One of the most authoritative music publications – Rolling Stone magazine, omitted Celine Dion in its ranking of “200 greatest singers of all time” and opened a wound in the heart of both the Canadian province of Quebec and her fans all over the world. Social networks, especially French-language ones, were blown up by comments such as “This is a crime against humanity.” The French police even got involved, jokingly tweeting that they could not help “in this case”.
This is not the magazine’s first ranking. Rolling Stone is known for its charts of great voices, albums, artists, guitarists and more. This is what makes it one of the greatest magazines ever. It was founded in 1967 in San Francisco, and its focus is on music, politics, entertainment, and art. There are many foreign editions.
However, Rolling Stone is an American magazine, and the focus of its music content is naturally on American music and the influence it has and exerts. In this year’s ranking of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time, the authors put an emphasis on African-American and Latino artists. The first ten are meticulously divided between male and female voices. In first place is Aretha Franklin (This is not news, Aretha was number one in the Top 100 in 2008), and in second place – is Whitney Houston. The magazine pays a well-deserved tribute to the great divas of the soul. The rest of the chart also tries to show respect to great singers from Asia, Africa, and South America. However, this does not affect Canada, ironically commented the French newspaper “Mond”.
In the article accompanying the ranking, the authors explicitly state that it is about singers, not voices. And that they expect disagreement.
Such encyclopedic rankings actually have an “educational” function. Many of the singers are probably unfamiliar to young audiences for chronological reasons. Still, others will be discovered by fans out of pure curiosity. The world of music is vast, and greatness is hard to measure. Surely any reader would disagree with the numbering of the singers and, without much thought, would list at least five or six or even a dozen missing names. Scandinavian and Italian music, for example, are absent from the chart.
Celine Dion, like Elvis Presley (who cannot be excluded from any American magazine), went to Las Vegas and, like him, became a legend with his show. Today, after a series of health problems, the latest of which was announced at the beginning and end of 2022, Celine Dion continues to live in Nevada.
The performer of “Beauty and the Beast”, “My Heart Will Go On”, and “A New Day Has Come” have been of undeniable importance for the time from the 90s of the 20th century until now. She is among the most listened-to singers of all time, and her album sales rank her second in the world after Whitney Houston. There are honorary awards from universities. Celine Dion is in the Top 10 best-selling artists in the US. Yet on January 1 of this year, Rolling Stone failed to include her in its list of great singers.
What is the reason for this omission? The answer is in the magazine itself. It has existed since 1967 because the world of music is vast, and the great singers are much more than 200.