10. Dave Matthews Band
Founding members were singer-songwriter and guitarist Dave Matthews, bassist Stefan Lessard, drummer/backing vocalist Carter Beauford and saxophonist LeRoi Moore. Some people are DMB fan boys, some are not. One of the first Cd’s I ever bought was Under the Table and Dreaming and I listened to every track and enjoyed everyone as a youngster. Growing up during DMB’s popular days of the 90’s, I was turned off by how much people liked them. I feel like people liked them because they were the thing to like. After Under The Table Dreaming I just dismissed Dave from my music arsenal. I have a working knowledge of his more popular songs like Crush, Crash into Me, Tripping Billies, and The Space Between but I really lived Ant’s Marching, Satellite, What Would You Say, and The Best of What’s Around. To date Dave has sold 30-40 million copies worldwide. I find Dave to be talented but he would probably not make my personal top 25 list. Even when I hear his new songs I just think he has this stigma that turns me off.
9. Bob Dylan
The magazine The Rolling Stone, which is a long running (formed 1967) critique of music and pop culture, is named after the Bob Dylan song “Like a Rolling Stone” to give you an idea of Bob Dylan’s influence. The song also takes the #1 song in their list of top 500 songs. He has sold an estimated 30-40 million albums. Dylan’s music relates to US Civil rights and Anti War movements. The song in Forrest Gump that Jenny sings is Blowin’ in the Wind by Dylan. Other major hits from Dylan are Mr. Tambourine Man, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, Hurricane, and Highway 61 revisited. He is known for his song writing and unique voice. I have never taken the time to listen to the lyrics that closely and I’m sure they are great as he’s regarded as a fantastic song writer, I however have not listened to Dylan enough to form a real opinion. I find some of his music to be a slow ballad that I just can’t enjoy. I probably wouldn’t have Dylan in my top 25 but you can blame that on my lack of listening to his work.
8. Billy Joel
Out of everyone on Gusto’s list so far, Billy Joel would find his way at least this high on mine. It’s really pretty simple too, when I look at an artist like Joel to Dylan, he catches me in with the actual music. Some songs aren’t profound song writing, some definitely are, but they all have music and a hook which the average guy like me can enjoy. He has sold over 150 million copies and is the 6th best recording artist and the 3rd as a solo artist. I have listened to more Billy Joel songs then any other artist (besides 1) and his sound appeals to me. I’m going to run through a few of my personal favorites rather then his huge hits – Prelude / Angry Young Man , Miami 2017, The Ballad of Billy the Kid, Vienna, Summer Highland Falls, and Sleeping with the Television On. I know critics tear into some of his work from the 80’s but I don’t really ever find his songs to be bad. I’m going to listen to The Nylon Curtain and see if anything changes. I think the Stranger and 52nd Street are his more popular albums. I am a Billy Joel fan and you won’t find me saying anything bad from my limited taste for music. I didn’t see him on Rolling Stones top 100 artists for what it’s worth.
7. Van Morrison
I know very little about Van Morrison. I am aware of the songs Brown Eyed Girl, And It Stones Me, Moondance, and Domino. This is another artist who misses the mark for me. It’s that same type of slow singing, good songwriting, lack the hook which passes me by. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Van Morrison 42nd on their list of “Greatest Artists of All Time”. I have very little to say except that it seems like he has produced about 30 albums. I just listened to about 5 songs and I don’t hear it. Sorry Van Morrison for not giving you a banner write up, I’m too much of a dolt.
6. Ray Charles
I promise you the next 5 musicians are all recognizable and don’t have me researching why these guys are good. Gusto will be fast to tell you that there is hardly anyone who can compare to Ray Charles singing voice. I can’t argue, but I don’t really care. He also helped racially integrate country and pop music during the 1960s. Plus I’m sure being blind didn’t hurt his allure. This is just one of those artists who I am unable to appreciate. When you have a quote like, in honoring Charles, Billy Joel noted: “This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley. I don’t know if Ray was the architect of rock & roll, but he was certainly the first guy to do a lot of things . . . Who the hell ever put so many styles together and made it work?” I just can’t give you a good opinion on why Ray Charles should be this high but I wouldn’t even have him on my list of the top musicians. Rolling Stone had him at #10 for what it’s worth.