Elvis Presley
02 Ray Charles
01 Aretha Franklin

What do you think? Also see top 100 artists and top 500 songs.


Happy ever after in the marketplace, Desmond lets the children lend a hand. Molly stays at home and does her pretty face, and in the evening she's the singer with the band!
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dolphingurl12Aus

Posts: 5492

new Posted: 06:27PM Oct 31, 2012

Christina Aguliera sticks out to me as kind of random in the middle of that list, but I guess she does have a really good voice...

Nothing else I'd really object to.


Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else. - Gloria Steinem
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glowingredbobAgb

Posts: 96

new Posted: 08:50PM Oct 31, 2012

I would move Johnny Cash and Freddie Mercury up. And David Bowie. But also B.B. King is not on this list and that makes me sad. And I'm not sure I agree that Aretha Franklin has the best voice ever. But overall, it's a good list.

Sarcastic is the one word that defines me.
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koin_era345tus

Posts: 294

new Posted: 03:21PM Nov 1, 2012

BB King is #96.

Personally i wouldnt have put bob dylan so high on the list... Hes good but not THAT good. Also noticed hardly any modern pop singers are on the list. Which im perfectly happy with- just an observation.


Happy ever after in the marketplace, Desmond lets the children lend a hand. Molly stays at home and does her pretty face, and in the evening she's the singer with the band!
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Smithy*enmod

Posts: 987

new Posted: 04:56PM Nov 1, 2012

What's the criteria? I'd say Dylan's talent was in his songwriting rather than his singing...

Brian Wilson should be higher than #52!


"They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?" "No man, they got the metric system. The wouldn't know what a Quarter Pounder is."
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LogicalRogerAus

Posts: 2459

new Posted: 06:59PM Nov 1, 2012

I tend to appreciate music more than I do singing, so I'd probably rather have seen the artist or song list on here, but what can I say about the singers? Well, there are a number I enjoy on here, but it's hard for me to separate a singer from their music. I mean, in one song, or performance, even, they can sound great or not so wonderful. I'd have to look at their whole repertoire and, unfortunately for me, I'm just not good at that. My ipod has many more artist listings than albums. I know more tunes than individual voices.

But, beyond that, the only other thing I would say, as this list and any other sort, are pretty much based on opinions and therefore difficult to gauge, would be that though I expected it, it would have been nice to see some more non-American singers on the list. Given the popularity of American entertainment, voting probably would make the list largely American, so I can't say the list is intentionally biased, and pointing out less known singers might seem foolish if they are taking the spot of someone well loved and questionably more deserving, but I guess it just seems odd to me. There are probably lists that are international and serve that purpose, though. But, I guess limiting that section, limiting the list to just famous people Americans have likely heard of, leaves out a lot of musicians you like and makes it seem more like a who's who.

Well, I will admit that there are significant people on this list who are more than important because of their celebrity status, and I will admit that I don't judge voices like others do, so the list would always be different than mine, but I'm just noticing what I didn't see or failed to see. There are a good many great singers on here.

A quick question, though: do people mostly listen to music in languages they can understand? I guess even with the internet, just finding out about foreign music written by and written about in magazines in a foreign language is more difficult t. Just curious, are lyrics so important that someone has to understand a song's lyrics to appreciate it? I certainly don't, but once again, I go for the melody. Maybe if this were a list of top 100 DJs the nationalities would be more international.

Interesting topics. Oh, as a side note: the top song of the 500 song list is .... "Like a Rolling Stone". Just a bit curious, given the name of the magazine (though not its source, I should add).
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The_SpiderAus

Posts: 147

new Posted: 08:34PM Nov 1, 2012

Dont think Kobain belongs so high..if this is purely singing talent alone. Scott Weiland/Chris Cornell probly best singers of that era/genre

---This message was edited on 08:35PM Nov 1, 2012---

Let the games, begin!
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Faith511*lk

Posts: 274

new Posted: 10:36AM Nov 25, 2012

Johnny Cash

When Miley Cyrus licks a hammer, its "art" and "music" but when I do it, I'm "wasted" and "have to leave home depot"
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babyjuice

Posts: 487

new Posted: 11:11AM Nov 25, 2012

Only recognized twelve names...
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Smithy*enmod

Posts: 987

new Posted: 12:43PM Nov 25, 2012

Then you have plenty of great "new" music to listen to!

"They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?" "No man, they got the metric system. The wouldn't know what a Quarter Pounder is."
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JQPublic

Posts: 1811

new Posted: 08:31AM Nov 26, 2012

All of those names look western, and most look anglophone. Talk about prejudice.

'An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.' - Charles Dickens
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Smithy*enmod

Posts: 987

new Posted: 09:22AM Nov 26, 2012

Different cultures having different preferences does not constitute "prejudice", at least not in the loaded sense in which that word is normally used.

"They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?" "No man, they got the metric system. The wouldn't know what a Quarter Pounder is."
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JQPublic

Posts: 1811

new Posted: 09:33AM Nov 26, 2012

The adjudicators are supposed to be impartial. This is a list of the world's best singers! How is it possible that there's not a single Asian-looking name on the list?

Also, since inviting only Anglophone judges would result in unfair results, why didn't they invite experts from around the world?

Sorry, but I fail to see how the judges weren't prejudiced.


'An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.' - Charles Dickens
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Smithy*enmod

Posts: 987

new Posted: 09:47AM Nov 26, 2012

It's a list in a commerical US-based magazine, not a scientific hypothesis. If most of the readers and writers are western you should hardly be surprised or offended that it has a huge western bias.

"They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?" "No man, they got the metric system. The wouldn't know what a Quarter Pounder is."
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LogicalRogerAus

Posts: 2459

new Posted: 12:01PM Nov 26, 2012

Although I understand the bias, I have to agree with JQ that it's an unfortunate result.

Still, the idea of constructing a list of "the best singers" is silly to begin because of the eventuality of not including all of the best singers in a small list of 100. A more interesting list, for me at least, would be something like "The Best Rock'n' Roll Bands," which would then focus globally on great bands from all over. It will still leave many out, but I think if I like the genre then I'd be more encouraged to look at all the bands and see which ones I liked increasing my taste and awareness of international music.

Western-bias can be a bit annoying at times. Often if a library has novels, music, or films, they will be Western ones. If I want to listen to Japanese music at the library I'll have to go on a bit of a bus ride to do so. It's unfortunate for those interested in more than just Western arts.

Since this topic is on a list of top 100 singers, why not name some of the artists you think should be on it? I reckon I won't know any of the ones you'd name, however, JQ, but that doesn't matter.
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JQPublic

Posts: 1811

new Posted: 06:16AM Nov 28, 2012

To be honest, I don't really have preferences since I almost never listen to modern music. Normally, I wouldn't listen to anything composed after 1960. It's just that not seeing any Chinese names annoyed me a bit.

'An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.' - Charles Dickens
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