The P-I now has a slide show up of " The 50 best rock singers of all time ." Even though this kind of


The 50 Best Rock Singers of All Time, According to the P-I


The P-I now has a slide show up of "The 50 best rock singers of all time." Even though this kind of list is always stupid, and this one in particular was obviously haphazardly thrown together because they needed to fill some space and get their page views up, what the hell, let's tear it apart anyway.

This is the P-I's list, as amended by me.

  • Crossed out = Shouldn't be on the list because they're not great.
  • Italics = Shouldn't be on the list because they're not a rock singer.
  • *Asterisks* = I personally wouldn't put them on this list, but they can't be fucked with because of their stature and influence.
  • Bold = Belongs on the list.

I've also added a list of the greatest rock singers excluded from the list. I am definitely not wrong about any of this, but please do chime in with your corrections of my corrections.

*Freddie Mercury*

Elvis Presley

*Van Morrison* (Be honest, who else is bored stiff by Astral Weeks?)

*Robert Plant*

Tina Turner

David Bowie

Steve Perry (The Filipino guy who took over for him on the other hand ...)

John Lennon

Sam Cooke (For my money the second best singer who ever lived, period. But we're talking rock singers.)

*Janis Joplin* (I know, I know. Sue me. I just don't care for blues-beltin' mamas, much less horrible parodies of them)

*Annie Lennox*

Ann Wilson (Sorry, Northwest loyalists, Heart were radio-friendly cheese purveyors.)

*Grace Slick*

*Roger Daltry* (Such effortful bellowing. Established the unfortunate Eddie Vedder model.)

*Steven Tyler*

Stevie Wonder

Patti Smith (What a pompous old bore she turned out to be. Greatest question in the history of rock journalism was when the New York Times asked her, "Have you ever considered using conditioner?")

Paul McCartney

Sheryl Crow

Joni Mitchell

Howlin' Wolf

Mavis Staples

Chuck Berry

Tracy Chapman (Um ...)

Johnny Cash (Rock? Meh, OK, we'll let it slide)

Neil Young

Al Green

James Brown

*Joan Jett*

Mick Jagger

Ray Charles

Christina Aguilera

Prince (Will also let this one slide)

Muddy Waters

*Kurt Cobain* (It's OK if one person on earth doesn't venerate him, isn't it?)

Bonnie Raitt

*David Byrne* (Formerly inept but charming. Now no longer charming)

Michael Jackson

*Elton John*

*Bruce Springsteen* (The E Street Band was once likened to giant winged dinosaur that finally managed to take flight despite its great weight and clumsiness. Their big, ponderous sound has exerted a disastrous influence on once-promising bands like The Killers and Arcade Fire)

Etta James

*Tom Petty*


Lou Reed

Marvin Gaye

*Paul Simon*

James Tayor

Aretha Franklin

Jim Morrison

Otis Redding

And here's who wasn't on the list but should have been:

Joe Strummer

Kristin Hersh

Bob Dylan

Lucinda Williams

Jerry Lee Lewis

Paul Weller

Bo Diddley

Ray Davies

Little Richard

Buddy Holly

Chrissie Hynde

Jimi Hendrix

Frank Black

Jack White

Pete Townshend

Elvis Costello

Nick Lowe

Gram Parsons


Stephen Malkmus

Thom Yorke

Roger McGuinn

Mark E. Smith (The Fall, cha!)

D. Boon

Johnny Rotten


Nick Cave

Jeff Tweedy

Elliott Smith

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