I don't want to derail this thread, but I don't think there's any argument at all to put Charles, Brown, Crosby or Armstrong (or indeed Sinatra) in the same conversation as Dylan or the Beatles.
The Beatles were together for less than a decade.
It was a hell of a less than a decade. It was still less than a decade.
I have no problem accepting The Beatles as GOAT types, because I do believe they were just that good, but....
BIG made 2 albums in his career. Two.
...if you're treating longevity as an issue, surely the fact The Beatles really only had a six-year run as a GOAT-level band must open up room for longer-running acts with strong outputs to at least contend.
In fact, that's exactly what Dylan did. Dylan never had a concentrated run as strong as The Beatles' '64-'69. He reached those peaks at times, but outside of the one-two-three punch of Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde, no Beatles-level runs for him. I guess you could give him a '63-'69 peak, a '74-'76 comeback peak, and a few late-career albums like Love and Theft and Modern Times that hold up to some of his better (though not his best) works.
Are those unmatchable in music history? Hell, forget comparing them to acts from other eras and genres. Are those unmatchable even just within the realm of 60's pop and rock?
The Rolling Stones had a '64-'72 Dylan-level run that hit Beatles-level peaks in '68-'72. Outside of Some Girls, they never did anything after that on that level, but I don't think their record looks out of place next to Beatles/Dylan.
Led Zeppelin had a Beatles-level peak from '69-'75. It's tempered by the fact that they released nothing in '72 or '74, but even excising those years, it's a run that doesn't look out of place next to Beatles/Dylan.
Neil Young had a '69-'75 Dylan-level run, hitting short Beatles-level peaks on the front and back end of that, and had some really strong post-peak stuff like Rust Never Sleeps/Live Rust and Ragged Glory. Not out of place with Beatles/Dylan.
That's three more acts on that level, and I didn't even look outside of pop/rockers who hit their stride in the 60's. They're not even controversial picks. I really wanted to make a case for The Kinks. I think they peaked really high, but it was too short, and their pre- and post-peak stuff was too scattershot for me to do it. But the Stones, Zep, and Young all feel like pretty safe GOAT-level picks that most wouldn't really argue. And yeah, you could argue that the Beatles and Dylan are still better. That's fair. I'd certainly agree the Beatles are the cream of that crop. Dylan I'm less sure about. I'd probably have him below the Stones but above Zep and Neil. I could see the argument for him as #2 on the depth chart, though. Point is, even if you have Beatles/Dylan ahead of Stones/Zep/Young, I don't buy that they're so far ahead that Stones/Zep/Young shouldn't even be considered GOATCs. And again, that's just pop and rock acts of the 60's. Imagine what we find if we actually open our minds a little and start looking at different genres and eras.