My first thought upon hearing that VH-1 was compiling a list of the 100 Greatest Artists of all time was: how does one even begin to compile such a list? It’s not easy to quantify exactly what makes a great artist. Is it raw talent? Is it an eye for reinvention? Is it work that revolutionizes the artist’s milieu? The thought of taking the time to compile one of these lists myself makes my head explode.

Nevertheless, on 9/6, the cable network will discuss the Top 100 artists on a series of one-hour specials to run throughout the week. In typical VH-1 fashion, there will be soundbites galore from a who’s who of media personalities and fellow musicians. I’m actually looking forward to watching the show (provided my television service is back on by that point). VH-1’s countdowns, when they stay on musical topics, are actually quite informed and entertaining.

That’s not to say that there won’t be head-scratchers. There’d be no point to compiling lists like this if there were no choices that potentially left music fans up in arms. VH-1’s website has already revealed the positions of artists #6-#100, and they’ve let us know who’s in the Top Five: The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. However, they haven’t let us know which order they’ll be in. If I was a betting man, I’d say the Beatles are #1 and Dylan is #5. The remaining three could be in any possible order.

The rest of the list (which is included after the jump) is sure to cause some lips to quiver and teeth to chatter. My personal opinions? The list is solid. However, there’s a notable lack of women in the Top 30 (Madonna and Aretha Franklin should be tops there, but they’re both too low on the list, as is Joni Mitchell). As much as I love Jay-Z, to list him as the highest ranked rapper is kind of ridiculous. And then there’s Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, who don’t belong in the Top 100 at all, and certainly don’t belong ahead of luminaries ranging from The Bee Gees, REM, NWA and Elvis Costello. Ah well, at least Britney Spears isn’t on the list.

(I’d also bounce James Brown into the Top 5 at the expense of…someone, I’m not sure who).

As I mentioned earlier, the countdown starts airing on Monday September 6th. Make sure you check out the list after the jump.

6.    Jimi Hendrix
7.    Prince
8.    Elvis Presley
9.    James Brown
10.    Stevie Wonder
11.    Bob Marley
12.    David Bowie
13.    The Who
14.    Nirvana
15.    The Beach Boys
16.    Madonna
17.    Queen
18.    Pink Floyd
19.    U2
20.    Marvin Gaye
21.    Bruce Springsteen
22.    The Clash
23.    AC/DC
24.    The Velvet Underground
25.    Chuck Berry
26.    Neil Young
27.    Aretha Franklin
28.    Elton John
29.    Radiohead
30.    Aerosmith
31.    John Lennon
32.    Black Sabbath
33.    Guns N’ Roses
34.    Tina Turner
35.    Johnny Cash
36.    Paul McCartney
37.    Fleetwood Mac
38.    Sly & The Family Stone
39.    The Kinks
40.    The Police
41.    Van Halen
42.    Metallica
43.    Ray Charles
44.    Joni Mitchell
45.    Al Green
46.    Ramones
47.    Jay-Z
48.    Rage Against the Machine
49.    Parliament-Funkadelic
50.    Sade
51.    Billy Joel
52.    Beyonce
53.    Little Richard
54.    Public Enemy
55.    Peter Gabriel
56.    KISS
57.    Iggy & the Stooges
58.    Cheap Trick
59.    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
60.    Whitney Houston
61.    Cream
62.    Genesis
63.    Notorious B.I.G.
64.    Talking Heads
65.    The Doors
66.    Justin Timberlake
67.    Coldplay
68.    Otis Redding
69.    Tupac Shakur
70.    Def Leppard
71.    R.E.M.
72.    Janis Joplin
73.    Van Morrison
74.    The Cure
75.    Rush
76.    Run-DMC
77.    Lynyrd Skynyrd
78.    Judas Priest
79.    Eminem
80.    Mary J. Blige
81.    ABBA
82.    Steely Dan
83.    Earth Wind and Fire
84.    Curtis Mayfield
85.    The Band
86.    N.W.A.
87.    George Michael
88.    Bee Gees
89.    Beastie Boys
90.    Elvis Costello
91.    Green Day
92.    LL Cool J
93.    Pearl Jam
94.    Mariah Carey
95.    OutKast
96.    Journey
97.    Pretenders
98.    Depeche Mode
99.    Hall & Oates
100.    Alicia Keys

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