I thought about this topic a few weeks ago, and the thing is that my top 4 were very easy to name, I knew immediately who I would pick and in what order I’d place them. But #5 on the list? That was tough!
I went through a lot of my favorites, there were many candidates. George Michael, Sting, Bobby Brown, Usher, Beyonce, Belinda Carlisle, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Jodi Watley, Mariah Carey, Babyface, Billy Joel, and that was just off the top of my head. So after a lot of soul-searching and scanning of my music files on my PC, I finally settled on:
#5 PHIL COLLINS
Both as the lead singer of Genesis and as a solo artist, this man contributed many songs to what I call the Soundtrack Of My Youth.
I know the band had been around since the 70’s, originally with Peter Gabriel as the lead singer, and Phil had recording two solo albums early in the 80’s, but it was his third solo album in 1985, NO JACKET REQUIRED, where I really discovered him and which made me a fan of his. And then the following year with Genesis’ 13th album INVISIBLE TOUCH, I became a fan of that band. Collins has a very soulful voice, especially for a White British man, which always soothes me.
That’s still a tough choice for me. Sting, Belinda Carlisle and Beyonce were are very close choices in the end since, like Collins, I’m fans of theirs pretty equally as solo acts and as lead singers of groups. But, as I said, the rest of this list was easy.
The Queen of Pop. Ever since I first saw her performing her early hit “Holiday” on the TV show Solid Gold, I have loved her. And I really admire her gift for re-invention, the way she can seemingly effortlessly change her image and style with each new album, which has helped her remain commercially relevant as an artist well into the 2000’s, in a way that even her contemporaries, Michael Jackson and Prince, had more difficulty in achieving. But Madonna still has hit albums and singles on the pop charts, competing with artists who are young enough to be her children (and in some cases, her grandchildren). Her 2008 concert tour, at age 50 after being in the business for 26 years, is the biggest selling concert tour by a woman (and the tenth biggest selling period). And she was still selling out concerts with last year’s tour! I feel like, despite her massive commercial success, she still doesn’t quite get the respect that she deserves as an artist. I don’t care what tone-deaf shenanigans she may get up to from time to time, I will always be a fan of her music.
Favorite Song: LIKE A PRAYER
And speaking of Madonna’s contemporaries:
I’ve written before about my lifelong love of Prince HERE, as well as about the one night I saw him perform live, which is still one of the greatest moments of my life. I don’t know what else I could say. But he’s one of the greatest. R.I.P.
Favorite song: WHEN YOU WERE MINE
And I’m guessing that these top two on my list won’t be a surprise to any regular readers of this blog:
#2 ELVIS PRESLEY
DUH, I have a whole category on this blog dedicated to him. You can go through those posts to get further details about why he’s on this list. In particular, to clear up a prevailing misconception of the man, I encourage you to read ELVIS PRESLEY WAS NOT A RACIST R.I.P.
Favorite song: KING OF THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD
And was there ever any doubt as to whom would be MY number one pick?
#1 MICHAEL JACKSON
Double-DUH. Likewise, there’s a whole category here to read about my feelings about The King of Pop. R.I.P.
Favorite song: I CAN’T HELP IT