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Area Resident’s Stylus Counsel | Rounding Up The Musical Royalty

Track 213 | And the crown goes to…

I stumbled upon a compendium of all the honorifics in popular music. You know — the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, the Godmother of Soul, etc.

If you ignore the nickname ones like Queen Bey (Beyonce) and The Modfather (Paul Weller), there are basically two types: Stars who have been given pseudo royalty titles, and stars who have been given family titles. I decided to try and organize them into pairs and groups: Kings with the queens, princes with the princesses and fathers with mothers and godfathers with godmothers.

There are some problems. Lots of problems, actually. Who the hell is in charge of this stuff? Are these titles bestowed for life? Is there no succession? And what’s with the vacancies? I’ve tried to fix it. Let’s dig in…



King of Rock and Roll: Elvis Presley, Alan Freed, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry
Queen of Rock and Roll: Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks, Tina Turner
Prince of Rock and Roll: vacant
Princess of Rock and Roll: Lisa Marie Presley

(Couple things to deal with here. First of all, forget the others, Elvis is the only king. My vote goes to Janis as queen. And the vacant Prince role should go to Rick Nelson, whom Kris Kristofferson called “the crown prince of rock ’n’ roll.”)

King of Jazz: Louis Armstrong, Paul Whiteman
Queen of Jazz: Ella Fitzgerald

(Louis gets my vote.)

King of Swing: Benny Goodman
Queen of Swing: vacant

(PBS did a documentary in 2006 about 95 year-old Norma Miller called The Queen of Swing, so she gets my vote.)

Photo by Alberto Cabello from Vitoria Gasteiz.

King of Folk: Bob Dylan
Queen of Folk: Joan Baez, Odetta

(Sorry, Odetta — it’s Joan.)

King of Skiffle: Lonnie Donegan
Queen of Skiffle: vacant

(You’d think this queen would be a tough one, but Nancy Whiskey — born Ann Alexander Young Wilson — was referred to by this title. She had a 1957 hit called Freight Train.)

King of Heavy Metal: vacant
Queen of Heavy Metal: Lita Ford, Lee Aaron, Doro

(I vote for Rob Halford as king because he’s commonly referred to as Metal God and we don’t have a deities category. I’m voting for Lee Aaron as queen because she has a song called Metal Queen, she’s from Belleville, and my high school band opened for her in 1991.)

King of Calypso: Harry Belafonte, Mighty Sparrow
Queen of Calypso: vacant

(Calypso Rose aka Linda McCartha Monica Sandy-Lewis has a song called Calypso Queen, so she wins.)

King of Pop: Michael Jackson
Queen of Pop: Madonna, Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga
Prince of Pop: Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake
Princess of Pop: Ariana Grande, Britney Spears

(OK, lots to sort out. Madonna is queen, Justin is prince and Britney is princess. There. Sorted.)

Photo by Constru-centro.

King of R&B: Chris Brown, R. Kelly, Usher
Queen of R&B: Alicia Keys
Prince of R&B: vacant
Princess of R&B: Aaliyah, Rihanna

(Well, it’s Usher — forget about R. Kelly. My princess vote goes to Rihanna and I nominate Chris Brown for prince because he’s sometimes called that, anyway.)

King of Motown: Smokey Robinson
Queen of Motown: Mary Wells

King of Hip-Hop: Eminem
Queen of Hip-Hop: Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill

(Lauryn only made one studio album, so I’m giving it to Missy.)

King of Rap: Jay-Z
Queen of Rap: Queen Latifah, Lil’ Kim, Nicki Minaj

(Has to be Latifah — the name says it all.)

King of Hip-Hop Soul: vacant
Queen of Hip-Hop Soul: Mary J. Blige

(No, forget it, R. Kelly. I’m giving the title to Montell Jordan, the first R&B artist signed to a hip-hop label.)

King of Neo-Soul: vacant
Queen of Neo Soul: Erykah Badu

(It’s Prince. Prince is the king.)

King of Alternative Music: vacant
Queen of Alternative Music: Lana Del Rey

(David Bowie is more the “godfather” so I’ll nominate Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.)

King of Rock ‘N’ Soul: Solomon Burke
Queen of Rock ‘N’ Soul: Tina Turner

King of Power Ballads: vacant
Queen of Power Ballads: Celine Dion

(If Celine is established, then her counterpart must be Michael Bolton.)

King of Christmas: Michael Buble
Queen of Christmas: Mariah Carey

King of Soul: Sam Cooke, Otis Redding
Queen of Soul: Aretha Franklin
Prince of Soul: Marvin Gaye
Princess of Soul: vacant
Empress of Soul: Gladys Knight

(I’ll go with Sam Cooke, because Redding’s career was so short. My vote for princess is Jennifer Hudson. Just ask her.)

