Archive for January, 2014

Jews Missing from ABC Greatest Women in Music List

January 4, 2014

Why are there no Jews on ABC’s list of the 30 greatest women in music during the last 50 years?

This question might not be important if it weren’t for the fact that two women more deserving of being on the list than at least 80% of those listed by ABC are both Jewish. Barbra Streisand and Carole King both should be near the top of any list of the greatest women in music. They aren’t the only great women missing from the list, but they are the only two whose omission cannot be justified. Incidentally, I’m a Baptist.

The closest the list has to someone Jewish is Madonna who has followed the school of thought called Kabbalah which originated in Jewish mysticism but now has become associated with other religions as well. P!nk (Alecia Beth Moore) had a Jewish mother and Christian father, but prefers to not be identified with any specific religion.

Many of us believe that Barbra Streisand is the greatest female singer of the last 50 years, although I do consider Whitney Houston worthy of consideration for that honor even though her career was far too short. I also believe Streisand became the greatest living entertainer when Elvis Presley died. She has received 8 Grammy Awards and is one of the few entertainers to win an Academy Award, Grammy, Emmy and Tony awards. She has also received a Peabody Award and a Kennedy Center Honor Award. The Recording Industry Association of America lists her as the top album selling female artist with 71.5 million albums in the U.S. and 145 million records worldwide. .

How can anyone make a list of the 30 greatest women in music in the last 50 years and not include the first woman to win the Gershwin Prize for song writing, Carole King? The Gershwin prize site says she “is without question the most successful and revered female songwriter in pop music history.”

Her album “Tapestry” held the record for most album sales by a female until that record was beaten by Whitney Houston. She won four Grammys from the album including becoming the first woman to win Song of the Year.

Songs she wrote helped other women singers. the Shirelles release of King’s “Will you still love me tomorrow” became the first number 1 hit by a black girl group. “(You make me feel like) a natural woman” became a signature song for Aretha Franklin.

The “Divine Miss M” Bette Midler is another Jewish woman who should be in the top 30, although she isn’t as well qualified as Streisand and King. “Midler has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and won three Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, and a special Tony Award. She has sold over 30 million albums worldwide[2] and along with that has also received 13 Gold, 8 Platinum and 4 Multiplatinum albums by RIAA.[3]” At the very least she should be above Karen Carpenter.

I can understand how people who lack familiarity with music in the sixties might overlook Janis Joplin whose career like that of Whitney Houston was far too short. She played a major role in establishment of the genre of psychedelic soul and was considered the “queen of psychedelic soul”. In 2008 “Rolling Stone” ranked her 28 on a list that had men holding most of the top 30 positions. I was a fan of Karen Carpenter but not of Janis Joplin but I would rate Joplin well above Carpenter,

I can understand how Ella Fitzgerald might be excluded from consideration because most of her success was prior to 1960 even though she continued to perform after 1960. The same situation applies to Mahalia Jackson and country music’s first diva Kitty Wells who paved the way for other women to succeed in country music.