Sunday, July 09, 2006

Itemizing songwriting

So Paste magazine has taken it upon themselves to compile a list of the 100 greatest living songwriters. And I am even going to save you a click by posting the entire list here!!

100. T Bone Burnett
99. Andre Benjamin & Antwan Patton (Outkast)
98. Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo)
97. Josh Ritter
96. Jimmy Cliff
95. Patti Smith
94. Sam Phillips
93. Joseph Arthur
92. Alejandro Escovedo
91. Drive By Truckers (Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, Jason Isbell)
90. Nick Cave
89. Victoria Williams
88. Parliament (George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell)
87. Lyle Lovett
86. Sam Beam (Iron & Wine)
85. David Bazan (Pedro the Lion, Headphones)
84. John Linnel & John Flansburgh (They Might Be Giants)
83. Fleetwood Mac (Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie)
82. John Darnielle (Mountain Goats)
81. Wayne Coyne & Steven Drozd (Flaming Lips)
80. Pink Floyd (Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright, Nick Mason)
79. Stephen Malkmus (Pavement, Silver Jews)
78. Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices)
77. Bruce Cockburn
76. Will Oldham (aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Palace Music, etc.)
75. Ron Sexsmith
74. Linford Detweiler & Karin Bergquist (Over the Rhine)
73. Julie Miller
72. Michael Jackson
71. Vic Chesnutt
70. Alex Chilton (Big Star, The Box Tops)
69. Merle Haggard
68. Allen Tousaint
67. Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes)
66. Charles Thompson (aka Frank Black, Black Francis) (Pixies)
65. Bill Mallonee (Vigilantes of Love)
64. Andy Partridge (XTC, Dukes of Stratosphear)
63. Richard Thompson (Fairport Convention)
62. Sting (The Police)
61. John Hiatt
60. Jimmy Webb
59. Jack White (White Stripes, Raconteurs)
58. Sly Stone (Sly & the Family Stone)
57. Morrissey (The Smiths)
56. James Brown
55. Dolly Parton
54. Aimee Mann
53. James Taylor
52. Paul Westerberg (The Replacements)
51. Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham
50. Public Enemy (Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Hank Shocklee, Eric Sadler, et al)
49. Cat Stevens
48. Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
47. Sufjan Stevens
46. David Byrne (Talking Heads)
45. Jackson Browne
44. Al Green
43. Ryan Adams (Whiskeytown)
42. Loretta Lynn
41. Ray Davies (The Kinks)
40. Burt Bacharach & Hal David
39. Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham)
38. Kris Kristofferson
37. Smokey Robinson
36. Beck Hansen
35. Steve Earle
34. John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
33. Pete Townshend (The Who)
32. Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
31. Carole King
30. John Prine
29. Tom Petty
28. Robbie Robertson (The Band)
27. Radiohead (Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Phil Selway)
26. R.E.M. (Peter Buck, Bill Berry, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe)
25. Chuck Berry
24. Jeff Tweedy (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, Golden Smog, Loose Fur, etc.)
23. Elton John & Bernie Taupin
22. Lucinda Williams
21. Lou Reed (Velvet Underground)
20. Van Morrison
19. Patty Griffin
18. U2 (Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Adam Clayton)
17. Holland-Dozier-Holland
16. David Bowie
15. Willie Nelson
14. Stevie Wonder
13. Paul Simon
12. Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones)
11. Randy Newman
10. Prince
9. Joni Mitchell
8. Elvis Costello
7. Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys)
6. Leonard Cohen
5. Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings)
4. Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan
3. Bruce Springsteen
2. Neil Young (Buffalo Sprinfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
1. Bob Dylan

So now let the slugging it out begin! I've already got a few problems, but let's start with the good things. The list recognizes a lot of really talented songwriters who don't normally get recognized, most notably Drive By Truckers, Vic Chesnutt, and Alejandro Escovedo. I would probably put Bruce above Neil Young, but that's just me. As much as I love Tom Waits, I might slip him down a couple of notches. And I would certainly not have Leonard Cohen that high, nor would I have Patty Griffin that high (even though I do love her as well). And Nick Cave only at 90? Lyle Lovett only at 87? Elton flippin' John only at 23?? WTF?? And Jack White can eat my ass with his 59, he shouldn't even be on there. I could write songs with two chords. AND WHAT ABOUT THE CURE??? RUFUS WAINWRIGHT????? MARK KNOPFLER????????
I could go on. At the end of the day, though, any list is going to be flawed and will reflect the personal preferences of the folks who compiled it. Just take a look at Rolling Stone's top 500 albums of all time if you want proof of that. Some of their choices are downright travesties.

Anyway, on a personal note I am now back from the beach. We took a trip down this weekend to celebrate one of my oldest and dearest friends Kyle and his impending move up to NYC. He will have much fun and kiss many ladies. Those of you who know him, wish him well.


Blogger Brad said...

Now I love Sufjan Stevens, but couldn't we maybe give him a few years before heaping such praise as calling him better than, oh, let's see, CAT Stevens? Good list, though, lotta controversy, gets people talking.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

I'm sorry. What I meant to say was:

It's a good list. And thorough.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

I've been listening to Rain Dogs a lot lately, and I have to disagree. Tom Waits is amazing. He deserves to be way up there.

3:42 PM  

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