These are the greatest vocal performances of all time, by the best singers ever, in one fan's opinion.
And, for whatever it's worth, here are my top ten vocalists of all time: Elvis
Presley, Janis Joplin, Sam Cooke, Freddie Mercury, Etta James, George Michael,
Steve Perry, Prince, Roy Orbison, Barbara Streisand. Best Operatic Vocalists:
Montserrat Caballé, Maria Callas, Anna Netrebko, Enrico Caruso, Andrea Bocelli, Luciano
Pavarotti. High Honorable Mentions: Aretha Franklin, Robert Plant, Al Green, Axl
Rose, Mahalia Jackson, Annie Lennox, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Enya, Christina Aguilera. Dark
Horses: Jonathan Antoine, Eric Carmen, Tom Jones, Eric Burdon, Robin Gibb, Helmut Lotti, Bobby
Hatfield, Gary Barlow, Harry Styles, Julia Ivanova, Ronnie Hawkins.
Ronnie Hawkins of the Hawks merits special mention as a "dark horse" for his
amazing performances of "Hey Bo Diddley" and other undervalued songs. Hawkins had a pure, high tenor voice and could hit some amazing
notes that make me think of Michael Jackson, only with more power. And I wonder
if MJ may have seen Hawkins perform, because Hawkins was doing a very cool
moonwalk in the 1960s (except that Hawkins called it the
"camel walk"). Hawkins also threw in some ultra-high wordless yips that
could have impressed and influenced MJ (admittedly pure
speculation on my part). Songs that allowed Hawkins to show off his vocal chops
and range include "Summertime,"
"Mary Lou," "Susie Q" (written by his cousin Dale Hawkins),
the eerie "Hey Boba Lou," "Baby Jean," "Who Do You Love," "Need Your Lovin'," "40 Days,"
"Early Morning Rain," "John
Henry" and the ancient folk classic "I Gave My Love a Cherry"
(the best vocal performance of the song that I have heard to date). As good as
Hawkins was as a charismatic early rockabilly headliner, he may have been a
better folk singer. Hawkins was an
Arkansas country boy who fronted a black band called the Black Hawks, back in the days
when such things just weren't done in the South. When the time came for Hawkins
to put together a new band, he discovered a 15-year-old Levon Helm in Turkey
Scratch, Arkansas. The Hawks had to wait for him to graduate from high school
and learn to play the drums before they could tour! The group moved to Canada in 1958, where Hawkins robbed
the cradle again, recruiting 16-year-old guitarist Robbie Robertson. In 1961 the
Hawks added three more Canadian musicians: Rich Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth
Hudson. The whole passel later went on to back Bob Dylan,
becoming rich and famous as The Band. But when they played with Hawkins, whose nicknames include
Mr. Dynamo, Rompin' Ronnie and The Hawk, he was the unquestioned star of the
The Top Ten Vocal Performances of All Time, with a Few Ties (This is necessarily a subjective list; if you disagree please feel free to
create your own!)
The Three Tenors (Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti) singing
"Nessun Dorma" Please don't say you "don't like opera" until you listen to this
"Nessun Dorma" by The Three Tenors, Franco Corelli, Giuseppe Di
Stefano, Mario Lanza, Andrea Bocelli, Aretha Franklin,
"Trouble of the World" by Mahalia Jackson,
"At Last" by Etta James, "Spanish Harlem" by Aretha Franklin and "I Have
Nothing" by Whitney Houston
(8) "Blue Moon," "Fever" and "That's Alright Mama" as performed by Elvis Presley (the early Sun/RCA
recordings) in a pure, sweet, crystal-clear high tenor
(7) "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as performed first by Art Garfunkel and later by Elvis Presley in
"Heartbreaker," "Piece of My Heart," "Down on Me," "Cry
Baby," "Summertime" and "Try" as performed by Janis Joplin
"Love Reign O'er Me" as performed by Roger Daltrey of the Who and
“Stairway to Heaven” as performed by Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin (tie)
Change Is Gonna Come" as performed by Sam Cooke
"Who Wants to Live Forever," "The Show Must Go On" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" as performed by
Freddie Mercury of Queen
"Unchained Melody" as performed by Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous
Brothers and "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" as performed by Enya (tie)
(1) "Without You" as performed by Harry Nilsson in his otherworldly
cover of a Badfinger song (Nilsson now "owns" the song)
At the 1968 press conference where the just-formed Apple record label was
announced, John Lennon called Harry Nilsson his favorite American artist, while
Paul McCartney named Nilsson his favorite American "group." McCartney called
"Without You" the "killer song of all time." Performances of the songs above appear on this page.
My current favorite "dark horse" is a flame-haired Russian singer, Julia
Ivanova, who now lives in Ukraine. Is this the best cover of a Queen song by
anyone not named Adam Lambert? You can help the video go viral
by liking and sharing it.
Another "dark horse" favorite of mine is Helmut Lotti. His cover of "Surrender" on YouTube is one of the very best male vocals ever, in my
opinion. While Lotti always sings well, he isn't 100% convincing as a bad-boy rocker. But with the right song in hand, he can be absolutely breathtaking. I
recommend his YouTube versions of "Danny Boy," "Auld Lang Syne" (the best version I've heard to date), "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," "Ave Maria,"
"A Whiter Shade of Pale," "Nights in White Satin" and "O Sole Mio."
And while I have never been a fan of boy bands, including the early Beatles, I
did discover another "dark horse" in Gary Barlow, the former lead signer and
songwriter for Take That. But the band seemed more like backup singers to
Barlow, really, with one caveat explained below. Barlow's vocals on songs like
"Back for Good," "Lie to Me," "Rule the World," "Patience," "Said It All,"
"Greatest Day," "Shine," "Since I Saw You Last," "Let Me Go," "Forever Love,"
"How Deep Is Your Love," "Million Reasons," "Face to Face" (with Elton John),
and "Pray" are remarkable. He has been described as a "baritenor" able to go
high or low with equal ease. In addition to being a great singer, Barlow has
written 14 number one songs, receiving six Ivor Novello Awards for songwriting,
and has sold more than 50 million records worldwide. And the Queen of England
asked him to organize her 86th birthday party and Diamond Jubilee Concert, so
perhaps he's too well known to be a dark horse.
But if Barlow doesn't qualify as a dark horse, his former band mate Robbie
Williams might. After all, Williams' vocals on "Angels," "Feel," "Millennium,"
"Supreme," "Let Me Entertain You," "Could It Be Magic," "Better Man," "She's The
One," "Eternity," "Something Stupid" (with Nicole Kidman) and "Come Undone" are
outrageously good. But then Williams has sold 75 million records, so he may not
Another boy band dark horse is Harry Styles, a former member of One Direction
whose song "Sign of the Times" is hard to fault, along with "Story of My Life,"
"What Makes You Beautiful," "Perfect," (with or potentially about Taylor Swift),
"Drag Me Down," "Girl Crush," "Torn" "All You Need Is Love" and "Isn't She
Oh crap, I may have to rethink my detestation of boy bands!
NOTE: From this point forward, I have moved opera and "operatic"
vocalists to a special opera section. To find it quickly, just search for "Hate
opera?" or "Jenny Lind."
