Top Artists by Quantity of Entries

A crude method to determine the favorite artists in the collection is by counting the number of song entries for that artist. I spent 2-3 hours counting songs for all artists with over 9 entries in the collection, put the results in an Excel spreadsheet, then sorted them by quantity. Here are the results:

1. The Beatles 409
2. Van Morrison 229
3. Los Lobos 219
4. The Rolling Stones 123
5. Bob Dylan 112
6 Fleetwood Mac 99
7. Grateful Dead 99
8. Paul Simon 94
9. Elvis Presley 81
10. Lucinda Williams 78

Paul Simon’s list includes solo work and Simon & Garfunkel songs.

11. Jimi Hendrix Experience 66
12. The Who 64
13. Neil Young 63
14. Ray Charles 63
15. Eric Clapton 60
16. Alison Krauss 56
17. James Brown 56
18. Santana 54
19. Creedence Clearwater Revival 51
20. Johnny Cash 51

Eric Clapton’s total includes 18 Derek & The Dominoes songs, 13 Cream songs and 2 Blind Faith songs.

21. Led Zeppelin 47
22. Bob Marley & The Wailers 45
23. The Allman Brothers 44
24. Stevie Wonder 43
25. Chuck Berry 42
26. Eric Clapton 42
27. Doc Watson 41
28. Frank Sinatra 40
29. Duke Ellington 38
30. The Kinks 37

31. Benny Goodman 35
32. Paul McCartney & Wings 35
33. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 35
34. The Beach Boys 34
35. The Doobie Brothers 33
36. David Grisman Quintet 31
37. Sidney Bechet 30
38. The Byrds 29
39. Chris Isaak 29
40. Lynyrd Skynyrd 29

41. U2 29
42. Randy Newman 28
43. Steely Dan 28
44. The Doors 27
45. Elton John 27
46. Jefferson Airplane 27
47. Michael Jackson 27
48. Nat King Cole 27
49. Count Basie 26
50. Jonathan Richman 26

Michael Jackson’s total includes 7 Jackson 5 songs.

51. Neil Diamond 26
52. Pink Floyd 25
53. Talking Heads 24
54. Aretha Franklin 23
55. The Eagles 23
56. Howlin’ Wolf 23
57. Muddy Waters 23
58. Sam Cooke 23
59. Artie Shaw 22
60. Hank Williams 22

61. Le Quintette Du Hot Club De France 22
62. The Police and Sting 22
63. Barenaked Ladies 21
64. Jackson Browne 21
65. John Fogerty 21
66. The Beegees 20
67. Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys 20
68. Jerry Garcia & David Grisman 20
69. Miles Davis 20
70. The Temptations 20

71. Vince Guaraldi Trio 20
72. Big Brother & The Holding Company 19
73. Crosby, Stills, Nash (& Young) 19
74. The Crusaders 19
75. Louis Armstrong 19
76. Thelonius Monk 19
77. Traffic 19
78. The Yardbirds 19
79. Bruce Springsteen 18
80. David Bowie 18

81. Elvis Costello 18
82. Marvin Gaye 18
83. The Pretenders 18
84. Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys 17
85. Carole King 17
86. John Lee Hooker 17
87. Carl Perkins 16
88. Charlie Parker 16
89. Fats Domino 16
90. John Mellencamp 16

91. Louis Jordan & His Tympani Five 16
92. Ricky Nelson 16
93. Sly & The Family Stone 16
94. The Band 15
95. Boz Scaggs 15
96. Buddy Holly & the Crickets 15
97. George Benson 15
98. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass 15
99. The Marshall Tucker Band 15
100. The Stanley Brothers 15

101. Steve Miller Band 15
102. Willie Nelson 15
103. Beck 14
104. Big Joe Turner 14
105. Billy Joel 14
106. Earth, Wind & Fire 14
107. John Mayall 14
108. Madonna 14
109. Rod Stewart 14
110. B.B. King 13

111. Bonzo Dog Band 13
112. Dwight Yoakam 13
113. James Taylor 13
114. John Coltrane 13
115. Otis Redding 13
116. Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble 13
117. Tiny Moore & Jethro Burns 13
118. Tower Of Power 13
119. AC/DC 12
120. Bobby “Blue” Bland 12

121. Chicago 12
122. Curtis Mayfield 12
123. Ella Fitzgerald 12
124. Funk Brothers (Motown House Band instrumentals) 12
125. George Harrison 12
126. The Isley Brothers 12
127. Little Richard 12
128. The Seldom Scene 12
129. Three Dog Night 12
130. The Ventures 12

