Lists are funny animals. If you agree with the list (their selections mirror yours) they are “good” and “correct.” However, if they don’t agree with your assessment of the musical universe, especially the rock ‘n roll world,  then the list is “bogus” or made by some wingnut.

Any list involving Bruce that didn’t agree with my perception of the Boss was generally bogus because I understand that the publication making the list, in most cases, Rolling Stone magazine, had their own agenda and couldn’t afford to rile some people printing the truth. Even before Bruce came along, when the Rolling Stone wasn’t in a magazine format but more like the Village Voice, a larger, newspaper print format, you understood who buttered their bread and what constituted their tastes.

Case in point—periodically in the 80’s the Rolling Stone published lists, acting pretty much like a music industry People magazine. They rated the top 100 albums of the last 20 Twenty years (8-27-1987 Issue 507), The 100 Best Singles of the Last Twenty-Five years (9-8-1988 Issue 534) and then The Greatest Live Performances of all time (6-4-187 Issue 501). There are other lists but these lists are more relevant to the book I wrote.

The general rule of thumb is that over time Bruce climbs to the top of nearly every list category. When Rolling Stone got around to listing the greatest performers in August of 2013, Bruce is listed as number 1. So he went from afterthought to Number 1 in only 38 years. I could have saved them so much time back then, but at the time Rolling Stone was the last word. Now, they have credibility problems and I think people just see them as just more white noise.

I remember watching a TV special celebrating the 20 years of Rolling Stone magazine. For two solid hours every type of rock was introduced. For each branch of the rock tree, they spent time with the best of that sub-genre. They had famous rockers introduce the genre and the main artists. I waited two long hours for Bruce to show up. So the period covered is 1967 to 1987. Finally, almost as an afterthought, they have George Harrison introduce Bruce. Instead of describing him (as I would have) as the greatest thing since sliced bread, Harrison can’t think of a single descriptive thing to say about Bruce except that he’s…um…Bruce. Good job George, we’ll get back to you. Then they run the same footage of Bruce singing the River that we’ve watched for the past eight years.

Naturally, I disagree with the RS 100 greatest artists of all time. Bruce at #23. This list was put together in 2008, so I am assuming someone at RS just bumped their head. The website I cribbed this from, also had comments after each selection. These are not my comments. Seriously, mine would be a whole lot different.

I also included the Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Albums of all time from the 2012 compilation. Born To Run is at #18, so you can imagine how infuriating lists can be. The Velvet Underground made #13, so you see what I mean. One of the other problems is that there are no clinker songs on BTR. The Beatles’ White Album has some really weak tunes sandwiched in between the memorable ones. How can it be a top album of all time when parts of the album are hard to listen to? On BTR, there are no such tracks, no clinkers. Same with Marvin Gaye. I love him, but the whole album? Yes, they are smoking over there at the Stone.

Here are the lists before I work myself into a lather trying to understand them:

Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Albums of All Time

# 1 Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
# 2 Pet Sounds
# 3 The Beatles: Revolver
# 4 Highway 61 Revisited
# 5 Rubber Soul
# 6 Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On
# 7 Exile on Main St.
# 8 London Calling
# 9 Blonde on Blonde
# 10 The Beatles (White Album).
# 11 Sun Sessions
# 12 Kind of Blue
# 13 The Velvet Underground & Nico
# 14 Abbey Road
# 15 The Jimi Hendrix Experience- Are You Experienced?
# 16 Blood on the Tracks
# 17 Nevermind
# 18 Born to Run
# 19 Astral Weeks
# 20 Michael jackson – thriller
# 21 Chuck Berry: Great Twenty Eight
# 22 Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings
# 23 John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
# 24 Stevie Wonder: Innervisions
# 25 James Brown Live at the Apollo
# 26 Rumours
# 27 The Joshua Tree
# 28 Who’s Next
# 29 Led Zeppelin
# 30 Joni Mitchell blue
# 31 Bob Dylan- Bringing It All Back Home
# 32 Let It Bleed
# 33 Ramones
# 34 The Band: Music from Big Pink
# 35 The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
# 36 Tapestry
# 37 Hotel California
# 38 Muddy Waters Anthology
# 39 Please Please Me
# 40 Love – Forever Changes
# 41 Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
# 42 The Doors
# 43 Dark side of the moon
# 44 Patti Smith, Horses
# 45 The Band
# 46 Bob Marley Legend
# 47 A Love Supreme
# 48 It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
# 49 The Allman Brothers: At Fillmore East
# 50 Here Little Richard- Little Richard
# 51 Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
# 52 Al Green’s Greatest Hits
# 53 Meet The Beatles!- The Beatles
# 54 The Birth Of The Sound: The Complete Atlantic Recordings- Ray Charles
# 55 Electric Ladyland
# 56 Elvis Presley (album)
# 57 Songs in the Key of Life
# 58 Beggars Banquet- The Rolling Stones
# 59 Chronicle Vol. 1- Creedence Clearwater Revival
# 60 Captain Beefheart: Trout Mask Replica
# 61 Greatest Hits- Sly and the Family Stone
# 62 Appetite for Destruction
# 63 Achtung Baby
# 64 Sticky Fingers
# 65 Back To Mono (1958-1969)- Phil Spector
# 66 Moondance
# 67 Kid A
# 68 Off the Wall
# 69 Led Zeppelin 4
# 70 The Stranger
# 71 Graceland
# 72 Superfly
# 73 Physical Graffiti
# 74 After the Gold Rush (Neil Young)
# 75 Star Time- James Brown
# 76 Purple Rain (album)
# 77 Back in Black
# 78 Otis Blue
# 79 Led Zeppelin II
# 80 Imagine
# 81 The Clash
# 82 Harvest
# 83 Axis: Bold as Love
# 84 I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You- Aretha Fanklin (1967)
# 85 Lady Soul- Aretha Franklin
# 86 Born in the U.S.A.
# 87 The Wall
# 88 At Folsom Prison
# 89 Dusty in Memphis
# 90 Talking Book- Stevie Wonder
# 91 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
# 92 Buddy Holly 20 Greatest Hits
# 93 Prince: Sign of the Times
# 94 Hank Williams 40 Greatest Hits
# 95 Bitches Brew
# 96 Tommy
# 97 The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
# 98 This Year’s Model – Elvis Costello
# 99 There’s a Riot Goin On
# 100 Odessey and Oracle- The Zombies (1969)


Rolling Stone: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time: The Immortals


