Last night while drinking beer Astrid and I tried to determine which bands and solo artists deserved inclusion on our GREATEST EVER list. After quickly agreeing on easy shoo-ins, we soon found ourselves arguing if a given musician or group really merited inclusion in THE most critical demarcation of popular music credibility since Little Richard sang wop bop a loo bop a wop bam boom.

Clearly, we needed objective criteria, a scientific method, and more beer. Proceeding to address our deficiencies in reverse order we devised the following litmus test for determining who would gain a coveted spot on the list: a band or solo artist could only be included if we were able to name five song titles by the band or solo artist in under 30 seconds. The quicker our retention, the better the ranking.

We were strict in our definition of “naming.” Humming a few bars did not qualify, nor did knowing what the song was about but not the title. Singing lyrics but not knowing the title was occasionally permitted if significant knowledge of the song was proven and if the person singing gave an utterly epic rendition.

Based on these criteria we can now say with absolute authority that the most amazing band of all time is Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show.

Closing following on the heels of Ray Sawyer and crew is the most amazing solo artist of all time, Steve Goodman.

At this point a number of artists tie for the number three spot.

Aretha Franklin
Barry White
The Beatles
The Bee Gees
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
The Clash
Elvis Presley
Falco (we’re Austrian)
The Jackson 5
Johnny Cash
Led Zeppelin
Marvin Gaye
Michael Jackson
Nina Simone
Pink Floyd
The Rolling Stones
The Who

The rest of the list breaks down as follows:

4. David Bowie / John Prine / Lou Reed / Van Morrison

5. Elton John / The Kinks / U2

6. Warren Zevon

7. The Ramones / Stevie Wonder

8. Frank Zappa

9. Bob Marley

10. Simon & Garfunkel

Honorable mentions that we really wanted to include but where we just couldn’t name enough song titles include ELO, Ian Hunter, Meat Loaf, James Brown, Janis Joplin, Steely Dan, Supertramp, and Toots & The Maytals.

So there you have it. Now let us have it. Who has been forgotten? Whom should we omit? Leave a comment.

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