Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bob Dylan Is Second Tier

You recently said you didn't consider yourself to be at the top when considering the pantheon of popular songwriters. Who is at the top in your view?

(Ponders) I'd put Gershwin, Berlin, and Hank Williams. I'd probably put Paul McCartney in there too. Then I'd have Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Then, in the second tier, Lennon is there. Dylan is there, Bob Marley and Stephen Sondheim are there, and maybe I'm there, too. It's about whose songs last.

There is a world of discussion here, starting with Dylan in the second tier. That wouldn't strike me as curious if both Lennon AND McCartney were in the first tier. But if I had the chance, and Mojo did, I would have sacrificed the question about "The Rhythm Of The Saints" and asked for further insight to Simon's ranking.  Paul over Bob?

Could "Wiggle, Wiggle" have hurt Dylan that much? And if so, why didn't "Biker Like An Icon" and most of "Wildlife" hurt Paul? Or, "Pipes Of Peace?" Or, "Nod Your Head?" Or...

I'm guessing, most everything after "Imagine" has tarnished Johnny Boy. Nothing, not even "Woman" and "Beautiful Boy" could make me forget "Rock & Roll," one of my least favorite records by anyone. I know it's unfair to place a drunken covers record in the mix, but I hate that record THAT much.

Okay, I realize I am not seeing the big picture here. (And I jump at the chance to mention "Wiggle Wiggle" and "Biker Like An Icon.") But, I am one of those people who just assumes everyone "knows" Bob Dylan is our greatest songwriter.

I don't think I could pit Lennon and McCartney against each other. I think most would agree, Paul's solo output was far more consistent, though we must take into account the 30 extra years he had to work. But, Lennon seemed to get his mojo back with "Double Fantasy," so who really knows what was coming down the pike. As a team, I still feel, unequivocally, no one will ever come close to John & Paul.

But Dylan? Second tier?

And what about Hank Williams? I must confess, while I love Hank Williams, I have to go back to Simon's comment.

"It's about whose songs last." 

Shouldn't the amount of songs that last also be a consideration? Hank Williams' followers may know the depth of his catalogue the way Dylan fanatics call out "Yea Heavy, & A Bottle Of  Bread" at concerts. But don't you think Dylan has a larger amount of songs that has lasted than Hank? "Old Folks At Home" has outlasted both of these guys, but I don't think Stephen Foster is the better songwriter.  I guess that isn't criteria for what makes a better songwriter, but then I didn't make the statement.

What's my point? Uh...the point?  Honestly, I'm not sure. Simon mentions 10 songwriters, 11 if you count Simon himself, and I'm hard-pressed to find a single reason to not include any of them in this pantheon. I'm just wondering if anyone is as surprised as I am at Simon's ranking, and if anyone wants to share their feelings on all of this.


sclinchy said...

I've always considered Dylan to be overrated. He's another example of a writer who had some great songs, but has long dry spells.

A name I'd submit for this group would be Richard Thompson. There's a long career and the guy's still writing great songs and making great records.

Anonymous said...

He may not be as "popular", american, or mainstream, but how do you leave out Leonard Cohen. Even the American Idol kids can't stay away from Hallelujah.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised by his putting Dylan and Lennon in the second tier. I don't like Dylan as a performer. Never could get past his voice but I recognize the brilliance of his songwriting. Maybe that's what affected Paul Simon's ranking of him in the second tier.
It's hard to separate Lennon and McCartney due to all the Beatles songs attributed to them as a team but if you break down the songs to the individuals, I personally give a slight edge to McCartney. I love his traditional songwriting style more than the edgier Lennon pieces although each of them have examples of both on their resumes. Still, I wouldn't have put him in the second tier. Maybe in Paul Simon's mind he feels Lennon is relatively a lesser songwriter that McCartney but he still firmly belongs on the 1st tier because he did push the envelope both musically and lyrically.

Carl (Google account's still not working)

Anonymous said...

Leonard Cohen suffers from the same problem I mentioned with Dylan. As a performer, he's an acquired taste that's beyond the casual listener. Same thing with Tom Waits. They are hard to listen to. Other than 'Hallelujah', what other songs would the general public recognize as a Cohen tune. After all, popularity needs to be taken into account somewhat.

Anonymous said...

