On Valentine’s Day I came across an article, The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, and I thought wow, what a daring endeavor to take on! I am always asked who my favorite singers are and my answer is an ever-evolving illusion, really. There’s just no way to make that sort of commitment, yet the brave people at Consequence of Sound have boldly compiled this list and what a joy it was to share a deep love for many of their choices, and to strongly disagree with a handful of their choices. Here are my thoughts on a few that made their list:
Karen Carpenter #78 – I would have thought she would rank higher on this list, but worthy of making the cut.
Alicia Keys #76 – Ranked higher than Karen Carpenter, I don’t think so. I like Alicia Keys, even though I only bought her very first release, and that was only after seeing her featured on the Oprah show. Even though I think she’s quite talented, I’m not a fan. My opinion did recently change a little when I caught her live on Facebook chatting about the release of her sixth album, Here. I found her as a person delightful, which made me want to give her music a second listen.
Joni Mitchell #75, Both Sides Now … What a tune!
Curtis Mayfield, #57 – Yes, I think he is well ranked on this list. Since presenting my radio show, Glo’s Music for the Soul, Mayfield has been a regular feature on my playlists and I’m in an original Soul band called Mayfield, named after this Chicago Soul man.
I should say a little something about their #56 artist, Dolly Parton. Admittedly, I am not a country music fan, however, there is something about Dolly’s voice that seems to transcend the genre in the name of great vocals and awesome song writing. She didn’t make my Top 10, but deserves an honorable mention … LOL!
Interesting, the queen of Disco, Donna Summer ranks at #49. She did have an amazing voice. Yes, this feels right. I think some others who are ranked lower on this list can out sing Ms. Summer, but in terms of relevance and how her music defined an era, spot on.
Elvis, #45. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Elvis’s death and the legend of him still lives on and seems to be gaining momentum. Love Me Tender is my favorite Elvis song. What’s yours?
I don’t think Mary J. Blige, #44 would have made my list at all, and I don’t think she should have ranked this high on COS’s list. I know she’s an important artist and she’s had some huge hits, but vocally, I haven’t really been drawn to her.
Beyoncé is ranked at #30, and I believe she should have made COS’s top 10. She is certainly on my list! I think Adele would be pleased that Beyoncé ranked higher than her, especially after her comments regarding Beyoncé not winning the Grammy for Album of the Year. According to Time Magazine, ‘The British soul singer, who racked up five awards including Album, Record, and Song of the Year on Sunday night, was talking about how she didn’t deserve at least one of those accolades. “I felt like it was her time to win,” the disarmingly honest belter said backstage. “What the f— does she have to do to win Album of the Year?”‘ You can read the full Time Magazine article here.
Two years ago, I started hosting a radio show, Glo’s Music for the Soul, on ExpressFM, a community station based in Portsmouth in the UK. Since doing the show, I have become a massive fan of COS’s #24 pick, Otis Redding. This man can sing the phone book and sound amazing. I especially love his cover versions of songs like The Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction and Ben E. King’s Stand By Me. He gives everything song he sings his own unique blend of Gospel infused Soul. Needless to say, Redding has made my Top 10.
I also pay homage to the living legend, Diana Ross, #21, in my Supremely, Diana Ross show, but I feel she’s ranked a bit high on the list from a vocal stand point, but for importance to the music scene, COS has ranked her well. Did Ms. Ross make my list?
Things were going along so well until I got to COS’s #10 pick … wait for it … Bjork … really? I can hear my mom saying ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ … so … moving on!
So Whitney Houston comes in at #6 just behind James Brown at #5. I find this a bit surprising. I didn’t expect to see James Brown on this list at all. I had to have a little think as to why I didn’t expect him on this list. He’s obviously a kicka** performer, and I have to admit he’s got a pretty amazing voice. Obviously, COS is taking more into consideration than having a good voice … remember their #10 pick? And I think in the case of JB, it’s a culmination of showmanship, voice and contribution to the music scene. I think Whitney could have out sung him, though.
So, out of their 100 choices, I selected my top 10 favourites. So, here we go:
10. Sting (#70)
9. Brian McKnight
8. Stevie Wonder (#16)
7. Prince (#53)
6. Otis Redding (#24)
5. Beyoncé (#30)
4. India Arie
3. Lionel Richie
2. Ella Fitzgerald (#14)
1. Michael Jackson (#1)
Thanks to COS’s for giving me inspiration to compile my own list. I really enjoyed delving into their choices for The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Who would be on your top 10 list? Add them to the comments!