  1. The Beatles– Makes sense. Some of the most influential albums of all time are the works of these lads. What else can you say?
  2. Bob Dylan– I could argue with this one. He’s a legend, but number 2?
  3. Elvis Presley– Very successful, the king of rock n roll of course, but he was very controlled by his manager.
  4. Rolling Stones– Often called ‘Anti-Beatles’, definitely top 5
  5. Chuck Berry– Probably invented Rock n Roll. Deserves to be here.
  6. Jimi Hendrix– First guitar god, I believe. Revolutionary player
  7. James Brown– Godfather of soul, is it? Great showman
  8. Little Richard– American Rock & Roll/R & B singer and pianist
  9. Aretha Franklin– I think she was the first woman to be inducted into the rock n roll hall of fame. I’ll look that up later.
  10. Ray Charles– American R&B singer and pianist
  11. Bob Marley– Jamaican reggae singer
  12. The Beach Boys– Some of the catchiest songs I ever heard.
  13. Buddy Holly– Tragic death. One of the first to use a solid-body electric guitar.
  14. Led Zeppelin– Possibly the ‘fathers of heavy metal’, but some might argue that Black Sabbath is.
  15. Stevie Wonder– American soul singer. Plays many different instruments, and has won 22 grammy awards
  16. Sam Cooke– A founder of soul music.
  17. Muddy Waters– ‘Father of Chicago Blues’
  18. Marvin Gaye– ‘The Prince of Motown’.
  19. The Velvet Underground– American rock band, formed in 1965. Regarded as highly influencial in the rise to punk-rock, and alt-rock.
  20. Bo Diddley– Legendary R&B singer. Known as the ‘Originator’
  21. Otis Redding– You might not know him, but you’ve probably heard ‘Sittin’ on the dock of a bay’.
  22. U2– The Joshua Tree was one of my favourite albums
  23. Bruce Springsteen– Born in the USA was overplayed. Good to see him make music again.
  24. Jerry Lee Lewis– ‘Great Balls of Fire’ was his greatest hit, and one of my favs
  25. Fats Domino– Rock & Roll pianist
  26. The Ramones– Regarded as the first punk-rock group
  27. Nirvana– I swear, RS magazine has a hard-on for these guys. They put Kurt Cobain at #12 on their ‘Greatest Guitarists of All Time’ list, and now this.
  28. Prince– ‘Purple Rain’ is one of my favourite albums. He’s also an icon in style
  29. The Who– Should be higher. Rock artists still try to sound like them
  30. The Clash– English punk-rock band from the 70’s
  31. Johnny Cash– The ‘Man in Black’. Should be higher, since he’s the equivalent of Elvis, except country. The only country singer I like
  32. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles– American R&B group
  33. The Everly Brothers– Country/Rock Duo
  34. Neil Young– Candadian singer-songwriter. Influencial in grunge, though typically labeled folk/rock
  35. Michael Jackson– Would be higher if he wasn’t wacko. Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time
  36. Madonna– I don’t like her music, but she could still be higher. The ‘Queen of Pop’
  37. Roy Orbison– American singer-songwriter. Sang ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’
  38. John Lennon– Liked him in the Beatles, not as a solo artist. Imagine was a great song, however
  39. David Bowie– Icon in music, as well as style
  40. Simon and Garfunkel– Should be in the top twenty, in my opinion. If you haven’t heard of them, you need to get some education
  41. The Doors– I’d put them top 30, but this is alright
  42. Van Morrison– ‘Van the Man’. Sang ‘Brown Eyed Girl’.
  43. Sly and the Family Stone– American funk band
  44. Public Enemy– Highly influential hip-hop group
  45. The Byrds– American rock group
  46. Janis Joplin– American singer-songwriter
  47. Patti Smith– The ‘Godmother of Punk’
  48. Run-DMC– Biggest act in hip-hop throughout the 80’s
  49. Elton John– Should be higher. Not a huge fan, but I can appreciate his talent
  50. The Band– Canadian rock band. They backed Ronnie Hawkins, and Bob Dylan
  51. Howlin’ Wolf– Blues singer. Another attempt to cater to the R&B genre. Every prolific classic R&B singer made it onto this list in some random order. They put Muddy Waters ahead of Marvin Gaye. Come on
  52. Allman Brothers Band– Southern-rock band
  53. Eric Clapton– English blues-rock guitarist
  54. Dr. Dre– Has numerous Grammys for rapping and producing
  55. Grateful Dead– American rock band
  56. Parliament/Funkadelic– African-American soul band
