What I was thinking on Otis was that he was highly respected, had a lot of top 10 R&B hits, mostly during the era before R&B crossed over to the pop charts, and he's very influential, #24 on Sampson's influential atists list. So he looks like a top 100 to me as a performer alone. I have reservations about the non-performer accomplishments. Carole King's placement in the 2nd 100 was brought up a couple weeks ago. That placement is based on her accomplishments as a performer. If she were also credited with all the songs she wrote before the '70s for other artists, she would be a lot higher.
Is Smokey Robinson credited for all the songs he wrote for other artists?
Not under popularity, but because he wrote those songs at he same time that he was a performer, maybe he should under musical impact. I'd be interested in Sampson's take on that.
Carole King was a performer already in the late 50s and early 60s. Maybe not a real successful performer, but a performer nonetheless.
Here's her first single, from 1958:
Brett Alan wrote:
It strikes me that it should be all or nothing. Either we count outside songwriting, or we don't, but to make it dependent upon when it happens in the artist's life relative to when they were recording would be excessively arbitrary.
Generally, it’s musical impact when an artist’s songs are recorded by other artists, because it’s a reaction from other artists to that artist, and it shows that other artists think that artist’s songs are good enough to record. I had more doubt about whether it would count in King’s case than in Robinson’s, but in both cases I had some doubt because the other artists aren’t doing their songs because of their recording careers. Smokey was a songwriter on the Motown staff, supplying songs to The Temptations and Mary Wells just as H-D-H supplied songs to The Supremes and the Four Tops. I don’t think The Temptations and Mary Wells were doing Robinson’s songs in response to The Miracles' recording career, or that The Drifters, The Shirelles, etc., were doing King’s songs in response to King’s recording career. But I would be interested in Sampson’s views on whether these things should be counted toward musical impact.
The Beatles doing “You Really Got a Hold on Me” is a response to The Miracles’ music, so that would definitely count.
Sampson, another question I have about musical impact is whether it counts when an artist’s songs are remade many years later. Musical impact is generally about the immediate response to an artist’s music, and remakes aren’t considered influence, so does that mean that remakes that are done many years later don’t count for any part of the criteria? For example, do The Beatles get no credit for Tiffany’s “I Saw Him Standing There” because it came too late?
No, remakes are like any other outside material - artists looking for hits. With something like the Beatles anyway it's not like you need to count the number of hit remakes to judge their impact, it's pretty obvious.
With writers like Smokey who penned hits for others, or Curtis Mayfield, as opposed to guys like Dylan whose songs were covered without his direct input mostly, these guys actually tailored their songs specifically for other artists, that's tricky. Obviously the writing aspect can't be credited to Mary Wells or Major Lance, but since those records were only further evidence of each guy's writing ability it kind of fits in with their roles as performers. In other words, you're not going to be able to divvy up a percentage about which specific songs of Robinson's elicited what acclaim from other artists. If a guy was writing for himself as well as others, it's his overall songwriting that is going to create the impact most likely.
But again, these are OUR attempts to try and neatly classify things to fit criteria, the real world doesn't do that. People take on different roles and don't think about how each thing they do affects each specific aspect of their career. They're just out to make music. Sometimes we get a little too anal retentive about this, but that's the nature of listmaking.