Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kerrang!’s “20 Greatest Rock Stars Ever”

image from Queen’s Facebook page

I am a fan of lists. They serve a purpose – they spark debate and hopefully inspire people to seek out new music. It is ridiculous to expect a list to make all people happy. In fact, I roll my eyes when people react to a list with “this sucks” or “whoever put this list together knows nothing about music.” Dear list haters – it shows an incredible arrogance to berate another’s tastes simply because they aren’t the same as yours.

However, I am baffled by this list by Kerrang!, a UK-based magazine devoted to hard rock and heavy metal. I’ll refrain from hypocritical comments like “this sucks,” but I will point out how this list differs from others.

1. This list is an oddity in that it is a mostly-singer list, but also includes AC/DC’s Angus Young, Metallica’s drummer Lars Ulrich, and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. Even #1, Jimi Hendrix, arguably gets there on the strength of his guitar playing more than singing.

2. Only 10 of the 20 names on this list make the DMDB’s list of the Top 100 Singers of All Time. Is the DMDB list definitive? Certainly not. I made the list and will concede it has problems (namely too little focus on the rock era). However, the DMDB list aggregates 27 best-of lists, which offers insight into what names are more universally recognized as the greats.

3. Perhaps the greatest indicator of just how idiosyncratic this list is comes in the “new” names. Seven people make the Kerrang! list – but none of the other 26 lists aggregated into the DMDB list. As already indicated, some of those are not singers (Angus Young, Lars Ulrich, Jimmy Page), but there are also singers making their virgin appearance in the database. Gene Simmons and Marilyn Manson are big enough names it might seem surprising not to have seen them show up already. But David Yow of The Jesus Lizard and Speedo of Rocket from the Crypt? Uh, yeah.

Anyway, here’s the list in full:

Kerrang!’s 20 Greatest Rock Stars Ever

Jimi Hendrix, image from greenobles.com

1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Billie Joe Armstrong
3. Freddie Mercury

Queen’s Freddie Mercury’s got nothing on Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong – so says Kerrang!; image from telegraph.co.uk

4. Axl Rose
5. Angus Young
6. Kurt Cobain
7. Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons – I’m surprised this is his first appearance out of the 27 best-singers lists aggregated by the DMDB. Image from theurbanpolitico.com.

8. Lars Ulrich
9. David Lee Roth
10. Dave Grohl
11. Iggy Pop
12. Courtney Love

Courtney Love is a bigger rock star than Jimmy Page? A bigger mess, perhaps. Image from ocweekly.com.

13. Bruce Dickinson
14. Jimmy Page
15. Marilyn Manson
16. Speedo (Rocket from the Crypt)

Rocket from the Crypt’s Speedo; no, I’d never heard of him either before the Kerrang! list. Image from smashingmag.com.

17. Mike Patton
18. Joey Ramone
19. Lemmy (Motorhead)
20. David Yow (The Jesus Lizard)

David Yow, apparently bigger than Robert Plant, Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, Bono, and a slew of others. Image from theplaylist.blogspot.com.

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