Best Vocals Honorable Mention: "Kissing a Fool" and "One
More Try" by George Michael, "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead
O'Connor, "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley and K. D. Lang, "Love Hurts" by
Dan McCafferty of Nazareth, "What'd I Say" by Ray Charles, "Private
Dancer" by Tina Turner, "Superstition" by Stevie
Wonder, "He Stopped Loving Her Today" by George Jones, "Mercy Mercy Me" and
"What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye, "Summertime" and "Cry Me a River" by Ella
Fitzgerald, "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele, "Mad
World" by Adam Lambert, "Winds of March" and "Send Her My Love" by Steve Perry of
Journey, "The Thrill is Gone" by B. B. King, "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" by Elton John,
"God Only Knows" by Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys, "One" by Bono of U2,
"Damn You" and "When Doves Cry" by Prince, "Born to Run" and "Thunder
Road" by Bruce Springsteen, "Go Rest High on That Mountain"
by Vince Gill,
"I'll Be There" and "Man in the Mirror"
by Michael Jackson, "Stan" by Eminem and Dido, "Walking on Broken Glass" by
Annie Lennox, "Wild Horses" and "Angie" by Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones,
"Wish You Were Here" by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, "My Immortal" by
"Yesterday" by Paul McCartney of the Beatles, "Imagine" by John Lennon, "I Wanna Know What Love Is" by Lou Gramm of Foreigner, "When
I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars, "Rag Doll" by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, "Crazy"
by Patsy Cline, "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaac, "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan, "Oh
Very Young" and "Where Do the Children Play" by Cat Stevens, "Tears of a Clown"
by Smokey Robinson of the Miracles
"Smokey Robinson was like God in our eyes."―Paul McCartney
Best Vocals Honorable Mention (continued): "Roxanne" by Sting of the Police, "Angel Flying
too Close to the Ground" by Willie Nelson, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Lovesick Blues" by Hank
Williams Sr., "The Needle and the Damage Done" and "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young,
"Everybody Hurts" by Michael Stipe
of REM, "A Pirate Looks at Forty" by Jimmy Buffet, "Shameless" by Garth Brooks,
"Lightning Crashes" by Ed Kowalczyk of Live, "Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco,
"Royals" by Lorde, "Wake Me Up" by Avicii, "Landslide" by Stevie Nicks
of Fleetwood Mac, "Up Where We Belong"
by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, "When a Man Loves a
Woman" by Percy Sledge, "In Your Eyes" and "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel, "I'm Not in Love" by 10cc, "Gloria" by Laura Brannigan, "These Eyes" by
Burton Cummings of the Guess Who, "Danny Boy" and "Scarborough Fair" by Hayley Westenra
of Celtic Women, "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" by Donovan, "On My Own"
by Michael McDonald and Patti LaBelle, "True Colors" by
Cyndi Lauper, "Cry Me a River" by Justin Timberlake, "Whiter Shade of
Pale" by Gary Brooker of Procol Harum, "I Walk the Line" and "Ring of Fire" by
"I Walk the Line" and "Ring of Fire" present quite a paradox. In the first song,
Johnny Cash pledged to always be true to his wife, Vivian Liberto. The second
hit song was written by his mistress, June Carter!
When Freddie Mercury suggested that Smile change its name to Queen in 1970, that
was a wildly radical thing to do! After all, Britain's Parliament had only
recently decriminalized homosexual sex. Lou Reed's "Take a Walk on the Wild
Side" was still two years away. And it would also be two years before the song's
producer, David Bowie, came out publicly. At the time "polite society" still
considered homosexuality to be an aberration. So of course Mercury understood
the implications of the name change. When asked about it, Mercury explained: "I
thought up the name Queen. It's just a name, but it's very regal obviously, and
it sounds splendid. It's a strong name, very universal and immediate. It had a
lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. I was
certainly aware of gay connotations, but that was just one facet of it."
The Best Vocal Performances by Freddie Mercury of Queen:
"Bohemian Rhapsody," "Who Wants to Live Forever," "The Show Must Go On," "Killer
Queen," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "Somebody to Love," "Another One Bites
the Dust," "We Are the Champions," "Radio Ga Ga," "Bicycle Race"
Freddie Mercury of Queen singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" A unique song delivered by a one-of-a-kind singer.
Top Ten Male Vocalists: Freddie Mercury, Elvis Presley, Robert
Plant, Al Green, Steve Perry, Little Richard, Prince, Axl Rose, Roy Orbison, Sam
Cooke Honorable Mention: Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Art Garfunkel, George Michael, Frank
Sinatra, James Brown, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson,
Bruno Mars, Jim Morrison, Bono, Frankie Valli, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Johnny Cash,
Vince Gill, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Jones, Tony Bennett, Sting
Top Ten Female Vocalists: Janis Joplin, Etta
James, Aretha Franklin, Barbara Streisand, Mahalia Jackson, K.D. Lang, Enya, Annie Lennox,
Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey/Celine Dion (tie) Honorable Mention: Billie Holliday, Patsy Cline, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald,
Tina Turner, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Leona Lewis, Alison Krauss, Dido, Adele, Stevie Nicks,
Madonna, Diana Ross, Linda Ronstadt, Pink, Cher, Karen Carpenter, Beyoncé, Lady
Gaga, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Ross, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift,
Rihanna, Janet Jackson
Who were the greatest male and female vocalists of all time? My personal votes go to Elvis
Presley and Janis Joplin. To understand why Elvis was such a great vocalist, go
back to his uncanny, almost eerie falsetto of "Blue Moon." How many male singers
can sing like that? Then check out his tender, sweet tenor
on "Crying in the Chapel." But also check out the ultra-low bass G he
hits on "He'll Have to Go." Next, listen to the incredibly powerful high notes
he hits on "How Great Thou Art" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Then listen
to his undervalued masterpieces "What Now My Love" and "It's Now or Never." The
latter is wonderfully sweet ... until the power of Elvis's voice kicks in and
takes the song to another dimension. Now listen to him growl out "One Night."
Finish by listening to his enchanting country-flavored "That's Alright (Mama)"
and gospel songs like "Peace in the Valley." Try as I may, I can't think of
another male singer who can go from nearly infinite sweetness, to ferocity, to
spirituality, to tremendous power the way Elvis could, and did. Granted,
at times he could seem like a cheesy lounge act, but
with the right song he was untouchable. And he sang many great songs, both
originals and covers. As for Janis Joplin, she didn't have Elvis's range, but
she was so incredibly good at what she did that it doesn't matter. Singers would
do better to take on Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey, than to challenge Janis
on songs she now owns forever, like "Heartbreaker" and "Piece of My Heart."
If anyone is going to challenge Janis Joplin, it may be her exact opposite,
Jackie Evancho. While it may be too early to tell, at age ten Jackie Evancho was
doing versions of "Ave Maria" and "Pie Jesu" for the ages. If she gets any
better, the angelic choirs may have human competition. Here is a link to my
discussion of The Best
Singers of All Time.
When Axl Rose was nominated as the greatest singer of all time, due to his
five-octave range, he replied: "If I had to say who I thought the best singers
were, I’d say first that I don’t know there’s a definitive answer as in my
opinion it’s subjective, and second that my focus is primarily rock singers.
