Prince and the Musical Oomph Scale

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Back when Prince died a few weeks ago, I found myself thinking of his musical legacy. For many, this would mean his songs, his style, his fashion. For me, however, it’s often a numerical thing. As a child of sports standings, I’ve long been a fan of rankings. If he’s a 73, she’s an 86, and he’s a 23, and she’s a 14. You know what I mean, right?

Anyhow, in my head I have this thing—Musical Oomph. It measures your musical and cultural impact, along with your talent and skills, into one (admittedly inexact) number. For example, The Beatles and Michael Jackson are a 10. Nelson is a 1, Tyga a 0. Tupac would probably be an 8, New Edition a 5, the Backstreet Boys a 3.

And Prince? Well … take a look (admittedly, I couldn’t include everyone):

THE JEFF PEARLMAN MUSICAL OOMPH SCALE:

10: The Beatles

10: Michael Jackson

10: Elvis Presley

9: Prince

9: Bob Dylan

9: Bruce Springsteen

9: Led Zeppelin

9: The Rolling Stones

9: Stevie Wonder

9: Aretha Franklin

9: U2

8: Pearl Jam

8: Ray Charles

8: Run DMC

8: Elton John

8: AC/DC

8: Marvin Gaye

8: The Temptations

8: Tupac Shakur

8: Madonna

8: David Bowie

8: Al Green

8: Jay-Z

8: Bob Marley

8: Public Enemy

8: Nirvana

An 8 for Public Enemy

An 8 for Public Enemy

8: Simon and Garfunkel

8: Guns n Roses

8: The Four Tops

8: Creedence Clearwater Revival

8: Billy Joel

8: Pink Floyd

8: Van Halen

8: Willie Nelson

8: Harry Belafonte

7: Whitney Houston

7: Barbra Streisand

7: Bee Gees

7: Metallica

7: The Beach Boys

7: Smokey Robinson

7: Eagles

7: The Doors

7: Roy Orbison

7: Rod Stewart

7: Elvis Costello

7: Curtis Mayfield

7: Tom Petty

7: The Kinks

7: Lauryn Hill

7: Joni Mitchell

A 7 for Lauryn Hill

A 7 for Lauryn Hill

7: Snoop Dogg

7: Heart

7: R.E.M.

7: Eminem

7: Green Day

7: Celine Dion

7. Rush

7: Janet Jackson

7: Diana Ross and the Supremes

7: Crosby Stills and Nash

7: Santana

7: Black Sabbath

7. Taylor Swift

7: Jackie Wilson

7: James Taylor

7: Afrika Bambaataa

7: Fleetwood Mac

7: Hall & Oates

7: The Police

7: Earth, Wind & Fire

7: Aerosmith

7: Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five

7: Lou Reed

7: The Ramones

7: Eric B. & Rakim

A 7 for Grandmaster Flash

A 7 for Grandmaster Flash

7: Tina Turner

7: Sam Cooke

7: LL Cool J

6: Chicago

6: Notoious B.I.G.

