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Old 03-29-04, 08:17 AM   #1
fallow
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Rolling Stone's Top 50 Greatest Artists of All Time

http://www.rollingstone.com/features...n.asp?pid=2846

I might buy this just for the writers. I can barely remember what the ranks are because I was too caught up in seeing who made each entry.

I wonder if ghost writers made Britney Spear's bit on Madonna?

-edit-

And instead of wigging out about the list, why don't we submit our own top 15 (that's a good number these days)? I imagine the list was made by committee anyway, so bitching about the order is pointless.

Part of my list is going to be based on influence/history, the other, and larger, part on personal taste. I know that Led Zeppelin was *probably* more important than Nina Simone, but I hate Led Zeppelin.

1. The Beatles
2. Nina Simone
3. The Pixies
4. Michael Jackson
5. Prince
6. New Order
7. Billie Holiday
8. Sam Cooke
9. Gang of Four
10. Brian Eno
11. Tom Waits
12. The Zombies
13. The Velvet Underground
14. James Chance
15. Pere Ubu

Last edited by fallow; 03-29-04 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 03-29-04, 08:36 AM   #2
fallow
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Note that because part of this list is based on influence, as I see it/feel it, this is not necessarily my personal favorite list. For example, if it was, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Tom Waits, The Velvet Underground, Billie Holiday, and Gang of Four probably wouldn't even be in the top 15.
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Old 03-29-04, 10:47 AM   #3
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1) The Beatles by Elvis Costello- absolutely, no argument from me.
2) Bob Dylan by Robbie Robertson- should be in the top five somewhere
3) Elvis Presley by Bono- absolutely.
4) The Rolling Stones by Steven Van Zandt- definitely
5) Chuck Berry by Joe Perry- yup, no argument from me.
6) Jimi Hendrix by John Mayer- the definitive rock star, IMO, but maybe a little overrated. I'd put himn in the top twenty.
7) James Brown by Rick Rubin- definitely, should probably be a little higher
8) Little Richard by Little Richard- great star, but his catalogue isn't deep enough to warrent being this high. I wouldn't include him here, IMO.
9) Aretha Franklin by Jerry Wexler- absolutely, should be in the top ten.
10) Ray Charles by Van Morrison- absolutely, should probably be a little higher: huge catalogue, superb music, incredible innovation.
11) Bob Marley by Wyclef Jean- what can you say about Marley? No argument from me.
12) The Beach Boys by Lindsey Buckingham- as much as it pains me to say, they only produced one indesputable classic (Pet Sounds, one of my favorite albums ever) and some of the best singles of all time. Too little depth in the catalogue. They should be in the top fifty, but not here, IMO
13) Buddy Holly by John Mellencamp- forgotten genius, incredible songs (I think his entire catalogue is OOP right now). Should be here, IMO.
14) Led Zeppelin by David Grohl- six classic albums, they should be in the top twenty.
15) Stevie Wonder by Elton John- I can't argue, but I think he should be a little lower, maybe 30 something.
16) Sam Cooke by Art Garfunkel- outside of James Brown, the definitive soul singer. Should be here.
17) Muddy Watters by Billy Gibbons- this man is a god and noone can hang with him. But, if you're going to include him, what about Son House? Robert Johnson? etc.
18) Marvin Gaye by Smokey Robinson- definitely should be in the top 20, he was great for a long time.
19) The Velvet Underground by Julian Casablancas- should be higher, maybe even top ten.
20) Bo Diddley by Iggy Pop- should be higher. Did Bo invent rock-n-roll? Maybe.
21) Otis Redding by Steve Cropper- Overrated, IMO. Maybe 10 classic songs. He's no Sam Cooke, IMO.
22) U2 by Chris Martin- way too high. I love Boy and the Joshua Tree, but there's a lot of crap in their catalogue (think "Angel of Harlem").
23) Bruce Springsteen by Jackson Browne- absolutely, exactly the right place for the Boss. Anyone who makes "Wild, Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle", "Born to Run", "Darkness on the Edge of Town" and "Nebraska" and "Born in the USA" deserves to be here.
24) Jerry Lee Lewis by Moby- defined "rock star" in the fifties, but not really known for great music. Way too high, IMO.
25) Fats Domino by Dr. John- I don't really know his music...
26) The Ramones by Lenny Kaye- About right for them. Yes they made tons of classic albums, but they also have a little crap out there. I'm a huge Road to Ruin fan, though.
27) Nirvana by Vernon Reid- Give. Me. A Break. These guys belong nowhere near the people on this list. One great album does not a master make. I'd put the Pixies, Husker Du, Sonic Youth and MBV and about five other bands from the late eighties, early ninties above Nirvana.
28) Prince by Ahmir Thompson- I dunno. P-Funk should be here, not Prince. He's too unfocused and has been realeasing only crap for about a decade. Yes, Sign O'the Times, 1999 and Purple Rain have some great stuff, but also some pretty bad stuff.
29) The Who by Eddie Vedder- About right for the Who. My favorite drummer of all time and a serious force to contend with live.
30) The Clash by The Edge- Two of the greatest albums of all time, a third album with moments of genius (Give'Em...) and probably the best live punk band of all time. 30 sounds good to me.
31) Johnny Cash by Kris Kristofferson- Johnny Cash did too much and has too many great album for me to dis. He should be here, if he had a better editor, I'd put him higher.
32) Smokey Robinson and the Miracles by Bob Seger- no way. one of the greatest vocalists of all time, but too little classic music, IMO.
33) The Everly Brothers by Paul Simon- Uh, maybe. But I hate these guys.
34) Neil Young by Flea- some unbelievably great music and some unbelievably bad music. I love Neil, but I'd put a number of people on his level.
35) Michael Jackson by Antonio "LA" Reid- two classic pop albums, but both were aganged by another genius (Quincy) and had heavy songwriting credits from other people (that guy from Heatwave). Too high for MJ, IMO.
36) Madonna by Britney Spears- marketing genius but belongs nowhere on this list. Putting her here denigrates every legit female rock star out there.
37)Roy Orbison by K.D. Lang- way overrated. Yes, a terrific vocalist and performer but not a true innovator.
38) John Lennon by Lenny Kravitz- Outside of some of Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, he never did anything truly great alone. Shouldn't be on the list.
39) David Bowie by Lou Reed- should be higher. He's like the Miles Davis of pop- incredibly innovative and every persona he adopted has been copied by thousands of other rock bands.
40) Simon and Garfunkel by James Taylor- should be in the top 50.
41) The Doors by Marilyn Manson- a little pretentious and a lot of people hate them. Morrison Hotel and the first album are terrific. I might include them, then again I might not.
42) Van Morrison by Peter Wolf- IMO, only Astral Weeks (which is absolutely amazing) and Moondance qualify him to be here, but he belongs here.
43) Sly and the Family Stone by Don Was- the greatest flame-out in funk history. The guy basically invents urban pop-funk and them completely falls apart. "Stand", "Fresh" and "there's a riot goin' on" are indesputable classics and "Thank for letting me be myself" (however you want to spell it) is probably the greatest funk single ever recorded. Should be on the list.
44) Public Enemy by Adam Yauch- three classic albums, but a lot of rap bands have had that many. I'll put them here, if only for their ground-breaking production thanks to Terminator X and the bomb squad.
45) The Byrds by Tom Petty- should be higher. "Turn Turn Turn" and "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" are classics.
46) Janis Joplin by Rosanne Cash- no way. I hate Janis. Overrated blues belter.
47) Patti Smith by Shirley Manson-"Horses" is a classic, but she's no Joni Mitchell level talent , IMO, and Pat Benatar kicked more ass.
48) Run-DMC by Chuck D- Jam Master Jay was the definitive hip-hop DJ. First cross-over rap hit. These guys belong here.
49) Elton John by Billy Joel- pop-genius, no matter what you think of him, you like one of his songs (he's like the Bee-Gees that way). He belongs here.
50) The Band by Lucinda Williams- the definite roots-rock band. Should be here.