  57. Aerosmith– American hard rock band
  58. Sex Pistols– One of the first punk bands. Definitely one of the most prolific
  59. Louis Jordan– Jazz musician. Not familiar with his works
  60. Joni Mitchell– Canadian singer-songwriter
  61. Tina Turner– American singer and entertainer
  62. Etta James– American R&B singer. Sang ‘At Last’. Should be top 90s if anything at all
  63. Phil Spector– He’s a producer. Why is he on here?
  64. The Kinks– English rock group
  65. Al Green– American gospel singer
  66. Cream– ’60’s British rock band. Considered to be the first ‘supergroup’
  67. The Temptations– American R&B vocal group
  68. Jackie Wilson– R&B singer
  69. Carl Perkins– ‘The King of Rockabilly’
  70. The Police– Sold over 50 million albums world-wide. Highest paid musical act of 2008. Biggest ego of a bassist frontman
  71. Frank Zappa– American composer. Phenomenal guitarist
  72. AC/DC– They’ve had countless hits, and are one of the most popular bands around. I’m surprised RS didn’t place them higher-glad they didn’t
  73. Radiohead– Glad to see them gettin’ some love, but they were placed ahead of some great legends. Maybe a few years down the road I would put them here
  74. Hank Williams– Country singing legend
  75. The Eagles– Could be higher. Their greatest hits album was the 2nd greatest selling album of all time
  76. The Shirelles– Girl group in the 60’s. The first to get a #1 single on the Billboard 100. I would exlude them based on their lack of longevity
  77. Beastie Boys– Jewish hiphop group. Never would have guessed they’d be successful, but they were
  78. The Stooges– Highly influencial in punk-rock
  79. The Four Tops– American R&B quartet. Are noted for having a baritone for a lead singer(stubbs)
  80. Elvis Costello– English musician, singer-songwriter
  81. The Drifters– American R&B vocal group
  82. Eminem– Has many awards, including an Academy award for ‘best original song’ for 2002’s ‘Lose Yourself’
  83. N.W.A.– Gangsta-rap group from the eighties. Dr. Dre and Ice Cube were in this group
  84. James Taylor– American singer/songwriter and guitarist from Boston
  85. Black Sabbath– RS never really liked Black Sabbath. If memory serves me correctly, their first review of Sabbath went something like ‘Should they even exist?…’. I would place them in the top 40 at least
  86. Tupac Shakur– Rap artist. The first to have an album go to #1 while in jail.
  87. Gram Parsons– Country singer. Died at age 26
  88. Miles Davis– Jazz trumpet player
  89. The Yardbirds– English rock group. Introduced us to Clapton, Page, and Beck
  90. Carlos Santana– Solo guitar player. His band has consisted of about 40 people over the years
  91. Ricky Nelson– American singer with over 50 Hot 100 hits
  92. Guns n Roses– ‘Appetite for Destruction’ was the best thing they ever did. Too bad they weren’t consistent
  93. Booker T. and the MG’s– Instrumental soul band. One of the first inter-racial groups
  94. Nine Inch Nails– Trent Reznor is Nine Inch Nails. He’s pretty much the only member
  95. Lynyrd Skynyrd– American southern rock band
  96. Martha and the Vandellas– Female R&B group
  97. Diana Ross and the Supremes– Popular female singing group of the 60’s
  98. Roxy Music– English rock group from the 70’s. Not top 100 material
  99. Curtis Mayfield– American soul singer
  100. Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry– Influencial figure in Reggae music




50 Greatest Live Acts – Rolling Stone list of August, 2013


01. Bruce Springsteen
02. Prince
03. The Rolling Stones
04. Arcade Fire
05. Neil Young
06. Jay Z
07. Radiohead
08. Jack White
09. Rage Against the Machine
10. My Morning Jacket
11. U2
12. Wilco
13. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
14. The Black Keys
15. Paul McCartney
16. Alabama Shakes
17. Nine Inch Nails
18. Metallica
19. The Roots
20. Kanye West
21. Red Hot Chili Peppers
22. Tom Waits
23. Pearl Jam
24. Dave Matthews Band
25. Phish
26. Leonard Cohen
27. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
28. Patti Smith
29. Muse
30. Madonna
31. David Byrne
32. Sleigh Bells
33. Beyonce
34. Foo Fighters
35. Bruno Mars
36. Florence and the Machine
37. The National
38. Queens of the Stone Age
39. Rush
40. Eric Church
41. Tame Impala
42. Skrillex
43. Mumford and Sons
44. Janelle Monae
45. Lady Gaga
46. Tool
47. Sigur Ros
48. Green Day
49. Taylor Swift
50. Fiona Apple