Rolling Stone’s ranking of “the 200 greatest singers of all time” continues to ruffle feathers two months after it was published.
Appearing on Los Angeles Magazine’s “The Originals” podcast, Chaka Khan had some choice words about many of Rolling Stone’s selections. At one point, the 10-time Grammy winner argued that the publication’s editors “need hearing aids.”
“These are blind bitches,” the “I’m Every Woman” singer, who is ranked No. 29 on the list, told host Andrew Goldman.
Khan took specific issue with Mariah Carey and Adele, who are ranked No. 5 and No. 22, respectively.
“That must be payola or some shit like that,” she said of Carey. Regarding Adele, she was perhaps even more dismissive, stating dryly: “OK, I quit.”
Still, Khan reserved her harshest critique for folk icon Joan Baez, who came in at No. 189. “Let’s be honest, the bitch cannot sing,” she said of Baez. “Now, she was a good writer.”
Released in January, the Rolling Stone ranking has generated a fair amount of controversy, mostly for whom it didn’t include. Great American Songbook icons like Nat King Cole and Judy Garland were overlooked, as were contemporary powerhouses like Cher, Pink and Céline Dion.
Just days after the list was unveiled, a group of Dion’s diehard fans staged a demonstration outside Rolling Stone’s New York offices in protest of the “My Heart Will Go On” singer’s omission. Some carried signs adorned with handwritten slogans, like “Justice for Céline” and “I drove all night to be here,” a reference to her 2003 hit “I Drove All Night.”
Perhaps anticipating such pushback, Rolling Stone noted in its introduction that its list was composed of the “greatest singers,” not the “greatest voices.”
“Talent is impressive; genius is transcendent,” the magazine’s staff noted.
Still, Khan did give Rolling Stone props for a few of its selections. Upon learning that the magazine had ranked Aretha Franklin as the No. 1 greatest singer, she declared, “As she fucking should be. Thank you, there’s justice somewhere!”
She was also pleased by the No. 2 choice, Whitney Houston, noting: “I introduced her to the business.”
But Khan also suggested that fans shouldn’t take her opinions too seriously, telling Goldman that she wasn’t aware of Rolling Stone’s list prior to their conversation.
“These people don’t quantify or validate me in any way,” she said.
Listen to Chaka Khan’s full chat on “The Originals” podcast below.