Brett Alan wrote:
What would possess him to list Tori Amos?
Indeed. Or, for that matter, Carol Channing, who was a fairly big Broadway star but never did much of anything as a recording artist or concert performer.
There's no one on that list I object to dropping, and only a couple I even see as meriting serious consideration.
I have one ex-hippie NYC guy who was around the punk scene a lot who says that Jefferson Airplane and Patti Smith are real important, but I think he's just overrating his own personal experiences.
Why would Patti Smith be more important then say, Gloria Gaynor?
Disco was much bigger than punk ever was. Gaynor made one of the most popular records in history. A song that everybody knows, and that is (I believe) sung more often on American Idol than any other song. Gaynor was a huge influence on her genre just as Smith was on hers.
Gaynor was the top disco artist of the first few years of the genre, until Donna Summer came around.
Why do people overrate white guitar oriented rock like Patti Smith and Jefferson Airplane at the expense of black forms of rock like disco and funk? Disco and funk were much more popular with the masses than punk. And they still are to this day.
If you add up all the youtube videos of Gaynor doing "I Will Survive" it's like 40 million plays. That one song is played twice as much as every Patti Smith video combined. That one song and it's worldwide impact beats Smith's entire catalog.
"I Will Survive" and another record Gaynor did, "I Am What I Am" are also anthems for the gay rights movement, which is much more culturally important than the hippie movement that Jefferson Airplane was involved in, or the punk movement that Smith was part of.
I think that a lot of people who were involved in the hippie movement and/or the punk movement are involved as rock critics and other vocal positions where their favorites get more ink than other parts of the music.