Top 100 Singers Of All Time

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Something a little different today, although it’s online, so to speak, so it fits the model. Rolling Stone Magazine put together a listing of what they say are the 100 Greatest Singers In History. I’ve got to tell you, I love stuff like this because it invokes pretty good memories, great discussions, and of course we all get to have our favorites and those that we don’t like. Being a former professional musician (I got paid for it, therefore I was a professional), I’d like to think that I have at least some basic knowledge on the subject.

Just to get this out of the way, though, we’re talking about rock musicians. No operatic folks are on the list, which is a shame because if one can’t get Andrea Bocelli or Sarah Brightman in a list then it’s not quite accurate. Also, any list that has Mariah Carey all the way down at #79 tells me that the list is not only not about singers, but that it’s more a list of performers who impress people who like rock than an article about true singers. And come on; no Celine Dion, no Whitney Houston, no Donna Summer,… ugh!

Obviously, I’ve already given some early commentary on this list. But let’s look at the top ten only; if you want to jump right to the entire list, you can use this link to get there.

Going in reverse order, #10 is James Brown. Most people only know the James Brown of Eddie Murphy fame, but when he started out, James Brown had a very melodic voice. Later on he decided to give that up for more histrionics, but no matter. You can’t have a discussion about vocalists in history without James Brown. This isn’t a bad pick.

At #9 on the list we have Stevie Wonder. I wrote in a review last year that Stevie Wonder is the number one pop music genius of all time, and he’s still influencing musicians of today, so there’s no gripe about this pick either.

At #8 is Otis Redding, and if I have a gripe about this pick, it’s that I just don’t see him being in the top ten. His untimely death has probably added way more credence to his importance, but when it comes to singers, there’s so many more who were not only more important, but better singers.

At #7 is Bob Dylan; here’s the big pick that lets us know it’s more about legacy than actual vocal talent. I say this while being a big time Dylan fan. Bob Dylan couldn’t sing his way past the first round of American Idol, let alone be considered a legitimate singer on any list. However, his body of work was remarkable, and he came alone at just the right time to touch upon the psyche of America. His lyrics impressed me so much that I bought his book of lyrics some years ago, just to study the composition structure of them. Top ten in importance, yes; top ten singers, no way.

At #6 is Marvin Gaye, and this is a great pick for the top ten. There were few other natural singers who could compete with Marvin Gaye, and he knew it. Marvin Gaye was so good that he’s the only performer in Motown history who didn’t have to go through “performance school”; of course, it didn’t hurt that he was married to Berry Gordy’s sister either. Still, Marvin Gaye could have made a nun give up her virginity, there was so much sex in his smooth sound. No gripes here.

At #5 is John Lennon, and once again, I have to put him on the list with Dylan; important for the times, but not all that great a singer. His range was limited, and, well, truthfully, I think he had more of an emotive voice with no real range. I can’t think of anyone else who could have brought the kind of power he did to a song like “Imagine”, but he was a great performer, and an even better man, than he was a singer.

At #4 is Sam Cooke, and I’ll say right now that the only gripe I might have here is that I could see him being at #2, except he left this world way too soon. Sam Cooke was smooth, he had range, and, well, he was just likable as a singer and as a man. Well, except for the woman who ended up killing him, I suppose, but even there,… well, we’ll probably never know the real story. Sam Cooke could make you feel good; he could make you cry; he could pretty much do anything he wanted to do with his voice, which is what makes me so impressed with him. It was his voice and one of his songs I thought about the night Barack Obama was elected president, and what it meant to me. Great pick!

At #3 is Elvis Presley, and there’s just no way anyone can gripe about this pick across the board. Elvis was the man, plain and simple, and if he’d known how to take care of himself, he’d probably still be the man right now in his 70’s. Elvis could sing, he had presence, he touched people, and mixed in the middle of a lot of fluff were some pretty good songs. Let’s face a fact here; without Elvis being exactly what he was, a big, good looking country white kid that loved to sing what at the time was termed “race music” and doing those “heinously sexy moves”, we’d have been stuck with Pat Boone’s generic style for the rest of our lives, black music might never have had the opportunity to become as prominent as it has, and music in general would have stagnated. Yes, I think he was that important.

At #2 is Ray Charles, and I love Ray Charles. Though I might not have put him at #2, he’d have definitely been in the top ten. Ray Charles did stuff with music that no one else dared to do, which makes him important, and he did it because of the music, not for any other reason. Ray Charles did jazz, and always considered himself a jazz musician. But he also did rock, pop, gospel, country, and classical, and went to the top in every single genre. Ray Charles also touched people, but oddly enough, according to his own autobiography, he never really understood why, except for the soul of the music. And man, there’s no one who could have taken that soul away. Ray Charles was truly the king of soul.

