885 All Time Greatest Artists: From Eno to Shankar

How do you vote for the Ten Greatest Artists of all Time? Not just rock artists or contemporary artists or electronic artists, but ALL artists from ALL time. That’s the proposition put forward by Echoes affiliate WXPN in Philadelphia. Their frequency is 88.5 so they’ve been doing the 885 greatest, best, whatever over the last few years, running a listener poll. This year it’s the 885 All Time Greatest Artists. They posted Top Ten lists from their staff on-line and asked me to submit one as well.
But how do you pick artists from all time? Do you pick Bach, Beethoven and Mozart? They’ve certainly withstood the test of time, their music is powerful and their influence is undeniable. What about all the great jazz artists? Duke, Miles, Trane. Once you start including giants like that on a list, it starts forcing out the interesting music from the edges, the renegades, the rebels, the revolutionaries. One thread on the XPN Board begs listeners not to vote for the Beatles.
My top choice: Brian Eno. For me, probably predictable, but I think his impact on contemporary music across the board has yet to be completely mapped. And I just love his music on a purely visceral level.
Another Green World Music for Airports

You can see the rest of the list at xpn.org.

Comment posted by
at 8/28/2006 9:29:00 PM

1 Pink Floyd
2 Beatles
3Andreas Volenweider
4 Loggins & Messina
5 Kitaro
6 Eagles
7Joe Cocker
8 David Arkenstone
9 Govi
10 Yanni I have spoken 10 greatest!!!!!!!

Comment posted by
at 8/24/2006 12:05:36 AM

Yes I did. And Yan’s work is awesome too! Typing, not a master at it, by a LONG SHOT. Posted twice because I accidentally hit the wrong keystroke Ooops! Sorry.

Others that I already wanna switch out or at least acknowledge, off the top ‘o my head-

Beatles (Heh!), Satie, John Zorn, Tom Waits, Nirvana, Gilbert & Sullivan, Sparks, Scott Joplin, Sakamoto, Todd Rundgren, Prince, Bowie, as a vocalist at least, (he’s had some real fall-flat stuff too. He REALLY should stick with Eno!) Scott Walker, Severed Heads, Japan and solo spin-offs (”Blemish” was BRILLIANT!), Mark Mothersbaugh, Residents, Donovan, Beach Boys, Ravel,…
Kay, I’ll stop now. I KNOW that really important artists are not popping into my head at this moment. Oh Yeah, John Cale, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson,,,Okay that is it for now I promise!

I approached this list by what I have been exposed to and what struck me. The other angle would be an acedemic one, artists through time that changed the musical landscape. But in the end, the list is a bit ridiculous, because it is just too overwhelming, and thoroughly debatable, for ever and ever.

Comment posted by
at 8/21/2006 11:48:57 PM

I think Patrick may have posted twice by accident? But I let it thru because I love the fact that his list changed within a few minutes. And do you mean Anya Garbarek, Jan’s daughter?

Comment posted by
at 8/21/2006 7:34:03 PM

Naming a top-ten is virtually impossible, so if I don’t just say 10 artists off the top of my head, I never would be able to produce a list at all. And excluding Beatles, um, I know they are super popular but excluding such imporant art is not really fair.

10.) XTC
9.) Anya Garabek
8.) Lindsey buckingham
7.) Bela Bartok
6.) Ianis Xenakis
5.) Igor Stravinsky
4.) The Cure
3.) Kate Bush
2.) Talk Talk/o-rang/Mark Hollis
1.) Laurie Anderson

…and I already find I could change out many of these.

Comment posted by
at 8/21/2006 7:31:38 PM

Naming a top-ten is virtually impossible, so if I don’t just say 10 artists off the top of my head, I never would be able to produce a list at all. And excluding Beatles, um, I know they are super popular but excluding such imporant art is not really fair.

10.) XTC
9.) Anya Garabek
8.) Lindsey buckingham
7.) Bela Bartok
6.) Ianis Xenakis
5.) Igor Stravinsky
4.) The Cure
3.) Kate Bush
2.) Talk Talk/o-rang/Mark Hollis

Comment posted by
at 8/8/2006 9:41:28 AM

Good list Faris. Though I notice there’s only one pure “Echoes” artist on there. ;-) Phil Keagy is certainly an esoteric choice. I wonder if Oasis, Stone Roses and Fiona Apple rise to the level of “10 Greatest” yet. I mean, The Stone Roses only put out two albums. Does that compare to the body of work that a Dylan or Pink Floyd has produced? Maybe one of the 885 greatest, but 10 greatest? Ultimately, just about every choice is challengeable and defensible. One person’s greatest might be another person’s one hit wonder.

Comment posted by
at 8/7/2006 10:49:36 PM

Faris Tanyos from Portland, OR

Top 10 of all time

1. Bob Dylan
2. Pink Floyd
3. Oasis
4. Radiohead
5. Brian Eno
6. Stone Roses
7. Led Zepplin
8. Elliot Smith
9. Fiona Apple
10. Phil Keaggy

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