Sal, being a Zephead, I'm sure your familiar with Roy Harper, whom I've always considered to be a 'British Bob Dylan', and just like Bob, will turn 70 this Sunday. The depth and quality of Roy's 45-year catalogue is stunning and what makes him so special is his obscurity. He once dedicated an album to all those who would never hear it. How 'bout a post on Roy to enlighten the masses? Randy

Robin said...

I am surprised too, he was talking a bit off the top of his head, though guessing by some in his first tier, I'm thinking that PS definition of a songwriter might be someone whose lyrics serve the music/blend with it perfectly, and not the other way around as it is with a lot of our singer-songwriters since Bob D? As well as the timelessness he mentions.

I imagine he is ranking them musically (especially since he included Rodgers who was a gifted melodist, and Hart's lyrics matched the notes so perfectly). If this is the case I agree, but Lennon should be there with McCartney as a team, as I think they had the same ability of matching the right word to the right note. On his own Lennon might seem too personal/political to be ranked in that first tier for PS? I love Bob Dylan he is incredibly important. He's not a melodist really. With Dylan, I think brilliant, prophetic "word-man", he has some lovely, singable songs, but it's the words that come first (or seem too). In my mind, Hank and Bob are equals in some ways but Hank's songs can be interpreted more easily and I think are more universal to a degree, they are certainly more singable. Still Bob is first tier to me.

Of the American Songbook geniuses the glaring omission is Hoagy Carmichael. It is interesting that he remembered Berlin but not Cole Porter. He left out Bacharach/David, that surprised me. And he should have included Smokey Robinson (but I am almost as biased with Smokey as I am with Lennon/McCartney). :)

itsok2beright said...

If the category was "Pop Songs, Four Minutes and Under", then maybe, the Paul's are ahead of Dylan. But, as long as the song wasn't purposely written to be an A side of a 45, there is no way that Dylan can be slotted behind John, Paul or Paul. I mention both Paul's since I personally put Simon ahead of McCartney.

Mark Pollock said...

I can't understand putting Dylan in the second tier, except that Simon long has been cranky and dickish and I think he likes the role of contrarian. As for John & Paul, I'll listen to John's solo stuff over Paul's most days. (And Richard Thompson gets a vote from me, too.)

Alan said...

Simon's pre-rock references and anti-rock pose are just that: a pose. If you start listing the great songs and then compare quality and quantity, he is transparently full o' shit.

Anonymous said...

Dylan and Paul Simon BOTH clearly belong in the first tier. By any measure, both have a huge stack of songs that will last, already have lasted, and simply can't be denied by anyone we need to take seriously.
I always say, the true measure of how much of a giant figure Dylan is in songwriting is that his name simply has to be mentioned in any discussion of the best songwriters, even if only to attempt rule him out. That fact alone makes it obvious.
Then I'd mention that a large chunk of the work of Simon and Lennon (not to mention Cohen, Mitchell, and hundreds more )simply wouldn't exist without the towering figure of Dylan.
Even Macca wouldn't place himself in a higher tier than Lennon or Dylan, by the way. Paul Simon is frankly being silly.

vanwoert said...

Brian Wilson and Smokey Robinson seem noticeably absent.

Bulletins From Mars Hill said...

Simon has always had a thing about Dylan. He is not best pleased that Dylan is thought to be top dog rather than him. However is Dylan worthy to be in the top tier? Stupid question really, as he is the greatest song-writer of the Rock Generation. Lennon & McCartney are also up there. Simon however isn’t. I wouldn’t even put him in the number two section. His best work was in the sixties and early seventies. His work since Graceland has been patchy at best. There is also the ongoing feud between Los Lobos and him, which suggests that he stole one of their tunes for Graceland. While Dylan certainly borrows from others, he adds value and artistic development.

While Dylan can also be said to have produced his best work in the Sixties and early seventies, Bob has continued to pump out the albums. I know Red Sky is a problem for a lot of people (me included) it did contain Born In Time. I would have happily retired after writing that song. Instead most of us missed it and didn’t discover its beauty until others covered it.

Every album since saved has had at least one masterpiece on it. Even Down In The Groove had Rank Strangers To Me on it.

jeff kisseloff said...

I think Robin has it right about those missing from the list, although I'd disagree about Smokey being right up there with the others. I'd also be curious about Paul's "Gershwin" reference. I'm assuming he is talking about George, but how could he leave out Ira? If he's talking about composing, how could he leave Bernstein off the list?

