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Top 100 Greatest Singers

March 02, 2007 | People
In this month's edition of Q Magazine listed the finest voices of all time and their ultimate songs - as chosen by Q. It features everyone from Liam Gallagher, Bono and Kate Bush to Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, each one complete with their own 10 track essential listening play list.

The Top 10 from the Top 100 Greatest Singers:
1. Elvis Presley
2. Aretha Franklin
3. Frank Sinatra
4. Otis Redding
5. John Lennon
6. Marvin Gaye
7. Kurt Cobain
8. Robert Plant
9. Mick Jagger
10. Jeff Buckley

The Top Ten
1. Elvis Presley
From his debut release 'That's All Right' onwards, Presley put sex into rock and
roll. Country, gospel and blues, he took them all in his stride

2. Aretha Franklin
Said to have a four-octave range, soul star Franklin showed her prowess and
power on hits such as 'Respect' and 'I Say a Little Prayer'

3. Frank Sinatra
Renowned for his perfect delivery and phrasing on classics 'My Way' and 'I've Got
You Under My Skin'

4. Otis Redding
Fine versions of songs like 'Satisfaction', but loved for '(Sittin' on) The Dock of the

5. John Lennon
Not technically brilliant, but expressive. 'Imagine' is regularly voted one of the
all-time great songs

6. Marvin Gaye
Shot dead by his father in 1984, the Motown star was said to have 'the voice of an
angel trapped in a man'

7. Kurt Cobain
Not exactly a beautiful voice but his anguished cries on Nirvana hits such as
'Smells Like Teen Spirit' launched a rock revolution in the early 1990s

8. Robert Plant
As singer with Led Zeppelin, Plant and his feminine high register touched millions
with 'Stairway to Heaven' and 'Immigrant Song'

9. Mick Jagger
Jagger's wicked rasp introduced Britons to rhythm and blues and is still going
strong after more than 40 years

