Music Vets Pick Their Best Bostonians of All Time

Fenway Recordings founder Mark Kates and Radio BDC's Adam 12 weigh in.

We’re asking prominent locals who they think are the Best Bostonians of all time. Below, Fenway Recordings founder Mark Kates and Radio BDC’s Adam 12 share their picks. Play along by voting in our online game.

Norman Greenbaum

Norman Greenbaum, from “Spirit in the Sky” sleeve / YouTube

Adam 12
Adam 12 has DJ’d at Boston’s most legendary rock stations, including stints at WBCN and WFNX. He’s now on the air at’s online station Radio BDC.

Robert Frost: “Widely celebrated as the greatest American poet, because he is. And we get to claim him as our own. His words are the voice, the music, and the spirit of Boston. And North of Boston, for that matter.”

Norman Greenbaum: “The Pride of Malden, Massachusetts. ‘Spirit In The Sky’ opens with one of the all-time great riffs in rock ‘n’ roll history, and it still stands up almost 50 years after its release.”

Oedipus: “As a DJ and Program Director at WBCN, Oedipus was the lead architect of the Boston rock landscape for the better part of a quarter-century. He directly or indirectly turned me and legions of listeners on to some of our favorite bands. And he brought me back home to Boston from the desert, so bless his heart.”

Mr. Butch: “Look, I miss The Rat and T.C.’s Lounge and pre-gentrification Little Stevie’s just as much as any other Back Bay/Kenmore-haunting Boston scenester. But I miss Mr. Butch most of all. He was the heart and soul of the neighborhood and to see him holding court was to know that everything was right in the city.”

Sadie Dupuis: “One of the most talented and intriguing artists making music in Boston today. Her current project Speedy Ortiz sounds as if someone took all the good parts of the last 20 years of Boston rock and made a band out of them.”


Mark Kates
Mark Kates is a longtime music executive who’s worked with everyone from Mission of Burma to the Beastie Boys, and now runs Fenway Recordings, where he manages artists like the Cribs and Joywave.

John Adams: US president, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Alexander Graham Bell: Inventor.

John F. Kennedy: US senator and US president.

Bobby Orr: Bruins hockey star.

James Taylor: Singer-songwriter.


Whom would you choose? Help us pick the Best Bostonians of all time.