December 1, 2008 | Comments ()

By TK | Music | December 1, 2008 |


I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, Rolling Stone magazine was my version of the Bible. I’d turn to it religiously to find out about emerging artists, tour dates of my tried and true, and other miscellaneous rock-n-roll, behind-the-scenes, tasty nuggets.

I also really dug the pictures.

That was back in the late ’70s/early ’80s, and then I discovered boys. So I abandoned the magazine, gave up on dating John Taylor from Duran Duran, and proceeded to hump my way through school.


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(Maybe God did me a favor. Uh…eeeww.)

If I ever harbored any residual guilt over my abandonment, it was quickly assuaged the other day when I grabbed the latest copy of Rolling Stone and perused its “100 Greatest Singers of All Times” piece. Instantly, I felt like that guy on the hit show, “Life on Mars” because I felt stuck in 1973 during the whole friggin’ read.

Hey You! Aging, baby boomer staff writers with the dwindling sex drives and 401(k)s: Woodstock is over, and Studio 54 has been closed for longer than Ian Schraeger has had a lisp, so could you do the time-warp with me and become a relevant music publication again?

Rolling Stone must have thought they were being cool and up front when they published 25 ballots from rock legends. I hate to break this to you, kitten, but it only made the magazine — and its participants — look like a bunch of sycophants. Or raging, egomaniacal narcissists — you take your pick.

Want some proof?

• Only 11% of their list had artists with careers begun after the Sixties and Seventies.

• Only 23% of those listed are women, and the majority of them are rhythm and blues or soul singers.

• Somehow, Steve Winwood (#33) and Bob Dylan (#7 — a brilliant songwriter, but never considered a talented singer) made it on the list, but neither Chris Cornell, (formerly of Soundgarden and Audioslave fame), Beck, Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam or Evan Dando from The Lemonheads even cracks the Top 100.

• While they’re still digging up women like Dusty Springfield (#35) and Mavis Staples (#56) for slots on the Rolling Stone play card, they don’t even think to include amazing vocalists such as Alison Moyet from Yaz, Ann Wilson from Heart (and she was on the fucking panel!) Harriet Wheeler from The Sundays, PJ Harvey, Pat Benatar, Fiona Apple, or Johnette Napolitano from Concrete Blonde.

• On a personal note, if you’re going to include the likes of Etta James and Nina Simone on your list, then do me and all jazz and blues lovers a favor and remember the Queen of the Torch Song, Ms. Billie Holiday. Jesus, there was even a movie made about her life in 1972, called Lady Sings the Blues, with Ms. Ross. That alone should warrant your cataract-clouded attention.

On a lighter note, them darn celebrity folk sure is funny. After studying each of the 25 ballots, here’s some tidbits I thought you’d find interesting:

• On Courtney Love’s ballot, she initially put Kurt Cobain at #1 and herself at #2 — then crossed both out with the furor of an OCD kid off the meds and then put herself at #1 and her old man at #2.
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(Well then, no one will be accusing you of perpetuating the family legacy Priscilla Presley style, Ms… um… Love.)

• One of James Blunt’s top choices was none other than Mr. Barry Gibb.
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(I guess those falsetto guys really stick together.)

• Maynard James Keenan of Tool left all the slots blank except for his name at the top spot.
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(Hmm, the band name fits quite nicely here.)

• David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, & Nash was the most gendered balanced ballot, with … guess-who ranked topsy amongst the women? (wait for it…wait for it)…yep you guessed it… Melissa Etheridge.
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(Wow, Melis… between the sperm donation and the nomination, you owe David, like, big time.)

• Guess what Iggy Pop, James Hetfield of Metallica, and Merle Haggard have in common (besides the desperate need for a chemical peel)?
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(They all didn’t put one woman on their ballots — not even Aretha Franklin. And honey, they all included Aretha.)

• Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones, nominated himself but not Mick. Whassup with that?
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(I sense tension)

Anyhoo, my point to all of this is: friends don’t let friends get away with antiquated musical tastes. I guess Rolling Stone is such an institution in the industry that no one wants to reveal that the Emperor has no groove no more. Consider this your musical intervention, Senior staff (yeah, I’m talking to YOU, Jann, Will, Eric, Jason (and your other brother Jason), Nathan and John). And for Christ sakes, promote some women beyond the assistant/associate editor level already. They’re tired of you Viagra-pumping-pimps taking cred for all their creative juices.

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

PS Pajibers: This mix is by no means in order or comprehensive…just a slice of what my Greatest Singers of All Time List Would Look Like.
1. Kate Bush - Love and Anger
2. Johnette Napolitano & Danny Lohner - The Scientist
3. Billie Holiday - Autumn in New York
4. Rufus And Chaka Khan - Tell Me Somthing Good
5. Sade - Is It a Crime
6. Pat Benatar - Heartbreaker
7. Heart - Barracuda
8. Eddie Vedder & The Million Dollar Bashers - All Along The Watchtower
9. Jane’s Addiction - Mountain Song
10. Beck With The Flaming Lips - Devil’s haircut
11. The Cure - Just Like Heaven
12. Yaz - Situation
13. Depeche Mode - Enjoy The Silence
14. The Sundays - Can’t Be Sure
15. Fiona Apple - Sullen Girl
16. Poe - Angry Johnny - No K Version
17. Chris Cornell - Redemption Song
18. David Bowie - China Girl
19. Blondie - Rapture
20. Ani DiFranco - Both Hands

Ms. Mix & Bitch offers free advice and kick-ass music mixes to match your miseries at Mix Tape Therapy. Outside of cyberspace, she uses her superpowers to give good talk to other dysfunctional bloggers and to parents of really annoying children.

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Pajiba Music

Brittle Bones at Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time / Ms. Mix & Bitch

Music | December 1, 2008 | Comments ()




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