10. Jeff Buckley
Was barely known during his lifetime, but his only completed studio album is now a
classic, especially his version of 'Hallelujah'
Viva wrote on March 01, 2007
Looks about right I'd say. Not sure Mick Jagger should be in there though, love the Stones but I wouldn't say he was a great singer. Fans of "Ol Blue Eyes" will be livid with this one.
Steve V wrote on March 02, 2007
No argument with number 1 & 2 & 3. Kurt Cobain? They ever hear of Bobby Darin, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Van Morrison and so many others? Always room for argument I suppose. I'm shocked they actually got # 1 right!
potluck62 wrote on March 02, 2007
Sam Cooke and Patsy Cline should have been in the top 5.
ger wrote on March 02, 2007
No Tom Jones
Vital Pluymers wrote on March 02, 2007
And what about Roy Orbison?
FJE wrote on March 02, 2007
To each his own I guess. There are currently 4913 members in ElvisNews and I bet that would make 4913 different favourites (2nd to Elvis of course!). Well, here's mine: What about Paul McCartney? In my opinion he had (has) a finer voice than John Lennon who's voice was more aggresive than fine!
Rob Wanders wrote on March 02, 2007
Where are Tim Buckley (nice to see that his son Jeff made it; although he should have been higher ranked than number 10), Eva Cassidy, Barbara Streisand? Kurt Cobain, Mick Jagger, Robert Plant, John Lennon, were great artists but not great singers. I can't judge about Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye, don't know them enough for that. And it's not the case that I like the music from Tim Buckley, Eva Cassidy or Barbara Streisand more than Cobain, Jagger, Plant and Lennon; in fact I'm not so keen about Streisand (I have only 1 or 2 albums from her; but I do agree, I love Tim and Eva) but they were/are much better singers then Cobain, Jagger, Plant and Lennon. And for example Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson were/are (although with a bit of limited voices) much better singers than those 4. Of course I'm happy with our man on number 1 and I can live with Franky on number 3. Aretha Franklin number 2? hmm, well...?
old shep wrote on March 02, 2007
It would be Elvis, Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson, John Fogarty and Curtis Mayfield for my choice
ta2k wrote on March 02, 2007
Excellent. The King tops a poll that actually means something. I couldn't care less about the rest ! TCB.
Colonel wrote on March 02, 2007
No Carl Wilson ?! Good to see Elvis on no.1 in this poll though
SendToTodd wrote on March 02, 2007
So even when Elvis makes number ONE we are not happy with the others in the list. No wonder no one treats Elvis fans with respect!
JerryNodak wrote on March 02, 2007
Viva: if Frank were no. 1 and Elvis no. 3 then Elvis fans would be livid. Turnabout is fairplay. Lists are always open to "discussion."
Rob Wanders wrote on March 02, 2007
Dear "sendToTodd": Elvis is not the beginning and the end of life; there is more than only Elvis! And I do not see the connection with "treating with respect or not". I also didn't realise that Elvis-fans were not treaten with respect.
Jerome wrote on March 02, 2007
no Roy Orbison? No Shirley Bassy? No Roy Hamilton? No Karen Carpenter? What about the real vocalists... (Luis Mariano for example)
Rob Wanders wrote on March 02, 2007
did nobody of you ever noticed that Roy Orbinson sung often extremely out of tune!!!
ger wrote on March 02, 2007
Who' s Kurt Cobain
ext_mnx wrote on March 02, 2007
Thanks Q Magazine. Elvis Presley deserves this and more first places.
Dixieland Rock wrote on March 02, 2007
Dean Martin should have been in the top 10.
John4126 wrote on March 02, 2007
It's possible to be a Nirvana and an Elvis fan believe it or not. Who is Kurt Cobain? comment just shows how narrow minded some of you can be. Their album 'Nevermind' sold 24 million copies world wide and is considered to be the most important rock albulm of the 90's. Why don't you give it a listen? and then maybe you will recognise one of rock's most distinctive singers.
Charles wrote on March 02, 2007
Dean Martin, George Jones, Bobby Darrin, Mario Lanza and Johnny Cash. I could name more, all great singers. I would have had them in before Mick Jagger, John Lennon who would not have lasted a night on stage signing alone, like Elvis, Frank. and the others. Notice not many of the girls mentioned. I had a liking for Peggy Lee, Eartha Kitt and someone mentioned Patsy Cline. I also liked Fats Domino another great entertainer
Miss Clawdy wrote on March 03, 2007
What was the reason behind this enquiery? Was it a list of the best sellers? A list of the most popular? Most performances? Best voice? Grestest impact on music? You see, there can be a thousand reasons for such a list and still it would be surprising me after nealy 30 years, if Elvis wasn't leading it. By the way: For some of us Elvis Presley is the beginning and the end. Some of us do tend to waste their whole spare time on Elvis and some of us don't get bored with it. So what! There could be worse things to do in life than to adore Elvis Presley. ;o)
get real wrote on March 03, 2007
