It made me very happy to do a top-ten list last week and I figured I’d do it as a regular feature, like I used to do when I was a teenager. Last week, I did a top ten of bands. All of my favourites. Well, my top ten favourites.
I thought today, I’d do my top ten singers of the solo variety.
1. Of course, this spot goes to Monsieur Leonard Cohen, all 77 fabulous years of him. I may dedicate future lists to my top ten LC songs, but my absolute hands-down favourite is Hallelujah. However, since some X-Factor trash ruined it, I won’t play this until she’s firmly out of the stratosphere and the song belongs once again to Mr Cohen and even Mr Buckley. My second favourite then is Everybody Knows.
I can’t even say how much I love his chocolatey voice and the violins on this track. Not to mention the lyrics. I’m Your Man came out in 1988 and I still haven’t put it down.
2. David Bowie – hate to say it but he didn’t get better than Hunky Dory, but that album alone is more than enough to make me happy. He’s 65 now. 65. He doesn’t still have it as much as LC does though. It’d be too cheesy to pick Life on Mars? as my favourite track, but it is. I bought my pristine original copy from Bury flea market in about 86/87 and copied it onto tape – the album I own has only ever been played once on vinyl
3. Alison Moyet. She’s genius. She makes me happy and she makes me sad. I love her voice. Here, she’s singing one of my favourite songs…
4. Bruce Springsteen. His new album is out today. I haven’t got it yet. Bruce gets inside my head and heart and starts squeezing somewhere around stomach. Here’s the favourite of all…
He just sings with every single bit he’s got. How he’s not a broken man who’s given his everything, I don’t know. This man puts everything he’s got into every single song he ever sings. He might be 62, but he’s still a hunk too.
5. Gwen Stefani. Pre-Gaga Post-Madonna. I love her in No Doubt and I love her solo. I love her so much if Gavin Rossdale up and leaves, I’ll marry her and be her dog. I love her fashion and how she can have a thousand looks and a thousand different types of music. It’s not so much the voice but who she is that puts her in my top ten.
6. Damien Rice… because he makes my heart hurt and if he’d only just done this one song, he’d still be in my top ten. It reminds me so much of loves lost and long gone.
And if this wasn’t enough, he went and topped it with Blower’s Daughter.
7. Johnny Cash. Just because the man is a legend. I was going to say he can take a song and make it better like no other man can, but there are a good few covers better than the original. There’s another list in the making.
8. He might be a midget. He might be weird. He might have had a meltdown. He might have had a fetish for scary-looking women, but he is THE songwriter extraordinaire. He might even be, as someone once said of Kylie, ‘sex on a stick’; he was the number one choice of my teen love of 1987, Mr D. Showman, and I spent a lot of 1987 listening to Sign O’ The Times and a lot of 1988 listening to Lovesexy. I’m talking about Prince, of course. Hard to know which of his oh so many excellent tracks to pick. There’s another future top ten. I’ve gone for I would die 4 U. He brought you text-speak way before mobile phones. That’s how he rolls. He brought you bonkers way before Jacko got Wacko. Jacko was still being Bad and Prince was watching girls walking in through the out door.
He does happy. He does crazy. He does love songs. He does sex songs. He does social songs. He does songs about cars. He does songs about Sesame Street. Versatile, you see. Plus, he became a Jehovah’s Witness because of Larry Graham. And I love Larry Graham. I’ve even softened up towards Jehovah’s Witnesses just because Larry is one.
9. I’ve got to even the balance because this is a man-orientated list, and I know this singer fits straight in the Alison Moyet camp, but I don’t care. I could easily post Janis Joplin (whose Take Another Little Piece of My Heart is more ballsy than any man I’ve ever met) and I could also easily post Amy Winehouse too, because Back to Black is a tremendous album that just aches, but Dusty is the Queen of emotional singing, if you want my opinion. It’s a little sad that the emotions got a little too much for Miss Janis and Miss Amy.
10. Finally, and I thought LOOOONG and hard about this, I picked Juanes. I put his albums in my CD player in the car and they don’t come out again. I struggled to find one single song I wanted on here. He’s going to be another with a top ten, I guess.
I’ve had to leave loads out. I could have added Shakira or Pink, both of whom I love very much, Mika, Annie Lennox, Raphael (La Petite Misere is a fabulous song and this man could sing about dustbins and make it sound sexy, although watching his video where he’s feeling up a statue takes him into Prince territory) James Morrison, ah – too many! I realise I left out the Kings of Leon in my last list and I love them. No doubt I’ll remember someone fabulous who I’ve missed out. This is why I used to do a different list every week!
Anyway, enjoy! And Happy Tuneful Tuesday to you all!