It's all great fodder. My guess is he was just tossing off names and not really giving it great thought. Maybe the Dylan comment was just him giving Bob a playful jab.

Personally, though, I was shocked that Rupert Holmes wasn't mentioned.

FD13NYC said...

First, second, third or whatever tier, they're all good. It's not a competition really, just singer songwriters with a life of great work.

I was also shocked that Ross Bagdasarian (aka David Seville) wasn't mentioned. Also Dickie Goodman, those break-in records were a hoot.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't be my ranking, but I could see the argument for ranking McCartney over Dylan on a purely musical basis, especially since many of Dylan's melodies were apparently "borrowed." Then again, if you were ranking people as lyricists, Macca wouldn't even make the third tier.

While I tend to lean toward John's Beatles work over Paul's, for me there's no comparison in their solo work, even (or especially) if you only consider Paul's contributions up to 1980. Plastic Ono Band and Imagine are great, Mind Games is listenable, the rest... eh. I hated Double Fantasy when it came out, almost took it as a betrayal (the first Lennon album in how many years and half of it is Yoko and the other half is MOR pop about domestic bliss?!!! who needs that when you have Elvis Costello in his prime?); I've tried to retroactively see its charms, most recently with the stripped version, but just... can't.

Meanwhile, as surfacely dopey as much of Paul's 70s work is, and as much as I hated it at the time (way more than Double Fantasy), the passage of time and perspective as rendered most of it, more me anyway, musically irresistable. Even "Silly Love Songs" I've come to grudgingly admire. I think it has, what, 5 different sections structurally?. And that bass line!

Where's Joni, Paul? And Ellington-Strayhorn?

Speaking of great songwriters, here's a curious interview with Barry Manilow where he mentions being at a Seder with Dylan and Burt Bacharach. Talk about a summit!

Bruce H.

Anonymous said...

Love these types of discussions. Agree with much of what's been said, but am compelled to point out a criminal omission. I'm always a bit puzzled why Stevie Wonder is so often left off these lists. His melodies and chord changes are consistently amazing - think My Cherie Amour, You Are the Sunshine Of My Life, Isn't She Lovely. The list is rather long. Any list of top songwriters that excludes Stevie Wonder, is incomplete in my view.


Peter Ames Carlin said...

Paul Simon, like a lot of advanced creative types, has a squirrelly mind shot through with secret (or not-so-secret) grudges, biases, self-aggrandizement and self-loathing. Therein lie the headwaters of creativity, I guess. . .the power to turn rage into art.

I don't think his list is anything more than tossed-off musing, so I'll do some musing of my own.

1. Paul S has never been comfortable in the context of rock 'n' roll. His real antecedents are the Gershwins, Berlin, the great pop writers of the early-to-mid-20th century. I recall an early '70s invu where he noted, archly, that he and Mick Jagger were in VERY different businesses, thank you very much.

2. Anyone besides me remember a story about the young Simon & Garfunkel being checked out at an NYC club by a young, and loudly distracted, Bob Dylan? They were all pups then, and I bet the runty Paul never forgot the sound of that braying guffaw, which I like to think came just after he and Artie described the girl reading her Emily Dickinson while they read Rob't Frost, all of them using bookmarks "that measure what we lost." Dylan was exactly right in my (imagined) scenario, a lot of that early S&G was painfully precious. But I bet Paul took that moment to heart, just like Paul McC was inspired/enraged by the times John L dismissed his more treacly work as pure shite.

3. No Brian Wilson, tho, seriously? I bet he just forgot. The tossed-off musing thing. I saw Paul S play at a BW tribute show (Radio City, 2001) and he was sweet and gracious and took his own little son to introduce him to Brian during the soundcheck.

4. My thinking: Lennon & McCartney = first tier. Lennon alone - second. Ibid McCartney. I can't forget "Biker Like an Icon" either. And howzabout "Magneto and Titanium Man," and the entirety of "Give My Regards to Broad Street"? That last one is so extremely awful on every level it's like the whole world (including Paul) has a secret agreement to never, ever mention it.

5. Springsteen is up there too, I think...but for entirely different criteria than Paul S judges by, so that's a whole other conversation. . . which also includes Dylan and Hank Williams, but not Pauls Simon or McCartney. Weird, huh?

