I remember that at one time there was a thread about how many typefaces a designer really needs.
I just came across one famous list of a very few typefaces - by the noted designer Massimo Vignelli.
His list was: Garamond, Bodoni, Century Expanded, Futura, Times Roman and Helvetica.
In my opinion, that is an excellent list. These six typefaces are all very popular, and they're popular for good reason. (Even if Times Roman and Helvetica are so overused that they will draw some negativity!)
Of course, though, it's also easy to think of a second-string list of typefaces that are still also very worthwhile; for example, Centaur, Bembo, Baskerville, Caledonia, and Gill Sans. (Although, personally, I don't like Gill Sans.)
Also, I would put a humanist sans serif (e.g. Myriad) on the list and drop one of the non-Garamond serif faces to make room for it.
That's totally different to desert island types!
Bely is a current favourite, versatile for text or display.
So the idea that Vignelli represented the philosophy of “what one really needs” should be tempered with the practicality of “what was really available to one”.
Further to Chris’ and my point, here is a typical type house catalog list from 1959 (Advertisers Composition Company, Los Angeles) when Vignelli was first working in the US. The small quantity of available “machine” text faces didn’t change substantially until phototype text composition became widespread, with Compugraphic and subsequently ITC increasing the options in the late 1960s.
Therefore, if you wanted to do a certain kind of modernist graphic design, with its inherent reductive aesthetic, then you were constrained by the availability of text styles. (Handset type was more expensive, and the range of sizes limited.)
If you consider some far-from-design right owners making piles of money by promoting and romanticizing “legendary classics”, which would’ve sunk long time ago if not for their monopolized platforms, to be a good reason. Excuse me my skepticism.
I think most experienced designers settle on their favorite handful of typefaces they've learned to use to their best advantage and feel comfortable using. Massimo Vignelli had his favorites, which don't overlap with mine.