If this is ONLY about singing,,,,i would have put Bing Crosby at #1. I think his is the most amazing voice ever. If it had been about the best entertainers, then id have Elvis # 1. And yes, where id Carl Wilson on this list?! I hope he is in the top 100; he should have been in the top 10. There are a ton of pre 50's singers that i hope are on the top 100. And for those who dont know who Kurt Cobain is, it really goes to invalidate your opinion on this poll. Ever heard of Nirvana? No? Look them up.
get real wrote on March 03, 2007
and , Jerome,,,,,your right! Karen Carpenter should be up there. For my money, I think she had the best female voice i have ever heard. So effortless.
John4126 wrote on March 03, 2007
Cobain heads the Forbes list of 'money earnt' by dead celebrity and yes it's mainly because his widow sold a huge chunk of his catalogue. He appears on this list. He is regularly cited as number 4 influential artist after our man, Lennon and Dylan. If i had never heard of him, i would be a little intrigued as to who he was and go get one of his discs and give it a spin.!!
John4126 wrote on March 03, 2007
June - you have heard of Kurt Cobain as your posting on 26th October last year goes to show in reaction to the Forbes list. Go away, give him a listen and come back with an informed opinion instead of continually showing your ignorance in public.
FJE wrote on March 03, 2007
Hey! Come on guys. Stop arguing! In my collection of over 1,700 CDs I have albums by all artists in the top ten, probably by most of the artists in the Top 100, and that includes Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. But who cares which artists are Nos.2 to 100. Elvis is No.1 and that's what counts!!
Steve B. wrote on March 03, 2007
Roy Orbison, Jackie Wilson, Dean Martin, and Sam Cooke should have been on the list. I guess it depends on your definition of "great singers." Numbers 5,7,and 9 would not be on my list.
Jim Semple wrote on March 03, 2007
Let's just celebrate that Elvis is Number 1 - there could be over a hundred different artistes who could easily justify places in the Top 10, some possibly better singers than Elvis - everyone has different opinions. As much as i love Elvis Presley and I am a massive fan, as as singer, in my opinion Frank Sinatra was in a different class. Where is Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Judy Garland, Matt Monroe, Rod Stewart, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Karen Carpenter, Barbara Streisand, Sammy Davis Jnr, John Miles, etc etc etc. You would be here all day writing a list of great singers !. Enjoy.
Steve V wrote on March 03, 2007
Interesting blogs here. I will say this much, Elvis is #1 and thats what is important here. As for the others you can argure all day about who belongs & who doesnt, but one thing is for sure. They are all unique. Once you hear their song, you know who the singer is. I put on the radio today, I honestly cant tell one singer from another. That being said, there are better unique singers that should be on the list. For pure singing alone where the heck is Judy Garland??
Bill Rauhuff wrote on March 03, 2007
After Elvis where is Bob Seger, B.J Thomas and Lou Rawls. There are a lot of good singers out there. Anne Murray and Glen Campbell don"t sound too shabby either.
ptgelvis wrote on March 03, 2007
ever hear of johny mathis? he had greater range, stronger voice, never hit a bad note - than elvis. elvis and mathis are the 2 greastest american singers of all time. elvis is and always will be my favourite singer. now ever hear of helmut lotti? he started out doing elvis winning many contest. he now sings in many styles, sings in 26 languages , like elvis , he can sing anything! you can hear elvis in some of his songs. elvis is his favourite singer. he is from belgeum. he mostly sings tennor but is a naturel baratone. give him a listen, you won,t be sorry.
Jim Semple wrote on March 03, 2007
Blimey I forgot about Johnny Mathis - brilliant choice.
Viva wrote on March 04, 2007
Johnny Mathis had a better range and a stronger voice than Elvis? Are you mad or just deaf? As pleasant as Johnny Mathis is/was to listen to, how the hell anyone can say he was vocally better than Elvis is beyond me. You'll have to explain that one a bit, 'cause for the life of me, I simply can't see it. Elvis is vocally superior to any singer, alive or dead - period. His range, phrasing, interpretation, timing, variety of singing styles and the impeccable way he put pure, raw emotion into lyrics means he towers above anyone else. I don't care what name you pull out of the hat, they are all amateurs compared to Elvis.
Elviz The Pelviz wrote on March 05, 2007
This is great news. It is very cool that Q mag has named Elvis as the No.1. We all shouild be happy about it. I dont think we should bother about who the others are in the list. However,the fact that The Great Sinatra and Aretha franklin have ended up in the second and third slots would lend lot of credibility to the list.They were all very fine singers.
byebye wrote on March 09, 2007
Guess I´m a little late on this one, but I´d rather be right ;) Anyway, a quite fair list apart from the fact that Mr: Orbison belongs there in top 5. And I also miss Freddie Mercury and Bob marley + James Brown on the list. Marley had an unmistakable voice anyone would recognice. These names should be there instead of nr: 7,8,10,4.