131. Aimee Mann 11
132. Al Green 11
133. The Cars 11
134. Dion 11
135. Everly Brothers 11
136. Fats Waller 11
137. Louis Prima 11
138. Peter, Paul & Mary 11
139. Roy Orbison 11
140. Shelby Lynne 11

141. Sheryl Crow 11
142. Diana Ross & The Supremes 11
143. The Animals 10
144. Donovan 10
145. Herman’s Hermits 10
146. Loggins & Messina 10
147. The Mamas & The Papas 10
148. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles 10
149. Richie Havens 10
150. Roseanne Cash 10

151. Sonny Boy Williamson 10
152. Toots & the Maytalls 10
153. Wynonie Harris 10

There are 27 bands or artists with 9 songs in the collection, but we’ve got to stop somewhere. In order to add some simple heft to the blog, the plan is to now work our way down from artist number 153, Wynonie Harris, progressing through all the most common artists, finishing with The Beatles. I will review each artist carefully, making sure I have everything I want, also eliminating songs where appropriate. After completing teh entire process, which will take months, I’ll compile the list again, to see where the final rankings are.

The Beatles, Van Morrison and Los Lobos collections all have a significant component of unreleased live recordings, and some of these are among my very favorites. I am undecided about how much information I will share about these, perhaps identifying them by date of recording, or CD name. Some care will be taken not to offend.

The Beatles, Van Morrison and Los Lobos all share another important trait, a prolific career where the band’s music transformed into new musical territory.

The progression of favorite bands in my life goes as follows:
The Beatles
Creedence Clearwater Revival
David Grisman Quintet
Los Lobos
Alison Krauss & Union Station
Lucinda Williams
Van Morrison

Starting with David Grisman, these are the five bands I saw multiple times in concert, whenever they passed through town. Presently, nobody holds the crown. These bands appear to have a disproportionate presence. I would argue that while that may be true for the David Grisman Quintet and Lucinda Williams, that is not the case for the others. Eventually, I will make a case for Los Lobos as the greatest American rock band. With no obvious choice, the role of “greatest American band” is the debatable topic. I have a strong opinion about who is the most important rock and roll musician in history.

Notice the strong presence of California bands in the collection, starting with Los Lobos, Grateful Dead and Creedence, but also including The Beach Boys, Chris Isaak, Jefferson Airplane and many others. Regional bias is clearly a factor, especially when considering the smaller contributions of major artists like Bruce Springsteen; many big east coast names are simply missing. It’s not a conscious decision. I’ll allow that I have a regional bias, but am merely trying to present the best possible collection. Sometime I may try to explain why that it is so. 50 year old from the modern world, baby.

When I’m done with this exercise, I expect the number of songs for The Byrds, Barenakd Ladies,Talking Heads, Randy Newman and Paul McCartney (and a few others) to fall. I expect there will be more songs by The Eagles and Madonna to rise. Most of the bands have at least enough representation.

Obviously, this crude method of ranking artists has limitations. We could count the total stars awarded, but that is also flawed. Some artists have a lot of well-known songs that I see as one or two stars. But this offers me a way to review each of the big artist, firm up their collections so I can move on to bigger and better things a few months from now. In the meantime, I will keep an ear open for the truly exciting stuff, interesting new music.

Next up will be #153, lascivious bluesman Wynonie Harris.

2 thoughts on “Top Artists by Quantity of Entries

  1. Terry Lavin March 10, 2010 / 8:07 PM

    John,

    I was lurking on gca and saw the reference to your blog. Wow. Wow. I was a rock and roll critic for my college newspaper in the mid-70’s and we have very common taste in music. I have a great friend who has a similar ipod collection, with 2000 live songs, featuring a history of rock ‘n roll, from Buddy Holly to Widespread Panic (for example). I’ll try to get his list to you.

    Visiting your site encouraged me to get back on gca.com, so you’ll see me soon as I’m ending my self-imposed hiatus. In the meantime, I’ve been appointed to the Appellate Court here in Chicago and I spend all day reading briefs and writing opinions, all while listening to my buddy’s ipod collection.

    Terry Lavin

    p.s. I wish I had been able to join you guys at Ballyneal last year…

    • theperfectipodcollection March 15, 2010 / 2:57 AM

      Hi Terry…thanks for looking at the music blog. Trying my best to give a nice list of recommended songs, based on the experiences of a 50 year old Californian, influenced by consensus review opinion. Let’s play golf sometime too!

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