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Top 5 “J” Artists

June 22, 2014

A strong letter, perhaps the strongest, for male solo artists.  Not a bad one for groups either but due to my self-imposed limit of 5, a lot of otherwise deserving artists are left out.

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5. John, Elton
Few have reached the peaks attained by Sir Reginald Kenneth Dwight in the early 70s.

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4. Johnson, Jack
The boxer? One of Ron Burgundy’s fists? The defenseman on the Columbus Blue Jackets?  None of the above as in this case it’s the singer/songwriter/surfer.  The soundtrack for stress relief.

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3. The Jam
More gushing to follow in album review #324.

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2. Joel, Billy
Don’t worry, I already quoted the W.W.B.J.D. line from Community when I reviewed The Stranger!  I don’t normally recommend compilations but I happily make an exception for the terrific Billy Joel Greatest Hits Volume I & II.

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1. Jackson, Michael
There’s little doubt that when he was at the top of his game, MJ was a performer.  The Off The Wall/Thriller/Bad triple whammy is simply too strong to overlook.

The Jam, Jay Z and possibly another ‘J’ are on tap for the week ahead, enjoy!

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31 Comments
  1. Jack Johnson instead of Janis Joplin or Jefferson Airplane? I would say they are both far more significant figures in rock/pop history..and I don’t know how far back you go but Robert Johnson is arguably more important than anyone on the list.

    • Agreed on all of the above – instead of historical significance, the main criteria I’ve been going with has been ‘which album would I be most likely to listen to today’

      While I quite enjoyed Joplin’s Pearl (and I haven’t heard it yet, but Surrealistic Pillow is on the 1001 list), they’d be on that list of deserving outsiders.

      • Ah I wasn’t sure how much of a personal selection it was. I actually find Janis quite annoying, but I know she was a significant figure…

      • I liked the energy of her album on the 1001 – but I can appreciate you’ve got to be in the right mood to enjoy her song, Mercedes Benz.

        Who would make your personal top 5?

  2. You know what — I was half expecting to see Judas Priest on here, due to the massive success of Iron Maiden in your “I” section. But I don’t think Judas Priest should be in the top five in this case.

    Jack Johnson wouldn’t make my list. Jackson 5 would be (but you already included Michael separately). Etta James. Jane’s Addiction. Jamiroquai. These would all be contenders (Jamiroquai less so.) Kudos for including the Jam.

    • Jamiroquai was in my #5 spot until this morning!
      At the last second, I got in a Goodbye Yellow Brick Road mood, and Elton bumped him off the list.

      Jane’s Addiction – I struggle with Farrell’s voice at times, but they’ve got a couple on the 1001.

      Etta James is an artist I keep meaning to explore further, heard nothing but great things

  3. Oh! And Jethro Tull.

  4. And hurrah to the Jam shout-out! Can’t wait!!

  5. There really are a lot of good “J” artists, huh? I think my hands-down number one would be James, just a fantastic band and amazing live. The Jam is also a great pick and you can’t really argue Michael Jackson’s contribution to music (I’m just not that into him). An honourable mention must go out to new Canadian indie sensation July Talk.

    • A colleague at work was telling me that the album ‘Laid’ is about as close to a perfect record as he’s heard. I only know (and like) the greatest hits – but they’re from Manchester, so I have a feeling I’ll approve!

      • ‘Laid’ is indeed a great record but so many of their albums are fantastic, it’s hard for me to pick a favourite. They just released a new one this month, ‘La petite mort’. Watch for it to appear amongst my picks for the month for sure!

      • Good to hear they’re still going – the little death? Sounds intriguing!

      • Look up the “French” term (especially in literature). It’s not what you think it means…

      • Nope, not what I thought it meant – good to know before I started casually using it in conversation!

  6. Not a strong letter for me. I can only manage a Top 3. Jethro Tull, Judas Priest and Journey

  7. Can’t argue with most of your choices (especially pleased that Billy Joel made the cut), but there are certain key “J” artists that should be added to the conversation: Jo Jackson, Etta James, The Jayhawks, Jellyfish, Waylon Jennings, Jethro Tull (as mentioned by Mike), George Jones, Eric Johnson, Journey, Rickie Lee Jones. There must be others I’m forgetting but I’m glad I got these off my chest.

    • Thanks Rich – Jo Jackson is an artist that I think I’ll really enjoy. I’ve only heard Look Sharp but it sounds like his work is right up my alley

  8. Pleased to see Etta James and The Jam gettin’ some love here. I think Joe Jackson deserves at least a mention (for alliteration sake) if Jack Johnson does 😛
    “Jack Johnson” is a fave Miles Davis disc too, named for Ron Burgundy’s fist.

  9. It physically saddens me that you’d put Jack Johnson above Elton John. One “Bennie and the Jets” is worth Jack’s entire career.

    • I blame the time of writing – I guess this morning felt like a banana pancakes kind of day. On any other day I wouldn’t be surprised to see Elton higher in the Top 5.

  10. The Jam is a great band for the cave-they carry a pint of England in each tune! I am also partial to Joe Jackson as a very underrated and unappreciated talent (plus he has 2 J’s in his name!)
    No problem with “The King of Pop” on this list. And no problem with Sir Elton John who I even forgive the train-wreck of a movie Gnomeo & Juliet which I still have nightmares about after suffering through it with my youngest child!.

    • It’s settled – I will have to explore more Joe Jackson asap. And thanks for the tip about Gnomeo, I’ll try to steer my daughter away from it!

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