Rolling Stone 200 Best Singers? Bias Against King Of Pop?

LEGENDS & ICONS OF MUSIC - Kevin Douglas Post

With so many generations of music lovers, any list that tries to compile a list of greatest singers is bound to infuriate a vast amount of people just as Rolling Stone has recently with its “Best 200 Singers Of All-Time” list.


Rolling Stone magazine started out as an Indy magazine meant for the hippie culture of the time (1960s). It actually had a political section in which Hunter S. Thompson wrote about pertaining to the political landscape of the day. Later on, it started to lean more toward writing for a younger demographic, hence the music, and pop culture.”

As The Beatles rocked the nation, it was a big deal that its popular singer, John Lennon, became its first artist ever on its cover. The first magazine was released in 1967 and was published every two weeks. The company got its name “Rollin’ Stone” from a blues song recorded by Muddy Waters in 1950.

In this review, it is quite telling that the magazine got its name from a black artist’s single and originally had an actual political aspect to it since many believe the magazine in 2023 is politically driven when making its lists of greatest artists.

Bob Dylan has through the years been considered by some to be the inspiration for the magazine since his single 1965 single “Like a Rolling Stone” would become known as the greatest song ever written according to Rolling Stone in 2004.

Others believed the mag got its name from the legendary Rock group, The Rolling Stones, who were ranked with having the second greatest song ever by writers of the organization. John Lennon of The Beatles would pick up the number three spot with “Imagine.”

Moving many decades from the 1960s until the new year of 2023, Rolling Stone decided a new list from their critics on who are the greatest singers of all-time. The criteria was given for the list which has some people up in arms about some of the ranking.

“Before you start scrolling (and commenting), keep in mind that this is the Greatest Singers list, not the Greatest Voices List. Talent is impressive; genius is transcendent,” the publication wrote. They cited an artist’s “originality, influence, the depth of an artist’s catalog, and the breadth of their musical legacy.”

The top ten selections include Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday, Mariah Carey, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Otis Redding, and Al Green. Celine Dion seemed to be the biggest crime by the writers who omitted her from any type of ranking.

The legacy of Celine Dion can’t be denied. She’s won five Grammys, six AMAs, seven Billboard Awards, as well as much more. Seven of her albums have sold at least 10 million copies worldwide. Another artist some people are complaining about their ranking is Michael Jackson. Not too many artists are in the league of the “King Of Pop,” but he received a ranking of 86. Of course, people online have come up with theories on why Jackson would rank so low.

vote wwetv network

One Twitter user wrote, “Why do you always manage to make a reference to allegations against Michael Jackson in any review that’s meant to be objective on his work/voice, but say with domestic violence wife beater John Lennon, you never manage to fit that in?”

Another user replied to the comment, “It’s so ridiculously obvious at this point. I don’t know why but they clearly have an agenda against him. So many rock stars had relationships with underage groupies – nobody gives af about that. But the one man who actually was investigated and trialed …”.

The debate has started a whirlwind of opinions, but it still should be restated that the citation above is what Rolling Stone writers encompassed while compiling the list. It is very interesting to see everyone’s thoughts and reactions. It appears some have not seen the criteria of legacy, influence, catalog depth, and originality. One person noted that he wanted to find out how there are 85 people ahead of Michael Jackson. It was shocking in reality to see Aaliyah ranked much higher than MJ.