Music Titans: 250 Greatest Recording Artists of the Past 100 Years

Bookbaby. Mar. 2024. 574p. ISBN 9798350933741. pap. $24.99. MUSIC
Award-winning teacher/amateur musician Williams’s debut book ranks recording artists, starting with Tom Waits at No. 250 and progressing to the Beatles at No. 1. Each artist profile is short—from one to three pages—followed by a list of songs, usually no more than four. Some readers may disagree with the list. Williams says upfront that they’re not all his favorite artists; instead, he considered the most influential artists in the past 100 years and weighed that against a “complex algorithm” (never fully explained) that assesses musical and cultural influence and how well their recordings sold. He’s enthusiastic about everyone from Al Jolson, Perry Como, and Johnny Mathis to Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode. The featured artists cover a range of fields but unevenly. The jazz entries are largely predictable, the classical entries puzzling. For example, some classical music fans may wonder why Astor Piazzolla or Arvo Pärt are not included, or why Philip Glass made the cut over Terry Riley or Steve Reich. The bossa nova craze is not covered. Note also that there are no glossy photographs of any of the artists.
VERDICT This hefty book picks the best 250 musical artists from the past 100 years, but not everyone is going to agree with the selections.
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