Beatles, Stones Top Artists List

(AP Online; 3/14/98)

By DAVID BAUDER  Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP)   Ask today's top musicians to name the greatest artists in rock 'n' roll history and their opinions aren't much different than most fans-- the Beatles and the Rolling Stones top the list. Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan fill out the top five in voting conducted by the VH1 television network. The King   wherever he is   won't be pleased with his placement: musicians ranked Elvis Presley eighth.

The cable network, looking to compile a list of the 100 greatest rock 'n' roll artists, bypassed critics and fans and went straight to the musicians who have had videos appear on the channel, said Jeff Gaspin, VH1's senior vice president of programming.

More than 100 responded, among them Johnny Cash, George Harrison, Michael Stipe of R.E.M., Elvis Costello, Jewel and members of Boyz II Men, Foo Fighters, the Bee Gees and Hootie & the Blowfish. They were all asked to name the top 100 artists.

  • VH1 appeals to an older audience than its cousin MTV, and the poll results reflected this. Nirvana (No. 42) was the only band to come of age in the 1990s on the list.

    Similarly, the poll was rough on rock 'n' roll's originators. Jerry Lee Lewis and the late Carl Perkins didn't appear at all. Nostalgia for the 1970s seemed to help Kiss (No. 67), the Bee Gees (No. 76) and Devo (No. 82).

    One surprise in the top 10 was the Police. Its former leader, Sting, also logged in at No. 63 as a solo artist. "A lot of the younger bands put the Police on a pedestal," said Bill Flanagan, VH1's vice president and editorial director.

    Other artists in the top 10 included James Brown, David Bowie and The Who. The musicians also seemed to pay homage to some of their favorite instrumentalists, as seen by their placement of Hendrix and Led Zeppelin above Dylan and Presley.

    "There's no guitar player that doesn't worship Jimi Hendrix or drummer that doesn't worship (Led Zeppelin's John) `Bonzo' Bonham," Flanagan said.

    VH1 is devoting five days of programming starting March 31 to counting down the list with features on each of the artists selected, Gaspin said.

    The musicians' list is probably closer to what fans would select instead of critics, Flanagan said. The critics would probably be more sentimental, he said. "There aren't that many artists there that you would say, `how did they get on there?"' he said.

    Full list of the top 100 artists in rock 'n' roll history as voted on by musicians whose videos have appeared on the cable network VH1:

    1. The Beatles
    2. The Rolling Stones
    3. Jimi Hendrix
    4. Led Zeppelin
    5. Bob Dylan
    6. James Brown
    7. David Bowie
    8. Elvis Presley
    9. The Who
    10. The Police
    11. Stevie Wonder
    12. Ray Charles
    13. The Beach Boys
    14. Marvin Gaye
    15. Eric Clapton
    16. John Lennon
    17. Elton John
    18. Prince
    19. Pink Floyd
    20. The Doors
    21. Aretha Franklin
    22. Fleetwood Mac
    23. The Eagles
    24. Bob Marley
    25. Van Morrison
    26. Chuck Berry
    27. Bruce Springsteen
    28. Sly & the Family Stone
    29. U2
    30. Neil Young
    31. The Clash
    32. Joni Mitchell
    33. Queen
    34. Buddy Holly
    35. Otis Redding
    36. Little Richard
    37. Al Green
    38. Elvis Costello
    39. Miles Davis
    40. Michael Jackson
    41. Janis Joplin
    42. Nirvana
    43. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
    44. The Jackson Five
    45. Crosby, Stills & Nash
    46. The Sex Pistols
    47. Creedence Clearwater Revival
    48. Van Halen
    49. Roy Orbison
    50. R.E.M.
    51. B.B. King
    52. Cream
    53. Peter Gabriel
    54. The Grateful Dead
    55. The Byrds
    56. The Kinks
    57. Steely Dan
    58. Sam Cooke
    59. Bo Diddley
    60. Earth, Wind & Fire
    61. Smokey Robinson
    62. Paul McCartney
    63. Sting
    64. Frank Zappa
    65. James Taylor
    66. Talking Heads
    67. Kiss
    68. The Allman Brothers
    69. Pretenders
    70. Stevie Ray Vaughan
    71. Rod Stewart
    72. Simon & Garfunkel
    73. Muddy Waters
    74. The Velvet Underground
    75. Curtis Mayfield
    76. The Bee Gees
    77. John Coltrane
    78. Billy Joel
    79. Aerosmith
    80. Tina Turner
    81. The Band
    82. Devo
    83. Iggy Pop
    84. T. Rex
    85. Carole King
    86. Madonna
    87. Santana
    88. Ramones
    89. Johnny Cash
    90. Tom Waits
    91. Gladys Knight & the Pips
    92. The Temptations
    93. The Four Tops
    94. Diana Ross & the Supremes
    95. Robert Johnson
    96. Lynyrd Skynyrd
    97. Fats Domino
    98. Traffic
    99. Parliament/Funkadelic
    100. Paul Simon

    Thanks to Andrew Stewart for posting this to the Fleetwood Mac newsgroup and to Anusha for sending it to us.