Los Lobos

I guy I knew in college once said that although “La Bamba” is a great song, it just “wasn’t right” for Los Lobos to cover it. So a white guy from the Midwest gets to tell a Mexican-American band that they shouldn’t cover a song that was made famous by a Mexican-American and that is based on a Mexican folk song. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce “straight white male entitlement.”

Los Lobos AllMusic page

LL Cool J

I know he went from bad boy to pop faster than you can say “sellout,” but I could still look at LL Cool J all day. Listen to. I mean, listen to.

LL Cool J AllMusic page

Little Richard

“Wop bop a loo bop a lop bam boom!”

Why isn’t Little Richard considered the greatest, ever? Is it the lipstick?

Little Richard AllMusic page

Little Jimmy Scott

See Fats Waller, swap in “Little Jimmy Scott” for “Fats Waller,” and swap in “little” for “fat.”

Little Jimmy Scott AllMusic page

Leonard Cohen

So apparently the rule is, if you’re a singer-songwriter born just south of the US/Canada border (say, Minnesota), you get to have a long career, huge critical acclaim, and tons of hits. If you’re born on the north side, you get the same long career and acclaim, but only a rabid cult audience (and a hit or two if you are lucky). And of all the culty Canadian singer-songwriters out there (Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, etc.), I would say that Leonard Cohen is probably the mostly rabidly culti-est.

Leonard Cohen AllMusic page

Led Zeppelin

For a group labeled “thinking man’s hard rock,” these guys spent an awful lot of time trashing hotel rooms. And for the latest cred-drop: For all the glories of “Kashmir” and “Immigrant Song,” probably my favorite Zep tune is “Fool in the Rain.”

Led Zeppelin AllMusic page

Lead Belly

I’d like to pretend I’m all badass and know a lot about Lead Belly … but mama taught me it wasn’t nice to tell lies. I do know he wrote “Goodnight Irene,” which … Irene? Did Lead Belly really hang around women named Irene? I picture a (very white) character in a 40s high-society rom-com starring Cary Grant.

Lead Belly AllMusic page