At #1 is the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin. If you’re not old enough to remember the true power of Aretha Franklin singing almost anything then I feel sorry for you. Aretha Franklin was raw power and emotion; when she went soft, you held onto your own hands because you knew the explosion of emotion was coming. The daughter of a preacher who cut her chops in church, she has earned 21 Grammy awards, was the first female inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has the best selling gospel album in history, Amazing Grace. All that, and she’s still prominent today, singing at the inauguration of President Barack Obama just a week and a half ago. No problems with the queen being at number one.

And there you go. As I said, something different to talk about, but hey, it’s the day before the Super Bowl, so let’s have some fun here. Now, if I went through the entire top 100, there’s a lot of artists I’d throw out and replace with someone else. But for now, enjoy what’s there, and offer your own opinions; should be fun.

The Essential Barack Obama: The Grammy Award-Winning Recordings








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What’s In A Name?

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From the title of this post, my friend Scott probably thinks I’m going to talk about his site called All In A Name, which you should visit because he’s got a lot of cool stuff which lets you create things based on your name and have them customized in many different formats for you. There’s my plug for the day.

No, what I’m going to talk about today is the names people use when they’re commenting on blogs such as this one. Our friend Sire wrote a post called Commenting 101 – important Rules For 2009. Point number six was this:

Name And Not Keyword! I know that everyone is trying to get maximum exposure for their keywords but I really think that blog hosts would like a name rather than a keyword such as ‘Ultimate Blogging Tips’ when people leave a comment.

I’ve been thinking about that lately as I see some of the names coming through from people where I know, and of course everyone else knows, it’s not their name. Not to call anyone out, but the last ten names that I’ve seen which aren’t really names are: Sire (that one’s a nickname, so it really doesn’t count); Trade Show Guru (although Steve always puts his name after his comment); School Proxys Blog; Boyz II Men; Offshore Software Development; iip; Busby SEO TEST; work at home blog (Peter also always puts his name after his comments); Market Secrets Blogger; and Make Money Online Tips. And, except for the two guys who wrote their names after their comments, and of course Sire, I chose one of the words for each person and used that as a name when I responded to them, to make sure that, when they got notification of a response, they knew it was for them.

There’s always some folks who question this thing as to whether they should be using their real name or using the name of their blogs or websites. Here’s the reality; you should use your name, or nickname, where it says name. Let me ask you this question; what’s more important to you, having people come to your blog via a link or having them see the name of your blog and hoping that they’ll come by?

Now, I actually understand where some of this comes from, and, yeah, I’m going to rant once again about hating Blogger blogs. If you comment on a Blogger blog, you pretty much only have two choices. One is that, if you have a Blogger account of some kind, you can leave your name, and a link to your blog will appear because you’ve created the account, but that’s it. Two, you can decide to leave your name and your URL, but, because it assumes you don’t have an account, you don’t get to leave an email address, and therefore you’ll never get email notification of any responses to your post, or after your comment has been posted. If you’ve chosen the second one, you might be inclined to put the name of your blog instead of your name to try to highlight your link, kind of an SEO trick that I talked about in my post on Five SEO Tips.

WordPress blogs work differently, because they’ll allow you to put in your name, your email address, and your link, which is great because you now know that you’ll have an opportunity to interact more often with a person whose blog you like. And that’s whether you have a blog on the WordPress.com site or your own hosting service. If you happen to visit a blog that uses CommentLuv, like this one, it’s even better because it’ll actually highlight posts for your blog, and if that’s the case, then there’s really no reason to put in your blog or site name because, hopefully, you’re topic will drive people to your site if it interests them, as names rarely do. And, when people respond to you, they don’t look silly or goofy referring to you with something that’s not close to a name.

So, think about it folks; how do you want people responding to your posts, by name or by the name of their blog or website? I guess it only matters if you’re interested in engaging your visitors in conversation, which I am.

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Don’t Do (Insert Here); It’ll Mess Up Your Blog

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Time for a rant of sorts. Once again today, on another blog, I came across a statement that just made the hairs on the back of my neck rise up. Okay, it was on Dennis’ blog, a comment someone wrote on one of his topics, to whit:

remember to put nofollow in them though, keywordrank might suffer otherwize.”

Spelling errors notwithstanding, I am so tired of reading things like this in general, talk about worrying about losing keyword rank, page rank, ‘link juice’, etc. I’m not tired of hearing about it because I see it everywhere; I’m tired of reading about it because none of it is true. Rather, let’s not go out on a limb and say it’s not true; it’s not legitimate enough stuff for anyone to worry about. Yes, I like that better. But I can’t make a statement like that without following it up, so let’s take a good look at it all.

