For every bunch of guitar – toting, ripped – jean wearing, bad – ass drum keepers and platinum blonde – haired singers who called themselves a band; there were solitary men / women who crooned their way into the hearts of millions …
There are many talented singers who have been omitted from this list. James Brown and Michael Jackson to name two.This list is comprised of the most influentual individuals and the people responsible for the careers of the likes of Jackson, Brown and Janis Joplin.
Here are the top ten …
10. Little Richard
Glam rock did not commence with Gary Glitter. It started with ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’, Tutti Frutti’ and a pompadour which made wealthy women ‘ gold’ with envy. A rock n roll legend who was never given his due financially or musically. A foreshadow for James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elton John , Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson …. Should we continue?
9. Long John Baldry.
The British grandfather of blues. The man who played an intregal part in the careers of Rod Stewart, Elton John, Mick Jagger ,Charlie Watts, Clapton etc etc. Not a hit maker, not a star – just one of the best teachers of all time and considered the first british man to perform the blues on stage.
8. Rod Stewart
A member of the faces and a true blues singer before branching out on a solo career which has spanned multiple genres and decades. Pop, rock, disco, blues up until his current standing as a crooner of American standards. A shameless chameleon, one of the most distinctive singers and performers to grace a stage. ‘Wake up Maggie’ – Mr. Stewart has something to say to you ..
7. Elton John
No other artist, solo artist – had the amount of songs and stage personas that Mr. John possessed in the 1970’s. Hard rockin’ ‘Bitches’ were front and center while ‘Daniel’ was everyone’s brother. Giant glasses, ‘mohair suits’ and ‘Tiny Dancers’. Elton John revitalized the soundtrack almost single – handily in the 90’s.
6. Eric Clapton
Considered by many as ‘ God ‘. A guitar playing one anyways … Aside from spectacular stints with Cream and the Yardbirds, Clapton carved the rock landscape with one song; Cocaine. ‘Tears in Heaven’ made the world forgive his pain while women continue to adore his romantic ‘ Wonderful Tonight’. Possibly the only white man to channel Elmore James and Robert Johnson directly and profoundly …
5. Elvis Presley
The ‘King of ( white ) Rock n Roll’ . One of the biggest selling artists of all time. The most influentual performer of the twentieth century and the first male sex symbol to grace a stage and movie screen. His one downfall – not a songwriter …
4. Tina Turner
Mick Jagger combined James Brown and Miss Turner to come up with his act. Turner made women everywhere realize they could be a star and not just a back-up singer. Surviving years of abuse at the hands of Ike – Tina became the most successful woman in rock, selling out stadiums well into her fifties. ‘What’s Love got to do with it …?’
3. Bob Dylan
Rock n roll’s, folk, the blues’ and country’s biggest poet. A genius who has sang everything and sang it …not so well. A conundrum yet responsible for ‘plugging in’ and taking folk music to a different level. Rock’s singular muse who is seemingly getting better with age … Anyone who is involved in music – holds Dylan in high esteem …
2. Muddy Waters
The first man to elecyrify not only the blues, audiences as well … His songs remain the cornerstone and building blocks for the elite of rock n roll royalty. ‘Mannish Boy’, ‘ You Shook Me’ and ‘I’m your Hoochie Coochie Man’ among many songs covered by anyone starting a rock n roll band ….The father of Chicago, Delta and Mississippi blues. The father of the Stones and Led Zeppelin.
1. Chuck Berry
Would rock n roll be the same today without Johnny B. Goode? Little Queenie or School Days? The St.Louis native combined the blues with a sound all his own and got people dancing. A showman who endured through racial profiling and greedy record executives. No Berry – no Keith Richards – no Rolling Stones. No Berry – no Lennon – no Beatles. Imagine a landscape without the three ?