Elvis and Freddie Mercury listed among best singers of all time

Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé perform 'Barcelona' in 1988

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Rolling Stone has updated its landmark 2008 list of the 100 greatest singers, which the publication admitted skewed towards iconic stars of the 1960s and 1970s. This time, it said: “This new list was compiled our staff and key contributors, and it encompasses 100 years of pop music as an ongoing global conversation.” Any such comparison will always draw dissent and disappointment but the magazine made one very clear distinction on the criteria for the list. It may come as some comfort to the adoring admirers of one diva, who certainly has one of the most impressive voices of all time but did not make the top 200.

Rolling Stone said: “Keep in mind that this is the Greatest Singers list, not the Greatest Voices List. Talent is impressive; genius is transcendent. Sure, many of the people here were born with massive pipes, perfect pitch, and boundless range. Others have rougher, stranger, or more delicate instruments… What mattered most to us was originality, influence, the depth of an artist’s catalog, and the breadth of their musical legacy.”

Hence, Ozzy Osbourne is in there at number 112. There are also no opera singers on the list which ranks “pop music writ large.”

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Fans of Freddie Mercury might wish he was slightly higher but the Queen legend still makes an impressive showing at number 14.

The magazine said: “Freddie Mercury’s soul-stirring vibrato and four-octave vocal range — as well as his overwhelming charisma — ignited the music of Queen, making their art rock an arresting spectacle.”

He is a few places ahead of Elvis, at number 17: “Elvis Presley’s voice was a sui generis instrument: weepy highs and rich lows, capable of landing “Don’t Be Cruel” at No. 1 on the U.S. pop, R&B, and country charts in 1956… 1969’s Suspicious Minds might be the ultimate Elvis moment. From the controlled opening to the explosive chorus, Elvis drives this juggernaut with swagger to spare.

Around these two legends are gathered Prince at number 16 and Frank Sinatra at number 19, with icons like Adele at 22, Nina Simone at 21 and Dolly Parton at 27.

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The magazine says: “A force of nature. A work of genius. A gift from the heavens. Aretha Franklin’s voice is all that and more, which is why she remains the unchallenged Queen, years after her final bow. Her singing is the most magnificent sound to emerge from America.”

But who was the singing sensation cruelly snubbed from the list?

She may be one of the best-selling stars of all time with a multi-octave range that blows the roofs off stadiums. Her Titanic voice may go on, but Rolling Stone has hurled an iceberg at Celine Dion.

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The Canadian megastar does not feature at all on the list. One horrified fan simply said “BLASPHEMY” in outraged upper case.

Another, in a rather more measured tone, said: “Respectfully, not including Celine Dion, arguably the best vocal technician of all time, in this list is borderline treasonous.”

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