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Thread: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

  1. #1
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    Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    VH1 says:
    1. The Beatles
    2. Michael Jackson
    3. Led Zeppelin
    4. The Rolling Stones
    5. Bob Dylan

    Rolling Stone, OTOH, says:
    1. The Beatles
    2. Bob Dylan
    3. Elvis Presley
    4. Rolling Stones
    5. Chuck Berry

    No Sinatra?

    How about Johnny Cash?

    Clapton is God, but he's not top five?

    Hank Williams?

    Willie Nelson?

    Disco Duck Rick Dees?

    Who's your top five?
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  3. #2
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    In terms of what? Influence? Popularity? Accessibility?

    I'll go with:

    The Beatles
    The Rolling Stones
    Michael Jackson
    Elvis Presley
    Bob Dylan
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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    Chopin
    Litzt
    Brahams
    Beethoven
    Bach

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    Brett William Moore Will M's Avatar
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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    Van Morrison
    Richard Thompson (British folk rock guitarist, singer & song writer)
    pre 1978 Genesis (prior to Peter Gabriel & Steve Hackett leaving)
    The Police/Sting's solo work
    Pat Metheney (avant garde jazz guitarist)
    .

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    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    In terms of lasting influence I would go with Frank Sinatra, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, and the Beatles. I'm not sure who I would name as the fifth artist.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    Rick Astley.
    Taylor Swift.
    Kenny Chesney.
    'Nilla Ice.
    Biz Markie.
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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    Not to punt, but it's a complicated question. Johnny Footstool put the question correctly, asking in what terms? And at that, it's bit difficult to narrow it down, particularly if you look at influence.

    I remember hearing a piece on NPR a year or two ago about Bing Crosby, who for my generation was a bland as you could get. And yet, the story reported, with the advent of the electric microphone, Crosby brought an intimacy to recorded singing, and later public performance, that just took off. Frank Sinatra capitalized on that and adding such incredible phrasing to his performances in interpreting numbers musically.

    In the mid 70's, I skipped the disco scene (and leisure suits, thank goodness!) and jokingly refer to it as my "jazz period". I really got into big bands and it was a thrill to see Benny Goodman perform at Riverfront Stadium for the Bi-centennial in 1976. As I read up more on Goodman, I learned about his famous Carnegie Hall concert in the late 1930's that allowed jazz to burst on to the mainstream stage. And it went from there.

    With just of Chuck Berry, the list is woefully lacking in African American artists. Billie Holiday for starts and so many of the Motown artists. But not just Motown, but early rock performers like Little Richard or Bo Diddly, the whole cadre of girl groups. And without any of those, we never see the Beatles and the other British invasion groups. They returned the verve to the music of those performers, whose songs had been made pretty "white bread" and plain vanilla to make it more acceptable to white audiences (or rather, their parents worried about the evils of all that rockin' and rollin').

    And that's not even getting into more recent performers, some of whom I'm not as familiar with, but who constantly push the edge and move music forward.

    It's a bit like created an All Century team where inevitably, you're going to leave out some equally deserving player worthy of consideration.

    For me personally, it all comes around The Beatles. They hit the U.S. when I was nine and, musically, it changed me. But that doesn't hold back others from mention.
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    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    I think this is clearly a rock/pop list, because if it were about just musical "artists" none of those listed would be close to the top 5. If it is about rock/pop, then it has to begin with the Beatles. It could be no other way.
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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    I think this is clearly a rock/pop list, because if it were about just musical "artists" none of those listed would be close to the top 5.
    The Beatles, even then, wouldn't even be in the top 5? Interesting.

    I'd like to know what criteria VH1 and Rolling Stone are using to generate that top 5 list? Record sales? #1 hits? what?
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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    Blue Oyster Cult
    The Who
    Elvis Costello
    The Clash
    Thin Lizzy

    Order depends on the day.
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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    All-time is a rather futile endeavor, the results always look the same anyway.

    Anyway, my personal top 5 would probably be:
    Joy Division/New Order
    U2
    Radiohead
    David Bowie
    The National

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    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    Redsmetz mnetioned Bing Crosby and a good argument can be made for Der Bingle, whose intimate style with a microphone was innovative. Benny Goodman was also justly mentioned by Redsmetz.
    Chou En-Lai reportedly responded to a question in the 1970s by saying it was "too early to tell" what would be the effects of the French Revolution. I mention that because it probably is too early to tell what will be the lasting effects and legacy of more recent artists. I therefore did not mention any artist whose prime was more recent than 40 years ago.
    I think Sinatra has to be on the list. Yes, he built on Crosby's innovations, but you don't hear much of Bing's music any more other than at Christmas, whereas I still hear contemporary artists covering Sinatra's songs. With the help of Nelson Riddle Sinatra also pioneered the concept of making an album with a theme rather than just a collection of songs.
    Elvis Presley has to be on the list. He not only had a terrific and versatile voice and a charismatic stage presence, Elvis in the 1950s was a cultural earthquake still being felt.
    The Beatles are the third clear member of this grouping, and should head the list. They had an even bigger cultural impact than did Elvis and were more innovative than Sinatra or Presley. Most importantly, while Sinatra and Presley interpreted songs, the Beatles composed and created theirs.
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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    Let's limit this to the 20th century (as I'm fairly certain neither VH1 nor Rolling Stone considered symphonic composers.

    Let's also assume cultural, innovative, and influential impact as the scoring troika.

    If that's the case, what say ye, Redszone?
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    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC View Post
    The Beatles, even then, wouldn't even be in the top 5? Interesting.
    How is that ineresting? I like the Beatles and all, and in the rock world, I get why they're at the top. But as "artists", I don't see how anyone could compare the music written by John and Paul to the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, the Gershwins, etc.... And that's not even considerign the great jazz artists lke Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, John Coltrane. And with respect to their talent, they aren't comparable to the likes of a Stephen Sondheim (someone I'm guessing few people here has heard much of) who is a musical genius, IMO. Again, the Beatles made some really good music, but I don't think rock or pop artists will ever be able to compare favorably to some of the composers the world has seen if they're being compare as "artists". That's not a knock on them, it's simply the nature of the limitations of their genre. Of course, this is all just my opinion.
    Last edited by MWM; 09-12-2010 at 10:52 PM.
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Who's Your Top Five Greatest Artists of All Time? (Music)

    1. The Beatles
    2. Frank Sinatra
    3. Elvis Presley
    4. Chuck Berry
    5. The Rolling Stones
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