That said, I enjoy Freddie Mercury, Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Dan
McCafferty, Janice Joplin, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Roger Daltrey, Don
Henley, Jeff Lynne, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Scott, Etta James, Fiona
Apple, Chrissie Hynde, Stevie Wonder, James Brown and a ton of others
(predominantly 70’s rock singers) and would rather hear ANY of them anytime
rather than me! Peace! Axl"
The Best Vocal Performances in Rock History according to a Rolling Stone
reader poll: (#1) “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen with Freddie Mercury on lead
vocals and notable falsetto assists from drummer Roger Taylor. (#2) “The Great Gig in the
Sky” by Pink Floyd, sung wordlessly by guest vocalist Clare Torry. (#3) “Twist and Shout”
by the Beatles with throat-shredding lead vocals by John Lennon. (#4) “Love Reign O’er Me” by the
Who with lead vocals by Roger Daltrey. (#5) “River Deep, Mountain High” by Tina
Turner. (#6) “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin with lead vocals by Robert
Plant. (#7) “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones, sung by Mick Jagger with a
huge assist from backup singer Merry Clayton. (#8) “Child in Time” by Deep
Purple, sung by Ian Gillian. (#9) “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” by Nirvana as
sung acoustically by Kurt Cobain during their 1993 “MTV Unplugged” concert. This is an old folk song also called “In the Pines” that dates back to
at least the 1870s. Cobain credited the song to folk singer Lead Belly, who
recorded several versions in the 1940s, including the arrangement used by
Nirvana. (#10) “With a Little Help from My Friends” by Joe Cocker. The song was
originally recorded by the Beatles.
I have to quibble with the list above, in certain regards. I won't argue with
Tina Turner, a great singer performing a great song, or with Joe Cocker outdoing
the Beatles and bringing the house down. Nor would I ever object to Robert Plant
singing "Stairway to Heaven" in anyone's top ten. But Clare Tory's wordless
vocals, while intriguing and impressively delivered, may be more of a novelty
than actual singing. Perhaps the Beatles and Stones have to be included, and the
choices are certainly worthy, but then where is the King? And in my opinion it's a
unforgivable sin not to include Bobby Hatfield singing "Unchained Melody" and Harry
Nilsson singing "Without You." I would replace the Deep Purple and Nirvana songs
with those two. My revised version of the Rolling Stone list is:
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Twist and Shout,” “Love Reign O’er Me,”
“River Deep, Mountain High,” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Unchained
Melody,” “Without You” and “With a Little Help from My Friends.” But it seems
like sacrilege to have Joe Cocker and not Janis Joplin or Aretha Franklin. So I
am declaring a three-way tie for the final spot and including "Piece of My Heart"
and "Spanish Harlem." But then why not make it a top twenty-five
and add "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel, "A Change is Gonna
Come" by Sam Cooke, "Beat It" by Michael Jackson, "When
Doves Cry" by
Prince, "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" by Elton John, "Whiter Shade
of Pale" by Procol Harum, "Sunshine of Your Love" by Cream, "Layla" by Derek and
the Dominoes with Eric Clapton, "Love Hurts" by Nazareth, "Born to Run" by Bruce
Springsteen and the E Street Band, "One" by U2, "What'd I Say" by Ray Charles,
and "Tutti Frutti" by the performer who showed the Beatles and everyone else how
to really rock'n'roll, Little
Bobby Hatfield of The Righteous Brothers singing "Unchained Melody" Is this the greatest pop/rock vocal performance of all time?
Electric Voices: Roy Orbison piercing the heights on "In
Dreams," "Leah" and "Crying," K. D. Lang matching Orbison note for note on
"Crying," Prince waxing erotic on "Cream" and "Kiss," Jackie Wilson singing
"Lonely Teardrops" and "Higher and Higher," Celine Dion hitting all the
ultra-high notes with tremendous accuracy and power on "All
By Myself," "I Drove All Night," and "I
Surrender," Bono of U2 wailing "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and "Sunday Bloody
Sunday," Tina Turner belting out "River Deep Mountain High" and "We Don't Need
Another Hero," Lou Christie singing "Lightnin' Strikes" and "Two Faces Have I,"
Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons engaging his power-packed falsetto on "Walk
Like a Man" and "Sherry," Steve Perry singing "Oh Sherrie" and "Foolish Heart,"
Freddie Mercury of Queen singing "Who Wants to Live Forever" and "The Show Must
Go On," Adam Lambert singing the same songs with Queen, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin singing "Immigrant Song"
and "Black Dog," Steven Tyler of Aerosmith singing "Dream On," Axl Rose of Guns
N' Roses singing "Sweet Child o' Mine" and "Welcome to the Jungle," Adele
singing "Skyfall," Michael Jackson singing "Smooth Criminal" and "Billie Jean,"
Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees singing "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever," Robin Gibb
of the Bee Gees singing "I Started a Joke" and "Massachusetts,"
Enya singing anything ...
Enya singing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" It's hard to imagine angels singing any better in heaven ...
Who was the greatest singer of all time? Jenny Lind was the first superstar
"diva" and she may have been the greatest singer of all time, by public
acclaim. Lind was an opera singer known as the "Swedish Nightingale." She
retired at the height of her success, at age 29, for unknown reasons. Such was
her reputation that Queen Victoria and the royal family attended her last
performance. When Lind toured the United States in 1850, a century before the
Beatles, her audiences were so huge and so enthusiastic that the American press
coined the terms "Lind mania" and "Lindomania" to describe
the reaction she received. Her American tour produced
around $25 million in "modern money"―an unheard-of haul in
those days―but Lind donated her share to charities, primarily
tuition-free schools. Unfortunately there
are no recordings of her voice. But we know from newspaper reports that Lind
was adored by her many fans. She was, according to one eye-witness, literally
bombarded with bouquets: "She could scarcely make her way out of the orchestra,
there was such a heap of flowers in all possible shapes." A young Emily
Dickinson described Lind's reception by Americans unfamiliar with opera: "bouquets fell in showers, and the roof was rent with applause―how
it thundered outside, and inside with the thunder of God and of men―judge
ye which was the loudest; how we all loved Jennie Lind, but not accustomed oft
to her manner of singing didn’t fancy that so well as we did her."
Hate opera? Me too! Or so I once claimed, never having bothered to listen to the
great opera singers. I became interested in opera after discovering amazing
voices like Montserrat Caballé, Maria Callas, Anna Netrebko, Kirsten Flagstad, Tarja Turunen, Kathleen Battle, Rosa Ponselle, Gianna D'angelo,
Natalie Dessay, Sissel Kyrkjebo,
Renée Fleming, Leontyne Price, Joan Sutherland, Enrico Caruso, Richard Tucker, Luciano
Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Joseph Calleja, Francesco Merli, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Jussi Björling.
