Because listing stuff is what music geekdom is all about

The beautiful and really smart people over at NPR's All Songs Considered have taken on one hell of an ambitious list and they are leaving it up to us to decide how it shakes out. All of the details are right here. Yep. The 50 greatest voices of all time.

This was a brutal vote...and one that I probably could have done about 17 different ways. See, I am - at heart - an over-analyzer. First of all, I think there could probably be a completely separate post about the 126 "finalists" they picked, but what's done is done. So how do you interpret "greatest voices"? Most recognizable, most technically sound, most emotional, most socially impactful, etc etc etc. I could have spent all night agonizing over these, or I could do what I did, which is to just pick the five voices in the list that have had the most impact in my life. Still incredibly hard, but by doing this at least I didn't catch myself voting for Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn in some lame attempt to garner hipster cred from people I don't even know. Oh, I've caught myself doing it before. I am human after all, and sometimes I choose poorly in an ill-fated attempt at being cool...but I am working on that.

So, here are my top five...sort of a gut response...if you do vote, and feel like sharing, I'd love to read see your picks....just post them in the comments section here.

Van Morrison
Johnny Cash
Tom Waits
Otis Redding
Nina Simone

7 Response to "Because listing stuff is what music geekdom is all about"

  • Dale Says:

    Oh man, that is a pretty comprehensive list. I freely admit to not knowing most of the names.

    These would be my top 5:

    Johnny Cash
    Marvin Gaye
    Freddie Mercury
    Robert Plant
    Roy Orbison

  • Anonymous Says:

    Beth Gibbons x 5. :)


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  • Andrew Says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with music lists, which is perhaps a curse placed on all music geeks. However, I definitely recognize and appreciate your approach. I actually share much of the sentiment expressed in this post - it's nice to hear it coming from someone other than myself for once. As for the list, well...I'm gonna have to let that marinate for awhile.

  • Carter Says:

    Not trying to earn intangible hipster cred or anything, but I just felt bad for the non-English speaking artists. I feel like in a list or project like this directed at an English-speaking public they are going to get completely shafted. Thus, (and probably also to make it easier for me to pick things) I limited myself just to picking non-English voices. Thus my five:

    Gilberto Gil
    Uum Kulthoum
    Kongar-ool Ondar
    Fela Kuti

  • Anonymous Says:

    Elvis- He's the King for a reason

    Peter Steele- His voice is dark and
    every woman I play his
    musc for get's naked,
    works for me.

    Freddy Mercury
    Johnny Cash
    Melora Creager- lead singer of
    Rasputina. Her voice
    is hauntingly

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