Last night, I complained about Elvis Costello. I don’t like his voice. (I also dislike the voices of Tom Petty, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan).
Guy: I don’t care. He’s still one of the Top 20 Best Songwriters of the past forty years.
Cordelia: If you say so.
It occurred to me that’s a phrase people bandy about with far too much ease. Who are these Top 20 Songwriters? What are the criteria? Over the rest of the bottle of wine, we came up with, um, a lot more than twenty Top 20 Songwriters. And they were 90% rock musicians. And 90% male.
We are in need of assistance. We’re looking for Top 20, not Top 50. (Also, if you can think of any women I’ve left out…)
The criteria we settled on include, but are not limited to:
- Longevity. Will these songs be covered in 50 years? (This is why Radiohead didn’t make it).
- Mass Love. If they deeply touched millions of people, they should probably be on the list. (This is why Lennon/McCartney did make it).
- Just Being Damn Good. Just because someone’s underrated and unknown doesn’t mean they don’t belong in the Top 20. This is our list, not EW’s.
Fleetwood Mac (so as to free up space on the list, we melded together Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, and what the hell, threw in Christine McVie too)
British Sea Power