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Aretha Beats Ray And Elvis

November 12, 2008 | People

Singing legend Aretha Franklin has been named the greatest singer of the rock era in a new poll.
The 20-time Grammy winner topped the survey and saw off competition from music legends including Sir Paul MCCartney and Sir Mick Jagger who limped in at numbers 11 and 16 respectively.
Ray Charles came in second place, followed by Elvis Presley in third.
Voted into fourth position was Sam Cooke and Beatles legend John Lennon rounded out the top five.
Making up the rest of the top ten was Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder and James Brown.
The full list of winners will appear in Rolling Stone magazine on Friday.

Source:Contact Music
Sirbalkan wrote on November 12, 2008
You've gotta be kidding.. Rock era and Aretha Franklin...? Jesus... I thought she was the queen of soul.
ger wrote on November 12, 2008
polls don't mean anything Rick Astley was voted the best ever last week
EspenK wrote on November 12, 2008
Initially I reacted like Sirbalkan, she ain't got nothing to do with rock at all. The undisputed queen of soul she'll be for a very, very long time. However it seems like every old mainstream genre is included here (Mr Brown, Redding and Wonder was never any rock artists either, to mention a few), and that it is mainstream singers during the rock *era* that's been voted on. A fine detail. This is a totally meaningless vote of course, but that's a different discussion.
ta2k wrote on November 12, 2008
Are there legends other than Elvis-yes. Are there other good singers-yes. However it ills me when Elvis doesn't top every singing poll possible. There is simply nobody who is a better singer than the King of Music and that is a fact. A fact. TCB
PRESYER wrote on November 12, 2008
Completely, absolutely, definitively ridiculous! What a not... wonderful it is!
Brian Quinn wrote on November 12, 2008
Aretha Frankilin and Ray Charles are definately great singers. However, it must not be forgotten that Elvis could, and did, sing in virtually every musical genre available to him. Aretha and Ray, apart from a few exceptions, stuck to their roots. Further, it must be remembered that the Editors of the Rolling Stone Magazine chose the people who were eligible to vote in the poll and this obviously affects the outcome. Elvis has never won a poll in this magazine and I doubt he ever will. They do not favour 50's style rock 'n' roll but prefer heavy rock and artists from the 60's. For me there is no competition and never will be - Elvis is THE MAN.
Lex wrote on November 12, 2008
Somehow I knew that mr BQ would come from under his rock... Ray Charles only one genre?! C'mon listen to more of him than only his greatest hits (and even those are very diverse)... I doubt that he was a better vocalist than Elvis, but that is not the point. In general reactions like those below always make me think of songs like Five Sleepy Heads and Cotton Candy Land... I wonder why.
JerryNodak wrote on November 12, 2008
Did you really expect Elvis to top a poll in Rolling Stone? There's an awful lot of soul/r&b influence in rock 'n' roll. If you're going to finish in 3rd place in a poll about great singers it's better to finish behind two of the best than to finish behind say, Bob Dylan. I love his music, but he is not a great singer. I'm amazed that Rolling Stone didn't "fix" it so that he'd come out on top. He's one of their "darlings."
Steve V wrote on November 12, 2008
People must get over it when ELvis doesnt always come in #1 in polls, contests, etc. Its just a poll. We are Elvis fans so of course we think he is number one. But many people feel Ray Charles, Aretha, Sam Cooke, Darin, Wonder, and many more were just as great if not better. Its thier right you know. Doesnt mean they are wrong or we are either. Brian, Ray Charles has sung blues, soul, pop, country, gospel, rock, so 1 genre? I don't think so. I will tell you one thing. None of the singers mentioned above ever recorded the awful songs Lex has mentioned. They wouldnt sacrifice their credibilty to do so. Perhaps people take that into account when voting.
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on November 12, 2008
It all about who someone likes,i dont think of her when i think of rock & roll,but many are not gonna respect Elvis because of the throw away tunes he recorded,its all about respect,and its take many years for Elvis to get any of that back that he once had,a poll means nothing to me,its just someones view of things,doesnt make it right or wrong,all though i do find aretha to be a stretch when it comes to saying she the number 1 rock and roller,something dont sound right that sentence!
Brian Quinn wrote on November 12, 2008
What's wrong with 'Five Sleepy Heads' and 'Cotton Candy Land'? They were written for the films they featured in. Elvis had the voice to sing such songs as well as 'Hurt' or 'It's Now Or Never'. That's why Elvis is THE KING. Ray Charles or Aretha Franklin were not in the position to be offered film contracts on the scale of Elvis. They were not popular enough worldwide. Had they been so then I suspect they too would have ended up singing 'film' songs. Many fans prefer the film songs to any others. We are all different.
Steve V wrote on November 12, 2008
Brian - theres nothing wrong with them if you are 5 years old. Try playing them for your adult friends, then ask for an opinion (if they stay in the room that long). I am not one of those Elvis fans that think everything he recorded was great just because he sang it. Darin had film contracts. You think he would have recorded this stuff? Others in movies like Sinatra, Dino, Beatles? As for the fans that prefer the movie stuff to his other work, well,,,Ito Eats to you all!
theoldscudder wrote on November 12, 2008