6. It's all subjective. Lists and rankings among artists is a sucker's game. Good for beery arguments (which I love) but ridiculous in concept. So I'm going to read more Robert Frost and mark my place with bookmarks that measure what I've WON, motherfuckers.

vanwoert said...

Nobody has given Chuck Berry any love yet either.

Sal Nunziato said...



jc said...

Admittedly not a big Dylan fan (is anyone under 50 a big Dylan fan?) but what Simon's choices say to me is that he loves melody. Which is kind of odd, too, since he's been in a rhythm-based songwriting mode post-Graceland.

Sal Nunziato said...


re: Roy Harper

I consider myself a "Zephead," as well, and that is the main reason why once every two or three years, I get on a Roy Harper kick. I pull out the records that feature Jimmy Page, and I dig in. Sadly, it's like going back to the same, unsatisfying restaurant just because the staff is friendly.

I want to like these records, but I don't. I do like "HQ!" Any suggestions? Maybe I am listening to all the wrong songs.

steve simels said...

God help me, I kinda like "Biker Like an Icon." I wouldn't try to defend it, however.

steves said...

Going by my impressions from the recent RS profile, the answer is simple: Simon doesn't personally like Dylan all that much, while he and McCartney are good buddies. Not sure how he felt about Lennon, but I would guess they weren't all that close.

Seems to me Paul couldn't resist the temptation to nip at Dylan while giving a boost to his pal. The only real surprise was that he put himself in the second tier as well (albeit with an appended "...I don't know"). A rare flash of modesty there, methinks.

Anonymous said...

I think all writers mentioned are great and it's not to be done to rank them.
But there's one other thing I must state: John Lennon's Rock 'n' roll album is just GREAt, GREAT, GREAT. It has some weaker tracks, but it has some extremely good tracks. I think John's Plastic Ono Band album is the best album ever made (but again I have a few more albums I sometimes say the same about!!!), and Rock 'n' roll is just great fun to listen to. Really, try it, give it a fair chance and listen to it again and be surprised. Also great are the rock and roll tracks from these sessions that are to be found on the Lennon Anthology box. Man, was it a black day when Lennon was shot, I don't even want to dream about the songs he would have given to the world. Can't get over it.

Sal Nunziato said...


I know Lennon's "R&R" very,very well. He's a BEATLE!! I bought remaster after remaster, boxed sets, bootlegs, etc.

I really hate the sound. "Leave My Kitten Alone?" THAT'S rock and roll. Everything on "R&R" is too slow and lifeless. Though, I do admit, I couldn't listen to "Just Because" for years after Lennon was killed. It just tore me up.

Anonymous said...

This ranking stuff is a bit silly, BUT since we're doing it, can I add Randy Newman to the list? Music, lyrics, longevity, variety, he has it all. But he's another whose voice puts people off. First album in 1970, and his most recent non-soundtrack cd in 2008 got rave reviews.

Rushbo said...

We're fixating a little on (probably) an offhand comment, but it's great fun...

Bob Dylan. I know I'm in a tiny minority, but he seems to be the the biggest case of 'the emperors new clothes' in music. Many musicians I really admire worship the ground he walks on (Young, McCartney, Hendrix) but he leaves me scratching my head.

No love for Jimmy Webb?

And ranking songwriters may lead to harsh words and hissy man's Bob Marley is another man's Rupert Holmes...

Sal Nunziato said...

If anyone is still with us, I wasn't necessarily fixated on who was better, or who was left out. I was more fascinated by the toss-off.

But, yes Rushbo...and everyone else, this is great fun.

steve simels said...

And re: Lennon's "Rock n Roll"album?

Yeah, most of it sucks.

But "Stand By Me" is as gorgeous as it gets. Everything about it -- Lennon's vocal, the guitar solos (Jesse Ed Davis?), the production -- works.

There is no better version of the song, and I doubt there ever will be.

Jerry Lee said...

Just off the top of my head...

First Tier:
Chuck Berry, Robert Johnson, Merle Haggard, Leiber & Stoller, Gamble & Huff, Jagger & Richards

Second Tier:
The Ramones, Willie Dixon, Nick Lowe & Dave Edmunds, Frank Zappa

I agree with Peter Carlin's comments 1 & 2.

I think Paul Simon always had a complex about being a short, pudgy, balding NYC intellectual type. And ya gotta admit, he looks ridiculous in the baseball hat.

