03/1/2023 3:35 pm  #1

Rolling Stone 200 Best Singers of All Time

Rolling Stone using a new criteria has released the 200 Greatest Singers of all time.Rolling Stone stated: "This new list was compiled our staff and key contributors, and it encompasses 100 years of pop music as an ongoing global conversation, where iconic Indian playback singer Lata Mangeshkar lands between Amy Winehouse and Johnny Cash, and salsa queen Celia Cruz is up there in the rankings with Prince and Marvin Gaye. You might notice that, say, there isn’t any opera on our list — that’s because our purview is pop music writ large, meaning that almost all the artists on this list had significant careers as crossover stars making popular music for the masses.......In all cases, what mattered most to us was originality, influence, the depth of an artist’s catalog, and the breadth of their musical legacy."And yet Bing Crosby did not make this list.....I applaud a list that values more than just a perfect voice and agree great singers don't always have GREAT voices.. But how do you compile a list that "encompasses 100 years of pop music" and state that "almost all the artists" "had significant careers" "making popular music for the masses" and that " what mattered most to us was originality, influence, the depth of an artist’s catalog, and the breadth of their musical legacy." AND NOT INCLUDE BING CROSBY.


04/1/2023 9:01 pm  #2

Re: Rolling Stone 200 Best Singers of All Time

Theses kind of listings annoy me as they defy logic and facts. To not include Bing in the top 10 or at least top 20 shows the ignorance of the people who are compiling the list. It’s the same with the Top 100 movies listings. There are so many films left off that should be included. Anyway I tend to ignore these listings as they are not really important. The only time I was really annoyed was when the Guinness Book of Records placed Elton John’s 1997 Candle in the Wind as number one best selling single. In previous listings it was estimated that Bings White Christmas had amassed sales in excess of 60 million so to suddenly be bumped off the top of the list because Elton’s recording made 33 million was just not logical. I noticed the next year they had changed the title to “biggest selling single in the UK” but I remember that the following year they put Bing back in the number one spot. It’s funny how history and facts can change depending upon the writers. 


05/1/2023 12:26 am  #3

Re: Rolling Stone 200 Best Singers of All Time

Few on this board would argue with Rolling Stone’s contention that “the modern era of popular music begins with Louis Armstrong.” He comes in at number 39. Surely, Bing deserves the spot right beside him, at the very least.
Then, at number 19, “the breath control, the careful study of every lyric, the relentless search for vocal perfection - Sinatra was a titan behind the microphone before he was anything.” True…perhaps…yet to my ears Sinatra’s attributes are often greatly over-hyped…the relaxed Crosby delivery, more meaningful and effective.
As David points out, these kinds of lists are often subjective, merely highlighting the ignorance of those who put them together. Or is there a ‘conspiracy’ to deny Bing’s achievements, to simply write him out of entertainment history…the relaxed Crosby delivery just not cutting it in today’s frenzied, social media driven, world. Just a thought…

Last edited by Rod Poynter (05/1/2023 12:41 am)


05/1/2023 1:18 am  #4

Re: Rolling Stone 200 Best Singers of All Time

I don't pay much attention to Rolling Stone magazine.


10/1/2023 4:03 pm  #5

Re: Rolling Stone 200 Best Singers of All Time


10/1/2023 4:55 pm  #6

Re: Rolling Stone 200 Best Singers of All Time

I actually read that article this morning, and while I agree with everything he says about Bing, I don't think it's the right argument. 

I was just flipping through "The Crosby Years" by Ken Barnes, and he talks about this weird phenomena of people sort of taking Bing for granted and forgetting how great he was. Some of this is Bing's fault, as he downplayed his talent and dedication. He was content with people relating to him as an everyman, who would rather golf, and who sang no better than the average Joe. 

Professionals knew better, they appreciated he great tonal quality, his amazing sense of rhythm, and his ability to inject his personality into everything he sang. 

But more so, and I am paraphrasing from the book, in the 30's every singer tried to copy BIng, his style and his sound, when his voice gave out and he was forced to rest, he came back with a voice that was a bit deeper and that had maybe lost some top end. Bing adjusted AND every singer tried to copy this adjusted sound. 