I understand it's a Rolling Stone poll & Dylan is a great songwriter. But a great singer he's not. And where is Roy Orbison?
Ruthie wrote on November 12, 2008
Good grief - it's only a poll! And polls are always slanted by the group sponsoring the poll. After all it's their opinion to begin with! Think about it. Personally, I don't regard Aretha as a rock & roll singer. To me, she's more soul, like James Brown. Big difference.
Jesse Garon Presley wrote on November 12, 2008
I agree with so many on this. this poll doesn't mean anything. come on, polls are not official and therefore totally meaningless.. and EspenK and others? well said
Steve V wrote on November 12, 2008
FYI - Voters included Metallica frontman James Hetfield, folk singers David Crosby and Yusuf Islam, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, punk rock veterans Iggy Pop and English pop star James Blunt. They each submitted their top 20 choices, and an accounting firm tabulated the results. (So it wasnt all editors/writers of Rolling Stone who voted)
Jesse Garon Presley wrote on November 12, 2008
but still this poll is meaningless. the whole world didn't vote anyway. otherwise there would be a totally diffrent result
Lex wrote on November 12, 2008
Yes, of course it is meaningless... Elvis didn't win! Otherwise it would have been the greatest poll ever.
Jesse Garon Presley wrote on November 12, 2008
and for conclusion how can they compare Aretha with Elvis? she ain't a rockstar to begin with, does she sell more then Elvis or did she ever? no is the answer. i just saw a picture of Aretha on the ElvisMatters website. my nightmare for this night has been confirmed and well said Lex ; )
benny scott wrote on November 12, 2008
Who cares ? We all know who's star is still shining as bright as more than half a century ago. That light will never fade or dim. Always El.
Bestoftherest8301 wrote on November 12, 2008
What - no John Sergeant? Can't be a proper vote then!
Jesse Garon Presley wrote on November 13, 2008
BestOfTheRest and BennyScott u two are so right. only 179 people from the showbiz voted on this poll. if the rest of the world would have voted, Aretha would not be number one, no doubt about that. this whole poll is a total hoax and not to be taking seriously. and BennyScott i agree with u so much, indeed who cares..
commoneverybody wrote on November 13, 2008
Calm down everybody! read all the comments on rollingstone.com and almost EVERYONE is pissed on this list. If you like hardrock, pop,classic, jazz...etc. most of them all saying that Elvis should be No. 1. Thats enough for me. Elvis still lives in peoples minds. Its a great read!
Jesse Garon Presley wrote on November 13, 2008
CommonEverybody. I just read it!! THNX for this everyone disagrees with RollingStone. Rolling Stone is saying no one can touch aretha, wrong... ELVIS CAN and still does
Pedro Nuno wrote on November 13, 2008
This list is wrong! If Rolling Stone had listened to the voice of Elvis in Classic Albums like "Spinout" "Double trouble" "Paradise Hawaiian Style" or "Speedway" or “Harum Scarum”, this list would have been very different! Honestly why give a sh*** to this lists. Aretha and Ray have wonderful voices and as an Elvis fan I don’t feel a little bit hurt with Elvis 3th position!
Jesse Garon Presley wrote on November 13, 2008
in a way you r right, but if the whole world could have voted Elvis would not be third and that we all know, and this poll is not official.Aretha never achieved ever what elvis did,nor will she ever do so. so yeah this list is wrong, nuff said
Cher wrote on November 13, 2008
No matter what, I know that wherever Elvis is he's as proud as proud can be about how loyal his fans are. Of course he was (and still is) the greatest singer in the rock and roll genre. If you've spent anytime at all listening to what he could do with not only good songs but the sappy ones too, there'd be no question about it. His voice had several different presentations depending on the song he was singing and his mood at the time. I've listened to some tunes where if I didn't know better, I wouldn't have guess it was Elvis, for example Dirty Feeling is the one that comes to mind immediately. He could sing high, low, lead, harmony. He could sing the telephone book and it would sound good. The same cannot be said for anybody else including Aretha.
Jesse Garon Presley wrote on November 13, 2008
cjkj i couldn't have said it better myself,fantastic reaction u gave thnx! u r so right : )
mslove61 wrote on November 14, 2008
to me elivs is the best there never be know one beat elivs Aaron presley for me iam 50 and ill sill see elivs be the best know one can beat the king elivs d.v.m
Jumpin Jehosaphat wrote on November 14, 2008
What about it does anyone really care about there opinion? 3 different performers 3 different styles, there can never really be a TRUE number 1.
Cher wrote on November 14, 2008
I actually went to the RS site and read the comments as well as the list. The poll is not about the greatest "rock and roll" singer of all time, it's actually just the greatest singer of all time. So including Aretha and Ray is more understandable then when I thought it was just rock and roll. But even still, the list is way off and as one person put it, it's not THE greatest singer, it's more about "my favorite" singer. So it truly is a meaningless poll and of course as the greatest fans of all time, we all know who is the greatest singer of all time. That is unless Jesus could sing like a bird and I'm not sure who would know that. ;-)
oldie56~2 wrote on November 15, 2008
It's just another redundant 'poll'. Aretha is the greatest of her venue but NOT the top of Rock and Roll and that is just that! Elvis would most likely be were it a ligitimate poll. At this writing Aretha is a walking wonder--I'm not so sure her voice would be as it was. She needs Richard Simmons-so sad.