We recently ran across this list of the "Top Ten All-Time Arizona Musicians" from Arizona Premiere Living. Some of the choices are obvious: Meat Puppets, Jimmy Eat World, Jordin Sparks, Gin Blossoms, Alice Cooper, and Linda Ronstadt almost always make the "top" lists of Arizona musicians. We were also pleasantly surprised to see legendary guitarist Duane Eddy on the list.
Mr. Mister: Better than Meat Puppets?
But some of Arizona Premiere Living's choices (and more so, their omissions) baffle us. For example, Mr. Mister is #7 on the list. I've got nothing against the '80s popsters (keyboardist Steve George's mother was my music teacher at Sunnyslope Elementary School), but they only had two hits ("Kyrie" and "Broken Wings") and then disappeared into the ether. So why did they make the list (even ranked above Bill Spooner of The Tubes, Jimmy Eat World, and Meat Puppets)?
Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington is also on the list, at #6. An argument could certainly be made for his presence there, as Linkin Park's sold more than 50 million records worldwide. But there are so many amazing musicians with deep ties to Arizona that were criminally overlooked here, and any one of them could have been on the list in Bennington's place.
For example, Stevie Nicks is not on this list. Now, we love Detroit-born Alice Cooper for making Phoenix his home, but Stevie Nicks was actually born here. And she's more than qualified. Nicks has written more hits (both solo and for Fleetwood Mac) than the members of Mr. Mister can count on all their fingers and toes. Why are they #7 All-Time and Nicks is list-less?
Stevie Nicks: Not one of Arizona's greatest?
And with the exception of Duane Eddy and his twangy guitar sound, the list completely skips the greatest country musicians from Arizona, who include Waylon Jennings, Dierks Bentley, Glen Campbell, and Buck Owens.
And for Pete Best's sake, why isn't "fifth Beatle" Billy Preston on this list? Granted, he only lived in Scottsdale from 2003 until he died in 2006, but if we can claim Cooper because he moved here in the '60s, we should be able to hail Preston as one of our own, too.
Also absent from the list:
Judas Priest singer Rob Halford
Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave)
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Maybe the folks at Arizona Premiere Living were embarrassed at the thought of publishing a picture of Wayne Newton next to Chester Bennington, but they should have dug deeper for this list. This one reads like "Arizona's Most Obvious," with some 80s yuppie nostalgia (Mr. Mister, Ronstadt) thrown in.