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The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time: #1 Aretha Franklin

No real quibbles about this one.

The undoubted Queen of Soul herself Miss Aretha Franklin!

We won’t say anything about her “taste” in hats, though!

Although it’s perhaps at first glance somewhat odd to see Bob Dylan in the top ten Greatest Singers of All Time, his immense songwriting influence aside, one needs to consider the phenomenal impact his singing has had on generations of singers – artists whose singing ability may not perhaps be technically exceptional but, thanks to Dylan’s inspiration, have gone on nevertheless to be powerful and impactful.

We’d also definitely have the sublime singing talent of Jackie Wilson in our top 10!

Of course, as always, there are a lot of so-called artists listed here that shouldn’t be anywhere near this list!

#1 Aretha Franklin
by Mary J. Blige

Born: March 25th, 1942
Key Tracks:
“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Respect,” “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Think,” “Chain of Fools”
Influenced:
Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Aaron Neville, Annie Lennox

You know a force from heaven. You know something that God made. And Aretha is a gift from God. When it comes to expressing yourself through song, there is no one who can touch her. She is the reason why women want to sing.

Aretha has everything — the power, the technique. She is honest with everything she says. Everything she’s thinking or dealing with is all in the music, from “Chain of Fools” to “Respect” to her live performances. And she has total confidence; she does not waver at all. I think her gospel base brings that confidence, because in gospel they do not play around — they’re all about chops, who has the vocal runs. This is no game to her.

As a child, I used to listen to Aretha’s music because my mom played “Do Right Woman” and “Ain’t No Way” every single day. I would see my mother cry when she listened to those songs, and I’d cry too. Then I discovered her on my own with the Sparkle soundtrack. I must have played “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” 30 times in a row; eventually, I connected the dots to that voice my mom was listening to.

Even the way she pronounces words is amazing: In “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” when she sings, “Many say that I’m too young” — the way she says “I’m,” you can almost see her saying it, like she’s all in your face, but you’re still right with her. You can really visualize her hands when she sings, “You’re tying both of my hands,” on “Ain’t No Way” — it’s the powerful way she hits the word “both.”

When you watch her work, you can see why Aretha is who she is. When we did the song “Don’t Waste Your Time” on my album Mary, she just went in there and ate that record like Pac-Man. She could be doing a church vocal run, and it would turn into some jazz-space thing, something I never encountered before. You’d say, “Where did that come from? Where did she find that note?”

It’s beautiful to see, because it helps people with a lack of confidence in their ability, like myself. I look at her and think, “I need a piece of that. Whatever that is.”

Playlist

1. (You Make Me Feel Like)
A Natural Woman
2. Respect
3. I Never Loved a Man
(The Way I Love You)
4. Think
5. Chain of Fools
6. Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)
7. Rock Steady
8. Call Me
9. Do Right Woman
10. I Never Loved a Man
Aretha Franklin – I say a little prayer

The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time

1 | Aretha Franklin by Mary J. Blige

2 | Ray Charles by Billy Joel

3 | Elvis Presley by Robert Plant

4 | Sam Cooke by Van Morrison

5 | John Lennon by Jackson Browne

6 | Marvin Gaye by Alicia Keys

7 | Bob Dylan by Bono

8 | Otis Redding by Booker T. Jones

9 | Stevie Wonder by Cee-Lo

10 | James Brown by Iggy Pop

11 | Paul McCartney

12 | Little Richard

13 | Roy Orbison

14 | Al Green

15 | Robert Plant

16 | Mick Jagger by Lenny Kravitz

17 | Tina Turner

18 | Freddie Mercury

19 | Bob Marley

20 | Smokey Robinson

21 | Johnny Cash

22 | Etta James

23 | David Bowie

24 | Van Morrison

25 | Michael Jackson by Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy

26 | Jackie Wilson

27 | Hank Williams

28 | Janis Joplin

29 | Nina Simone

30 | Prince

31 | Howlin’ Wolf

32 | Bono by Billie Joe Armstrong

33 | Steve Winwood

34 | Whitney Houston

35 | Dusty Springfield

36 | Bruce Springsteen

37 | Neil Young

38 | Elton John

39 | Jeff Buckley by Chris Cornell

40 | Curtis Mayfield

41 | Chuck Berry

42 | Joni Mitchell

43 | George Jones by James Taylor

44 | Bobby “Blue” Bland

45 | Kurt Cobain

46 | Patsy Cline

47 | Jim Morrison

48 | Buddy Holly

49 | Donny Hathaway

50 | Bonnie Raitt

51 | Gladys Knight

52 | Brian Wilson

53 | Muddy Waters by Ben Harper

54 | Luther Vandross

55 | Paul Rodgers

56 | Mavis Staples

57 | Eric Burdon

58 | Christina Aguilera

59 | Rod Stewart

60 | Björk

61 | Roger Daltrey

62 | Lou Reed

63 | Dion

64 | Axl Rose

65 | David Ruffin

66 | Thom Yorke

67 | Jerry Lee Lewis

68 | Wilson Pickett

69 | Ronnie Spector

70 | Gregg Allman

71 | Toots HIbbert

72 | John Fogerty

73 | Dolly Parton

74 | James Taylor

75 | Iggy Pop

76 | Steve Perry

77 | Merle Haggard

78 | Sly Stone

79 | Mariah Carey

80 | Frankie Valli

81 | John Lee Hooker by Bonnie Raitt

82 | Tom Waits

83 | Patti Smith

84 | Darlene Love

85 | Sam Moore

86 | Art Garfunkel

87 | Don Henley

88 | Willie Nelson

89 | Solomon Burke

90 | The Everly Brothers

91 | Levon Helm by Jim James

92 | Morrissey

93 | Annie Lennox

94 | Karen Carpenter

95 | Patti LaBelle

96 | B.B. King

97 | Joe Cocker

98 | Stevie Nicks

99 | Steven Tyler

100 | Mary J. Blige


RS Contributors
;

Brian Braiker, David Browne, Anthony DeCurtis, David Fricke, Brian Hiatt, Ashley Kahn, Mark Kemp, Alan Light, Austin Scaggs, David Wild, Douglas Wolk


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March 18, 2009 - Posted by | Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, _ARTICLE, _MUSIC, _VIDEO

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