King of New Age: Kitaro
Queen of New Age: Enya

King of Latin Music:vacant
Queen of Latin Music: Shakira

(I’d say Tito Puente is the king, but he’s more of a godfather next to Shakira, so I’ll go with Marc Anthony.)

King of Latin Pop: Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglasias
Queen of Latin Pop: Gloria Estefan, Thalia

(I’ll go with Ricky and Gloria.)

King of Christian Pop: vacant
Queen of Christian Pop: Amy Grant

(I know nothing about him, but Michael W. Smith has had 16 No. 1 Christian albums — one less than Amy Grant.)

King of Pop-Punk: vacant
Queen of Pop-Punk: Avril Lavigne

(No brainer: Billy Idol.)

King of Punk-Funk: Rick James
Queen of Punk-Funk: vacant

(Betty Davis is a perfect counterpart to King James.)

King of Funk: vacant
Queen of Funk: Chaka Khan

(There are so many who could fit here — Sly Stone, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, James Brown… but I’ll go with Clinton.)

King of the Blues: B.B. King
Queen of the Blues: vacant

(Koko Taylor had an album called Queen Of The Blues, but I’ll give this to Bessie Smith because she’s known as the Empress of the Blues.)

King of Disco: vacant
Queen of Disco: Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer

(I think we can handle co-queens here. No king required.)

King of Gospel: vacant
Queen of Gospel: Mahalia Jackson

(It’s James Cleveland. Not sure why the Internet doesn’t know this.)

King of Reggae: Bob Marley
Queen of Reggae: vacant

(Same story here — it’s Marcia Griffiths. Everybody knows that.)

King of Canadian R&B: vacant
Queen of Canadian R&B: Jully Black

(I’m going to suggest Daniel Caesar.)

King of the Movie Soundtrack: Kenny Loggins
Queen of the Movie Soundtrack: vacant

(It has to be Olivia Newton-John, right? Grease, Xanadu…)

King of Country: George Strait
Queen of Country: Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Kitty Wells

(It’s always Dolly.)

King of Country-Pop: vacant
Queen of Country-Pop: Shania Twain

(Garth Brooks is the right answer.)


Godfather of Rock and Roll: vacant
Godmother of Rock and Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Father of Rock and Roll: Ike Turner
Mother of Rock and Roll: vacant

(I vote for Little Richard as godfather, and Carole King as godmother.)

Godfather of Soul: James Brown
Godmother of Soul: Sharon Jones, Patti Labelle

(Jones & Daptones FTW.)

Godfather of R&B: Johnny Otis
Godmother of R&B: vacant

(I’ll give this to Patti LaBelle instead.)

Godfather of Brit-Pop: Ray Davies
Godmother of Brit-Pop: vacant

(Marion Ryan is pretty universally known as the godmother.)

Godfather of Rap: Rudy Ray Moore
Godmother of Rap: vacant

(Jamaican-born Canadian Michie Mee fits this description.)

Godfather of Hip Hop: Lil’ Mo
Godmother of Hip Hop: Sylvia Robinson

Godfather of Gansta Rap: Eazy-E
Godmother of Gangsta Rap: vacant

(I’ll go with Foxy Brown.)

Photo by Sven Mandel.

Godfather of Shock Rock: Alice Cooper
Godmother of Shock Rock: vacant

(This has to be Wendy O. Williams of The Plasmatics.)

Godfather of Punk: Iggy Pop, Joey Ramone, Lou Reed
Godmother of Punk: Joan Jett

(It’s Iggy.)

Father of Punk: vacant
Mother of Punk: Nina Hagen

(And this is David Johansen of New York Dolls.)

Grandfather of Rock ’n’ Roll: Robert Johnson
Grandmother of Rock ’n’ Roll: vacant

(I vote for Big Mama Thornton.)

Father of the Blues: vacant
Mother of the Blues: Ma Rainey

(W.C. Handy referred to himself this way, so let him have it.)

Father of Disco: Giorgia Moroder
Mother of Disco: vacant

(We let Gloria Gaynor and Donna Summer share the other disco title, so this one goes to Diana Ross.)

Godfather of Goth: Peter Murphy
Godmother of Goth: vacant

(It’s Siouxsie Sioux, right?)

Father of Country Music: Jimmie Rodgers
Mother of Country Music: vacant

(Kitty Wells, anyone?)

Godfather of Heavy Metal: Ozzy Osbourne
Godmother of Heavy Metal: vacant

(Lita Ford was in The Runaways.)

Godfather of Grunge: Neil Young
Godmother of Grunge: vacant

(Tina Bell is often referred to as the woman who invented grunge, so…)

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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.