Lennon voted as greatest singer in Sixties-led poll

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The Independent Online
AS THE millennium approaches, lists of everything are appearing. Yesterday, pop singers had their turn with the publication of a list of the top 100 singers of "all time". John Lennon topped the list, followed by Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin.

The music magazine Mojo published the list after a poll of 1,000 of its readers. True to the baby-boomer profile of the magazine's readership, the list is dominated by singers from the Sixties. The only singers from the Nineties are Tori Amos, 75th, Portishead's Beth Gibbons at 77th, Liam Gallagher, 85th, and Kurt Cobain, 98th.

Croaky-voiced white singers such as Bob Dylan (5) and Tom Waits (25) came ahead of themore mellifluous Nat King Cole (52) and Al Green (88). "The readers chose a more white selection of singers than did the singers themselves when we had a poll of 175 of them last year," said the editor, Matt Snow. "Blues and soul singers generally did better and Aretha Franklin came out on top."

But Snow rebuffed the suggestion that it was The Beatles' popularity rather than his singing which put Lennon at the top of the list. "Actually, I think the readers made a good judgement call. He was more than just a songwriter... Some of Lennon's more mundane solo numbers were lifted by the passionate nature of his singing."

But inevitably when you produce a top 100, people disagree with the pecking order. "John Lennon you can blame on Noel Gallagher," said Steve Sutherland, the editor of a rival music magazine, NME. "Before Gallagher no one was that bothered about The Beatles anymore."

He said lists of artists could be fun, but are ultimately flawed: "You cannot compare Bing Crosby to Lennon... Music is just too subjective."

Top 100 Singers of `All Time'

1 John Lennon

2 Elvis Presley

3 Aretha Franklin

4 Frank Sinatra

5 Bob Dylan

6 Roy Orbison

7 Paul McCartney

8 Otis Redding

9 Robert Plant

10 Ray Charles

11 Van Morrison

12 Marvin Gaye

13 David Bowie

14 Dusty Springfield

15 Sandy Denny

16 Mick Jagger

17 Sam Cooke

18 Brian Wilson

19 Joni Mitchell

20 Captain Beefheart

21 Eric Burdon

22 Freddie Mercury

23 Howlin` Wolf

24 Ella Fitzgerald

25 Tom Waits

26 Roger Daltrey

27 Nina Simone

28 John Fogerty

29 Steve Marriott

30 Jim Morrison

31 Richard Manuel

32 Morrissey

33 Michael Stipe

34 Billie Holliday

35 Smokey Robinson

36 Jeff Buckley

37 Ray Davies

38 James Taylor

39 Neil Young

40 Tim Buckley

41 Buddy Holly

42 Stevie Wonder

43 Emmylou Harris

44 Little Richard

45 Johnny Cash

46 kd Lang

47 Willie Nelson

48 Kate Bush

49 Peter Green

50 Thom Yorke

51 Barbra Streisand

52 Nat King Cole

53 Bessie Smith

54 Lowell George

55 Patsy Cline

56 Rod Stewart

57 Jerry Lee Lewis

58 Joe Cocker

59 Lou Reed

60 Karen Carpenter

61 Paul Rodgers

62 Scott Walker

63 Elvis Costello

64 Bonnie Raitt

65 Art Garfunkel

66 Bobby Darin

67 Bob Marley

68 John Martyn

69 Harry Nilsson

70 Charlie Rich

71 James Brown

72 Gram Parsons

73 Janis Joplin

74 Robert Wyatt

75 Tori Amos

76 Nick Drake

77 Beth Gibbons

78 Joan Baez

79 Ian Curtis

80 Donald Fagen

81 Patti Smith

82 Paul Buchanan

83 Prince

84 Roger Chapman

85 Liam Gallagher

86 Tracey Thorn

87 Paul Weller

88 Al Green

89 Levi Stubbs

90 Robert Johnson

91 Hank Williams

92 Aaron Neville

93 Dionne Warwick

94 Curtis Mayfield

95 June Tabor

96 Big Joe Turner

97 Diana Ross

98 Kurt Cobain

99 Solomon Burke

100 Tina Turner