First, let’s look at that particular comment above. Keyword rank is an invalid term; I think what the writer was trying to say is that if you use keyword links and don’t make the “nofollow” that those keyword links will suffer. It’s not true. No one suffers anything from using links within their content, especially if those links help validate the keyword phrases one is hoping to use in their article. As a matter of fact, links highlighting keyword phrases are strong, even if they’re not internal links.

Second, it was a misstatement because that wasn’t the topic of Dennis’ article to begin with. I’ll just say that it was related to looking at what kind of ads might be more recommended, banner ads or text link ads within content. Since Dennis didn’t mention it, I didn’t take his question to mean paid for text links; I took it to mean having affiliate programs that might work as links within the content, such as a link to hard drives if he was talking about hard drives. He might have even been talking about some of the affiliate programs such as Kontera that add links to one’s site.

On the first point, if you add your own links to your content to take someone to a product, that won’t get you into any trouble on your blog. That’s not considered a paid link, per se; I got that from Matt Cutts blog, though I can’t tell you right now which post, as he has so many. Now, if your entire article was filled with these links every step of the way, Google might not appreciate that, but even so, that won’t get you into trouble either. They do know, however, which sites might be paying for links, and if they find those, you might get into some trouble. Or you might not; Google goes looking for overt sales links. They’re not looking for everyone, and certainly not looking at every blog in the world; there’s over 90 million blogs at this juncture. What you don’t do is flaunt paid links in their faces, and of course you don’t irritate someone to the point that they turn into the “link police” and out you.

On the second point, companies like Kontera use javascript in the ads that they add onto your site, and since Google doesn’t track javascript there’s no worry there at all. Heck, you don’t even have any control over where those ads go, so how would you even try to add a nofollow attribute to it?

Moving on, this term “link juice”. How many folks remember my post on January 1st where I did my study of page rank and SEO? I’m thinking that, based on my own study, this thing about losing page rank because of too many links has been outed as invalid. As a matter of fact, SEO practices in general believe that the more related links, the better your website will perform, especially if you can figure out internal linking better. So, having 5 or 500 comments on your blog, dofollow comments at that, don’t hurt you at all.

Now, let’s talk about page rank; what, again? I talked about it when I wrote about “dofollow” blogs, and of course I’ve mentioned it often in passing on other posts. I did another little study, because, after all, I’m the researcher. I went to the all-knowing Google and put in “losing page rank”. You want to know what I found? Out of the top 300 links on Google, only 33 articles on the actual topic were written in 2008. The majority of the articles written on the subject were in 2005; isn’t that fascinating?

It says one of two things to me. One, not as many people really care as much about page rank anymore because, overall, it’s a dying topic. You know where the benefit of a high page rank is? It’s in advertisers who think that actually means something, and therefore want to pay you to place their ads on your site. It’s not in visitors; you don’t get more visitors from having a high page rank. If you get a lot of visitors you’ll have the possibility of obtaining a high page rank, but not the other way around. So, it’s more important, for a blog at least, to write good content, write posts that people want to read on topics they care about, and have a few SEO techniques such as good titles and description tags to help people know what you’re writing about.

Two, overall concern about page rank is dying, mainly because those in the know realize just what I said; page rank and visitors aren’t necessarily tied in with each other. Our friend Sire, who lost his page rank because he writes paid reviews (yes, that will lose you page rank, because it’s easy to track), certainly hasn’t lost visitors to his blog because of it. Last I saw, he had one post that had almost 80 comments, I believe. Our friend Dennis, whom I mentioned above, has a page rank of 3 on that particular blog, but one of his posts, which has received 123 comments, still doesn’t have a page rank associated with it. I’m betting Dennis isn’t crying over that page not being ranked; are you, Dennis?

Anyway, it’s time to bring this rant to a close. Here’s the thing, folks. It’s not about page rank or losing “link juice” or dofollow or nofollow. It’s about finding ways of writing content, or doing some other things that will bring people to your blogs, some of which I talked about when I gave my December statistics, or finding ways of using SEO to bring people to your websites. Worrying about dofollow, link juice, page rank or most of the other ranks means nothing. The one that means the most, at least to me, is how many visitors are you getting, and how many people are subscribed to your feed in some fashion. Everything else; you’re wasting your time worrying about a lot of nothing.

