Thursday, March 26, 2009

Really, WNCX listeners? Freddie Mercury?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 11:00 AM

I've been thinking about WNCX's recent Greatest Voices in Rock poll. While I'm not surprised by the listener-generated Top 10 (Clevelanders love them some Roger Daltrey, Bob Seger and Stevie Nicks), I am a bit shocked to see Freddie Mercury perched at the top.

Not that I have anything against Queen (except that they're always bombastic, sometimes annoying and occasionally crappy), but how did their late singer place above Robert Plant (No. 2), the greatest rock singer of all time? All you have to do is pit "Whole Lotta Love" against "Bohemian Rhapsody" (or whatever Queen song you like best; I'm going for this one), and it's obvious who's the better singer and who's the Broadway-lovin' ham.

Maybe it's the whole died-before-his-time thing. Plant made a great record a couple of years ago with Alison Krauss. Chances are, most 'NCX listeners never heard it (it's a subtle and moody album that's eons away from Zep's howls). While it's nice to think Mercury died in his prime (AIDS claimed him in 1991, when he was 45), the fact is, he and Queen hadn't had a hit since 1984's "Radio Ga Ga." Lady Gaga is more interesting.

It all comes down to the music, and Led Zeppelin were tons better than Queen. Queen reunited last year with Bad Company's Paul Rodgers (who placed No. 3 on WNCX's list) filling in for Mercury. It was one of last year's worst records. Plant, on the other hand, put the kabosh on any widescale Zep reunion, because he knows there's no way they can ever top Led Zeppelin II, IV and Physical Graffiti. Besides, he's got a new Grammy to keep him company (seriously: go buy Raising Sand now).

What do you think? Who else should have been on that list? John Lennon? Bob Dylan? Michael Stanley? —Michael Gallucci


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