Among the singers who may be more "operatic" than "pure opera," I especially
like Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Freddie Mercury, Hayley Westenra and Sarah Brightman. Three of my more recent
favorites are child prodigy Jackie Evancho, the petite queen of the talent
shows, Mirusia Louwerse, the "Angel of Australia" and the Canadian
"classical crossover" soprano Alessandra Paonessa. It's not all about
the high notes; I love Bocelli and Evancho for the warmth of their lower
registers. My favorite opera/operatic vocal performances include "La Donna e
Mobile" from Verdi’s Rigoletto by Enrico Caruso, "Vissi d’Arte" from
Puccini’s Tosca by Maria Callas, "Ave Maria" and "Pie Jesu" by Jackie Evancho,
"Time to Say Goodbye" by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, "Jesu Joy of Man's
Desiring" and "The Prayer" by Josh Groban, and "Shenandoah" by Sissel Kyrkjebo.
NOTE: Because this page is about vocal performances, I have not always included
otherwise very worthy contenders like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Pete Seeger and
Woody Guthrie. Their songwriting was better than their vocals.
The Best VocalPerformances by Art Garfunkel:
"Bridge Over Troubled Water," "My Little Town," "All I Know," "For Emily,
Whenever I May Find Her," "Kathy's Song," "Bright Eyes," "I Only Have Eyes for
You," "(What a) Wonderful World," "I Believe (When I Fall in Love it Will be
Forever)," "America," "Scarborough Fair/Canticle," "The Boxer," "El Condor Pasa,"
"Sound of Silence," "Homeward Bound," "Mrs. Robinson," "Cecilia," "Scissors
Garfunkel has the voice of a human angel, an ethereal countertenor capable of producing what he calls "tender finesse." If we're
talking about great vocalists, Art Garfunkel is in the upper echelon.
When we hear that sweet, airy high tenor, we are hearing one of the truly
great voices of all time. "He is a pure and beautiful tenor voice, and there
really is no one like him," says James Taylor about Art Garfunkel. (But there may be one contender for Art Garfunkel's
throne: his son, James Garfunkel, whose voice is just as sweet and even
Art Garfunkel singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" One of the great voices, emoting on one of the greatest songs ever written. The
song has been covered by Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Mary J. Blige, Brian McKnight, John Legend, Roberta Flack, Bon Jovi,
Natalie Cole, Clay Aiken, Charlotte Church, Hayley Westenra, David Archuleta,
Whitney Houston, Johnny Cash, Fiona Apple, Il Divo, LeAnn Rimes, Leona Lewis, Luther Vandross
and Michael W. Smith ... but no one has ever sung the song more tenderly and
movingly than Art
2017 Best Vocal Performances: "If We Were Vampires" by Jason
Isbell and his wife Amanda Shires singing sadly and tenderly about which one
will be the first to die and leave the other alone, "Turn Out the Lights" by
Julien Baker, "Dusk Till Dawn" by ZAYN feat. Sia, "Second One to Know" and
"Broken Halos" by Chris Stapleton, "Havana" by Camila Cabello, "The Cure" by
Lady Gaga, "What About Us" by P!nk, "Stay" by Zedd and Alessia Cara, "24K
Magic" and "That's What I Like" by Bruno Mars, "Sign of the Times" by Harry
Styles, "Bad Liar" and "It Ain't Me" by Selena Gomez, "I Feel It Coming" by The
Weeknd, "Green Light" by Lorde, "Water Under the Bridge" by Adele, "Scars to
Your Beautiful" by Alessia Cara, "Too Good at Goodbyes" by Sam Smith, "Believer"
and "Thunder" by Imagine Dragons, "The Fighter" by Keith Urban and Carrie
Underwood, "Attention" by Charlie Puth, "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back" by
Shawn Mendes, "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake, "New Rules" by Dua
Lipa, "Love on the Brain" by Rihanna, "Slide" by Calvin Harris, "Despacito" by
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber, "Something Just Like This" by
The Chainsmokers and Coldplay, "Closer" by The Chainsmokers and Halsey, "Shape
of You" by Ed Sheeran, "Say You Won't Let Go" by James Arthur, "Issues" by Julia
Michaels, "2U" by David Guetta feat. Justin Bieber, "Praying" by Kesha, "Don't
Kill My Vibe" by Sigrid, "Gorgeous" by Taylor Swift, "Cut to the Feeling" by
Carly Rae Jepsen, "Feel It Still" by Portugal. The Man
Gritty Singers with Raspy Gravel in their Voices: Joe Cocker,
Louis Armstrong, Blind Willie Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Ray Charles, Bonnie Tyler,
Kim Carnes, Janis Joplin, Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan,
Bryan Adams, Michael Bolton, Rod Stewart, Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner, Stevie
Nicks, Melissa Etheridge, Haley Reinhart, Pat Benatar, Bob Seger
Spookiest/Eeriest Songs: "Dark Was The Night" by Blind Willie
Johnson, "Helter Skelter" by the Beatles, "Gimme Shelter" and "Sympathy for the
Devil" by the Rolling Stones, "Riders on the Storm" by Jim Morrison and the
Doors, "God Is Dead" and "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath, "Tubular Bells" by
Mike Oldfield (the Exorcist theme song), "I Put a Spell on You" by
Screamin' Jay Hawkins, "Voodoo Child" and "All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi
Hendrix and the Experience, "Bad Moon Rising" by Credence Clearwater Revival, "Moonshadow"
by Cat Stevens, "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult, "Dream On" by
Aerosmith, "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC, "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin,
"The Number of the Beast" by Iron Maiden, "Mr. Crowley" by Ozzy Osbourne
The Best Vocal Performances by Elvis Presley: "Blue Moon,"
"Fever," "An American Trilogy," "Unchained Melody," "I'll Never Fall in Love
Again," "Trying to Get to You," "Love Me," "The Thrill of Your Love," "It's Now
or Never," "Crying in the Chapel," "In the Garden," "One Night (with You)," "Any
Day Now," "Peace in the Valley," "That's Alright (Mama)," "Jailhouse Rock,"
"Reconsider Baby," "Kentucky Rain," "Hound Dog," "If I Can Dream," "You'll Never
Walk Alone," "Suspicious Minds," "In the Ghetto," "Stand by Me," "(I'm So)
Hurt," "Always on My Mind," "Surrender,"
"Heartbreak Hotel," and "Are You Lonesome Tonight" (the
last song he sang as his last concert in 1977)
Elvis Presley singing a gospel-influenced version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" Please be sure to read Paul Simon's comments made after he heard
Elvis Presley's interpretation of his most famous song!
Elvis Presley performed "Bridge Over Troubled Water" during his triumphant
return after a 15-year absence, at New York City's Madison Square Garden in 1972. Having witnessed Elvis's interpretation of his song, Paul Simon
said: "That's it, we might as well all give up now."
