Here’s Where IU and Jung Kook Ranked in Rolling Stone’s Top 200 Greatest Singers of All Time

Jung Kook IU

Photos: Michael Regan/FIFA/Getty Images (Jung Kook) and Visual China Group/Getty Images (IU)

IU and Jung Kook are the only K-pop stars on Rolling Stone‘s Top 200 Greatest Singers of All Time list.

The list compiles the “vocalists that have shaped history and defined our lives — from smooth operators to raw shouters, from gospel to punk, from Sinatra to Selena to SZA.”

Jung Kook ranked 191, while IU ranked 135.

Jung Kook

Photo / Michael Regan/FIFA/Getty Images

Here’s how the list described Jung Kook: “Jung Kook, the multifaceted youngest member of BTS, boasts a long list of talents — he’s a strong performer, written several songs, and is known to be extremely hardworking and humble despite the success he’s experienced at such an early age. He’s also an extremely gifted singer.”

It added, “In 2022, when his track with Charlie Puth, ‘Left and Right’ became the fastest song by a Korean soloist to surpass 400 million streams on Spotify, Puth referred to him as one of the only artists ‘to have ever sent me perfect vocals.’ He hits high notes with ease and harmonizes with his members effortlessly, always giving his audience new ad-libs and unexpected vocal riffs to keep things interesting, from his official solo tracks like ‘Euphoria’ to the covers he uploads for fans on BTS’ SoundCloud.”


Photo / Visual China Group/Getty Images

Meanwhile, IU was described: “Since her 2010 breakout hit ‘Good Day’ (which garnered deserved praise for its magnificent three-note climax), IU has become one of the most highly regarded vocalists in South Korean music. Despite having a soft voice, she has a wide range, a powerful delivery, and a versatility that’s allowed her to move easily from bossa nova to Nineties chamber pop and from jazz to ballads.”

Rolling Stone also said, “In 2022, she became the first Korean female soloist to headline a concert at Seoul’s Olympic Stadium, selling out the venue in five minutes, with peers and admirers like Jung Kook of BTS, Jihyo and Jeongyeon of Twice, and TXT’s Soobin and Beomgyu there to celebrate her triumph.”

Noted absences

The list has received some criticism, especially due to the absence of notable singers such as Celine Dion, Pink, Jennifer Hudson, Janet Jackson, Tony Bennett, Madonna, and more.

Rolling Stone defends its decisions in the introduction, saying, “keep in mind that this is the Greatest Singers list, not the Greatest Voices List. Talent is impressive; genius is transcendent. Sure, many of the people here were born with massive pipes, perfect pitch, and boundless range. Others have rougher, stranger, or more delicate instruments.”

It adds, “what mattered most to us was originality, influence, the depth of an artist’s catalog, and the breadth of their musical legacy.”

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