Rolling Stone lists Fela, Burna Boy among 200 greatest singers

Burna Boy and Fela Kuti are the only Nigerian musicians on Rolling Stone’s Greatest Singers List, which began in 2008 and has since drawn the ire of Celine Dion’s fans for leaving her out this year.

The Canadian singer’s fans have expressed their outrage over the New Year’s Day list compiled by the outlet’s editors in an article titled “200 greatest singers of all time”, with Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday, and Mariah Carey rounding out the top five.

However, many fans were quick to point out that Celine had been snubbed, as were Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, and Jennifer Hudson.

However, Nigerian music star Burna Boy and Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti made the list.

Rolling Stone claims that the singers on the list were judged on originality, influence, catalogue depth, and the breadth of their musical legacy.

“In all cases, what mattered most to us was originality, influence, the depth of an artist’s catalogue, and the breadth of their musical legacy,” the outlet stated

The platform says the list differs from the Greatest Voices List. “Talent is impressive; genius is transcendent. Many people here were born with massive pipes, perfect pitch, and boundless range. Others have rougher, stranger, or more delicate instruments.”

Burna Boy is at number 197 position on the list and the magazine described the ‘African Giant’ as an “ambassador of Afrobeats as a global movement”. Adding that “he is the ambassador of Afrobeats as a global movement that can feel equally at home climbing the European charts and maintaining a subtle emotional connection with past African genres”.

For Fela Kuti, ranked 188 on the list, the publication described the late icon as an Innovator for the high life, “Fela Kuti’s iconic songs of the 1970s and 1980s are sprawling orchestral instrumentals, an innovative swirl of African highlife, American soul, and Jazz.”

Describing his political influence through his music, they wrote, “Through his music, he shared an anti-colonialist, Pan-African vision and challenged Nigeria’s corrupt military government, which routinely subjected him and those around him to immense harm.”



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