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As you would expect, this list is all kinds of fucked up: Rolling Stone’s 200 best singers of all time


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1. Aretha Franklin
2. Whitney Houston
3. Sam Cooke
4. Billie Holiday
5. Mariah Carey
6. Ray Charles
7. Stevie Wonder
8. Beyonce
9. Otis Redding
10. Al Green
11. Little Richard
12. John Lennon
13. Patsy Cline
14. Freddie Mercury
15. Bob Dylan
16. Prince
17. Elvis Presley
18. Celia Cruz
19. Frank Sinatra
20. Marvin Gaye
21. Nina Simone
22. Adele
23. Smokey Robinson
24. George Jones
25. Mary J. Blige
26. Paul McCartney
27. Dolly Parton
28. Mahalia Jackson
29. Chaka Khan
30. Hank Williams
31. Luther Vandross
32. David Bowie
33. Bessie Smith (was Steve Winwood)
34. Thom Yorke
35. Dusty Springfield
36. Kurt Cobain
37. Van Morrison
38. Curtis Mayfield
39. Louis Armstrong
40. Aaliyah
41. Etta James
42. Teddy Pendergrass
43. Ariana Grande
44. James Brown
45. Ella Fitzgerald
46. Mavis Staples
47. Linda Ronstadt (was Jim Morrison)
48. Toni Braxton
49. Rod Stewart
50. Joni Mitchell
51. Sade
52. Mick Jagger
53. Miriam Makeba
54. Willie Nelson
55. Tina Turner (was Paul Rodgers)
56. Barry White
57. Brian Wilson (was Eric Burdon)
58. Lady Gaga
59. Howlin' Wolf
60. Kate Bush
61. Umm Kulthum
62. George Michael
63. Robert Plant
64. Bjork
65. Minnie Riperton
66. David Ruffin
67. Dennis Brown
68. Rihanna
69. Youssou N'Dour
70. Ronnie Spector (was Greg Allman)
71. Roy Orbison
72. Muddy Waters
73. Hector Lavoe
74. Patti LaBelle
75. D'Angelo
76. Wilson Pickett
77. Bruce Springsteen (was Sly Stone)
78. Janis Joplin
79. Emmylou Harris
80. Chris Cornell ( was Frankie Valli)
81. Joao Gilberto (was John Lee Hooker)
82. Steve Perry (was Tom Waits)
83. Amy Winehouse
84. Lata Mangeshkar
85. Johnny Cash (was Sam Moore)
86. Michael Jackson (was Art Garfunkel. no Paul Simon tho)
87. Diana Ross (was Don Henley)
88. Jimmie Rodgers
89. Selena
90. Gal Costa (was The Everly Brothers)
91. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
92. Anita Baker
93. Stevie Nicks
94. Toots Hibbert
95. Vicente Fernández
96. Chuck Berry (was BB King)
97. Usher (was Joe Cocker)
98. Bob Marley
99. Clyde McPhatter (was Steven Tyler)
100. Elton John
101. Gladys Knight
102. Taylor Swift
103. Leonard Cohen
104. Aaron Neville
105. Eddie Vedder
106. Bill Withers
107. Lou Reed
108. Caetano Veloso
109. Roger Daltrey
110. The Weeknd
111. Fiona Apple
112. Ozzy Osbourne
113. La India
114. Chrissie Hynde
115. Erykah Badu
116. Chet Baker
117. Patti Smith
118. John Fogerty
119. Barrington Levy
120. Charlie Rich
121. Jackie Wilson
122. Donna Summer
123. Karen Carpenter
124. Robert Johnson
125. Joe Strummer
126. Donny Hathaway
127. Tammy Wynette
128. Florence Welch
129. Rob Halford
130. Courtney Love
131. Jeff Buckley
132. Loretta Lynn
133. Neil Young
134. Axl Rose
135. IU
136. Lauryn Hill
137. El DeBarge
138. Merle Haggard
139. Rocío Dúrcal
140. Bono
141. Christina Aguilera
142. Russell Thompkins Jr.
143. Luciano
144. Darlene Love
145. PJ Harvey
146. Ruth Brown
147. Barbra Streisand
148. Levon Helm
149. Wanda Jackson
150. Bryan Ferry
151. Martha Reeves
152. Michael Stipe
153. Mahlathini
154. Dion
155. Corin Tucker
156. George Strait
157. Robert Smith
158. Carrie Underwood
159. Mississippi John Hurt
160. Mercedes Sosa
161. Brenda Lee
162. Françoise Hardy
163. Bobby "Blue" Bland
164. Sandy Denny
165. Ronnie James Dio
166. Morrissey
167. Marc Anthony
168. Debbie Harry
169. Sylvester
170. Chris Stapleton
171. Odetta
172. Juan Gabriel
173. Marianne Faithful
174. Buddy Holly
175. Lana Del Rey
176. Iggy Pop
177. Patty Loveless
178. Tabu Ley Rochereau
179. Martha Wash
180. SZA
181. Bob Seger
182. Jazmine Sullivan
183. Solomon Burke
184. Karen O
185. Alicia Keys
186. Ofra Haza
187. Bonnie Raitt
188. Fela Kuti
189. Joan Baez
190. Frank Ocean
191. Jung Kook
192. Anohni
193. Brandy
194. Kelly Clarkson
195. Poly Styrene
196. Paul Westerberg
197. Burna Boy
198. Billie Eilish
199. Glenn Danzig
200. Rosalia

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Also, James Brown.

 

 

 

James Brown is the single baddest mothefucker that ever lived.   James Brown flushed two princes down the toilet every morning.   A great songwriter, a GREAT bandleader, and, without exception, the single greatest performer that ever lived.    I've been fortunate to see him live a dozen or so times.  

He was not a great singer. 

 

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12 hours ago, Gil Bang said:

Al Green is better than Marvin.

I'd probably agree.  Somewhere in that mix of "fantastic R&B / soul singers" is Otis Redding.  And Wilson Pickett. And Sam Cooke.

Speaking of white singers, where did Michael McDonald, Amy Winehouse, George Michael, Joss Stone, Janis Joplin, Daryl Hall and Rod Stewart land on this list?  I'm too lazy to look it up.  Dog ate my homework.

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7 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

I'd probably agree.  Somewhere in that mix of "fantastic R&B / soul singers" is Otis Redding.  And Wilson Pickett. And Sam Cooke.

Speaking of white singers, where did Michael McDonald, Amy Winehouse, George Michael, Joss Stone, Janis Joplin, Daryl Hall and Rod Stewart land on this list?  I'm too lazy to look it up.  Dog ate my homework.

I don't believe McDonald, Stone, and Hall even made the list.    

RS tried to distinguish in the preface between "Best Voices" and "Best Singers."  This list is supposedly the latter, which rationalizes why they were able to include names like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and others who have voices that make a lot of people cringe. 

But if we're talking great singers, one huge omission IMO is Robin Zander.  He can do it all.  I would certainly put him ahead of a bunch of people on that list.  

 

 

  

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26 minutes ago, Carl Spackler said:

But if we're talking great singers, one huge omission IMO is Robin Zander.  He can do it all.  I would certainly put him ahead of a bunch of people on that list.  

Yes, I agree.  Great singer AND great voice.

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