24. Van Morrison
"Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)" so you better believe that even Van wishes he were a notch or two lower on this list.
25. Michael Jackson
The most insane man in the history of the world still has a catalog that anyone would die for. No one has ever sounded so sexy, while at the same time being so asexual. The most unknowable artist of all time.
26. Jackie Wilson
Exhaustively dynamic performer, operatic voice, Elvis would tell anyone in earshot that Jackie Wilson was the whole package. He should easily be in the top ten.
27. Hank Williams
Died at 29, looked and sounded about 80. Deserves to have someone else besides George Hamilton portray him in the movies.
28. Janis Joplin
Most credible white female blues singer of all time. Someone is annoyingly imitating her in a bar near you. Her descendants should forever get a percentage of Southern Comfort profits.
29. Nina Simone
Haven’t really gone there, looking forward to getting to her. Music is fantastic because there’s always more to explore.
Can sing like a man or a woman. Prince can work himself into a frenzy with the best of them. Nutty as a fruitcake, but as Chris Rock once said, “Remember when we used to argue over who was better: Michael Jackson or Prince? Guess what? Prince won."
31. Howlin' Wolf
Haunting voice. Scarier than most horror movies.
Got away with naming himself Bono Vox (sort of Latin for Good Voice), lived to talk about it. If you get a chance, find his live version of Lennon's "Help" from U2's Amnesty International concert tour. The way he sings "my independence seems to vanish in the haze" never fails to make my spine tingle.
33. Steve Winwood
Loved those high energy Spencer Davis tracks. Often bores me. Where did he disappear to?
34. Whitney Houston
Cocaine is a hell of a drug. Compare the bombast of her performance of “The Star Spangled Banner,” with the more nuanced and emotional version by Marvin Gaye and you’ll hear why I have little use for her histrionics.
35. Dusty Springfield
Seemed to take Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction to remember how fantastic she was.
36. Bruce Springsteen
Fantastic performer, great guy, why do I have zero interest in anything he’s recorded since Darkness on the Edge of Town?
37. Neil Young
Great artist - doesn’t merit being up here this high.