4 p.m., Jan. 22
- Community Blog
- Daily Crasher
100 Best Singers, 1 Great Drummer
A few music things...
First, I was bummed to see in the paper, that Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, died in a hotel. He was 61. And, he really smoked on some of the best Hendrix tunes (listen to Manic Depression and Fire).
I'll have to ask our fellow writer Jay A Sanford about him. He had told me some stories about Noel Redding, the bassist, years ago.
And, I saw that Rolling Stone did a list of the top 100 singers. Now, usually the lists they do have lots of problems.
When Q Magazine (a much better publication in England), compiled a list, it had the best and worst singers, which was a lot more fun. And it was a pretty good list. Here's who Rolling Stone has (and my comments after each name)
100 Mary J. Blige...not the biggest fan of her music, but she deserves to be here. It's nice having contemporary people on the list. Great voice, though. ..................................................................
99 Steven Tyler....I'm like early Aerosmith. Toys in the Attic is one of the best albums ever. Maybe he'd be higher on a list of "best lips" in rock...................................................................................
98 Stevie Nicks...great voice, but I just don't like her solo stuff. With Fleetwood Mac, amazing. I've heard Gold Dust Woman a million times, and could hear it a million more.
97 Joe Cocker...this guy has great ballads, but I'm not the biggest fan of his voice (or his stage presence). I do think it's funny that his ballad "You Are So Beautiful" is played at so many weddings. When if you listen to the words...he's saying "You are so beautiful, to me". So...she could be ugly to other people, but hey...the groom things your hot, so that's all that matters.
96 B.B. King...I guess having a living blues legend on the list isn't so bad...but he's known more for Lucille than his voice.
95 Patti LaBelle. Known more for her hair than her voice.
94 Karen Carpenter. Known more for her eating disorder than her singing. But she did have a great voice. Lame songs, though.
93 Annie Lennox. I hated the Eurythmics, but love her solo stuff. Great voice, horrible hair.
92 Morrissey. Good voice, great songwriter. Not all that versatile, though. It's always just dark stuff with this dude.
91 Levon Helm. Nice choice...The Band is amazing.
90 The Everly Brothers. Wait...are both Phil and Don on the list together?
89 Solomon Burke. This big guy is so underrated. I bought an autographed guitar of his for $500 years ago. He's amazing, and I'm glad he's on the list.
88 Willie Nelson. How this guy is on the list is just bizarre. He's a great songwriter, but what a horrible voice. It sounds so much better to hear Elvis sing his hit "Always on my Mind".
87 Don Henley. Good voice. But the big Lebowski said it best about the Eagles (although, have to admit, they do actually have some great songs).
86 Art Garfunkel. The better voice of the duo, but Simon wrote those amazing tunes. Just look at his solo career.
85 Sam Moore...Sam and Dave are great, but not sure I'd have him on this list.
84 Darlene Love...I'm not sure who this is!!
83 Patti Smith. I'm a huge fan. Horses is one of the best albums of the 70s. But, she doesn't have a great voice. She has great poems, great energy...not a great voice.
82 Tom Waits. Wow...the former National City dude is a great songwriter, but the voice is hard to take. I think I've listened to that fishtrombone CD maybe twice in my life. Not even sure why I bought it.
81 John Lee Hooker. I'm not the biggest blues fan, but I love JLH. Crawling King Snake, One Bourbon One Scotch One Beer...and of course, Boom Boom. But, best vocalist. Well, okay. He is at 81.
80 Frankie Valli. I thought Jersey Boys was overrated, but not Valli as a vocalist. I'm not sure why he's not higher up on the list.
79 Mariah Carey. She has the best voice, with the worst songs, of anyone I've ever heard in my life.
78 Sly Stone. This legendary recluse is talented. I'm just not a big fan.
77 Merle Haggard. I don't know enough about this Okie...and I'm not a country music fan.
76 Steve Perry. Sure, many of his songs are cheesy, but he has the pipes (and the cheesy mustache). Definately deserves to be on the list.
75 Iggy Pop. The Godfather of Punk...he should be in the rock n roll hall of fame. I have no problem with him here on the list. I'm a huge Stooges fan.
74 James Taylor. I absolutely hate his voice. Great songwriter, I just don't like his singing.
73 Dolly Parton. Uh...mmmm. Not sure how I feel about this. Great songwriter. She's versatile, and can do country, pop, bluegrass. I like Jack White doing her songs better than her.
72 John Fogerty. I love CCR. I love his swamp soundin' voice. His solo career, to me, is horrid. He's never done a solo tune I've liked, but I can't get enough of that CCR (again, just like Leboski).
71 Toots Hibbert. Who is this? This isn't the person from Toots/Maytall? Did I ever spell that correctly?
70 Gregg Allman. I like his keyboards better than his voice. I do love his singing on "I Am No Angel", but....I dunno. He's far enough down on the list that I can't really complain.