While I actually prefer the softer, sweeter Art Garfunkel version, it's hard to
imagine a more impressive vocal performance than Presley's. His lower register
is incredibly warm, rich and tender. His power on the high notes
is truly stunning, on a par with male opera singers. And he put so
much emotion into his gospel-influenced interpretation, without sounding
affected. His was a tour de force. No wonder Paul Simon left shaking
his head, in wonder. Music Trivia: Mariah Carey is classified as an alto, but with her five octave
range she can reach what is now known as the "whistle register." Her range is
F2-G7. That G7 has been called the highest note of all time (dog whistles not
allowed!), with Christian Aguilera coming in second with a C#7. But one famous
singer may have even greater range: Axl Rose has hit notes from F1-B6. That's
going lower than Barry White to higher than Beyoncé! Other
male singers with incredible range include Prince (E2-B6), Steven Tyler
(D2-E6), James Brown (E2-E6), Marvin Gaye (D2-E6), David Bowie (G1-G5), Freddie
Mercury (F2-E6), Paul McCartney (B1-B5), John Lennon (B1-A5), Elvis Presley
(B1-A5) and Elton John (E2-D6). Think the Beatles were pretty good? Lennon and
McCartney weren't just great songwriters; they had great range and
were nearly perfectly matched!
Roger Daltrey of the Who singing "Love Reign O'er Me" If this doesn't send chills down your spine, you may not be fully alive!
The Top Ten Child Singers and Children's Groups: Angelis,
Jackie Evancho, Judy Garland, Frankie Lymon, Michael Jackson and the Jackson
5, Little Stevie Wonder, Lulu, Charlotte Church, Christina Aguilera, Ariana
Grande Honorable Mention: Julie Andrews, Shirley Temple, Lesley Gore,
Brenda Lee, Tanya Tucker, Donny and Marie Osmond, Bianca Ryan, LeAnn Rimes,
Hanson, Little Stevie Winwood, Charice Pempengco, The Partridge Family
The children's vocal group Angelis singing "Pie Jesu" Angelis's voices really are angelic.
The Purest Vocals of All Time:
"Wicked Game" by Chris Isaac, "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor, "Only Time"
by Enya, "Kathy's Song" and "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" by Simon
and Garfunkel, "Good Morning Girl" by Steve Perry of Journey, "Mad World" by
Adam Lambert, "God Only Knows" by Carl Wilson and the Beach Boys, "Holding Back
the Years" by Mick Hucknall of Simply Red, "She's Gone" by Darryl Hall of Hall
and Oates, "Ooh Baby Baby" by Smokey Robinson of the Miracles,
"Kissing a Fool" and "Father Figure" by George Michael, "All By Myself" by Celine Dion, "Mercy Mercy Me" and
"What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye, "Crying" and "Leah" by Roy Orbison, "When Doves Cry" by Prince, "Go Rest High on that Mountain"
by Vince Gill, "I'll Be There"
by Michael Jackson, "Rag Doll" and "Sherry" by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons,
"Angel" by Sarah McLachlan, "Lonely Teardrops" by Jackie Wilson, "True Colors" by
Cyndi Lauper, "Oh Very Young" and "Where Do the Children Play" by Cat Stevens
Josh Krajcik singing "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" This may be the most moving performance of a song that I have ever seen ...
the joy on Josh Krajcik's face is something to behold, as is his voice.
Highest and Sweetest Male Voices: "Ooh
Baby Baby" and "Tracks of My Tears" by Smokey Robinson of the Miracles, "When
You're Only Lonely" and "Her Town Too" by J. D. Souther (the latter a duet with
James Taylor), "Bright Eyes" and "My Little Town" by Art Garfunkel, "Foolish Heart" and "Good Morning Girl" by Steve Perry,
"Cupid" by Sam Cooke, "Crying in the Chapel" by Elvis Presley, "Human Nature" by
Michael Jackson, "Aubrey" by David Gates and Bread, "Go Rest High on that
Mountain" and "Amie" by Vince Gill (the latter with Pure Prairie League), "Love
Hurts" by the Everly Brothers, "Mad World" by Adam Lambert, "Without You" by
Harry Nilsson, "Cry Me a River" by Justin Timberlake, "Lonely Teardrops" by
Jackie Wilson, "Rag Doll" by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, "Cream" and
"Kiss" by Prince, "Grace" by Jeff Buckley, "God Only Knows" by Carl Wilson and
the Beach Boys, "In
Dreams" and "Only the Lonely" by Roy Orbison
Adam Lambert singing "Mad World" This may be one of the strongest statements against bullying ever made,
by a gay musical genius who sings from experience.
Steve Perry vocal performances: "Good Morning Girl," "Home at Last,"
"Winds of March," "Foolish Heart," "Oh Sherrie," "When You Love a Woman," "She's
Mine (All Mine)," "I'll Be Alright Without You," "Open Arms," "Send Her My
Love," "Who's Crying Now," "Faithfully," "Wheel in the Sky," "Still They Ride,"
"Don't Stop Believin'," "You Better Wait," "Mother Father," "Separate Ways,"
"Only the Young," "Ask the Lonely"
Steve Perry of Journey singing "Good Morning Girl" He hits those impossibly high notes so effortlessly and so sweetly.
Music Trivia: Woody Guthrie, the great folk singer who wrote
"This Land Is Your Land," was once a tenant of the Trumps. Guthrie was
a fan of his racist landlords, and wrote angry songs about Frederick
Trump, the father of Donald Trump, accusing him of refusing to rent apartments
to black Americans!
Mick Hucknall of Simply Red singing "Holding Back the Years" If you have a functional heart, this song may shatter it!
Billy Joel singing "Until the Night" This gets my vote as the most undervalued song of all time. Whenever it came on
the radio, I would drop whatever I was doing to listen to it.
According to Billy Joel, his top five songs are: "Vienna," "And So It
Goes," "You May Be Right," "She's Right on Time" and "Scenes from an Italian
Billy Joel vocal performances: "The Downeaster Alexa," "Shout (live at
Yankee Stadium with all the growling and falsetto screaming/yodeling)," "Until
the Night," "Captain Jack," "Piano Man," "Goodnight Saigon," "The Ballad of
Billy the Kid," "Say Goodbye to Hollywood," "Only the Good Die Young," "The
Stranger," "Leningrad," "New York State of Mind," "Allentown," "The
Entertainer," "The Longest Time," "Keeping the Faith," "We Didn't Start the
Fire," "The River of Dreams," "Uptown Girl," "Innocent Man," "Shameless"
The most Grammys won by singers: Alison Krauss and Union
Station (27), Stevie Wonder (22), Bono and U2 (22), Beyoncé (20), Vince Gill
(20), Bruce Springsteen (20), Tony Bennett (18), Aretha Franklin (18), Paul
McCartney (18), Ray Charles (17), Eric Clapton (17), Sting (16), Alicia Keys
(15), Ella Fitzgerald (13), Emmylou Harris (13), Dixie Chicks (13), Foo Fighters
(11), Shirley Caesar (11), Adele (10), Chaka Khan (10), Bonnie Raitt (10), Linda
Ronstadt (10), Taylor Swift (10), Cece Winans (10) The most Grammys nominations by singers: Beyoncé (53), Bono and
U2 (47), Dolly Parton (46), Bruce Springsteen (46), Barbara Streisand (42),
Alison Krauss and Union Station (42), Vince Gill (41), Sting (38)
Note: I did not include artists who are better known for
rap, composing, conducting, playing musicians, etc. This page is about singers.
Elton John playing and singing "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" Elton said he played this song so ferociously because he imagined playing it at his own funeral.
Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees singing "I Started a Joke" Barry Gibb had the most sex appeal, but Robin Gibb had the most moving
Dark Horses: If you had to pick one candidate for the best
vocalist of all time, who doesn't get his/her due today, who would it be? My
leading "dark horse" candidate is Eric Carmen, for his outstanding performances on
songs like All By Myself, Never Gonna
Fall in Love Again, I'm Through with Love, Make Me Lose Control, I Wanna Hear It
from Your Lips, On Broadway, Sunrise, Almost Paradise
(duet with Merry Clayton), Foolin' Myself,
Change of Heart, My Girl, and Hungry Eyes (which helped revive his career, although it's
not as good as a number of songs he wrote himself), plus
songs he did as lead singer of the Raspberries such as Go All the Way, I
Wanna Be with You, Let's Pretend, Overnight Sensation (Hit Record), Let's
Pretend, Tonight, Don't Want to Say Goodbye, Ecstasy and I Saw the Light Honorable Mention: Jonathan Antoine for "The Prayer" and
"Caruso," Eric Burdon of the Animals and War for
"House of the Rising Sun," "(Please) Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," "We Gotta
Get Out of this Place," "It's My Life (and I'll Do What I Want)," "Tobacco Road"
and "Spill the Wine," Tom Jones for "I Who Have Nothing," "I'll Never Fall in
Love Again," "Without Love (There is Nothing)," and "Delilah," Robin Gibb of the Bee-Gees
for songs like "I Started a Joke,"
"Massachusetts" and "To Love Somebody," Carl Wilson for his lead vocals on
"God Only Knows" and "Good Vibrations," Ron Argent and Colin Blunstone of the
Zombies for "Time of the Season," "She's Not There" and "Tell Her No,"
Helmut Lotti for his amazing covers of songs like "Surrender" and "Auld Lang
Syne," and an unknown Russian/Ukranian singer, Julia Ivanova, for her amazing
cover of Queen's "The Show Must Go On" on a talent show
Look, I'm surprised as anyone that Tom Jones is on my list! I had long thought
of him as a cheesy lounge act with some sort of strange appeal for elderly and
middle-aged women having something to do with tight
pants and hairy chests that I prefer not to think about. But with the right song
in his hands,
the man can sing with incredible power at the top of his impressive
range. And he is extremely passionate and believable. So I was wrong.
What does the buying public say? Here are the singers with the most number one
singles on the charts: Beatles (20), Elvis Presley (18), Mariah Carey (18),
Rihanna (14), Michael Jackson (13), Supremes (12), Madonna (12), Whitney Houston
(11), Stevie Wonder (10), Janet Jackson (10)
The Best Harmonies and Harmonizers of All Time
Enigma: otherworldly harmonies on "Sadness" and "Return to Innocence"
Mamas and Papas: impeccable harmonies on "California Dreamin'"
and "Monday Monday"
The Association: fabulous six-part harmonies on songs like "Cherish," "Never My
Love," "Along Comes Mary" and "Windy"
Neville Brothers: so smooth, so hip and so good on songs like "Tell It Like It
Is" and "One Love"
Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt: "Don't Know Much"
The Moody Blues: liquid harmonies on "Nights in White Satin," "Question," "Go
Now" and "Tuesday Afternoon,"
Beach Boys: "a sunny
fortress of euphony" on songs like "Good Vibrations," "I Get
Around," "Sloop John B" and "God Only
The Beatles: "Don't Let Me Down," "Nowhere Man," "Hey Jude," "Michelle," "Words
Judith Durham and the Seekers: "Georgy Girl," "I'll Never Find
Another You" and "A World of Our Own"
Diana Ross and the Supremes: "Buttered Popcorn," "The Happening,"
"Love Child," "Baby Love"
Crosby Stills, Nash and sometimes Young: "Suite Judy
Blue Eyes," "Ohio," "Wooden Ships," "Helplessly Hoping" and the eerie "Cathedral"
Boyz II Men: "End of the Road" and "I'll Make Love to You"
Vogues: otherworldly yodel-like harmonies on "Five O'Clock World"
and "You're the One"
Zombies: eerie harmonies on "Time of the Season" and "She's Not
Angelis: this children's choir lives up to its name, singing like angels on
"Angel" and "Pie Jesu"
Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham harmonizing on their real-life
breakup song "Go Your Own Way"
The Carter Family: country classics like "Wildwood Flower," "Will the Circle be
Unbroken" and "The Church in the Wildwood"
Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs and Allison Krauss singing "Go Rest High on that
Allison Krauss & Union Station: bluegrass versions of
"Down to the River to Pray," "I'll Fly Away" and "Man of Constant Sorrow"
Everly Brothers: Phil and Don Everly were pitch perfect on classics like
"All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Cathy's Clown" and "Bye Bye Love"
Simon & Garfunkel: "Scarborough Fair," "El Condor Pasa," "America,"
"The Boxer" and "Sound of Silence"
Jeff Lynne and ELO harmonizing on "Mr. Blue Sky" and "Strange Magic"
Peter, Paul and Mary harmonizing on the John Denver song "Leaving on a Jet Plane"
and the Bob Dylan song "Blowin' in the Wind"
Il Divo: "Time to Say Goodbye," "I Will Always Love You," "Alelujah"
The Lumineers: "Ho Hey"
Home Free: "The Ring of Fire"
Peter Hollens feat. Tim Foust: "The Sound of Silence," "Misty Mountains"
Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Californication"
Yes: "Owner of a Lonely Heart," "Roundabout"
The Best Vocal Performances by
Sam Cooke: "A Change Is Gonna Come," "Unchained Melody," "Chain Gang,"
"Cupid," "Bring it on Home to Me," "You
Send Me," "Another Saturday Night," "Twistin' the Night
Away," "Wonderful World," "Blue Moon"
Which Musical Artists are Most Popular with Buyers? According
to Wikipedia, based on total unit sales of albums, singles, downloads and music
videos, the most popular artists of all time are (#1) The Beatles (~600 million
units sold), (#2) Elvis Presley (~600 million), (#3) Michael Jackson (~350
million), (#4) Madonna (~300 million), (#5) Elton John (~300 million), (#6) Led Zeppelin (~300 million), (#7) Pink Floyd (~250 million), (#8) Rihanna
(~230 million), with seven acts tied at (#9) Rolling Stones, Queen, AC/DC, ABBA,
Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion
Music Trivia: Pink Floyd's album Dark Side of the Moon was on
the charts for 741 consecutive weeks, or 14.25 years. It has been on the charts
for 867 nonconsecutive weeks, or 16.67 years. Think anyone likes their songs?
Music Trivia: Not only could the Beatles and Luciano Pavarotti not read music, but Leo Fender couldn't
play the guitar!
The Best Vocal Performances of Nat King Cole: Unforgettable,
Mona Lisa, When I Fall in Love (It Will Be Forever), Stardust, Smile, L-O-V-E, The Christmas Song
(Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), There Will Never Be Another You, Too
Young, Ramblin' Rose, Route 66, To the Ends of the Earth, Straighten Up and Fly
Frank Sinatra said that when he went home, he played Nat King Cole records to
relax. The King put Capitol Records on the map, selling the most records by an
individual during the "gap" between Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley. He had the
first TV show to feature a black artist, on NBC in 1956, but due to the racism
of the times, there was no commercial sponsorship and the show did not survive.
