Sugar File Under Easy Listening


I recently decided that this site needs a lists page, so over 2019, I’m planning to publish lists one at a time. I’m not trying to be objective with these – I regard them as a list of favourites.

All lists in alphabetical order.

Ten Favourite Vocalists | Ten Favourite Multi-Talented Musicians | Ten Favourite Bass Players | Ten Best Songs Ever (according to me) | The Ten Sexiest Men in Music | Ten Favourite Guitarists | Ten Sophisticated Songwriters | Ten Favourite Keyboard Players | The Ten Best Singer-Songwriters Ever and The Ten Next Best Singer-Songwriters Ever | Ten Favourite Drummers | Ten Favourite Producers | Talent Factories: Ten Bands That Spawned Multiple Successful Artists | Ten Best Lyricists

Ten Favourite Vocalists

Original post

Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention)
Aretha Franklin
Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins)
Marvin Gaye
Ariana Grande
Al Green
John Lennon (The Beatles)
Freddie Mercury (Queen)
Mike Patton (Faith No More)
Carl Wilson (The Beach Boys)

Ten Favourite Multi-Talented Musicians

Original post

Adrian Belew (King Crimson, solo)
Paddy McAloon (Prefab Sprout)
Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
Janelle Monáe
Todd Rundgren
Maurice White (Earth, Wind and Fire)
Steve Winwood (Traffic, Blind Faith, etc..)
Stevie Wonder

Ten Favourite Bass Players

Original post

Bootsy Collins (James Brown, Parliament)
Larry Graham (Sly and the Family Stone)
James Jamerson
Carol Kaye
Geddy Lee (Rush)
Graham Maby (Joe Jackson)
Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
Jaco Pastorius (Weather Report)
Chris Squire (Yes)
Bruce Thomas (Elvis Costello)

Ten Best Songs Ever (according to me)

Original post

Be My Baby – The Ronettes
Close to the Edge – Yes
Dealer – John Martyn
Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow – Joni Mitchell
Easter Theater – XTC
The French Inhaler – Warren Zevon
I Wanna Be Your Lover – Prince
Only Shallow – My Bloody Valentine
Peaches en Regalia – Frank Zappa
What Have I Done to Deserve This? – Pet Shop Boys

The Ten Sexiest Men in Music

Original post

Damon Albarn
David Bowie
Jeff Buckley
Kurt Cobain
Chris Cornell
Childish Gambino
Marvin Gaye
Bret McKenzie
Elvis Presley
Bruce Springsteen

Ten Favourite Guitarists

Original post

Larry Carlton
Nels Cline (Wilco)
Richard Lloyd (Television)
Johnny Marr (The Smiths)
Brian May (Queen)
Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
St. Vincent
Andy Summers (The Police)
Richard Thompson
Frank Zappa

Ten Sophisticated Songwriters

Original Post

Elvis Costello
Paddy McAloon (Prefab Sprout)
Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
Joni Mitchell
Carl Newman (The New Pornographers)
Randy Newman
Andy Partridge (XTC)
Jimmy Webb
Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys)
Stevie Wonder

Ten Favourite Keyboard Players

Original Post

Keith Emerson
Garth Hudson (The Band)
Elton John
David Paich and Steve Porcaro
Eddie Rayner (Split Enz)
Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater)
Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
Rick Wakeman (Yes)
Stevie Wonder
Bernie Worrell

The Ten Best Singer-Songwriters Ever and The Ten Next Best Singer-Songwriters Ever

Original Post 1 / Original Post 2

Jackson Browne
Sandy Denny
Nick Drake
Bob Dylan
Freedy Johnston
Paul Kelly
Carole King
Mark Kozelek
John Martyn
Joni Mitchell
Will Oldham
John Prine
Nadia Reid
Josh Rouse
Cat Stevens
Sufjan Stevens
Townes Van Zandt
Suzanne Vega
Neil Young
Warren Zevon

Ten Favourite Drummers

Original Post

Hal Blaine
John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson)
Jimmy Chamberlin (The Smashing Pumpkins)
Stewart Copeland (The Police)
Jim Eno (Spoon)
Jaki Liebezeit (Can)
Jeff Porcaro (Toto)
Bernard Purdie
Stevie Wonder

Ten Favourite Producers

Original Post

DJ Shadow
Brian Eno
Jam and Lewis
Quincy Jones
George Martin
Jimmy Miller
Ariel Rechtshaid
Todd Rundgren
Phil Spector
Brian Wilson

