Posted in music on November 6, 2007

Jimi Hendrix tattoo

Mike Devlin put together this list....

"Top 10 musical geniuses"

1. Rick Rubin. Anyone who can produce speed metal act Slayer and country king Johnny Cash -- in the same year -- deserves to top our list. Rubin, via his rap record label, Def Jam, brought us the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy; his rock record label, Def American, gave us the Black Crowes and System of a Down. On the side, he worked with Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Dixie Chicks and Neil Diamond. No one has created more meaningful music in the modern era than Rubin. Choice recording: "99 Problems", from Jay-Z's The Black Album.

2. Jimi Hendrix. By pioneering the use of sustained feedback in rock music, Hendrix catapulted past everyone in the late 1960s, including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. His mastery of the electric guitar has drawn frequent comparisons to classical composers for its sheer brilliance. Hendrix, who died of a drug overdose at 27, arguably will never be surpassed. Choice recording: Red House, from Are You Experienced?

3. Prince. His ability to survive lawsuits and trends, along with a controversial name change, has kept Prince in the spotlight for much of his 30-year career. He's bizarre and contradictory, but his challenging melange of funk, blues and rock has nonetheless earned him a place among rock royalty. Choice recording: Purple Rain, from Purple Rain.

4. Dr. Dre. When rappers and singers want that "Dre sound" -- a laidback groove bursting with big beats, tinkling pianos and THC-induced keyboards -- they pay as much as $2 million for the famed producer, who is credited with popularizing previously unknown rappers Snoop Dogg, Eminem, the Game and 50 Cent. Choice recording: Still D.R.E., from 2001.

5. Bob Dylan. The degree of deception at Bob Dylan's disposal is limitless. He's an irreverent folkie -- no wait, a babbling bluesman. Or is he a latent protest singer? Whatever hat he's wearing, or instrument he's playing, Dylan prides himself on being a paradox. Still capable of brilliance at 66, Dylan continues to surprise. Choice recording: Tryin' to Get to Heaven, from Time Out of Mind.

6. The Beatles. The Fab Four are an obvious choice, given their past contributions. But it is important to remember the state of the music world at the time of their arrival. They changed everything for the better, and became the world's biggest-selling group in the process. Choice recording: Norwegian Wood, from Rubber Soul.

7. Björk. One of the best debuts in history is 1993's Debut, a dizzying and slightly disturbing dance-pop classic that reinvented this former Sugarcubes frontwoman as an Icelandic island unto herself. Weird? David Lynch is weird. Björk is seriously freaky. But in a good way. Choice recording: Human Behaviour, from Debut.

8. Muddy Waters. Never has the blues been more effective than when performed by one of its great pioneers, Muddy Waters. When he had his mojo working, the hoochie koochie man's kinetic music was a direct extension of his libido, his piston-chugging voice a garrulous weapon of mass destruction. Gritty ain't the half of it. Choice recording: Mannish Boy, from Hard Again.

9. Ray Charles. They didn't call him The Genius for nothing: Brother Ray, blind since the age of seven, remains one of the most adored performers in pop history. His contributions to numerous genres (soul, country, jazz, pop, gospel) have earned him hall of fame status many times over. A little lovin' went a long way with Ray. Choice recording: What'd I Say, from Yes Indeed!

10. Sam Cooke. If Cooke, who was shot at 33 under suspicious circumstances, had made it out of the 1960s, more fans would be hip to the Man Who Invented Soul. The singer of 29 Top 40 hits between 1957 and 1965, Cooke was, simply put, one of the greatest. He's also sorely underrated. Choice recording: A Change is Gonna Come, from Ain't That Good News.

Yeah Bjork.

A Change is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke

Bob Dylan covering A Change is Gonna Come

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Comments (94)

Not a bad list, just remove Bjork and Dr. Dre.

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 6:06 PM

Trent Reznor actually owns that list.

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 6:12 PM

Rubin #1?! Mike obviously hasn't read the Times Magazine piece. Rubin rarely visits the study when he's producing (rumor has been that George Drakoulis should get a lot more credit for this work)...
"No one has created more meaningful music in the modern era." He supervised it...they don't give Pulitzers to the editor.