Hey, and what about Ben Vaughn, Nervous Norvous, Jim Ford, and Terry Allen?

Anonymous said...

After reading all the comments the basic truth of the matter is that we music lovers should examine our NEED for ranking and making lists every waking moment !! The truth is there are an enormous amount of great great songsmiths and artists and who really gives a damn who makes 1st tier and 2nd tier ;Dylan better than Simon who is better than this one and this one is better than that one WHO THE HELL CARES !!! They are all great and I'll bet Stephen Fosters songs last longer in the public domain than Richard Thompson's but AGAIN both write or have written great songs so lets just rank all these greats 5 stars and call it a day!!

A guy called Tak said...

I can't believe nobody mentions Randy Newman?

Besides Lennon/McCartney, Dylan, Newman, Bacharach/David, Wilson, Waits & Webb are better than Simon. That's my opinion.

soundsource said...

Chuck Berry, all I gotta say

Sal Nunziato said...

Okay, that last "Chuck Berry" was enough. I see a few of you dropped his name.

I adore Chuck Berry and what he's done for rock and roll. Without Chuck, we have...probably, none of the people we have been discussing.

But...songwriting? Really?

Anonymous said...

Amusingly, just stumbled across this this morning...

Bruce H.

soundsource said...

yeah songwriting. songwriting isn't just intricate word play or deep lyrics that are hard to decipher. Many great songs express universal feelings in a simple way so that they reach out to more people. It's like your Dylan comment sure a lot of people appreciate him but does that mean that his lyrics are effecting them or is it just college level poetry (nothing wrong with that either).
Why do we love Brian Wilson and hey even Todd who has a real knack for combining simple moving lyrics with great melodies.
That's not to take anything away from more literary song writers but both can be considered great.
And I don't even really listen to the lyrics. Sometimes less is more.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that if anyone out there who cares about which songwriter is better than the next please do the following:Immediately purchase, download borrow or otherwise obtain Mr.Zimmermans Mono Box You can do what you want with self-titled 1st album but play the rest of the discs and i challenge you to find a better songwriter anywhere on planet earth;you can add Blood on the Tracks and a few later releases and assorted songs from bootleg series and hands down you have a winner.I don't care how old you are and how someone sings just ponder the lyrics and i really don't see any other conclusion !!!!!

Sal Nunziato said...

I don't disagree with anything you've said, really. But, I always refer to the difference between the Grammy categories, Record Of The Year and Song Of The year.

"Da Doo Ron Ron" is a great "record," but if Bob Dylan read it with an acoustic guitar, you wouldn't find much of a song, just like I don't want to hear "Hattie Carrol" with horns and handclaps.

Chuck Berry invented a riff. It's rock and roll. There's no better. But, the songs, for the most part, aren't much. I LOVE them. But, I just don't see him in this category.

jeff kisseloff said...

Then's there's also Fats Waller and Andy Razaf. Those top two tiers are bound to collapse. Interesting that no one mentioned Jagger/Richards. They wrote a few good songs in their day.

Leon said...

These discussions are so fun... love it... Sal, your blog really engenders good interaction.

I am under 50 AND a huge Dylan fan, thank y' very much. In fact we have 7-year-old and a 3-year-old boys who both got to see Dylan as their first concert (outdoors, all-ages shows a couple years ago) and they love Bobby D.

I think robin and Bulletins From Mars Hill got it right, as well as Peter Ames Carlin. Paul Simon comes from a tradition just to the left of rock & roll (although he does love Chuck Berry - surprised he forgot him), and he does not dig appearing to be Dylan's bag-carrier. (In the new Rolling Stone interview, he says "I do not like coming in #2.")

And as careful as Paul is in live interviews, give him a break - he's saying all this off the top of his head. If you asked me the same question I'd probably leave someone important out too.

But I wouldn't have forgotten Stevie Wonder, that's for damn sure!!! (as someone else said)

soundsource said...

Grammy comparisons are treacherous territory but I won't go there. I refer you to No Particular Place To Go, Almost Grown, You Never Can Tell, Talking About You or Promised Land to name a few (and their not even the biggies). Actually the riff may be the same but it's the lyrics that make the songs pop (as in snap, crackle). It may be poetry for teenagers but the lyrics make as much sense today as then albeit without the bling. Oh and I bet Dylan or Randy Newman would kill those songs, not so much that Simon fellow.

soundsource said...

oh yeah add Come On to that list.

