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 Post subject: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:15 pm 
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Criteria: Popularity, influence, musical impact, and cultural impact. This is the old version of the list, the one that's on the main site. Explanation of the criteria:

Popularity: Charted singles and albums (with some consideration as to the era in which they took place to establish context - albums were not big in the 50's and early 60's for rock artists and most put no effort into them, black rock artists mostly did not pay full attention to them until the early 70's; certain styles received little radio airplay which negatively affect single success, such as metal and early rap; pre-1955 rock also was made for and appealed to a racially segregated market, so the R&B Charts are more accurate as to what was popular within the rock community at the time, but that has to be balanced to reflect that post-1955 rock on the pop charts was not only competing with other rock, but also all of pop music as a whole).

It also includes sales figures and headlining appearances and so forth but these are considered secondarily. However, as with chart success, era and style specific context is factored in. In terms of concerts not all artistic styles are created equal. A vocal harmony group, no matter how popular, won't fill stadiums because their music doesn't translate well to the venue. Rap is harder to duplicate live.

It is based on roughly a 80/20 split for US/UK. In cases where an artist undeniably has a very high level of worldwide popularity, that can be used as a tiebreaker.

Influence: Primary Influence, which is worth more, is for true innovation, the starting point of a new style or method of singing, songwriting, playing, performance, production, stage shows, arranging, etc., which consequently goes on to become widespread at some point in the future. The origins of the innovation are what matters most here, not necessarily who others credit with exposing them to it and so it is necessary to trace back all things to their origins as best as possible. Secondary Influence is for those who did NOT innovate, but whose application in their own work of an earlier innovation served to popularize it to a far greater extent. Because this is not the creative aspect of it, secondary influence, which is far more common to see and can be divided up between multiple artists over the years, is not worth as much.

Musical Impact: The reaction within the music industry as a whole to an artist's work. This differs from influence because not all artists are even able to be influenced by things they admire. Different styles, different abilities, different audiences and different musical goals and a sense of creative independence means that artists many times would prefer to follow their own path, but their appreciation for another artist's achievements elevates the stature of that artist in the industry. This attempts to accurately determine what music was turning the most heads within their own community at the time, what was seen as raising the creative bar and set new benchmarks to strive to surpass. It is the peer recognition factor of the criteria.

Cultural Impact: The myriad of ways in which artists affect the mass popular culture, as over the years music has altered virtually everything around us in one way or another at times - racially, sexually, in language, fashion and slang. It's changed the dominant marketplace for music as a whole from adults to teenagers, it's changed the way the music industry itself operated, created untold controversy and started national and international dialogue on a wide variety of topics that have frequently changed the viewpoints of generations to follow. It is not always intentional, but when it happens the societal parameters often shift in some ways. Basically, how far an artist's career penetrated into society. This is the hardest to get, simply because it is difficult to affect such change, but it something that often separates the elite from the merely great and is ultimately a major part of the lasting legacy of rock music as a whole.

Essentially the goal in this criteria was to, as objectively as possible and by removing musical taste entirely, determine which artists made the most impact in their field. It doesn't require an artist to take on a specific role that is optional to do in order to BE an artist. In other words, there's no separate category for things such as writing, playing a specific instrument, producing, or performing live. Yet those all can and do factor in more objectively in the existing criteria. An innovative guitarist gets influence points for introducing new techniques, an artist's songwriting sees his or her Musical Impact level raised as a result, an artist taking the reins of production changes the business models within rock and therefore has Cultural Impact within the industry.

1. The Beatles
2. Elvis Presley
3. James Brown
4. Rolling Stones
5. Bob Dylan
6. Chuck Berry
7. The Who
8. Led Zeppelin
9. Stevie Wonder
10. Jimi Hendrix
11. Ray Charles
12. The Beach Boys
13. Pink Floyd
14. Aretha Franklin
15. Little Richard
16. Marvin Gaye
17. Bruce Springsteen
18. David Bowie
19. Fats Domino
20. Black Sabbath
21. Queen
22. Buddy Holly
23. Bob Marley
24. Sam Cooke
25. Elton John
26. Neil Young
27. U2
28. The Doors
29. Run-D.M.C.
30. Bo Diddley
31. Jerry Lee Lewis
32. B.B. King
33. Sly & The Family Stone
34. The Clash
35. Prince
36. The Grateful Dead
37. The Velvet Underground
38. Nirvana
39. Michael Jackson
40. The Supremes
41. The Temptations
42. Madonna
43. Public Enemy
44. The Kinks
45. Otis Redding
46. The Everly Brothers
47. Van Halen
48. Elvis Costello
49. Simon & Garfunkel
50. Cream
51. Frank Zappa
52. Roy Orbison
53. Eric Clapton
54. George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic
55. The Allman Brothers Band
56. Janis Joplin
57. The Ramones
58. Crosby, Stills, & Nash (& Young)
59. Fleetwood Mac
60. AC/DC
61. The Byrds
62. Joni Mitchell
63. The Eagles
64. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
65. R.E.M.
66. Creedence Clearwater Revival
67. Johnny Cash
68. Van Morrison
69. Aerosmith
70. Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions
71. The Drifters
72. The Police
73. Metallica
74. Pearl Jam
75. Deep Purple
76. Bill Haley & His Comets
77. The Band
78. Santana
79. Yes
80. Jefferson Airplane
81. King Crimson
82. Al Green
83. The Isley Brothers
84. The Moody Blues
85. The Sex Pistols
86. N.W.A
87. Talking Heads
88. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
89. Billy Joel
90. The Bee Gees
91. The Yardbirds
92. The Four Tops
93. Radiohead
94. Patti Smith
95. Guns N' Roses
96. Chicago
97. Rush
98. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
99. Rick Nelson
100. Earth, Wind, & Fire


