Bob Dylan may be the Charlie Chaplin of rock n' roll. Both men are regarded as geniuses by their entire audience. Both were proclaimed revolutionaries for their early work and subjected to exhaustive attack when later works were thought to be inferior. Both developed their art without so much as a nodding glance toward their peers.
One gets the impression that Elvis Presley does what his business advisors think will be most profitable. My advice to them: Put Elvis Presley in the studio with a bunch of good, contemporary rockers, lock the studio up, and tell him he can't come out until he's done made an album that rocks from beginning to end.
The Rolling Stones have been the best of all possible worlds: they have the lack of pretension and sentimentality associated with the blues, the rawness and toughness of hard rock, and the depth which always makes you feel that they are in the midst of saying something. They have never impressed me as being kitsch.
Elton John can be a master of the sleight of hand. The arrangements make it seem like there are substantial melodies underneath the tracks - but almost nothing demands repeated listenings. Similarly, he always sounds like he's singing up a storm, but his voice glosses over the material, reducing most things to an uninteresting sameness.
The early Stones were adolescent rockers. They were self-conscious in an obvious and unpretentious way. And they were committed to a musical style that needed no justification because it came so naturally to them. As they grew musically the mere repetition of old rock and blues tunes became increasingly less satisfying.