But the King did break an important racial barrier, just as Jackie Robinson did.
Best Hot, Fiery and Sexy Torch Song Vocals: "Cry Me a River" by
Ella Fitzgerald and Michael Buble, "At Last" by Etta James and Jahmene Douglas,
"I Who Have Nothing" by Ben E. King and Whitney Houston, "Do It Again" by Marilyn Monroe
and Diana Krall, "Fever" by Peggy Lee and Elvis Presley, "Smoke
Gets in Your Eyes" by Dinah Shore and Nat King Cole, "My Funny Valentine" by
Frank Sinatra and Alice Fredenham, "Feelin' Good" by Nina Simone and Carly Rose Sonenclar, "Use Somebody" by
the Kings of Leon and Lascel
Woods, "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers and Luigiano Paals, "Somebody to Love" by
Freddie Mercury and Rachel Potter, "The Rose" by
Bette Midler and Christopher Maloney, "Who's Loving You" by Michael
Jackson and Sam Bailey, "Crying" by Roy Orbison and K. D. Lang, "Nothing
Compares 2 U" by Prince and Sinead O'Connor
Brian and Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys on
"Don’t Worry Baby," "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "God Only Knows" and "Surf's Up."
Robert Plant threatening to shatter glass on Led Zeppelin’s "Black Dog" and
Roy Orbison rending heartstrings with "Crying," "Leah" and "Blue Angel."
Lou Christie hitting those ultra-high
notes with tremendous accuracy and power on songs like "Lightning Strikes" and "Two
Faces Have I."
Del Shannon hitting those piercing falsetto high
notes on "Runaway."
Russell Thompkins Jr. of the Stylistics being wonderfully stylish on songs
like "Betcha By Golly Wow" and "You Make Me Feel Brand New."
Steve Perry of Journey hitting interstellar high notes on "Wheel In The Sky," "Open Arms," "Faithfully" and "Good Morning
Barry Gibb's breathy falsetto seducing our ears on "Words," "Run To Me,"
"How Deep Is Your Love" and "To Love Somebody."
Robin Gibb's quavering falsetto outshining even his brother's on "I Started
A Joke," "Message To You" and "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart."
Prince hitting every note perfectly on songs like "Kiss" and "When Doves
Little Richard teaching male singers it's cool to wear makeup, preen and
emit primal screams on songs like "Tutti-Frutti," "Rip
It Up" and "Lucille."
Frankie Valli's electric falsetto starring on
hits like "Sherry," "Dawn," "Rag Doll," "Walk Like A Man," "Big Girls Don't
Cry" and "Stay."
The Top Ten Emotive Singers: Sam Cooke making us feel his pain on "A Change
is Gonna Come," Levon Helm of The Band making us feel "The
Weight," George Michael emoting on
"One More Try," Sam Smith for "Stay With Me" and "I'm Not the Only One,"
Eric Carmen for "All By Myself" and "I'm Through With Love," the Bee
Gees for "How Can You Mend a Broken
Heart" and "Massachusetts," Hank Williams Sr. for bluesy country songs like "I'm
So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Your Cheatin' Heart," Adele for soulful
songs like "Someone Like You" and "Rolling in the Deep,"
Mick Hucknall of Simply Red for "Holding Back the Years"
and "If You Don't Know Me By Now," Janis Joplin ripping our hearts out with
"Heartbreaker" and "Piece of My Heart" Honorable Mention: Dido communicating heartache on songs like
"Thank You" and "White Flag," Eminem for "Mockingbird" and his duet of "Stan"
with Dido, Vince Gill for "Go Rest High on that Mountain," Eric Clapton singing
the song he wrote for his lost son "Tears in Heaven," Five for Fighting for
"Superman (It's Not Easy)" and "100 Years," Sinead O'Connor for "Nothing
Compares 2 U," Johnny Cash with that deep dark baritone on songs like "Hurt" and
"I Walk the Line," Enya for heart-wrenching songs like "Only Time," Elton John
for "Sacrifice" and "Candle in the Wind," Jeff Buckley and K.
D. Lang for their covers of "Hallelujah," Simon and Garfunkel for "The Sound of
Silence" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water," David Gilmour of Pink Floyd for "Wish
You Were Here," Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys for "God Only Knows," Paul Carrack
of Mike + the Mechanics for "Living Years," Dan McCafferty of Nazareth for "Love
Hurts," Michale Stipe of R.E.M. for "Everybody Hurts," the Verve Pipe for "The
Freshmen," and Tears for Fears, Gary Jules and Adam Lambert for their versions
of "Mad World"
Music Trivia: "Happy Birthday to You" is a copyrighted song! It still brings in
around two million dollars per years in royalties.
Ten Vastly Under-Rated Singers: K. D. Lang for her magnificent
covers of "Hallelujah" and "Crying," Eric Carmen for "All By Myself"
Gonna Fall in Love Again," Art
Garfunkel for little-known solo masterpieces like "All I Know" and "Bright Eyes"
not to mention neglected classics like "The Boxer" and "For Emily Whenever I May
Find Her" from his Simon and Garfunkel days, Cyndi Lauper for her four-octave
range and unique voice on great songs like "True Colors" and "Time
After Time," Toni Braxton for that wonderfully warm lower register and
crystal-clear high notes on "Un-Break My Heart," Leona Lewis for "Bleeding Love"
and "Broken," Burton Cummings for "Stand Tall," David Gates for hitting all those high sweet pure notes on
"Everything I Own" and "Clouds," Vince Gill
for "Go Rest High on that Mountain" and "When I Call Your Name,"
Chris Isaak for "Wicked Game" and "Please Let Me Down Easy"
Influential Singers Who Remain Largely Unknown: Sleepy John
Estes (Robert Plant, Bob Dylan), Big Mama Thornton (Elvis Presley, Janis
Joplin), Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis,
Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash), Eddie Cochran and Carl Perkins (George Harrison),
Sonny Boy Williamson (Yardbirds), Robert Johnson (Eric Clapton), Muddy Waters
(Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix)
Of course some famous singers have also been quite influential:
"Nothing really affected me until I heard Elvis. If there hadn't been Elvis,
there would not have been the Beatles."―John
"Before Elvis, there was nothing."―John Lennon
"Seeing Elvis was like seeing the messiah arrive."―George Harrison
The Top Ten Vocalists Most People Can No Longer Name: Bobby
Hatfield of The Righteous Brothers ("Unchained Melody"), Colin Blunstone of the
Zombies ("Time of the Season"), Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees (better than his more
famous brother Barry on songs like "I Started a Joke"), Eric Burdon of the
Animals ("House of the Rising Sun"), Eric Carmen of the Raspberries ("Go All the
Way"), Morten Harket of A-ha (those otherwordly high notes in "Take on Me"),
Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet ("True"), Michael Hutchence of Simply Red
("Holding Back the Years"), Geoff Tate of Queensrÿche ("Silent Lucidity"), Roger
Hodgson of Supertramp ("The Logical Song")
Best duets: "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" by Aretha Franklin and
