When it comes to the conversation around Greatest of All Time, there is always going to be debate. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about basketball players (Wilt or Jordan?), Rappers (Biggie or Pac or Pun?), Guitarists (Hendrix or Hendrix?) or R&B Singers. In this case we are talking about the latter, more specifically we are going to discuss whether Dionne Warwick, in all her prolonged glory through decades and decades, is simple a legend, or the G.O.A.T.
Obviously these things are completely subjective. Do we go by Album sales (frowned upon by critics), Grammy’s (more of an industry luckbox then anything else), Billboard Hits (those aren’t even a thing anymore), or some other, more subjective and personal judgment?
I’ll try to go with a combination of all of these. For example, we have seen numerous times that a singer is judged by Grammy’s and Billboard hits. Well, if we factor this into our judgment than Dionne is certainly up there. She apparently is second only to Aretha Franklin in her billboard hits, and has more Grammy’s than you can shake a stick at.
Uh oh, we may have just stumbled on something though. She is second to Aretha Franklin. So how can she be the G.O.A.T if she is already a runner up in this category. Well, let’s not turn this into a mindless sports show babble where pundits debate endless points all day and no resolution is made. Surely this will be debatable and in-conclusive, but perhaps we can come up with a more statistical approach to solving this debate, at least for now.
For example, back to the sports analogy, we can create a type of “batting average”, or overall rating, factoring in multiple elements: commercial success, critical acclaim, span of career, number of hits, number of collaborations, etc, etc. Even less tangible things like “cultural impact”, “staying power”, etc.
So let’s thinking this one through. She’s got 12 Grammy’s (this is a mix of commercial and critical acclaim, with an edge towards commercial). She’s starred or appeared in over 20 films (cultural impact). She’s got millions of records sold (the exact number is unknown but is probably tens of millions if not over a hundred). And she continues to be a driving force to this day. Apparently she has recently released a Christmas album as well as “duets” with such current artists is Ne-yo and Billy Ray Cyrus.
Where does our opponent, Aretha, stand with all of this? She is likely right up there next to Dionne, and we could probably argue this as long as they will argue Jordan vs. Wilt or Ali vs. Tyson. There is no right answer, but it is interesting to look at the data as well as inspect your personal feeling about the subject, and see where your opinion falls.
In any case, thank you Dionne, for all the years of great music.