Sampson, I agree with you in The Who-Wonder-BB case.
But what you think about Aretha-MJ? Them could belongs in the top 10?
I'll give you the answer you'll hate, because it's not a direct answer at all. I don't know. That's what the criteria is for. I can say in broad terms they have no weak area which is generally a sign of the immortal type artists who make up the upper echelon of rankings, but how many others are in that category, how much greater or lesser their achievements are in relation to others in each area, I have no idea. To do it right, not just Michael and Aretha should be studied intently, but another couple hundred artists need to be scrutinized in the same way, and until then you just don't know, it's only an educated guess, which often times is the worst kind, because it goes on what you think SHOULD happen without doing the requisite work for it. Once those preconceptions become accepted then it becomes really hard to break them, even with ample evidence to the contrary appearing throughout the criteria, which is why you can't start making guesses about placements, educated or not.
That's why when I said the list should be scrapped and started over, it wasn't a knock at all against Brian, who does a great job, or anyone else, but my problem is when you start with a list already in place, the analysis centers around the rough groupings of artists already ranked and trying to simply move them up or down a few spots based on that original placement, and that's just the wrong way to do it, because now we're saying something like "we're looking at 7-9 and here are the candidates" when in reality EVERY artist should be looked at equally, there should be no preconceptions about who is being considered for what area of the rankings. The 1-6 might be wrong but if they've already been established we kind of move on and then start looking at others and it won't work that way, no matter who's doing it. The best lists, I think, have a totally blank canvas and you just start with each of the criteria individually and try and figure out who does best in each, then move to the next criteria and the next, and the big picture starts to become clearer gradually. That's when candidates rise and fall in ways you never expected because you're not beholden to some preconceived notion of "who's great" and who seems to belong where and then trying to squeeze them in somehow, even if the criteria doesn't back it up.
I know doing it so methodically is not as much fun as arguing over things and trying to rank artists as you go along and come to some sort of conclusion before the work has been done, but if you want to actually get it right then doing it one criteria at a time then slowly pulling it all together only after all of the time and work has been put in is the only logical and defensible way to do it.
That's why I hate answering the questions like this - Do MJ and Aretha belong in the Top Ten? My answer would be perception based, the very thing I'm railing against, even though I've done a lot of work on the criteria for all artists for the decades lists and know it pretty well. But the only way to know for sure is to do a thorough job on every artist's entire career in the manner I described. It's long, tedious work and it becomes so much harder when people start arguing for their favorites, which clearly is the very thing that winds up killing so many lists of this type - taste based subjectivity. But nobody ever said doing it objectively was easy and unfortunately people always like things to be easy.