Sal Nunziato said...

OK SOUNDSOURCE, sorry but...

You say "Grammy comparisons are treacherous territory. I won't go there." But you did. What do you mean? I wasn't giving credibility to the awards. I was citing examples, showing the difference between a record and a song.

Chuck Berry made great records. I personally, don't think he wrote songs great ENOUGH to be listed with these other songwriters.

I know and love all you mentioned. Just not on the level...for the rest.

My Car Runneth Over said...

Hello, all.
If someone is trying to figure out who the best songwriters are, you have to ask, "What is the criteria?"
Someone mentioned Leonard Cohen... fine. Not to disparage his catalog, but, really, "Hallelujah" is one of the Top-10 (20?) songs ever written, and after that...?
Dylan has MANY more songs of that (or near-that) caliber.
How about David Crosby's "Laughing"? An amazing song, but he has nothing even remotely close to it in quality (sorry, not even his CSNY stuff.)
So, does a moment of pure genius qualify you for best songwriter?
ZZTop & ACDC are both in the Rock Hall of Fame, and they both wrote a TON of mediocre songs! Is Randy Newman in the Hall?

This question is too hard... maybe someone should've asked Rhymin' Simon what his favorite color is.

Ken D said...

I missed all this yesterday and it's too darn hot to get into a long discussion about rankings so I'll just throw one more name out there who nobody's mentioned...

John Prine. I don't know anyone else who has ever done more with 3 or 4 chords and plainspoken English. For me, top tier by virtue of getting so much out of so little.

Sal Nunziato said...


I don't remember if it was a blog piece...I'll have to look...or a discussion/argument with my ex-biz partner, over the last 4 Dylan albums, and how I thought the best of all 4 would have made one masterpiece, and all the accolades were just bullshit.

soundsource said...

Re: Grammies I was referring to the credibility of the awards not your take on best song v best record.

Jerry Lee said...

"Roll over Beethoven, tell Tcahikovsky the news".

What else needs to be said? Yo Sal, go through "The Great Twenty-Eight" again. He may have been writing mainly for a teenage market, but no one else wrote with the wit and vernacular like Chuck Berry. It's one great line and story after another; his depiction of everyday American life has never been equaled.

And I forgot to put Allen Toussaint in the first tier.

Gene Oberto said...


"Marie is only six years old, Information, please
Try to put me through to her in Memphis, Tennessee"

all through the song we think it's his girlfriend he wants to call

"There she is again
Standin' over by the record machine
Lookin' like a model
On the cover of a magazine
She's too cute
To be a minute over seventeen"

Oh, I can remember those urges

"It was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well
You could see that Pierre did truly love the madamoiselle
And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell,
"C'est la vie", say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell"

Teenage weddings lasted about as long then as they do now

"No particular place to go,
So we parked way out on the Kokomo
The night was young and the moon was gold
So we both decided to take a stroll
Can you imagine the way I felt?
I couldn't unfasten her safety belt!"

Ever get THAT frustrated?

"Hail, hail rock'n'roll
Deliver me from the days of old
Long live rock'n'roll
The beat of the drum is loud and bold
Rock rock rock'n'roll
The feelin' is there body and soul"

Which, related in six lines, is why we talk about any of this.

Sal, Chuck is one of the greats.

Sal Nunziato said...


Never said Chuck wasn't one of the greats. Never really said a negative thing about Chuck. Your examples are damn good! I mean, that was very Steve Allen of you, in the best possible way.

But I maintain, poetry aside, I do not put Chuck Berry in the same category as the previously mentioned songwriters.

Anonymous said...

I'll steal Steve Earle's cowboy boots and stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table to complain about no one here mentioning Townes Van Zandt.

Big Jim Slade said...

If the old show tune writers, who were, of course, great, are at the top of his list, he's obviously got his ear tuned to something a little different. So I wouldn't expect him to list our favorites. No hard feelings from me.

I agree with most of the other commenters' additions, but how about Hunter/Garcia? OK, I'll wait while you roll your eyes. But who could take Americana, the beats, and 60's, well, everything, put it together and make it sound like it has been around forever? Garcia didn't do all the music, though - one of my favorites is Mr. Charlie, courtesy of Pigpen.