6: Adele

6: A Tribe Called Quest

6: Lynard Skynyrd

6: The Sugarhill Gang

6: Bon Jovi

6: Gladys Knight and the Pips

6: Mariah Carey

6: Commodores

6: John Cougar

6: Beyoncé

6: Neil Diamond

6: KISS

6: Kenny Rogers

6: The Sex Pistols

6: The Carpenters

6: Parliament and Funkadelic

6: The Drifters

6: The Yardbirds

6: Journey

6: Booker T. and the MGs

6: Blondie

6: Nas

6: Beastie Boys

6: Kelly Clarkson

6: NWA

6: Barry Manilow

6: Puff Daddy

6: Cream

6: The Go Gos

6: Rage Against The Machine

6: Red Hot Chili Peppers

6: KC and the Sunshine Band

6: The Doobie Brothers

6: Chaka Kahn

A 6 for Abba

A 6 for Abba

6: Lenny Kravitz

6: Jefferson Airplane

6: Joe Cocker

6: Abba

6: Otis Redding

5: Nine Inch Nails

5: Patti LaBelle

5: Depeche Mode

5: Wings

5: R. Kelly

5: Kanye West

5: Donna Summer

5: Motley Crue

5: OutKast

5. Lady Gaga

5: Gram Parsons

5: Meat Loaf

5: Carrie Underwood

5: Phil Collins

5: Radiohead

5: The Stooges

5: Bruno Mars

5: George Benson

5: Boogie Down Productions

5: Dire Straits

5: Buffalo Springfield

5. New Edition

5: Kool & the Gang

5: Coldplay

5: Cindy Lauper

5: We-Tang Clan

5: Red Hot Chili Peppers

5: Boyz II Men

A 5 for Coldplay

A 5 for Coldplay

5: Linda Ronstadt

5: Rihanna

5: Huey Lewis and the News

5: Maxwell

5: Kenny Loggins

5: Def Leppard

5: Big Daddy Kane

5: REO Speedwagon

5: De La Soul

5: Duran Duran

4: George Michael

5: The Eurythmics

4: Katy Perry

4: Rick James

4: Lou Rawls

4: Foreigner

4: Dionne Warwick

4: Bryan Adams

A 4 for Bryan Adams

A 4 for Bryan Adams

4: Busta Rhymes

4: Gloria Estefan

4: Eurythmics

4: Britney Spears

4: Humble Pie

4: Billy Idol

4: Digable Planets

4: Pink

4: Erykah Badu

4: Missy Elliott

4: Tim McGraw

4: Arrested Development

4. Mary J. Blige

4: Christina Aguilera

4: Slick Rick

4: TLC

4: Aaron Neville

4: Morrissey

4: Scarface

4: The Pointer Sisters

4: Pat Benatar

3: Rick Springfield

3: Train

3: Kendrick Lamar

3: James Ingram

3: Black Sheep

3: Goo Goo Dolls

3: Bette Midler

3: Bell Biv DeVoe

A 3 for DeBarge

A 3 for DeBarge

3: DeBarge

3: Wiz Khalifa

3: Christopher Cross

3: Naughty by Nature

3: Ellie Goulding

3: Stray Cats

3: Justin Bieber

3: Kid Rock

3: Air Supply

3: Ed Sheeran

3: Menudo

3: Jodeci

3: Michael Bolton

3: 50 Cent

3: Captain & Tennille

3: T.I.

3: Toni Braxton

3: New Kids on the Block

2: Sheena Easton

2: Peabo Bryson

2: Maroon 5

2: Soul Asylum

2: Nicki Minaj

2: Jody Watley

2. Backstreet Boys

2: One Direction

2: Keith Sweat

2: DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

2. The Verve

2: Dead Milkmen

2: Ashford and Simpson

Faith Hill with the 2

Faith Hill with the 2

2: Tears for Fears

2: ‘N Sync

2: Drake

2: Blind Melon

2: DMX

2: Brian McKnight

2: Faith Hill

2: Live

2: Aaliyah

2: Dru Hill

2: Meghan Trainor

2: P.M. Dawn

2: a-ha

2. Ziggy Marley

2: Shania Twain

2: Faith Evans

2: Ted Nugent

2: Survivor

2: Paul Young

2: Tony! Toni! Tone!

2: Eric Carmen

2: MC Hammer

2: Matchbox Twenty

2: The Weeknd

2: Billy Ocean

2: Wilson Phillips

2: Smash Mouth

2: Vanilla Ice

2: UB40

2: Sinead O’Connor

2: SWV

2: The Osmonds

2: Paula Abdul

2: Wreckx-n-Effect

2: K-Ci & JoJo

2: Roxette

The Osmonds land a 2

The Osmonds with the 2

1: Tesla

1: Brandy

1: Demi Lovato

1: Joe

1: Hozier

1: Digital Underground

1: Poison

1: The Fat Boys

1: Savage Garden

1: 4 Non Blondes

1: Marc Anthony

1: Skid Row

1: Macy Gray

1: Lonestar

Damn Yankees with the 1

Damn Yankees with the 1

1: Damn Yankees

1: Tag Team

1: Taylor Dayne

1: Nelson

1: Nickelback

1: Blink 182

1: Kiki Dee

1: Creed

1: 3 Doors Down

1: Musical Youth

1:J-Lo

1: Teena Marie

1: Sugar Ray

1: Extreme

1: Kid ‘N Play

1: Snow

1: Debbie Gibson

1: Spin Doctors

1: Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam

1: Ariana Grande

1: Five Seconds of Summer

1: Ricky Martin

0: H-Town

0: Tiffany

0: Wee Papa Girl Rappers

0: O-Town

0: 98 Degrees

0: Aaron Carter

0: Eddie Murphy

0: Charlie Puth

0: Tyga

Tyga holds up the rear

Tyga holds up the rear

7 thoughts on “Prince and the Musical Oomph Scale”

  1. Who? Animals? Sonny & Cher? Cher? Jimi Hendrix? Joni Mitchell? The Monkees?…. I could write for hours and hours and hours………..SOCIAL IMPACT?

  2. Jethro Tull, Alice Cooper, Steppenwolf, Badfinger, Bread, Styx, Allman Brothers, Traffic,John Denver, Johnny Cash………….

  3. Seriously?
    I know you couldn’t include everyone but no Eric Clapton? Cream doesn’t count. Neil Young?
    Mark Knopfler? BB King? You got Debi Gibson but no JANIS JOPLIN!!! Jimi? Jan and Dean? ELO? Johnny Cash? Les Paul? Chet Atkins? Allman Brothers Band? Traffic? Mamma’s and the Pappa’s?
    Look, there are tons of great acts. You can’t mention them all like JJ Cale, John Mayhall, etc. Where you really screwed up is when you mention a bunch of looser acts while leaving the great ones behind.

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