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'Rolling Stone' ranking: Who are Spain's 'greatest singers of all time'?
Monday, January 9, 2023 @ 8:18 PM

TWO Spanish singers have made it into Rolling Stone magazine's 200 'greatest of all time' ranking – both of them women, but only one of them still living.

Late and living legends from 100 years of pop - some only from the last four years - go down in music history through Rolling Stone's ranking (photo: Rolling Stone on Instagram)

Aretha Franklin, Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston, David Bowie, Frank Sinatra, Prince, and Marvin Gaye are among the ranking that covers 100 years of pop, according to the publication, and which differs considerably from its 2008 ranking of the '100 Greatest Singers of All Time'.

In the latter, 'the results skewed towards classic rock and singers from the 1960s and 1970s', Rolling Stone says, but the late 2022 list, at twice the length, is far more diverse.

“Iconic Indian playback singer Lata Mangeshkar lands between Amy Winehouse and Johnny Cash, and salsa queen Celia Cruz is up there in the rankings with Prince and Marvin Gaye,” it reads.


Aretha Franklin number one; Céline's absence leaves fans fuming

When the ranking was printed, fans of legendary Canadian artist Céline Dion – who has always been equally lauded for her more upbeat songs in her native French as for her heart-rending ballads in English – reacted furiously on social media after she failed to appear in the top 200.

“Keep in mind that this is the Greatest Singers list, not the Greatest Voices list,” Rolling Stone countered, although this comment did little to appease Céline's worldwide followers.

Rolling Stone has huge R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for Aretha Franklin - the late ‘queen of soul’ is named ‘greatest singer of all time’ in the new ranking (photo: Mike Bouchard/Flickr)

Singers included are modern and classic, alive or not – R&B star Aaliyah, who died in 2001 aged 22, is at number 40, and Nirvana lead voice Kurt Cobain, who died aged 27, is at number 36 – and range from Adele at 22 to Elvis at 17, Nobel Literature Prize winner Bob Dylan at 15, and John Lennon not making the top 10, coming in at 12.

From number 10 upwards are Al Green, Otis Redding, Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles.

Aretha Franklin is at number one, described as 'a force of nature' and 'a work of genius', and the top five is completed by Whitney Houston ('the standard-bearer for R&B vocals'), Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday, and Mariah Carey.


Mariachi and Ranchera queen Rocío Dúrcal

One Spanish artist makes the top 150 – soul-pop legend Rocío Dúrcal enters at number 139, ahead of Barbra Streisand (147), half-Ecuadorian Latin pop diva Christina Aguilera (141) and U2's Bono (140).

Rocío Dúrcal was as famous in Latin America, especially México, as in her native Spain during her 43-year career (photo by Spain's national television and radio broadcasting company RTVE)

Born María de los Ángeles de las Heras Ortiz in Madrid, married to Antonio Morales Barreto for 36 years until her death, mum of Shaila, Carmen and Antonio and grandmother to Christian, ended up selling over 40 million records in her lifetime, making her the Spanish female with the most sales in history outside her native country.

Her first album, Las Películas de Rocío Dúrcal ('The Films of Rocío Dúrcal'), was released in 1963, several months before her 19th birthday and, after an average of one per year for the rest of her life, her final album, Alma Ranchera ('Ranchera Soul') was launched by BMG México in 2004, the year she turned 60.



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