Last edited by Brian on Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists
PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:19 pm 
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This is the tentative revision of the list as it currently stands:

1. The Beatles
2. Elvis Presley
3. James Brown
4. Bob Dylan
5. The Rolling Stones
6. Chuck Berry
7. The Who
8. Led Zeppelin
9. Ray Charles
10. Stevie Wonder
11. The Beach Boys
12. Aretha Franklin
13. Fats Domino
14. Michael Jackson
15. Madonna
16. Jimi Hendrix
17. Little Richard
18. Bruce Springsteen
19. Marvin Gaye
20. Sam Cooke
21. Prince
22. U2
23. The Supremes
24. Pink Floyd
25. Elton John
26. Run-DMC
27. Queen
28. Nirvana
29. The Temptations
30. The Everly Brothers
31. David Bowie
32. Buddy Holly & The Crickets
33. Neil Young
34. Bob Marley & the Wailers
35. Public Enemy
36. Sly & The Family Stone
37. Black Sabbath
38. The Kinks
39. The Grateful Dead
40. Bo Diddley
41. R.E.M.
42. The Clash
43. The Doors
44. Otis Redding
45. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
46. Bill Haley & His Comets
47. The Byrds
48. Jerry Lee Lewis
49. Van Halen
50. The Drifters
51. Simon & Garfunkel
52. Roy Orbison
53. George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic
54. Jay-Z *
55. 2pac *
56. Eminem *
57. The Beastie Boys *
58. Joni Mitchell
59. Metallica
60. The Impressions
61. Eagles
62. Fleetwood Mac
63. Creedence Clearwater Revival
64. Aerosmith
65. Pearl Jam
66. The Bee Gees
67. The Platters *
68. The Clovers *
69. Janet Jackson *
70. Jackie Wilson *
71. Ruth Brown *
72. Donna Summer *
73. Van Morrison
74. Cream
75. Elvis Costello
76. The Isley Brothers
77. The Police
78. Al Green
79. AC/DC
80. Crosby, Stills, & Nash (& Young)
81. Deep Purple
82. Radiohead
83. Mariah Carey *
84. Outkast *
85. Rod Stewart *
86. The Four Seasons *
87. The Shirelles *
88. The Dominoes *
89. Kanye West *
90. Big Joe Turner *
91. Johnny Otis *
92. Whitney Houston *
93. Guns 'N' Roses
94. N.W.A.
95. The Allman Brothers Band
96. Billy Joel
97. Janis Joplin
98. The Band
99. Sonny Til & the Orioles *
100. Paul McCartney / Wings *


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 5:25 pm 
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Going back to Dylan vs. James Brown on the previous board.

Why I have a problem with discounting Dylan's first 4 records, which include 2 of his top 3 most famous singles and probably 2 of his top 6 most acclaimed albums, is that it's debatable whether Dylan was even a committed folk singer. I think there is a strong case for Dylan only using folk music as a way to get credible within a certain audience, I think there was always the indication he was a rock artist all along in a folk guise, if you like.

Also, as it's essentially an album artist vs. a singles artist, would say, the popularity or critical acclaim of say, 5 albums, not trump that of say, 20 singles? As there is 2 or 3 times the material on the 5 albums as a rule?

Also, Brian or someone else, could you possibly post the sales figures or weeks spent in charts for Dylan and Brown in the US (singles and albums charts separately if preferable)? I don't know where to get the information. I only know the UK data.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:09 pm 
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I'll try to get back to you on the 1st question, and tell you what I can about the 2nd. Gminer might have more info on the 2nd one.

