There is no amount of sunshine, rainbows, unicorns, and leprechauns to lift my spirits after reading a supposed "Top 10 White Icons Of Black Music" list on Urban Daily. My apologies in advance for whomever decided to slap these supposed "icons" together, but a list that includes Elvis, Vanilla Ice, Jon B, and Justin Timberlake just does not sit very well with me. At all. This list is lazy, lackluster, and lost. Below is my Top 10 list of sorts that is infused with much more of an encompassing look at our beloved Soul music. The list below is in no discernable order:
Darryl Hall & John Oates
The fact that this list did not even attempt to make reference to this beloved duo is just ridiculous. Their hits are numerous, they made our Top 100 countdown, and they were helplessly smooth even when they were a bit on the corny side. Below is one of my favorite songs by them.
After his alt-rock, glammed up Ziggy Stardust persona, he tapped into the prevailing 1950s nostalgia ever-present in the '80s and gave us such hits as "China Girl" and "Modern Love." If this song below doesn't ring a bell, you must have gotten a lobotomy of all things related to the 1990s.
Former drummer of Genesis which also included Peter Gabriel, and deserves an honorable mention here for "Sledgehammer," Phil Collins sang his heart out all over the Billboard charts in the 1980s. Like Hall & Oates, this man has way too many songs to mention here. The song below still rocks, and is a great example of Pop music at its finest.
Those who know me personally know I stan for this man as much as one woman can. From fronting post-punk ska rock band The Police to breaking out as a highly successful solo artist, this man's songwriting is an experience in itself. I will spare you the sleep-inducing "Every Breath You Take," and bring you another gem that you will want to revisit or get to know better.
Sorry for the '80s slant this list is taking but leaving this man off a list as this would amount to insanity. We have written of his splendor here on SoulBounce already, and there is good reason for this. He effing rocks. He held his own with Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. Is there anyone who has been able to do that in recent memory? No. in short, we love him because he deserves it.
Yeah, I said it. Before she got all creepy and prowling for her youngest male victim for his life-sustaining blood to rejuvenate her gnarled hands, Madonna was the shit. Period. Not the best singer in the world, but not the worst. And she could dance, and writhe, and do everything in between. Before I forget, Madonna + Lenny Kravitz = Pure bliss.
He isn't still revered as having one of the best voices ever recorded for nothing. His mafia ties, racist rants, and fantastical tales of boozing and womanizing made this man was a paparazzo's dream. I personally listen to his voice weekly, loudly, and without apology.
Yeah, he makes some good chicken, and has amazing hair, but until you've heard this man sing the Lionel Ritchie-penned "Lady," you have not experienced the wonderment that is known as the "power ballad," my friend. Ask your parents about "The Gambler" and the Dolly Parton duet "Islands In The Stream." The wistfulness they'll display is as real then as it is now.
Speaking of power ballads, there is no way on Earth I can forget Chicago. With Peter Cetera at the helm, this band's sound was in the same vein as Hall & Oates. Smooth everytime. They were at their best when they slowed down the tempo. Kanye and Common haven't referred to them several times over for nothing.
Ask Joss Stone and Amy Winehouse about her. That's all I have to say about that.
This man collaborated with two of the biggest music stars that have ever lived, Michael Jackson (twice) and Stevie Wonder. Ponder that when you remember that Vanilla Ice was listed as an "icon." I can't listen to "Ebony and Ivory" without tearing my hair out and running down the street, so I'll give you the song that least elicits homicidal tendencies in me.
This oversight is perhaps the most egregious and simultaneously laughable. Her talent is unquestionable, and our love for her is quiteclear.
Please keep in mind that there are many more true icons that have influenced Black music. Those under the age of 35 I have not included as their songs have not stood the test of time. even though I really, really want to include Amy Winehouse like you wouldn't believe. In any case, hopefully this can serve as a more credible reference for those wishing to pen future lists of iconic white artists in Black music. Feel free to leave your own picks in the comments.