Critics and statistics are two things you really never ought to trust.
But you will. And I will.
There is a certain authority in an *all-time list*. Rolling Stone won't call their list "100 Songs we really like a lot, they're really great, swear to God." because not many Rolling Stone readers would give a damn about that list. They want an all time list, so they can finally, once and for all, have someone tell them what the best song ever is. For the 53rd time.
There's a notable difference between someone saying "My favorite band is Pink Floyd." and "Pink Floyd is the best band ever!" And the difference is more than just how hard (or where) you should be punching them. One of them appears to be an opinion, one of them appears to be a fact. In reality, of course, they're both opinions. In the end, these lists, they're all opinions, they're all statistics, they're all crap. You know it. I know it. Everyone has their own top 100 lists.
They're still amusing reading material, if only just to disagree with.
Henrik Franzon is a Swedish statistician. He had the idea to compile all of the top whatever music lists he could find into some gigantic list using a lot of statistics that I don't understand. He's found and compiled a ton of these lists, and is constantly adding more of them to the cauldron. The site ranks the best songs and albums from every year since about 1948, and even better, the best singles, albums and artists of all time.
As of 5/11/03, here are the top 20 artists of all time, according to critics and statistics:
- The Beatles
- The Rolling Stones
- Bob Dylan
- David Bowie
- Jimi Hendrix
- Bruce Springsteen
- The Beach Boys
- Marvin Gaye
- Stevie Wonder
- The Who
- Elvis Presley
- Neil Young
- Led Zeppelin
- The Clash
- Elvis Costello
- The Velvet Underground
- Bob Marley and The Wailers
Pretty agreeable, no? Only real placement surprise (in my opinion) is Bowie. Good? Sure. Great? Perhaps. 4th best artist ever? Get outta here.
So yeah, things don't always work out right. At the moment, Missy Elliot's "Get Ur Freak On" sits as the 20th best single of all time...just above "Hey Jude". This happened because about 3 dozen different magazines called "Get Ur Freak On" the best song of 2001. Was 2001 really that horrible of a year musically?
But anyway, this is one of those pretty cool sites where you go "My God, the Internet is full of neat-o things." Not life changing. I'd hope not, at least. But it's worth taking a peek at, especially if you're bored.