Where's Chuck Berry? James Brown? Louis Armstrong? These people invented core musical genres!

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 6:19 PM

Well. Good to know what Entertainment Tonight Canada has to say on the subject.

Posted by J | November 6, 2007 6:24 PM

i don't see daft punk, people dressed up as amy winehouse for halloween, grizzly bear, beirut, pictures of mia pitching a loaf, and/or antony hegarty on this list brooklyn vegan. why even bother posting this on your blog?

Posted by hipster poseur | November 6, 2007 6:24 PM

Rick Rubin? I think the System of a Down factor should get him removed from the list.

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 6:26 PM

Captain Beefheart?

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 6:27 PM

please don't lose sight of the fact that this list was created by Entertainment Tonight: Canada

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 6:30 PM

Brian Eno?

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 6:31 PM

So should we then give him credit for not including Alanis Morissette and Rush?

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 6:32 PM

Kate Bush
Morrissey
Scott Walker
Bjork
Elliott Smith
done.

Rick Rubin...haha, seriously?

Posted by Listen to Kate Bush | November 6, 2007 6:33 PM

Frank Zappa

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 6:34 PM

"please don't lose sight of the fact that this list was created by Entertainment Tonight: Canada"

Mike Devlin is a known Canadian music journalist
http://www.polarismusicprize.ca/jury/

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 6:35 PM

Beethoven

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 6:37 PM

Bjork and Dr. Dre gotta go. They are talented---but don't belong on this list.

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 6:39 PM

anyone that doesn't think rick rubin belongs on that list hasn't done their homework.

bloody as fuck raw?
soulfully hardcore?
does it get you moving?
is it too confusing?
am I losing you with theses theories i’m proving?

Posted by Mike T | November 6, 2007 6:41 PM

also... second that brian eno.

Posted by Mike T | November 6, 2007 6:42 PM

"a known Canadian music journalist"

Sorry. I feel asleep halfway through your sentence.

Posted by J | November 6, 2007 6:44 PM

Bryan Adams?

(psst. it's Canadian)

Posted by cornslaw | November 6, 2007 7:15 PM

speaking of Bryan Adams, he sang with Phil Lesh.

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 7:20 PM

Is this posting "Most Retarded Subject Written by Moronic Northern Ape"?

Why are you people even bothering to comment? Why am I?????

Posted by noisejoke | November 6, 2007 7:21 PM

The original list which is referenced in this posting is even more stupid than this one. Meryl Streep, Stephen King?

Posted by Paul1 | November 6, 2007 7:22 PM

Brian Wilson
John Lennon
These guys were geniuses because they were able to tap into our collective primal music psyche and give us music that was familiar and groudbreaking at the same time.

Posted by Christopher | November 6, 2007 8:22 PM

i'm feeling this list. word is bond. i'm out.

Posted by Sasha Frere-Jones | November 6, 2007 8:31 PM

Springsteen?

Strummer?

SERIOUSLY!

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 8:33 PM

Brian Eno thirded.

Posted by Mark B. | November 6, 2007 8:42 PM

PHIL SPECTOR

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 9:33 PM

r. kelly

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 10:32 PM

uh? John Cage? Anthony Braxton? The world is full of popists isn't it. Fuck Rick Rubin

Posted by pjc | November 6, 2007 10:47 PM

uhh wheres John Coltrane?

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 10:54 PM

booooring

Posted by Anonymous | November 6, 2007 11:41 PM

milli vanilli

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 12:08 AM

kells and eno + 1

ARIEL PINK

fuk all dat shit

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 12:10 AM

Bjork's name JUMPS right off that page, I mean come on.

And Dre? Genius business man maybe but not musician. Look at Still DRE your "choice track" it is common knowledge that Swizz Beats made that. Pretty much all of his later, most successful beats were outsourced.

If you want to toot any dominant hip hop producers horn, make it TIMBALAND, it's a shame his name didn't make this list.

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 12:14 AM

Um...

