As we prepare to head north for the Paul McCartney concert on 7.27.11, I got to thinking about the all-time greatest singers. With that in mind I put together a list of the 10 artists I think were in fact wise to give up their day job and give this music thing a shot. I'll leave off McCartney. I will also leave off the amazing Judy Garland, because she might (technically) be seen as more of an actress. For what it's worth, this is my list of the 10 greatest singers of all time.
10A.Stevie Wonder: How could I forget Stevie? Wow. One of the greatest singers/songwriters ever. I WAS MADE TO LOVE HER, PART-TIME LOVER, great, fun songs. I still remember when Stevie Wonder was on THE COSBY SHOW. One of my all-time favs. Can't believe I would make a top ten and forget him. Even Stevie could 'see' how obvious this choice is. (Added 7/12/11.)
10B.Justin Timberlake: Why not? He’s a great singer who can do anything range-wise. NSYNC was four jokers and Justin Timberlake. He was Mr. everything in a band that sold 2.5 million albums in one week, then came back with another album and sold 1.9 in one week. Nobody’s done that since . . . That’s right, nobody ever did that, not even the mighty Beatles or 98 Degrees. In fact I’m beginning to think there’s nothing JT CAN’T do. Think HE can’t be a movie star? Ask Markie Mark and Will Smith about that. Timberlake’s 1,000 times more talented than either of them. This is a gutsy call on my part, no doubt. Check the link below: Justin sings at Haiti benefit. It’s incredible.
JT for Haiti: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guL4KgkheoM
9.Jerry Garcia: The front man of the Grateful Dead. I’m not a huge fan, I admit, but Jerry just takes you on a journey with his voice. It’s soothing and peaceful, and, by the way, pretty damn brilliant song singing. If it wasn’t for DREAM ON or SWEET CHILD O' MINE, RIPPLE might be the best song by a rock band. Maybe.
8.Celine Dion: This Canadian-born crooner boosts one of the most powerful voices in recorded history. Christmas Carols are always terrible, but Celine does one (I think it's O HOLY NIGHT), and when she hits the high note at the end, wow. Any woman who can make a X-Mas carol shake you to the core is amazing. I secretly like many of her songs, and I think she has one of the best voices, period. I would love to see her live. I mean, only if she was opening for Motley Crue, of course, because I’m too tough for a Celine show.
7.Robert Plant: Forget it, right? What more needs to be said. Plant’s the voice of the all-powerful Led Zepplin. STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN is a masterpiece and Plant is a rock n roll warlock, who could enter stage right on a white stallion and still be cool. My God, imagine seeing LZ live in their glory days. Wow!
6.Ann Wilson: Lead singer of HEART. Greatest female singer ever. Period, the end.
5.John Lennon: The most important rock star who has ever lived. There will never be anybody bigger or more important than Lennon. IMAGINE is the greatest song ever. THE BEATLES are probably, literally, bigger than Jesus. It all begins and ends with Lennon. And today his legendary career goes full circle as he posthumously finds himself at #5 on my all-time greatest singers list. Just a kid from Liverpool with a dream. Dream realized.
4.Elvis Presley: A while back I watched an old, grainy Elvis concert from some ballroom in Vegas, dated about a year before he died. You know: fat, sweaty, white jumpsuit Elvis. The first few minutes, I was saying, “This is so boring. Who cares about this fat guy walking back and forth on some small stage?” Fifteen minutes later, the coffee table was moved out of the living room and we were up and dancing as the King went from HOUND DOG to SUSPICIOUS MINDS. It was awesome. Seeing that live would’ve been something pretty great. Now imagine Elvis when he was actually Elvis.
3.Freddie Mercury: Freddie is the Michael Jordan of rock n’ roll. The band QUEEN was 4 scrubs and this amazing genius named Mercury, who could sing any song ever written, better than anyone else. Singlehandedly he made QUEEN a timeless heavyweight in the rock world and in pop culture, although he might have to credit Mike Myers with an assist on that second part. Gone way too soon, Freddie. Brilliant, amazing, beautiful, spectacular singer. Nothing else to say.
QUEEN-SOMEBODY TO LOVE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRt2jX1kaYo
2.Axl Rose: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION is the greatest rock album ever. SWEET CHILD O' MINE is the greatest rock song ever. God himself was channeling through Axl Rose when GN’R made that album in ’87. The Gunners made an unequaled masterpiece then never came within a million miles of it again. So it begs the question: Is it better to sustain as pretty good for pretty long or be the greatest thing ever for a short time? Axl is the Mike Tyson of rock. And, man oh man, he’d high note you through the wall when he was at his height. "Pray for the thunder and the rain to quietly pass me byyyyyy." Axl Rose was a god on Appetite, and that’s good enough for #2 here.
G N' R: Sweet Child O' Mine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w7OgIMMRc4
1.Michael Jackson: The greatest entertainer who has ever lived. BILLY JEAN and BEAT IT are both as cool today as they were on THRILLER in ’82. He is the only celebrity ever to be a major star his whole life. At 8 years old Jackson was the best singer on the planet. At 48 years old he was the best singer on the planet. THRILLER is the greatest album ever. No one will ever touch Michael, the King of Pop. Enjoy the greatest performance of a song ever. See link below.
MJ does BILLY JEAN at MOTOWN 25: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XZGJiY2a3o
Honorable Mention: My #11 is Frankie Valli. Amazing voice.
Frankie Valli MY EYES ADORED YOU: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HJ7w9MTCqs