The Ethel-or-Fozzie Rule, applied to the top 100 bands of 1990s.

I have a rule that states that in rock music, there are Ethel Merman singers or Fozzie Bear singers. This rule applies only to singers with careers that begin after April 1970, the month the Beatles broke up. I call it The Ethel-or-Fozzie Rule.

In this rule, I attempt to demonstrate divide in singers among showtune histrionics (Ethel) and holier-than-thou groans (Fozzie). To skeptics, I refer to the episode of The Muppet Show, in which Merman sings a medley with the Muppet troupe, among them Fozzie.

The first Ethel Merman Band, formed in April 1970, is Queen.

What follows is a list of the top bands/artists of the 1990s, according to this random site, along with my E-or-F ruling.  If anyone would like to appeal a specific ruling, I invite your feedback in the comments section. I will issue my ruling on the top 200 bands/artists of the 1980s soon.

1. Nirvana
Ethel

2. Pearl Jam
Ethel

3. Radiohead
Fozzie

4. 2Pac
Fozzie

5. Red Hot Chili Peppers
Fozzie

6. Beck
Fozzie

7. The Smashing Pumpkins
Ethel

8. Beastie Boys
Ethel (Ad Rock, Mike D), Fozzie (MCA)

9. R.E.M.
Fozzie (IRS), Ethel (Warner Bros)

10. Dr. Dre
Fozzie

11. Mariah Carey
Ethel

12. Alice In Chains
Ethel

13. Green Day
Ethel

14. Soundgarden
Fozzie

15. Nine Inch Nails
Ethel

16. Rage Against The Machine
Fozzie

17. U2
Ethel

18. Metallica
Fozzie

19. A Tribe Called Quest
Ethel (Phife Dawg), Fozzie (Q-Tip)

20. Jeff Buckley
Ethel

21. Tool
Fozzie

22. The Notorious B.I.G.
Fozzie

23. Pavement
Ethel

24. Public Enemy
Fozzie (Chuck D), Ethel (Flava Flav)

25. Faith No More
Ethel (Mike Patton)

26. Bjork
Ethel

27. Korn
Ethel

28. PJ Harvey
Fozzie

29. Tori Amos
Ethel

30. Phish
Fozzie

31. Sonic Youth
Fozzie

32. Weezer
Ethel

33. Guns N’ Roses
Ethel

34. Queensryche
Ethel

35. Oasis
Fozzie

36. Dave Matthews Band
Fozzie

37. Primus
Fozzie

38. Blur
Fozzie

39. Jane’s Addiction
Ethel

40. Neil Young
NA

41. Snoop Dogg
Fozzie

42. Stone Temple Pilots
Ethel

43. My Bloody Valentine
Fozzie

44. Pantera
Ethel

45. Sublime
Fozzie

46. Dream Theater
Ethel

47. Marilyn Manson
Ethel

48. The Offspring
Fozzie

49. Seal
Fozzie

50. TLC
Fozzie

51. Liz Phair
Ethel

52. The Fugees
Fozzie

53. Madonna
Ethel

54. Manic Street Preachers
Fozzie

55. Bush
Ethel

56. Mary J. Blige
Ethel

57. Jay Z
Fozzie

58. OutKast
Ethel

59. Nas
Fozzie

60. Eric Clapton
NA

61. Coolio
Fozzie

62. The Verve
Ethel

63. Foo Fighters
Ethel

64. Sepultura
Fozzie

65. Prince
Ethel

66. Silverchair
Fozzie

67. The Flaming Lips
Fozzie

68. The Black Crowes
Ethel

69. Jamiroquai
Fozzie

70. 311
Fozzie

71. The Pixies
Ethel

72. Alanis Morissette
Ethel

73. Sinead O’Conner
Fozzie

74. Missy Elliot
Fozzie

75. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Fozzie

76. Lauryn Hill
Ethel

77. Hole
Fozzie

78. Lenny Kravitz
Ethel

79. Megadeth
Fozzie

80. The Roots
Fozzie

81. Temple Of The Dog
Fozzie

82. Garbage
Ethel

83. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Fozzie

84. Mr. Bungle
Ethel

85. Slayer
Fozzie

86. The Dandy Warhols
Ethel

87. Sheryl Crow
Ethel

88. Busta Rhymes
Fozzie

89. Blind Melon
Ethel

90. Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
Fozzie

91. Creed
Ethel

92. Arrested Development
Fozzie

93. Screaming Trees
Ethel

94. Wilco
Fozzie

95. Fugazi
Ethel

96. Hootie & The Blowfish
Fozzie

97. Matchbox Twenty
Ethel

98. Blues Traveler
Fozzie

99. Ministry
Fozzie

100. Barenaked Ladies
Ethel

4 Comments

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4 responses to “The Ethel-or-Fozzie Rule, applied to the top 100 bands of 1990s.

  1. Rob O'Neil

    you, friend, have too much free time. Maisie oughta put you to work…..
    I am seeing a bias – chics (with the exception of P.J. Harvey) seem to get the Ethel. and pixies being Ethel – yes and no. there’s plenty of songs were mr francis (or mr black) seems to be destroying his vocal cords quite nicely.

    I’m excited about the 80’s…

  2. Erich Hertz

    I think almost all of what you categorize here has a certain sound logic to it. I note that the list is about the top *songs* of the 90s; hence the strange appearance of super-side project Temple of the Dog? perhaps this also accounts for some seeming discrepancies: some bands are one or the other depending on the song? [and, honestly, it strikes me that only Brits include The Manic Street Preachers in any lists.]

    Despite broadly agreeing with you here, the following are clearly Ethels: Soundgarden, Tool, and Seal. And, finally, isn’t Pavement the biggest Fozzie on the list!?!?

  3. Seeing my name so many times in one post is alarming :-)