1950-2000: The Top 25 Singer/Songwriters

1.Bob Dylan: I don’t expect any arguments here

2.Curtis Mayfield: Perhaps he should be #1

3. Paul Weller: Hideously underrated in the US, this whiteboy knows soul

4. Tom Waits: He makes two kinds of records: good ones & great ones

5. Van Morrison: If he ever put out a bad record, I haven’t heard it yet

6. Hank Williams: Some of his songs can even make Christianity sound cool

7. Marc Bolan: The pop genius of the 70’s

8. Toots Hibbert: The man who should have been Jamaica’s International Superstar

9. George Jones: A jug of wine, a George Jones album, another jug of wine, and then another…

10. Lou Reed: I’d put him on this list just for “Pale Blue Eyes”

11. Carole King: More for her songwriting than her singing

12. Elvis Costello: Not half as good as everybody says he is, but what a half!

13. Townes van Zandt: Have you heard him? Good, then you know what I’m talking about

14. Eldon “El Duce” Hoke: Hey, this is MY list. I can put anybody I want on

15. Beck: He’s the new Dylan. Honest

16. James Osterberg: It is frightening: The man has supernatural powers!

17. Leonard Cohen: Of course I’m going to include him

18. Bruce Springsteen: “Nebraska” is enough to earn him a place

19. Nick Drake: Volkswagen, The Estate of Nick Drake wishes to thank you

20. Neil Diamond: What if Elvis was a Jew who wrote his own songs, and never did half-assed karate kicks onstage?

21. Lucinda Williams: Great singer/songwriters cover HER songs!

22. Kurt Cobain: An ear for a great tune, and an eye for a pretty lady! Oh muse, sing!

23. Richard Thompson: Continues to delight

24. David Bowie: Demoted from #11 to #24 for failing to die immediately after "Scary Monsters"

25. Gram Parsons: Dude, love that Nudie suit!
Why they didn’t make the cut:
Jagger/Richards, Lennon /McCartney, and Elton John /Bernie Taupin are songwriting teams. They do not properly belong on a list of individual singer/songwriters. Moreover, the solo careers of these guys are not up to the standards of my top 25. Or is there some punter out there that is willing to argue that the auteur of “Silly Love Songs” is more deserving than Gram Parsons?

Otis Redding wrote some of his best material, including the remarkable “My Lover’s Prayer”, but he was probably more famous for his outstanding interpretations of the songs of others. It is a tough call, but I have to conclude that Otis Redding wasn’t a pure singer/songwriter in the same sense as say, Townes Van Zandt.

Aretha Franklin wrote some good songs, but most of her best songs were written by other very talented people.

As for the one glaring omission for which I will plead guilty, all I’ve got to say is, I’m sorry Mr. Brown. Tell ya what James; next time we meet in the joint, you can borrow my prag for the night.

What I will not apologize for is the fact that Prince is not on the list. Prince made his career selling dumbed-down funk and ersatz soul to gullible white people. I know. I went to a big 10 University in the 80’s, and got to see white people thinking they were so hip whilst “dancing” to Prince records. Another black man fronting a party band for the rhythmically challenged ofay: Prince and the Revolution were the Hootie and the Blowfish of the 80’s.

So, Ben Campbell; I await your angry, totally wrongheaded, yet typically brilliant and well argued retort.
Post removed