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Wednesday, 15 December, 1999, 13:49 GMT
America's 20th century greats

Duke Ellington, Geroge Gershwin, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Kurt Cobain Greats: Ellington, Gershwin, Simon, Dylan, Springsteen and Cobain


Composers George Gershwin and Irving Berlin rub shoulders with the likes of rock legends Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain in a list of the top 100 American musical works of the 20th century.

The list has been compiled by the country's National Public Radio network from the votes of 14,000 listeners and a panel of musicians including soul legend Isaac Hayes and jazz star Wynton Marsalis.


Blue Suede Shoes singer Carl Perkins Rock 'n' roll pioneer Carl Perkins features on the list
There's no winner because the list is alphabetical, but Gershwin is represented three times with I Got Rhythm, Rhapsody In Blue and Porgy And Bess.

Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, Richard Rogers, Oscar Hammerstein, Otis Reading and Irving Berlin, as well as Gershwin's brother, Ira, get two mentions each.

The list includes albums, individual songs, theatre and film scores and even specific performances.

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Kurt Cobain and his band Nirvana is the only work included from the Nineties, while The Ramones' I Wanna Be Sedated is hailed as the best punk rock anthem.

The only rap song to make NPR's list was 1979's Rapper's Delight, by the Sugar Hill Gang.


Pop superstar Michael Jackson Absentee: Michael Jackson fails to get a mention
The NPR list spans a wide variety of genres from rock'n'roll to country, and classical to R& B.

However, on closer inspection it's as notable for its high-profile absentees as anything else.

The band with the biggest-selling album of the century, The Eagles, is missing along with The Doors, REM, The Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Michael Jackson, The Fugees and Whitney Houston.

Rock 'n' roll favourites include Great Balls Of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly's Peggy Sue and Carl Perkins' Blue Suede Shoes.

Cowboy classic Back In The Saddle Again, performed by Gene Autry is also there, along with Tammy Wynette's Stand By Your Man and Hank Williams' I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry.


Vietnam war epic Platoon Barber's Adagio for Strings features in Platoon
Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, which featured in the 1986 Vietnam epic Platoon, is among the classic entries, along with Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring.

Vintage musicals in the list include West Side Story, Fiddler On The Roof, Guys and Dolls and Oklahoma!

Duke Ellington's Mood Indigo, Jelly Roll Morton's King Porter Stomp and Dave Brubeck's Take Five are among the featured jazz standards.

The 70s and 80s get a few mentions too, with Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run, Paul Simon's Graceland album and Once In A Lifetime by Talking Heads.

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See also:
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