KELLER WILLIAMS
MICHAEL KANG
WARREN HAYNES
MARK muthafukin BROWNSTEIN


HELLO!?!?!?!

IS MIKE DEVLIN SOME KIND OF DEAF IDIOT?

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 12:17 AM

Why isn't Bob Dylan #1?

Posted by rocked the shit | November 7, 2007 7:45 AM

Gary Young

Posted by j | November 7, 2007 8:05 AM

Why isn't Yanni on there?? Seriously.

Posted by Yanni | November 7, 2007 8:21 AM

Dre before The Beatles?!??! Oh yeah, that makes sense....The Chronic was better than Abbey Road but not as superior as The White Album. Seriously, that is so utterly absurd!!!

"...they pay as much as $2 million for the famed producer, who is credited with popularizing previously unknown rappers Snoop Dogg, Eminem, the Game and 50 Cent." IDIOTS!!!

This weak and inane list was obviously printed just to spur controversy and debate. Good job BV.

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 8:22 AM

ROGER WATERS????

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 8:23 AM

Miles Davis...

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 8:49 AM

Dr Dre is the single most over-rated "musician" in history. He is an excellent executive producer, but what the fuck has he done since Scott Storch, Mike Elizondo and all his other "studio musicians" (read: ghost writers) left and went solo? The answer is nothing. At all. That Detox album has been delayed for seven (going on 8) years because he cant write a decent beat by himself. He needs someone else to write it for him so he can take credit.

Posted by Fred | November 7, 2007 9:02 AM

Dr Dre is on record saying that Still DRE was written by Scott Storch

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 9:11 AM

Bjork is probably my favorite solo recording artist and I don't think she belongs on that list.

Posted by Dan | November 7, 2007 9:31 AM

Want some attention from the indie blogosphere? Don't jump a shark - make a list....

Posted by schlep | November 7, 2007 9:44 AM

great to see sam cooke on there, but i think he should be higher up.

where's tom waits? where's leadbelly? where's erik satie?

Posted by mat | November 7, 2007 10:13 AM

Big surprise! All the hipsters have a problem with a rap guy and a woman being on a list of musical geniuses.

Posted by Laura | November 7, 2007 10:27 AM

where's courtney love? geeez...

Posted by psh! | November 7, 2007 10:29 AM

It's always stupid to do those kind of list, even if you are getting paid for it. You will always piss 99,9% of the music lovers.
The reasons behind his choices are so lame, even ET Canada should never paid for it...

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 11:05 AM

Hey what about me Brian Eno this is preposterous!

Posted by Brian Eno | November 7, 2007 11:23 AM

Kneel before your idols, Babylon.

Posted by Allen | November 7, 2007 11:33 AM

This list is horrible in so many ways. I could pick it apart but why bother? We all know it's retarded.

Posted by Matt | November 7, 2007 12:08 PM

How did David Bowie get NO mention so far....crazy!


Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 12:14 PM

How did David Bowie get NO mention so far....crazy!


Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 12:14 PM

BOWIE!!!

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 12:15 PM

Ravi Shankar son.

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 12:19 PM

2nd for Roger Waters, Syd as well!

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 12:48 PM

I 2ND the Miles comment.

Posted by ROSIE | November 7, 2007 1:35 PM

rick rubin? good lord! He has done nothing but take already established major acts and OVER-produced the shit out of them for mass-market consumption, taking all the soul out of them in the process.

If you dig over-polished major label banality, he's a good choice. The guy can't even read music... he's a marketer, not a music guy.

How's about some love for the unheralded:

Steve Albini

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Steve_Albini%27s_recording_projects

Posted by jeff | November 7, 2007 1:38 PM

where's the guy from the Weakerthans?

You must admit, he has a killer argument: Rick Rubin sure did give us the Black Crowes. This is a glorious day for well-known Canadian music journalists.

Posted by Anonymous | November 7, 2007 2:19 PM

Lindsey Buckingham.

most humble overlooked underrated genius ever :(

Posted by leighann | November 7, 2007 3:39 PM

There is no way that Bjork should be on this list. Just because she had a great debut album doesn't mean shit! How about Frank Zappa, Ryan Adams, Rolling Stones, or even Led Zeppelin. I mean Zeppelin did write the greatest song ever, but what do I know.

