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Opinion

My all-time awards

Wendlandt is a sophomore broadcast journalism major and can be contacted at michael.wendlandt@drake.edu

Music has been a staple of my entire life. From rock ‘n’ roll to country, I have heard just about every genre. That is why I’d like to present my opinion on who is the best at every position in three different genres.

R&B

Best Vocal Group – The Temptations: With their range, moves and sweet tunes, it is a no-brainer for the Temps to get this award.

Runner-Up: The Four Tops

Best Male Lead Vocalist – Levi Stubbs: His emotion and range is incredible, and you can hear every bit of his raw emotion in all of the Four Tops’ songs.

Runner-Up: David Ruffin of the Temptations

Best Female Lead Vocalist – Aretha Franklin: This category was a close call, but I have to give it to Aretha. She is known as one of the greatest singers to ever live, and only her crossover genre made this even close.

Runner-Up: Martha Reeves of The Vandellas

Best Male Solo Performer – Marvin Gaye: The late singer was also a songwriter, drummer and activist. His music spoke about everything from race to sadness, but his career is unparalleled in R&B history.

Runner-Up: Stevie Wonder

Best Female Solo Performer – Aretha Franklin: The legendary soulstress gets her second award of the column. There’s no need to explain this one. Her voice is incredible.

Runner-Up: Mary Wells

Best Live Act – The Temptations: With their smooth dance moves and sweet vocals, this rockin’ group gets another award.

Runner-Up: Stevie Wonder

Most Valuable Sideman – James Jamerson, bassist for Motown Records: Known as one of the greatest bassists in any musical genre, Jamerson was the key musician on many major hits such as “My Girl” and “I Just Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch).”

Greatest Song – “What’s Going On?” by Marvin Gaye: This song, written by Gaye one year after the death of his frequent duet partner, Tammi Terrell, beautifully describes the ups and downs of life.

Runner-Up: “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations

COUNTRY

Best Male Vocalist – Roy Orbison: He can be considered for many different genres, but his tone was definitely that of a slow, country man. But his velvety voice made it legendary.

Runner-Up: Johnny Cash

Best Female Vocalist – Alison Krauss: Her voice has lent itself to many different country songs, and it continues to reverberate to this day.

Runner-Up: Patsy Cline

Best Live Performer – Johnny Cash: The crowd just went insane whenever he hit the stage. His deep baritone voice and gruff demeanor showed the reality of the Man in Black.

Runner-Up: Toby Keith

Best Song – “Hurt” by Johnny Cash: Written later in his career, this slow ballad, co-written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, does a superb job of describing how the vigors of fame and fortune take a toll on a person’s private life.

ROCK ‘N‘ ROLL

Best Male Vocalist – Steven Tyler of Aerosmith: His ability to take any song and give it his personal stamp, whether it is a scream or a smooth line, is unmatched. Without him, Aerosmith is nothing.

Runner-Up: Freddie Mercury of Queen

Best Female Vocalist – Janis Joplin: Her untimely death aside, her anguished screams during her songs make her stick out as the greatest female vocalist.

Runner-Up: Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane/Starship

Best Guitarist – Stevie Ray Vaughan: He had every aspect of greatness: tone, speed, fluidity and great improv skills. His guitar playing was absolutely legendary. Just watch videos of him live and come back to me.

Runner-Up: Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix (tie)

Best Bass Player – Peter Cetera of Chicago: He may not have been the fastest ever, but he did his job very well. Just listen to Chicago’s early stuff and feel the power in his bass lines.

Runner-Up: John Entwistle of The Who

Best Drummer – John Bonham of Led Zeppelin: The thunderous Bonham was so good that for a couple of Zeppelin tunes, they had to put his drum set in the stairwell to tone it down just a little bit. His fills were great and his time was impeccable.

Runner-Up: Neil Peart of Rush

Best Group – The Beatles: Who else can it be? These four lads from Liverpool took over the world with their music in the 1960s, and no one has come even remotely close to them in terms of success and adoration.

Runner-Up: Led Zeppelin

Greatest Song – “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin: This seven minute anthem has a ballad side, a rock side, great drumming, great bass and the greatest guitar solo ever. Nowhere else is there as complete a sound as this.

Runner-Up: “Let it Be” by the Beatles

With as subjective a list as this, I expect there to be some disagreement, but all of these awards were given to signify that those recognized are the best there is in music.

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1 Comment

  1. John B Sheffield March 7, 2011

    Hello from the UK I completely endorse your R&B/Soul Nominations! what a True Gent Levi Stubbs was, the Four Tops was the first single I bought aged 11, I was brought up in a home with a lot older brother always playing Motown, never did I then think I would go on to interview Levi and The Four Tops so many times and play there music on the radio and get to know Levi and his Family personally. The Temptations! superb as was David Ruffin, but Eddie Kendrick would take me vote! Aretha and Marin Yes, The Music is such a part of my life and always will be.

    Can’t comment on rock or country never did anything for me. So much music today we will so quickly forget but some from the past will go on forever!

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