Talent Factories: Ten Bands That Spawned Multiple Successful Artists

Original Post

The Beatles
Buffalo Springfield
The Byrds
Deep Purple
Fairport Convention
The Velvet Underground
Wu-Tang Clan
The Yardbirds

Best Lyricists

Original Post, Original Post 2, Original Post 3

There’s a Mount Rushmore of lyricists, then a whole bunch of runner ups:

Nick Cave
Leonard Cohen
Bob Dylan
Randy Newman

Chuck Berry
Jackson Browne
Elvis Costello
Chuck D
John Darnielle
Ray Davies
Richie Edwards
Craig Finn
Peter Gabriel
Don Henley
Kendrick Lamar
Paddy McAloon
Joni Mitchell
Laura Nyro
John Prine
Lou Reed
Paul Simon
Mark E. Smith
Patti Smith
Bruce Springsteen
Joe Strummer
Taylor Swift
Gillian Welch
Paul Westerberg
Warren Zevon


  1. A shout out for Norman Watt-Roy (The Blockheads), Robbie Shakespeare, Aston Barrett (The Wailers), Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads) and Donald “Duck” Dunn (Booker T. & The MGs) on the bass players list. Good call of yours for Larry Graham.
    For drummers – Larry Mullen (U2), Max Weinberg (E St Band), Martin Chambers (The Pretenders), Tony Allen, Ginger Baker and, surely, the great Paul Thompson (Roxy Music).
    Guitarists – Duane Allman, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Mick Ronson, Stevie Ray Vaughan
    Pianists – Roy Bittan (The E Steet Band), Bruce Hornsby, Billy Joel
    That’s the fun of lists, though, isn’t it?

  2. I woke up this morning and thought of Bruce Foxton of The Jam (bass) and Topper Headon of The Clash (drums), both of whom had their moments. Headon was particularly versatile, as he proved on the Sandinista! album.
    David Bowie used an excellent drummer called Dennis Davis during the mid seventies and well into the eighties and then, of course, there is Charlie Watts and Ringo too. Starr has a style all of his own that has been imitated by many.
    Glad you put The Ronettes in best ever songs. I would have used Baby I Love You.
    In the seventies every best vocalist list was won by Paul Rodgers, followed by Robert Plant.

  3. The only sexiest men on your list I would agree with are Jeff Buckley and Chris Cornell. My sexiest of all time is of course Jim Morrison. And he’s probably the only one whose music matches up equally. And when they were young I thought Jon Bon Jovi and David Lee Roth were the sexiest ones who are still alive. I kind of liked Noel Gallagher too.

    • I like how you put “of course” in front of Jim Morrison. I actually totally agree with Jon Bon Jovi – I only included musicians whose work I enjoy, but music aside he’s very attractive. I asked my wife when I wrote it, and Childish Gambino was the one she agreed with me on.

      • I can’t even think of anyone besides Jim Morrison whose music was as overwhelming as his looks. It hardly ever happens. But then he worked in a time where most musicians were just average looking people for the most part, and maybe he wouldn’t look all that special today. Not like now when all of them look like either models or movie stars. And I always figured theres got to be some inverse relationship between their good looks and the bad quality of today’s music. Nowadays musicians look greater than ever but sound worse than ever. It can’t be no coincidence. LMAO

  4. Yeah I’ve heard people say that. That after MTV came along there was too much focus on the way people looked rather than on the music. And I would have to agree that the early 80s was definitely the beginning of the decline. But it could also be that every kind of music just runs its course and burns itself out after a certain amount of time. But I really can’t understand how it declined so far and And I can’t even be sure if it’s not just me that changed. Maybe music is as good as it ever was and it’s just me that doesn’t think so. idk.

  5. How about a list of ‘anti-hero” un-good looking (unconventional) artists? Ones who showed that looks didn’t matter a damn. Most are from the punk era, of course.
    John Rotten Lydon
    Elvis Costello
    Joe Jackson
    Graham Parker
    Ian Dury
    Howard Devoto (Magazine)
    Iggy Pop
    Joey Ramone
    Feargal Sharkey
    Freddie Mercury
    Elton John
    Patti Smith
    Poly Styrene
    Tom Petty
    Buster Bloodvessel
    King Stitt (a reggae artist who called himself ‘the ugly one’)

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