69 Ronnie Spector. How is she not farther up on the list?
68 Wilson Pickett. And Wilson, too. How cool was it listening to his songs in The Committments?
67 Jerry Lee Lewis. Great honky-tonk piano. Great songs. He's a legend, so he's gotta be on the list. This is a good a place as any. 66 Thom Yorke. I think Radiohead is overrated by the critics, but I have a few CDs. They're great. And when he sings ballads, he sounds just like the Bread singer (can't remember his name, Gates, or something...David Gates maybe)
65 David Ruffin. Not the biggest fan.
64 Axl Rose. Okay, if it's a list of the biggest douche bags in rock, have him on the list. Biggest bandana, or goofiest hair style, sure. But for best vocalist, he shouldn't be on a list of the top 1,000.
63 Dion. Not sure why this doo-woop, New Yorker isn't in the top 15. He's amazing. My friend met him at Humphrey's, and said he was a jerk. But hey...that's not what this list is about.
62 Lou Reed. He has some great songs, and his voice works for them. But, it just doesn't seem right to have him on this list.
61 Roger Daltrey. Rog would be #1 if it was the best screamers in music history. I dig his singing voice, but I lean more towards those classic rockers.
60 Björk. I didn't hear that funky album she did a few years back, with only her voice and a weird, throaty style of singing. I didn't care for The Sugarcubes, but like her solo stuff. Possibly, Maybe is one of my favorite songs of all-time. And Oh So Quiet, would surely make the list of best videos of all-time.
59 Rod Stewart. His raspy vocals, and his popular CDs of the standards, assures his place on the list. My guilty pleasure is his disco era stuff. I hate to admit I like it.
58 Christina Aguilera. I'm not a fan. And, I don't want to get sued by saying what list she should be on.
57 Eric Bourdon. The Animals is one of my favorite 60s bands. That bluesy, working class rock he did was great. Sure, his stuff with War (Spill the Wine) is fun, but nothing beats those old Animals tracks.
56 Mavis Staples. Perfect place for her.
55 Paul Rodgers. Perfect place for him. He was great with Bad Company and The Firm, but he's showing his limitations as a vocalist by fronting Queen (although, following Freddie is a tough act).
54 Luther Vandross. Why isn't he higher? I don't love his songs, but that voice....
53 Muddy Waters. I like his harmonica player James Cotton, more thhan I like him. But hey, it's a blues legend. Rolling Stone probably just put him on this list for credibility.
52 Brian Wilson. Nice choice.
51 Gladys Knight. I could see her being higher up the list.
50 Bonnie Raitt. She is the most overrated of all. She gets all these props for her slide guitar playing (which is good, but nothing special). As a singer...geez. Listen to her first hit (a cover of Runaway). It's horrible!
49 Donny Hathaway. Uh...who is this? Is this the Hathaway mentioned in the Amy Winehouse tune?
48 Buddy Holly. He was the first to write and produce his own stuff. I'm a huge fan.
47 Jim Morrison. The Doors are my favorite band ever. And, Morrison is actually a versatile singer. He can scream, sing ballads...but Rolling Stone has never cared for him.
46 Patsy Cline. Not a huge fan, but she deserves to be here. Best use of one of her songs, was The Simpsons. Homer gets locked up in an insane asylum, and when Marge calls to see how he is, she's put on hold. It's an elevator musak version of "Crazy".
45 Kurt Cobain. Nirvana is great. Those three CDs are amazing. And, his voice did have a blend of that painful, sorrowful touch which was needed in some songs, and the grunge yelling.
44 Bobby "Blue" Bland. I love his stuff with BB King. Not the biggest fan of his voice.
43 George Jones. I don't know enough about his catalog.
42 Joni Mitchell. Great voice, great songwriter (and great artist...she did the CSN&Y cover for Deja Vu). I'm not the biggest fan of her songs, though.
41 Chuck Berry. Sure, he's a legend. The first guy to do rock n roll (in my opinion...some argue Bill Haley, Ike Turner, but this was the first). But when every song sounds the same...
40 Curtis Mayfield. He should be in the top 20.
39 Jeff Buckley. Great songwriter, but not the greatest vocalist, in m opinion.
38 Elton John. Who doesn't love Reg?
37 Neil Young. Wow. Why do they do this? Just to create controversy? Great songwriter. I mean, Harvast, what an album. Heck, he has about 2 or 3 other albums that would make the list of best albums of all time. But that voice is dreadful. I mean, I love Sugar Mountain. It's great. But listen to his singing. Why would he be on this list?
36 Bruce Springsteen. Not a big fan. For every song of his I like, there are 5 that I hate.
35 Dusty Sprinfield. Did they put her here, because her name is similar to Bruce Springsteen? Why is she not higher up?
34 Whitney Houston. Great voice, I just don't dig the songs.
33 Steve Winwood. I absolutely hate his voice, which made it hard for me to like the Spencer Davis Group (he started with them when he was 15). I do love Blind Faith (wish they would've done more), and for some reason, I dig Traffic, despite his horrendous vocals. His solo stuff in the 80s won a lot of Grammy's. I'm not sure why.
