Saturday, April 13, 2024

Rolling Stone Snubs Eric Clapton, Sting, Aretha, Cat Stevens, David Byrne in List of Top 100 Songwriters


Rolling Stone magazine– already in shambles and discredited after their UVA rape story debacle– is at it again.

Always ready with a top 100 list to get publicity, this time the moribund mag has published a list of the top 100 songwriters — presumably of the rock era since the Gershwins and Cole Porter are MIA.

But also missing are quite a few important songwriters of the rock era– and it’s very embarrassing. Completely omitted: Eric Clapton, Sting, Aretha Franklin, David Byrne, and Cat Stevens, among others.

This means that “Layla,” “Every Breath You Take,” and “Peace Train” didn’t rate among Jann Wenner’s editors. LOL.

Also missing: Carly Simon, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Bob Seger, Billy Preston, Cyndi Lauper, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Jon Bon Jovi, Crosby Stills or Nash. (Neil Young, of course, made it without fail.)

Who made the cut? How about Radiohead? Can you hum any of their songs? How about their only actual hit “Creep”? The song was actually pinched from the Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe.” They now share songwriting credit and royalties. Also included are The Notorious BIG and Jay Z. Huh? This is a list of songwriters.

Madonna? She’s relied totally on producers and co-writers. She’s never actually written a song. All of her original hits, like “Material Girl” and “Like a Virgin,” were composed by professional songwriters. She’s ranked AHEAD of James Taylor and Gamble & Huff. Okay? What?

Sting is a particularly egregious if not for “Every Breath You Take” but for the Police’s dozen or so top hits and his songs like “Fragile,” “If Ever I Lose My Faith in You,” and “Fields of Gold.” What really stings is that Rihanna, Bruno Mars, and many current acts have appropriated Sting’s sound for their hits.

Clapton? Not just “Layla,” but every thing from “Tears in Heaven” to “Sunshine of Your Love.” Hello?

Aretha? She only wrote “Think,” “Rock Steady,” “Daydreaming,” “Call Me,” “Since You’ve Been Gone,” and “Who’s Zoomin Who.”

David Byrne? The Talking Heads? Jann, baby, you are out of it.

Of course, Rolling Stone is a joke at this point. Who takes it seriously, especially after the UVA episode? But this is really the last straw. Bleh.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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