Other contenders:
Basically, like everything else Rolling Stone produces, this is way too dependent on the 60s. There's a lot of great music out there, and they ignore too much of it:

George Clinton/ PFunk- it's an insult to not have him here.
AC/DC: "Highway to Hell" "Dirty Deeds" "Back in Black" "High Voltage" etc. The best hard rock band of the late seventies and riff-masters. Should be here.
Metallica- probably invented metal in its current form. Everything prior to and including "...and justice for all" is terrific. Master is probably the greatest and most influential metal album ever recorded. I'd think about including them
Husker Du- invented pop-punk, the Beatles of the American underground, IMO. Great musicians (Grant Hart is probably the most underrated drummer of all time) and better song-writers. They just kept getting better and better and should be here.
Roxy Music- at least five classic albums and a boat-load of great songs. Brian Ferry is a genius, Andy Mackay is incredibly talented and Phil Manzanera is a glam rock pioneer. they should be in the top fifty.
Brian Eno- invented ambient, pioneered art-rock with Roxy Music and became the greatest producer of the 80s. He also remade Bowie.
The Orbital- if I had to put one electronic band on here (and there should be one) it would be the bros. Hartnall.
Elvis Costello- along with Joe Jackson, Graham Parker and Nick Lowe, he defined how post-punk could be smart.
REM- say what you want, they have a ton of great material and pretty much invented college rock, they're worth a mention.
Joy Division: no one can do Joy Division but Joy Division. Too short a career for this list, but incredible albums.
Stooges- so far ahead of their time. Iggy Pop is still ten times more hardcore than pretty much everyone else.
Gram Parsons- country-rock pioneer. Instrumental in "Exile on Main Street" and "Sweetheart of the Rodeo". Two terrific solo albums. One great band album: "Guilded Palace of Sin". He was a rare talent.
Joni Mitchell- my favorite singer songwriter.
Rick Rubin- the guy produced everything from incredible speed metal albums to party-rap to folk-rock to Johnny Cash in his dying days. He's obviously a genius and should have a mention, even though he's only a producer.
Love- IMO, "Forever Changes" is the best American album of the sixties, bar none (even Pet Sounds, "JH Experience", "VU and Nico")
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Old 03-29-04, 10:56 AM   #4
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Excellent post, Hiro11. I largely agree with what you said and can't believe that I forgot about Sonic Youth.

