Creative types who have no equivalents

Inspired by this thread: Nobody is the Beatles but The Beatles.

Ditto Bob Dylan, Stephen King and The Simpsons.

Who else?

Duran Duran. I’ve actually heard more bands that sound like the Beatles than sound like Duran Duran. No one can get their exact mix between dance and pop, while at the same time imitating their melodic brand.

I was thinking the other day of how unique Penn and Teller are as magicians. There honestly can’t be another Penn and Teller.

J. R. R. Tolkien, for many of the same reasons there won’t be another Beatles or Elvis.

To a degree, this can be so dissected as to be meaningless. Nobody is Bob Dylan but Bob Dylan? How about Phil Ochs or Townes Van Zandt? Nobody is Stephen King but Stephen King? How about Dean Koontz? I won’t mention peers of the Simpsons for fear of violent retribution, but you know who I’m thinking of.

In one mode of thinking, every creator is unique. In another, no creator is unique. One might say Dante is a singular figure, but then one would have to contend with Boccacio. I’d say Jimi Hendrix is utterly unique–hey, there is ONLY one Jimi Hendrix–but Buddy Guy might take issue with that, and some of Eric Clapton’s fans (including Hendrix himself) might do so as well.

ETA: I might get pounded for this, but the parallels between Tolkien and C.S. Lewis have been expounded upon so many times that I have a hard time seeing Tolkien as so utterly unique. Going a little deeper, one might even put the much less successful Fritz Lieber into the same mix.

Joss Whedon.

For me, it is Barbara Stanwyck.

She never won an Oscar. Yet she portrayed innocent and demure as easily as she played the seductress vamp. She could play high drama as easily as low comedy. She went beyond film for a very successful television career. And she looked damn fine until the end, with class and sophistication.

Tom Waits

Bjork. You don’t have to love her, but there’s no one like her really.

Estradasphere and others nearby

Gilbert Gottfried. If quality isn’t a criteria.

Hey, whadda doin here, what? Rodney Dangerfield. Nobody would want to be like him! Hey!

And, while we’re covering comedy, the man who gave us the Elvis Impersonation that every single one has copied since. Andy Kaufman.

Another vote for Björk.

I vote Stephen Fry. I keep trying to think who might be the American equivalent of Fry but can never come up with anyone. An actor with comedic and dramatic chops, a very good fiction writer, a seemingly affable fellow (who admits his foibles) topped off with an eloquent writing style backed by intelligent opinions.

Captain Beefheart. Complete sui generis in everything he ever did.

I don’t think we can put J.R.R Tolkein in this company, even with his enormous talent.

The reason is his largely forgotten predecessor whose life, including his considerable academic achievements, the pathway of their studies in academe are so remarkably similar that you really could not say Tolkien was either unique or the first in his field, much more of a major contributor.’s_Fairy_Books

It is not much of a stretch at all to imagine Tolkein was influenced or inspired by Lang, I have read somewhere (but cannot cite) that Tolkein had read Lang’s work and especially some of the criticisms made at Langs frequent habit of breaking the fairy tale paradigm of having a happy ending in which good overcomes evil.

Hopefully Qadgop will pick this up and add more.

Monty Python

(Although StusBlues is, of course, right. - Or, to put it another way: Meh, what were The Beatles but vastly better version of Cliff Richard and the Shadows?)

Orson Welles

Monty Python is just a generation later version of the Goon Show.