Great Voices: Some Readers’ Suggestions

Originally posted November 24, 2008

Well, Wednesday’s look at the top ten voices listed by Rolling Stone magazine in its “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” generated a good discussion and some interesting names, some of them coming from the post-1970 era I had suggested be looked at, some of them coming from earlier years in the rock ’n’ roll timeline.

So I thought I would list all the names that were listed in the comments and comb through the Rolling Stone list to see if those performers were listed, and where. Here goes:

David Bowie was listed at No. 23.
Christina Aguilera was listed at No. 58.
Paul Rodgers was listed at No. 55.
Ann Wilson was not listed.
Chris Cornell was not listed.
Michael Stipe was not listed.
Bono was listed at No. 32.
Bruce Springsteen was listed at No. 36.
Ranking Roger was not listed.
Brad Delp was not listed.
38 Special (Donnie Van Zant, Don Barnes) was not listed.
Elvis Costello was not listed.
Joe Strummer was not listed.
Annie Lennox was listed at No. 93.
Etta James was listed at No. 22.
Mavis Staples was listed at No. 56.
Dusty Springfield was listed at No. 35.
Sandy Denny was not listed.
Kate Bush was not listed.
Emmylou Harris was not listed.
Kirsty MacColl was not listed.
Maria McKee was not listed.
Grant McLennan was not listed.
Elton John was listed at No. 38.
Tracey Thorn was not listed.
Shirley Manson was not listed.
Linda Thompson was not listed.
Harriet Wheeler was not listed.
Jon Anderson was not listed.
Morrissey was listed at No. 92.
Bruce Cockburn was not listed.
Boz Scaggs was not listed.
Graham Nash was not listed.
Robbie Robertson was not listed.
Al Green was listed at No. 14.
Michael McDonald was not listed.
Shannon McNally was not listed.
Ruthie Foster was not listed.
Lucinda Williams was not listed.
James Hunter was not listed.
Erykah Badu was not listed.
Meshell Ndegeocello was not listed.
Chrissy Hynde was not listed.

Of those suggested from the post-1970 era who didn’t make the list at all, I’d probably give the nod to Michael Stipe. I don’t particularly care for R.E.M., but I think he has a great voice. (I do love Ruthie Foster’s voice and work, but I think a larger body of work is required before assessing her.) Two names from that era that readers did not mention that I would have liked to see on the Rolling Stone list were Natalie Merchant and Darius Rucker.

Of the names pre-dating 1970 that were suggested by readers, the one that absolutely should have been on the magazine’s list was that of Sandy Denny. And a voice that reader’s didn’t mention from that era that should have been there was Rick Danko’s. (Levon Helm was the only member of The Band on the list, being listed at No. 91.)

R.E.M. (with KRS-1) – “Radio Song” [1991]
(From Out Of Time)

Sandy Denny – “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” [1968]
(From All Our Own Work [with the Strawbs])

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