Thanks Dennis, for letting me use you like this; take it out of some of that Scratch Bank love I gave you. 🙂

Palm Tungsten(tm) E2 handheld


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SEO And Multiple Web Pages

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When I wrote my online goals for 2009 post, one of the things I had down as a goal was to come up with three more series of posts I could do for the year. I thought that I would write a series on SEO, or articles that are related to SEO in some fashion, although it’ll probably not start out as a series, but will end up being a series for the year. I also write articles for my other site, so I’ll want to balance which articles I’ll write for here, and which articles I’ll put on that site.

How to seo your website Google
SEOPlanter via Compfight

There was a question that came up on Twitter earlier today that somewhat relates to SEO and marketing, and I thought this was the perfect place to address that question. It actually came from a marketing friend of mine who didn’t understand something. She found a website that supposedly was listing the 50 Top Websites Of 2008. It’s a nice article, but they only talk about one website per page, and she wondered why they would do that. I agreed it was irritating, but I knew the answer.

The basic idea of marketing online is, obviously, to make money. With a website, the more pages you have, the more opportunities you have to make money by advertising. It’s easier to get an advertiser to pay money if you can tell them you can put their ad on 100 pages as opposed to 10 pages. And, with each page that you can add to your website, you have the opportunity to optimize that website using traditional SEO (search engine marketing) principles, which also includes deep linking principles. More pages also helps build up your prominence online.

If you notice, the top 10 webpages on all the ranking companies have tons and tons of pages, probably in the tens of millions at this juncture, and always adding more. Even our local newspaper’s online site will do a trick where they have a limit on the length of an article that they’ll allow to be on one page, and often they’ll make you go through multiple pages just to read that one article.

However, they, like some other online newspapers, also always offer you the chance to click on a link that will give you the “printer version”, which means you can get the entire story on one page. And you don’t even have to print it; you just have to find the link, which isn’t always easy.

So, even though many of us would like to see all 50 of those websites listed on one page, or maybe even 10 or 5, the truth is that it behooves the site to have only one per page, and to write content on that particular site for that page that they can optimize. It’s a good rule of thumb to remember whenever you’re creating your own websites; more is better. However, if you’re writing short articles, breaking them up over multiple pages is just going to drive people nuts. So, do it judiciously.

Now, a question you could probably ask me, knowing this, is why, whenever I write really long blog posts, I don’t break them up into multiple pages. I’m thinking that to do that with a blog would have to get really irritating. If a long post, such as the one on the psychology of gambling, were broken out on a blog, would anyone really read both pages (for that matter, how many folks actually read that article in its entirety, and I mean those of you who didn’t comment on it?) if I put it on two pages, but posted both articles at the same time?

If it were really one complete article, and I posted the first part at one time and the second part at another time, wouldn’t that irritate you also? To me, I’d rather the one long article, which also allows it to be printed if some feel that’s necessary.

Anyway, the SEO part of this is easy. Each page gets to stand on its own because each page gets optimized, but each page is also linked internally to multiple other pages in some fashion. The reality of what a lot of people like to call “link love” is that a website can attain a page rank of 5 or higher without even being linked to other websites. What they need to figure out are better ways of linking internally to themselves and finding ways of making each of those links relevant to each other.

Don’t believe me? Look at this site. Notice that it’s got a page rank of 5. Except for listing a few events on its main page, it’s not linked to any other site throughout the rest of its pages. And there are over 550 pages on this site; I know this because I did an evaluation of this site. The topic also isn’t something that’s common; this company pretty much has an exclusive on what they do.

But here’s the other thing about this site. The main page has a page rank of 5, but most of the internal pages don’t have a page rank at all. And it’s got a terrible Alexa rank. However, the main page still gets a 5, and since it’s the main page that counts, this site is a great example of what can be achieved with great internal ranking. It could be better, but that’s a tale for another time.

And there you are. I hope it’s helped to enlighten a few people, and I also hope this is the start of a fun series that I can compile later on in the year.
 

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Barack Obama – Our Time For Change Has Come

No talk about the contest today; no talk about marketing today. At 11:30, the swearing in ceremony for the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, will take place. I will be glued to the television much earlier than that, and I’ll be taping this one for posterity. Y’all just can’t imagine what I’m going to be feeling at the moment when he says “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

You know, I never had anyone tell me I could be president of the United States when I grew up. Truthfully, I never thought I’d live long enough to see this day come. The day after President Obama was elected (yeah, I’m calling him that now), I posted some videos because I just didn’t have anything more to say here. I said it all on my business blog in a post called A Change Done Come, and just didn’t have anything else much to add. I must say this; I wish my dad was here to see this, so that we could cry together.

Well, on my business blog, there will be a post just after 11AM, before the inauguration, with the subtitle U Will Know; I hope you check that out. Meanwhile, here, I want to share this really creative video, because, The Time For Change Has Come:

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