Last edited by fallow; 03-29-04 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 03-29-04, 11:21 AM   #5
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Frank, Ella, Nina, Billie? Great list ... not.

And don't pretend to call your list "Greatest Artists of All Time" if you're going to ignore entire periods/genres of musical history. All Time is a pretty bold moronic assertion if you can barely look back 50 years.

das
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Old 03-29-04, 12:00 PM   #6
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Really nice list...

...if this were 1970.
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Old 03-29-04, 12:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by das Monkey
Frank, Ella, Nina, Billie? Great list ... not.

And don't pretend to call your list "Greatest Artists of All Time" if you're going to ignore entire periods/genres of musical history. All Time is a pretty bold moronic assertion if you can barely look back 50 years.

das
The blurb at the beginning makes it clear that it was only meant to be a rock list. Which makes sense because RS is (or was) a rock magazine. That said, it's still not a very good list. Some very obvious artists were left off (the Grateful Dead being the most glaring example for me).
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Old 03-29-04, 12:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Gdrlv

The blurb at the beginning makes it clear that it was only meant to be a rock list.
Ah ... didn't read the blurb, just read the title and Hiro11's summary. I also noticed that the list wasn't exlusively rock.

das
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Old 03-29-04, 12:50 PM   #9
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Pere who????
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Old 03-29-04, 12:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Pere who????
Pere Ubu. They were a groundbreaking New Wave band from the Cleveland area.
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Old 03-29-04, 05:45 PM   #11
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I actually agree with most of the entries, which is a surprise because I usually totall disagree with what RS has to say about most artists. I enjoyed the article because I am a fan of a lot of the top 50, plus a fan of a lot of the contributing writers. Before I even opened the magazine I knew 2 things. One, that the Doors would be on it and 2 that Marilyn Manson would write about them hehe. I enjoy Mansons writing (and work) but this article was his worst I think.

Anyway, nice issue for a change.
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Old 03-29-04, 06:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by das Monkey
I also noticed that the list wasn't exlusively rock.
Yes, the deification of Johnny Cash continues...
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Old 03-29-04, 06:34 PM   #13
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Where is Picasso? DaVinci was pretty good too. This is messed up.
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Old 03-29-04, 11:35 PM   #14
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KISS
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Old 03-30-04, 07:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by wendersfan
Pere Ubu. They were a groundbreaking New Wave band from the Cleveland area.
I don't know that I'd call them New Wave since they are still going today. I like that I have no idea what to call them.
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Old 03-30-04, 08:42 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by fallow
I don't know that I'd call them New Wave since they are still going today. I like that I have no idea what to call them.
I said they were a New Wave band; I didn't say anything about what they are.
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Old 03-30-04, 09:23 AM   #17
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I was 0wn3d.
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Old 03-30-04, 10:39 AM   #18
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Personal top ten:

Art of Noise
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Pet Shop Boys
Miriam Makabe
Pizzacota Five
The Who
Manic Street Preachers
Nick Drake
Stephen Jones (aka Babybird)
Neil Young
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Old 03-30-04, 11:50 AM   #19
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i want to see Rolling Stone do a list of Top 50 Most Meaningless Rolling Stone Top 50's Of All Time.
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Old 03-30-04, 07:21 PM   #20
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I'd have put The Pixies and Sonic Youth on there.
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Old 03-30-04, 08:06 PM   #21
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David Bowie is 39! All I can do is laugh. Bowie should be in the top 10, certainly above 90% of the other artists on that list.

The Byrds!? I mean, they had some good songs, and Sweetheart of the Rodeo is a classic but...no way. No way. The Byrds.

Also, (*puts on flame-proof suit*) Bruce Springsteen should be in the top 50 worst artists of all time, not the top 50 best.

I respect Bob Marley a great deal, but he is way too high (err, no pun intended).
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Old 03-31-04, 01:21 AM   #22
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i'd like to know where Queen is...EXACTLY...not on this list...which is BS
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Old 03-31-04, 11:21 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hiro11



Husker Du- invented pop-punk, the Beatles of the American underground, IMO. Great musicians (Grant Hart is probably the most underrated drummer of all time) and better song-writers. They just kept getting better and better and should be here.

Elvis Costello- along with Joe Jackson, Graham Parker and Nick Lowe, he defined how post-punk could be smart.

REM- say what you want, they have a ton of great material and pretty much invented college rock, they're worth a mention.
Yes, yes and yes.
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