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Van Morrison and Bono make Rolling Stone’s top 200 greatest singers list

The magazine said it would be easy to take Bono – listed as No 140 – for granted

Lynne KelleherIndependent.ie

Bono and Van Morrison have been included in a new Rolling Stone magazine list of the 200 greatest singers of all time.

The magazine named Aretha Franklin as the greatest, Whitney Houston in the No 2 position, Mariah Carey was in the fifth spot but Celine Dion failed to make the cut.

The U2 lead singer and Van Morrison were the only two Irish vocalists to be namechecked, with Sinead O’Connor and Dolores O’Riordan losing out.

The magazine said it would be easy to take Bono – listed as No 140 – for granted.

“The artist’s commendable activism and outsized onstage personality often overshadow the reason he even has these platforms: his voice.

“Since the early Eighties, Bono has pushed his voice to every extreme,” it said.

Pride (In The Name of Love) was singled out as a “love letter to Dr Martin Luther King Jr. “He belts, croons, swoons, and hums as he calculates Dr King’s passion.”

They added: “On Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses, his voice winds and bends, with a little true grit thrown in for good measure.

“And on the soulful ballad In a Little While, he pleads with the same intensity of Marvin Gaye before slipping into his distinctively Bono falsetto with a range that spans both tone and emotion.”

Van Morrison was in 37th place above legends like Louis Armstrong, James Brown, and Mick Jagger as well as modern-day superstars like Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga.

Van Morrison

The magazine noted: “To experience the height of Van Morrison’s vocal genius, you have to get beyond the words.

“Zero in on, say, the free-form back half of a 1974 performance of Listen to the Lion where he starts out with honeyed crooning and blissed-out humming, tries out around a dozen different cadences on the word ‘you’ and eventually lets fly with full-on grunts and groans.”

They noted his progression from the “early days in Them, on through the overtly mystical years of Astral Weeks and Veedon Fleece, and up to his current incarnation as a gruff R&B songman”.

The top 10 consisted of Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday, Mariah Carey, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Otis Redding, and Al Green. Little Richard and John Lennon were 11 and 12, followed by Patsy Cline, Freddie Mercury, Bob Dylan, Prince and Elvis Presley.

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