The Greatest Singers of All Time – According to Rolling Stone

As George Thorogood (and the Delaware Destroyers) would say, “Who do you love?” 

Do you have a favorite singer?  Who do you think should be the all-time greatest singer?  Hint: You must R-E-S-P-E-C-T her.

Rolling Stone Magazine put together a list of who they consider the greatest singers of all time, but I’m not too sure about their list.  For example, Bob Dylan is a great songwriter but it is a huge stretch to say he is one of the top ten singers of all time – and ahead of Roy Orbison. 

And, how do push Etta James out of the top ten?

According to Rolling Stone Magazine, here are the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time (click here to read about each of them) (click on the artist’s name to view a video – I found videos by everyone except The Artist Formerly Known as Prince):

1 | Aretha Franklin

2 | Ray Charles

3 | Elvis Presley

4 | Sam Cooke

5 | John Lennon

6 | Marvin Gaye

7 | Bob Dylan

8 | Otis Redding

9 | Stevie Wonder

10 | James Brown

11 | Paul McCartney

12 | Little Richard

13 | Roy Orbison

14 | Al Green

15 | Robert Plant (Bonus)

16 | Mick Jagger

17 | Tina Turner

18 | Freddie Mercury

19 | Bob Marley

20 | Smokey Robinson

21 | Johnny Cash

22 | Etta James

23 | David Bowie

24 | Van Morrison

25 | Michael Jackson

26 | Jackie Wilson

27 | Hank Williams

28 | Janis Joplin

29 | Nina Simone

30 | Prince

31 | Howlin’ Wolf

32 | Bono

33 | Steve Winwood

34 | Whitney Houston

35 | Dusty Springfield

36 | Bruce Springsteen

37 | Neil Young

38 | Elton John

39 | Jeff Buckley

40 | Curtis Mayfield

41 | Chuck Berry

42 | Joni Mitchell

43 | George Jones

44 | Bobby “Blue” Bland

45 | Kurt Cobain

46 | Patsy Cline

47 | Jim Morrison

48 | Buddy Holly

49 | Donny Hathaway

50 | Bonnie Raitt

51 | Gladys Knight

52 | Brian Wilson

53 | Muddy Waters

54 | Luther Vandross

55 | Paul Rodgers (Bonus)

56 | Mavis Staples

57 | Eric Burdon

58 | Christina Aguilera

59 | Rod Stewart

60 | Björk

61 | Roger Daltrey

62 | Lou Reed

63 | Dion

64 | Axl Rose

65 | David Ruffin

66 | Thom Yorke

67 | Jerry Lee Lewis

68 | Wilson Pickett

69 | Ronnie Spector

70 | Gregg Allman

71 | Toots Hibbert

72 | John Fogerty

73 | Dolly Parton

74 | James Taylor

75 | Iggy Pop

76 | Steve Perry

77 | Merle Haggard

78 | Sly Stone

79 | Mariah Carey

80 | Frankie Valli

81 | John Lee Hooker

82 | Tom Waits

83 | Patti Smith

84 | Darlene Love

85 | Sam Moore

86 | Art Garfunkel

87 | Don Henley

88 | Willie Nelson

89 | Solomon Burke

90 | The Everly Brothers

91 | Levon Helm

92 | Morrissey

93 | Annie Lennox

94 | Karen Carpenter

95 | Patti LaBelle

96 | B.B. King

97 | Joe Cocker

98 | Stevie Nicks

99 | Steven Tyler

100 | Mary J. Blige



7 responses to “The Greatest Singers of All Time – According to Rolling Stone

  1. Are we talking about sound quality here or popularity? I mean really? Because some of the up and comers can seriously blow. But I would definately place Michael Jackson further down the list.

    See.. Im not sure what the qualities here were. McCartney doesn’t have a awesome voice. You can’t put him with someone like Whitney Houston and think of even placing them together. Or even being on the same level as Nina Simone and Aretha. Come on Now. And if you are going to put a popular list up (not looking at talent only style) Madonna and Gwen Stafani have to be up there. I don’t know. This list is a bit odd. How could you compare the voice of Freddie Mercury with Michael Jackson? There is no way! Or even put someone like Pat Benetar up there.

    If we are talking song writing talent we’d have to go to Jim Croche, Carole King, James Taylor, The Beegees.

    Lists.. you drive me nuts with these lists. Books and music. With my music background… Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

    Well… I’m glad I could bring out your impassioned soul with just a few words on a screen.
    I had the same feelings when I saw the list. There are too many great voices missing to even attempt to list a few. Since it came from Rolling Stone, there is an obvious bias toward rock, blues, and Motown. These were/are good entertainers, but some were/are not great. Most have good voices, but some are not great. Many were/are influential, but not all. It’s an interesting list.

  2. Oh and where is Dionne Warwick? Where is Cindy Lauper? Where are all of these people who really did cutting edge stuff?

    No kidding. You’d think Dionne Warwick would have seen this coming.

  3. Being the absolute Journey fan, while I’m glad he made it…I do think Steve Perry at 76 is a little far down. I think he has an incredible voice.

    Also, did I miss Nat King Cole? I love his voice.

    Very interesting what a group from Rolling Stones considers!

    Or Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Cyndi Lauper, Beyonce…

  4. leavingevangeline

    I’m confused by this list too…there is no common thread to tie them together. It definitely can’t be based on the best voices of all time…maybe it’s based on sales? Hmm…I dunno, but it’s still interesting!

    Maybe influence or creativity?

  5. Lennon is 5th 😦 . He one guy I can listen to forever.

    It’s a mad, mixed-up world.

  6. The link for Bowie makes a better case for Gail Ann Dorsey. I’m a huge lifelong Bowie fan. However, his voice often limited what he was trying to do musically. I would never have put him on this list. Songwriter, #1. Singer, not so much. And quite frankly, I would never have tried to get 100 on the list. A popular entertainer often relies on a lot of things other than their voice. Mick Jagger, Bowie, Dylan, and about a third of the list had fairly horrible voices and made their mark with other aspects of their ability to entertain ( social commentary, sensuality, shock value, fun value, etc.. ). To find 100 great voices you’d have to go back a lot farther than you do.

    Besides, I think the #1 singer going is Till Lindemann. When he cuts loose outside of his Rammstein personna, the dude has the most powerful baritone since Yul Brynner ( see my link for an excellent rendition of Helden ). And, with any music list, it’s all subjective to the individual tastes. So, I probably wouldn’t have tried it at all. ( Great post tho, I like it. )

    She is great. I love the song and thought about the version with Queen, but went with this one (mostly because of her). I like Bowie’s voice (although it wavers at times).
    I fully agree with what you stated, one of my favorites is Alice Cooper and I wouldn’t likely put him on any list of great vocalists – but back in the 70s, he was the embodiment of entertainment when all the other bands basically just stood still.
    I didn’t know Till Lindemann, but found a tribute that was non-Rammstein. Interesting, and although I don’t understand German, I liked the sound. Yul Brynner? As in The King and I?
    Thanks for the visit and comment.

  7. Prepare for shock and awe – Bono shouldn’t be as high up in this list as he is. All things included, he should be higher (of course), but if we’re talking pipes alone, he does not sing better than Patti LaBelle, Annie Lennox, Whitney Houston…

    I am shocked (although not necessarily awed). You mentioned some great ones who definitely should be higher on the list.

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