Posted by Pat | November 7, 2007 4:39 PM

Zamfir? No love for Zamfir or his groundbreaking Goethals-Bridge-and-Jumping-Jacks Suite?

Posted by J | November 7, 2007 5:04 PM

I third the miles.

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2007 12:58 AM

10. Sam Cooke. "If Cooke,.... had made it out of the 1960s, more fans would be hip to the Man Who Invented Soul."

The REAL reason why we're not HIP to this is because the person listed above him, Ray Charles, invented Soul - Sam Cooke made it popular, just like how Elvis made R'n R popular because he had a more marketable appeal than Little Richard or Chuck Berry (and skin color probably had something to do with it to). Btw, I'm kinda glad that Elvis didn't make this list though either Lil' Rich or Chuck should've.

Bjork is a great talent, but I'm sorry, Madonna deserves more props. If only one woman were to make that list it should've been either Billie Holiday or Patsy Cline. They were among the first women to be celebrated as solo performers.

Dr. Dre & Rick Rubin?!!!!!!!.......... how about Barry "Motown, Jackson 5, Anyone?" Gordy. 'Nuff said.

Why isn't jazz presented here? I mean, whomever - Miles, Duke, Coltrane, Louie Armstrong.

And Dylan & The Beatles should be in the top 3 of any list for like next couple of centuries.

Posted by b.LOUD | November 8, 2007 5:04 AM

NILE ROGERS, bitches.

Posted by Ya Mama | November 8, 2007 11:28 AM

"speaking of Bryan Adams, he sang with Phil Lesh"

that's ryan adams you're thinking of

Posted by Anonymous | November 8, 2007 9:53 PM

Dimitri Shostakovich
Elizabeth Cotten

Posted by Corynn | November 12, 2007 12:53 PM

Imagine my surprise...
To clarify:
- I do not write for ET Canada, They simply ran my story. I write for a daily in Victoria, BC, Canada.

- If you read the original story, you'll see I did not inlcude classical composers for a reason. I chose not to include jazz either, as it would have been all Coltrane, Miles, etc. Only pop, rock, country and rap.

- Dr. Dre deserves to be on that list. Scott Storch is an opportunist, even if he is Canadian; Mike Elizondo has talent, for sure, but I don't see him producing anyone's records on the level of Dre, let alone being a co-founder of one of the most seminal rap groups in history. Dre has done both. Say what you want about Snoop Dogg or Eminem, but they wouldn't be here without Dre.

- Rick Rubin co-founded Def Jam. That alone earns it. In the mid '80s, simply put - white dudes were a joke as far as rappers were concerned. But he got respect by giving it, and helped make famous a few bands you might know of. Seems odd, that, if he has no talent. His resurrection of Johnny Cash's career, as talented as he is, simply would not have happpened if not for Rubin. And '99 Problems'? Don't even try to hate. Slayer? Come on, people.

- Madonna and Bjork were dead even for me. I went with Bjork because she's nuts.

- why the Sam Cooke hate? Read the book Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke, and get back to me. He. Is. Genius.

Posted by Mike Devlin | November 20, 2007 6:50 PM

for all you candians:
Spencer Krug

Posted by Jizz | December 1, 2009 1:02 AM

Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson!

Posted by kayldoubleu | December 24, 2009 2:51 AM

You forgot Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt, Chopin, etc. You should drop the word "top" from the title of the article.

Posted by Rob | February 5, 2010 6:29 PM

Wow, this list is weak. Where's Jaco? Where's Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and so on?

Posted by Liz | July 23, 2010 2:30 AM

Top 10 musical geniuses my ass! You dont have any classic composers at all? what about Bach/Motzart/Beethoven? What about Scott Joplin? Louis Armstrong? This list sucks

Posted by Joe | October 3, 2010 3:54 PM

Well if it was up to more 'modern' musical geniuses, I would say something like Damon Albarn (blur), Herbie Hancock, Brian Wilson (he was also quite crazy, maybe that makes it even better), Brian Eno and Phil Spector.
And possibly Noel Gallagher

Posted by seb | January 11, 2011 2:27 PM

Kanye West

Posted by Mark | February 22, 2011 5:38 AM

where is reznor eno and yorke. lol dr. dre seariosly? he fucking sucks and is responsible for a rapper named after a button shaped peice of candy and millions of dumbasses riding around blaring his horrible music with his shitty grade school lyrics.

