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Rolling Stone's list of greatest singers snubs Celine Dion

January 4, 2023

Aretha Franklin tops the music magazine's list of the 200 best singers ever. The selection is not without its critics. To the surprise of many, Celine Dion did not make the list.

Aretha Franklin wearing a sparkly sleeveless dress and holding a microphone while on stage in 1967
Aretha Franklin was named the greatest singer of all time by US music magazine Rolling StoneImage: Captital Pictures/picture alliance

Legendary US soul singer Aretha Franklin, who died in 2018, tops Rolling Stone magazine's new list of the 200 greatest singers of all time. 

Updated list 

The magazine published an updated its list of greatest singers to start the new year. The last time Rolling Stone published a similar list was in 2008, when it ranked what its critics considered the 100 greatest singers of all time. Back then, the ranking came under fire because 99 of those listed were from the English-speaking world. 

Second and third on the current list are R&B star Whitney Houston and soul pioneer Sam Cooke, who sang one of the most important songs of the US civil rights movement, "A Change is Gonna Come."  

Regarding the now-published update, the authors wrote: "Before you start scrolling (and commenting), keep in mind that this is the Greatest Singers list, not the Greatest Voices List." 

List sparks controversy on social media 

Despite that caveat, some critics were mystified by glaring omissions, particularly the fact that five-time Grammy winner Celine Dion didn't make the top 200.

"Respectfully, not including Celine Dion, arguably the best vocal technician of all time, in this list is borderline treasonous," wrote music producer Jamie Lambert on Twitter, for example. 

British tabloid The Daily Mail wrote: "There doesn't appear to be any big surprises in the Top 10 of the RS list, other than Dion being snubbed." 

The 54-year-old Canadian singer, who recently announced she had to halt her tour due to a rare neurological disorder, has not commented on the matter so far. 

On social media platforms such as TikTok, posts with the hashtag #rollingstone express many readers' dissatisfaction with the list itself and selected placements within it.

Fans of singers such as Justin Bieber, Jennifer Hudson, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Sting, Nat King Cole and Dionne Warwick have criticized those omissions as well.