Who is the greatest singer in the rock and roll era? In it's newest edition, Rolling Stone Magazine tries to settle the question, or at least start another worthwhile debate. The magazine polled singers, producers, journalists and other music insiders to find out who is the most respected singer. For Led Zepplin's Robert Plant, there is only one answer - Tupelo's Elvis Presley.
"Anyway You Want Me" (click to hear) is one of the most moving vocal performances I've ever heard. There is no touching "Jailhouse Rock" and the stuff recorded at the King Creole sessions. I can study the Sun sessions as a middle-aged guy looking back at a bloke's career and go, "Wow, what a great way to start." But I liked the modernity of the RCA stuff. "I Need Your Love Tonight" and "A Big Hunk o' Love" were so powerful — those sessions sounded like the greatest place to be on the planet.This of course means that when Rolling Stone's panel of experts looked at every remarkable singer from the past 70 years, they collectively decided on the top five singers, and three have Mississippi roots: Clarksdale born and bred Reverend C.L. Franklin's daughter Aretha finished first, Ray Charles second, and Elvis third. Sam Cooke, also born in Clarksdale, finished fourth.
Other notable mentions: Howlin' Wolf at 31, Muddy Waters at 53, and John Lee Hooker at 81.