32 Bono. Good place for him. I would put him on the list of "worst stage names," though.
31 Howlin' Wolf. I only know a handful of his songs.
30 Prince. Good place for him. He can do ballads, immitate JB, and rock or funk out.
29 Nina Simone. Great place for her.
28 Janis Joplin. Sure, she could belt out the blues, but...it's hard for me to take her in large doses. A few songs I love...Ball and Chain, Summertime, Down on Me....But I jump to change the channel when I hear Piece of My Heart.
27 Hank Williams. Great songs, and a country legend. I prefer Hank Williams III.
26 Jackie Wilson. Everyone in the music industry loves him. He has a few tunes I like. I prefer Jackie Wilson Says, by Van Morrison, to anything by Jackie himself.
25 Michael Jackson. No problem with this. Obviously he'd be #1 on the list of weirdest singers.
24 Van Morrison. Just saw him at the Hollywood Bowl. I'll be writing about that in a future Crasher column. One of my all-time favs. Moondance is such an amazing album (critics like Astral Weeks better, not sure why). And that early bluesy stuff he did with Them (Mystic Eyes, Gloria, Here Comes the Night, Baby Please Don't Go)...this guy rules!
23 David Bowie. Very interesting singer, great variety of songs...no problem with him here.
22 Etta James. I've heard she's horrible in concert now...but they're picking by the songs on the albums. And nobody would have a problem with her here, based on that.
21 Johnny Cash. As a vocalist, not very versatile. And a lot of people can immitate him easily. But we all love the songs.
20 Smokey Robinson. He's got a great voice, but I just hate his songs. He sings way too high for me. A friend of mine saw him in concert, and said he started signing so high in some songs, you couldn't even hear the lyrics.
19 Bob Marley. Every song sounds the same. And I'm not into Reggae. Maybe if I was in Jamaica, but...
18 Freddie Mercury. Not sure why he isn't in the Top 5. Maybe that goofy mustache knocks him down a few pegs, I dunno. I mean, aside from all the songs you know, he did a damn opera album that got raved reviews (Barcelona).
17 Tina Turner. Nice legs. Nice wig. Okay songs.
16 Mick Jagger. The early stuff is amazing. After Sticky Fingers, it just went down hill.
15 Robert Plant. I love Led Zep. But many people find him hard to take as a vocalist (much the way they do the Rush singer). But listen to those ballads...Tangerine, Thank You; the blues songs, Since I've Been Loving You...oh hell, I can't list all their great songs. I'd be here all night.
14 Al Green. Rev Al. In movies, people always have the guy play Marvin Gay or Vandross, when the seduction is about to take place. I would suggest the Call Me album by Green. Best shout out: Adam Ant singing "Pretending that you're Al Green" in "Good Two Shoes."
13 Roy Orbison. Great voice. Nobody would deny that. It's hard to imagine him not cracking the Top 10, but here he is, at lucky 13.
12 Little Richard. One of the first screamers in rock. You get points for that.
11 Paul McCartney. Sir Paul was a huge Little Richard fan (and covered a few of his songs nicely). It's funny that he got one ahead of him (and many ahead of his favorite singer, Buddy Holly; many don't realize, Paul owns most of the Holly catalog, too).
10 James Brown. He's a one trick pony. I'd have him at #82 on this list.
09 Stevie Wonder. I wonder how he got up so high on this list. Maybe at #38.
08 Otis Redding. I've read that people really needed to see him live to appreciate him. In Bill Graham (concert promoter, not religious figure), he tells stories about him live, and what it did to the women. He has a great compilation with about 20 songs, I highly recommend it. Especially if you're only familiar with Sittin on the Dock of the Bay.
07 Bob Dylan. Do I really need to explain how stupid a choice this is? Sure, Blood on the Tracks is one of my all time favorite albums. Blonde on Blonde is okay. But he's a horrible vocalist, that's an amazing songwriter. This is a list of "best singers".
06 Marvin Gaye. Great place for him. He had one helluva voice.
05 John Lennon. Great songwriter, good voice. Maybe he should be at #45. I say that, and the Beatles are one of my favorite bands.
04 Sam Cooke. Great place for him. I love Cooke. I think his ballads (You Send Me, Bring it on Home), are among the best in music history. One of my pieces of music memorabilia includes a contract of his. I cherish that.
03 Elvis Presley. Who can argue with the king? Millions of Elvis fans can't be wrong.
02 Ray Charles. For best singers, I'd say Ray should be down farther.
01 Aretha Franklin. I only own her Greatest Hits. Now I feel guilty. Great voice...hell, she's the queen of soul. But I'd have her down at about 15.
Those are my opinions, of Rolling Stones opinion. Up yours.
I mean, what are yours?