If that doesn't give you an indication of just how influential Bing was nothing else will. 

     Thread Starter

11/1/2023 8:51 am  #7

Re: Rolling Stone 200 Best Singers of All Time

I think David Krayden's article neatly sums up what we all feel about Bing's inexplicable neglect today, but I agree with Ron that he misses an essential point about Bing's unsurpassed influence on popular singing in the 20th century. 

I have always thought that one of the most significant examples of this sincerest form of flattery is that of Al Jolson, whose style of singing Bing single-handedly rendered obsolete, but who affected numerous Crosby vocal mannerisms in his later years.

Dean Martin summed it up nicely in his tribute at the time of Bing's death. 'Any singer who approaches a microphone has to pass through Bing Crosby's shadow first'.


11/1/2023 11:42 pm  #8

Re: Rolling Stone 200 Best Singers of All Time

The editors of Rolling Stone have a perfect right to ape out their own musical tastes & favorites. As a music collector & author myself, it's very hard NOT to ignore may nameless vocalists & entertainers since 1900.There were so many who did not make it. for many reasons. What is NOT very hard, is noting the huge commercial success that Bing Crosby enjoyed, over ALL his competition as a vocalist. There exists a trail of musical creativity, involving style, as Bing's vocals themselves, defined POPULAR MUSIC. For many, Bing WAS POPULAR MUSIC. There are huge vocal differences in recordings made in different decades that Bing produced. Perhaps the editors of Rolling Stone should have tried to find out just why these recordings were so popular? They still can.


12/1/2023 8:30 pm  #9

Re: Rolling Stone 200 Best Singers of All Time

Archiefit wrote:

Rolling Stone hasn't been worth reading for 30 years.  Why bother flattering them with attention. 
As for Al Jolson, his style was certainly more loud and brash and his voice higher when he started out.  But when he came back from his self-imposed exile from radio he had gone thru a lung removing operation from a disease he caught entertaining troops in WWII.  His voice had now deepened significantly.  

It's this '40's period of Al Jolson singing that I really much prefer over his earlier in your face manic high singing.   His singing changed due simply to his now deeper voice and also being older he seemed to have mellowed a bit in his style.  Was this all due to Bing?  I don't think so, maybe he was encouraged by Bing's style in the '40's and gave him confidence to return to radio.  In fact, even Bing has admitted Al was a great influence on his style that he would adopt in his career.   But let's face it, all singers influence other singers to some extent.  

There have been plenty of people who have commented on Rolling Stone having gone down hill and sharing your view, but I think the problem is Rolling Stone still generates a lot of buzz with lists like this and to ignore such a blatantly stupid omission just allows that omission to take on some air of legitimacy. 

If someone is going to compile a list like this, they should be willing to defend that list and justify the inclusion or exclusion of someone from the list.  


     Thread Starter

14/1/2023 4:00 am  #10

Re: Rolling Stone 200 Best Singers of All Time

I hate when they make these lists! How could they leave out Bing Crosby and even Nat King Cole and Perry Como. And Some people on the list should have been higher up and some don't even belong on that list! Half of them I never heard of! I was also upset a few years back with the AFI list of best actors. But I won't go into that now. I think they should do away with lists because everyone has different tastes and different opinions. At least the Beatles and Elton John would have put Bing on that list!


21/1/2023 7:31 am  #11

Re: Rolling Stone 200 Best Singers of All Time

Rod referred to the 'frenzied, social media driven world' we live in which has little time for singers such as Bing. I'm a fellow-countryman (should I write person?) of Rod and am reminded of that new world when I watch the Australian Open tennis matches as players grunt and grimace (and worse) as they win or lose points.(I'm old enough to remember Ken Rosewall and Vic Seixas.) Except for Christmas and our community radio stations, Bing seems to be forgotten by our major media although The Sydney Morning Herald published a 'Zits' cartoon strip on 19 December on the subject of Christmas music which finished with the punch line' A month of Bing Crosby was enough'. I presume the strip originated in the USA.


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