Posted by Mike | May 1, 2011 2:48 PM

Sly Stone needs to be on this.

Posted by Tyler | June 9, 2011 4:24 PM

great list! i totally agree with all of these. and i'm glad you didn't include Michael Jackson on here, even though the media and general public still call him a musical genius because he sang, danced, and put out an album only every four or five years (or none during the last eight years of his life). people forget that there were far more influential artists out there, like those listed above.

Posted by doog | August 10, 2011 5:13 PM

you suck

Posted by Anonymous | August 29, 2011 4:30 PM

Do you realize how outrageous this list is?

To start off, where are Mozart and Beethoven?
Next, The Beatles should be separated into John Lennon and Paul McCartney and both should be higher than everyone on your list. Also, Michael Jackson should be on the list and higher than Prince and probably everyone on your list. To finish I ask, why no Kurt Cobain? The dude single-handedly changed Rock from the 80's hairbands to the 90's.

Posted by Nate | October 13, 2011 9:25 AM

Stfu, seriously. These a drugy disgusting rock stars. The real masterminds are people like Beethoven!OR Bach!Wtf is wrong with you modern people?

Posted by Anonymous | March 4, 2012 7:31 PM

And Mark Knopfler ? Paco de lucia ?

Posted by reinaldo | March 17, 2012 2:51 AM

Jaco Pastorius - he was to the bass guitar what Hendrix was to the guitar and then some. Not only that, he was a genius arranger and composer. Guys like him come around only once in a lifetime.

Mozart
Beethoven
Liszt
Paganini
(Insert most of the famous composers and musicians)
Frank Zappa
Miles Davis
Louis Armstrong
Duke Ellington

Posted by Alejandro | April 22, 2012 4:37 PM

Bjork is definitely genius. But her experimental electronic pop is too different from other's music in this list. And Debut is really not that good comparing to he rlater output.

Posted by RDJ | September 6, 2012 7:00 AM

Rubin,Bjork,Dr Dre,Prince????
I think your underestimating the word genius.There are only a few.
Brian Wilson is one.

Posted by Mike Bennett | September 20, 2012 5:15 PM

Bjork belongs on that list more than anyone else there. Though it's weird that they went with Debut over any of her following three albums. Also, Richard D. James should be up there. And maybe Joy Division.

Posted by Anonymous | September 20, 2012 6:08 PM

Any list of musical geniuses on it without Brian Wilson is automatically disqualified in my book, even though his last really genius song was "Til I Die".....still, "Pet Sounds" and "Smile" are enough to secure anyone's legacy.

And what about Syd Barrett?

Posted by calvin | December 18, 2013 9:27 PM

Any list of musical geniuses on it without Frohawk is automatically disqualified in my book, even though his last really genius song was "Til I Die".....still, "Pet Sounds" and "Smile" are enough to secure anyone's legacy.
And what about Syd Barrett?

Posted by Anonymous | December 18, 2013 10:11 PM

^FACT

Posted by Anonymous | December 18, 2013 10:46 PM

Where were beethoven, mozart, dvorak, smith, lindel, capote, conan?

Posted by Anonymous | December 18, 2013 11:07 PM

Rush
Primus
Kaki King
Dream Theatre
Soul Coughing
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Earth, Wind, and Fire
Electric Light Orchestra

Posted by Anonymous | December 19, 2013 2:51 AM

Sheldon Cooper, PhD

Posted by Anonymous | December 19, 2013 9:12 AM

Nice to see renewed interest in my article. I should add that had Grimes been on my radar when I originally wrote it in 2007, or if I were to write an updated list, then Grimes would be #1.

Posted by Mike Devlin | December 19, 2013 9:29 AM

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