If by sales you mean RIAA certification, nothing JB released prior to going to Polydor in '71 is certified, and that's most of his career, so he would be very undercertified, and for singles, chart numbers are much more useful than certifications even if they are up to date.

The latest Whitburn Album guide has Dylan at #8 and Brown at #22. Brown probably shouldn't be that high, maybe also Dylan, because Whitburn's method of calculation overly rewards artists for a large number of charting albums in his tabulations that are based on the whole chart, as this is. As of '96 Dylan had 39 charting albums, and Brown had 49.

As of 2003, Brown had 44 top 40 singles, and Dylan had 12. Brown had 16 #1 R&B singles. Whitburn's singles tabulation based only on top 40 pop has JB at #24, and Dylan not in the top 100, as of 2003. I'll wait and see what gminer posts; he might have weeks on the chart numbers easily available. If not, I'll add it up and post it.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:55 pm 
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Brian wrote:
This is the tentative revision of the list as it currently stands:


*breathes sigh of relief*

Sweet. I can actually focus on the list as a whole, now.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:30 am 
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Great list!

Looking at the top ten I think Zeppelin could top the Who, but that's a tough one. All great regardless.

Well done.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:33 am 
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Brian wrote:
I'll try to get back to you on the 1st question, and tell you what I can about the 2nd. Gminer might have more info on the 2nd one.

If by sales you mean RIAA certification, nothing JB released prior to going to Polydor in '71 is certified, and that's most of his career, so he would be very undercertified, and for singles, chart numbers are much more useful than certifications even if they are up to date.

The latest Whitburn Album guide has Dylan at #8 and Brown at #22. Brown probably shouldn't be that high, maybe also Dylan, because Whitburn's method of calculation overly rewards artists for a large number of charting albums in his tabulations that are based on the whole chart, as this is. As of '96 Dylan had 39 charting albums, and Brown had 49.

As of 2003, Brown had 44 top 40 singles, and Dylan had 12. Brown had 16 #1 R&B singles. Whitburn's singles tabulation based only on top 40 pop has JB at #24, and Dylan not in the top 100, as of 2003. I'll wait and see what gminer posts; he might have weeks on the chart numbers easily available. If not, I'll add it up and post it.


OK, thanks for the reply, Brian. I know I'm a big Dylan fan so probably biased ;), but I think it is more a cultural thing to why I am surprised at the placement, JB just isn't that popular or had much of an impact in the UK at all, so I was surprised to see him so high, as I never knew the impact/popularity he had in the US.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:00 am 
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I was going to comment that Michael Jackson was too low, but then I saw the revision. I think Sabbath's influence could give it a bit higher place. It shouldn't be below Nirvana (and I'm a huge Nirvana fan, obviously).


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:20 am 
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I think Michael Jackson just under Bruce Springsteen, with both just inside the top twenty, looks right.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:33 am 
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great to see Em, Outkast, and Jay Z. but even then, the revision still doesnt give enough credit to the last 30 years of rock music. Nirvana is the most obvious example. the most important band of the last 20 years (1/3 of rock history) is at 30? and is the any reason why Em and Jay Z and Tupac are behind Yes, The Band, and The Isley Brothers? could any of those three say they were the biggest thing in music for a 4 year time span like Eminem could say? or have as many number 1 albums as Jay Z?


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:05 pm 
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Em, Jay-Z & 2pac are new entries, and when I added the new entries, I just added them at the bottom of the list, and haven't moved them since. The reason they're ahead of the Sex Pistols and NWA is that I considered those 2 questionable for the top 100, so I put them at the very bottom. I do expect that at least 2pac will eventually be ahead of Yes and the Band, and possibly even the Isley Brothers. One thing to be said about the Isleys is that even though they didn't have a huge 4-year period, they did have a long period of importance, which I would say was 1959-1980, maybe even -1983.

Sabbath is very influential, but I think all of the artists ahead of them beat them in popularity and musical impact, with the possible exception of Madonna in musical impact. And many of the artists ahead of them are also very influential.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:45 pm 
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Foghat>Styx


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:58 pm 
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I disagree, but for this thread it doesn't matter, because neither of them is top 100.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:25 pm 
The Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin and Fats Domino ahead of Hendrix? That is so wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Rock Artists (under revision)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:44 pm 
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Lennon wrote:
The Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin and Fats Domino ahead of Hendrix? That is so wrong.


I couldn't disagree more. They're all way ahead of Hendrix on popularity, and their longer careers are an advantage as well--the first two in particular were making important records for a much longer time.

If anything, I think Aretha and the Beach Boys are underrated on the list, and a case can be made for moving Hendrix a little bit down.


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