George Michael, "Ever Changing Times" by Aretha Franklin and Michael McDonald, "Seven Spanish Angels" by Ray Charles and Willie
Nelson, "Love Hurts" by the Everly Brothers, "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" by
Simon & Garfunkel, "I'll Fly Away" by Allison Krauss and Gillian Welch, "Stay"
by Bruno Mars and Rihanna, "Don't Know Much" by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron
Neville, "On My Own" by Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald, "Time to Say Goodbye"
operatic pop by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, "Endless Love" by Diana Ross and
Lionel Richie, "How Great Thou Art" by Jennifer Nettles and John Glosson,
"Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, "Islands in the Stream"
by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, "What Kind of Fool" by Barbara Streisand and
John Legend, "Guilty" by Barbara Streisand and Barry Gibb, "Don't Give Up" by
Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, "I Got You Babe" by Sonny & Cher, "Under Pressure"
by Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)" by Barbara
Streisand and Donna Summer, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" by Stevie Nicks and
Tom Petty, "(I've Had) the Time of My Life" by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes,
"You're the One that I Want" by Olivia Newton John and John Travolta, "Somethin'
Stupid" by Frank and Nancy Sinatra (father and daughter duet), "Don't Go Breaking My
Heart" by Elton John and Kiki Dee, "Ebony and Ivory" by Paul McCartney and
Stevie Wonder, "Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
The Best Vocal Performances by
Whitney Houston: "I Have Nothing," "I Will Always Love You," "One Moment
in Time," "How Will I Know," "Run to You," "The Greatest Love of All," "Saving All My Love for You," "Didn't We Almost Have
It All," "Where Do Broken Hearts Go," "I'm Every Woman"
The Best Vocal Performances by Prince: "Damn You," "The
Beautiful Ones," "When Doves Cry," Nothing Compares 2 U," "Little Red Corvette,"
"Thunder," "Love Thy Will Be Done," "Kiss," "Purple Rain," "Cream,"
"Insatiable," "Controversy," "Adore," "Call My Name," "When You Were Mine," "The
Cross," "Raspberry Beret," "1999," "Sign O' the Times"
The Best Vocal Performances by Janis Joplin: "Heartbreaker,"
"Piece of My Heart," "Down on Me," "Cry Baby," "Mercedes Benz," "Summertime"
(with Jimi Hendrix), "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)," "Me and Bobby McGee,"
"Ball and Chain," "Kozmic Blues," "Get It While You Can,"
"Move Over" (a song she wrote herself)
The Best Vocal Performances by Amy Winehouse: "Back to
Black," "You Know That
I'm No Good," "Valerie," "Rehab," "Stronger Than Me," "Tears
Dry on Their Own," "Love is a Losing Game," "Fuck Me Pumps," "I Heard Love is
The Top Ten Vocals by
George Michael: One More Try, A Different Corner, Kissing a Fool (Sinatra would be proud of
these stellar vocals, or perhaps envious!), Careless Whisper, Father Figure,
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me (with Elton John), Somebody to Love (with Queen), Faith, Last Christmas (one of the very best modern yuletide songs), I Want Your Sex (clever, cool and cheeky)
The "Warmest" Voices of All Time: Andrea Bocelli, Elvis Presley,
Mel Torme, Bill
Withers, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Ben E. King, Barry White, Marian Anderson,
Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand, Art Garfunkel, Marvin Gaye, Beyoncé, Alice Fredenham, Nick Cave,
Alicia Keys Honorable Mention: Paul Robeson, K. D. Lang, Adele, Nat King
Cole, Michael McDonald, Michael Crawford, Johnny Cash, Jason Mraz, Jackie
Evancho, Mariah Carey, Karen Carpenter, Michael Bublé, Cat Stevens, Rick Astley,
Josh Groban, Frank Sinatra, James Taylor, Bing Crosby
There is, of course, a difference between a great song and a great vocal
performance. Here are my top ten songs, on their own merits, by category. But
when a great vocalist and a great song are combined, magical things can happen:
for instance when Eric Burdon of the Animals belts out the great American folk
classic "House of the Rising Sun" or when Sam Cooke soulfully delivers his
magnificent "A Change Is Gonna Come."
Top Ten Traditional Songs: Danny Boy, Auld Lang Syne, When
Johnny Comes Marching Home, Greensleeves, Shenandoah, Molly Malone, Scarborough
Fair, Waltzing Matilda, Dixie, Yankee Doodle Dandy Top Ten Folk Songs: This Land Is Your Land, Where Have All the
Flowers Gone, Blowin' in the Wind, City of New Orleans, House of the Rising Sun,
Tom Dooley, If I Had a Hammer, Little Boxes, Ohio, Woodstock Top Ten Soul/R&B Songs: A Change is Gonna Come, What's Going On, Mercy Mercy Me, Stand By
Me, Respect, Let's Stay Together, Spanish Harlem,
Dock of the Bay, When a Man Loves a Woman, At Last Honorable Mention: I'd Rather Go Blind, River Deep Mountain
High, Proud Mary, What'd I Say, Hallelujah I Love Her So, Chain Gang, People Get
Ready, Lean On Me, You Make Me Feel Brand New, Fallin', Where is the Love,
Shaft, Lady Marmalade, On My Own, I Believe I Can Fly, Love and Happiness,
Purple Rain, Kiss, Little Red Corvette, When Doves Cry, Bad, Billie Jean Top Ten Spiritual Anthems: Battle Hymn of the Republic, We
Shall Overcome, Oh Freedom, We Shall Not Be Moved, A Change Is Gonna Come,
Strange Fruit, People Get Ready, Peace Train, Alabama, Hold On Top Ten Hymns: Ave Maria, Pie Jesu, Amazing Grace, Silent
Night, Away in a Manger, It Is Well (With My Soul), I'll Fly Away, Peace in the
Valley, O Come O Come Emmanuel, Jesus Loves Me Top Ten Heart-Tuggers or Emotional Songs: Without You, When
Doves Cry, All By Myself, Angie, Wild Horses, As Tears Go By, Eleanor Rigby,
Bridge Over Troubled Water, Who Wants to Live Forever, Wish You Were Here Honorable Mention: Hallelujah, Holding Back the Years, The
Freshmen, Comfortably Numb, One, Hurt, Everybody Hurts, Love Hurts, One Sweet
Day, The Living Years, The Logical Song, Candle in the Wind, My Little Town, I
Will Remember You, Dust in the Wind, Angel, Angel Flying Too Close to the
Ground, Yesterday, Tears in Heaven Top Ten Country Songs: I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, Mama Tried,
He Stopped Loving Her Today, Crazy, I Walk the Line, Ring of Fire, Seven Year
Ache, Independence Day, It's Only Make Believe, Man of Constant Sorrow Honorable Mention: Your Cheatin' Heart, I Fall to Pieces,
By Your Man, El Paso, You Don't Know Me, Seven Spanish Angels, Always on My Mind, Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,
Friends in Low Places, Shameless, The Gambler, Amarillo By Morning, The Devil
Went Down to Georgia, Strawberry Wine, Coal Miner's Daughter, I Will Always Love
You, Hurt, The Thunder Rolls The Top Ten Country Songs per Rolling Stone: (10) Mammas Don't
Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, (9)
Jolene by Dolly Parton, (8) Mama Tried by Merle Haggard, (7) You Don't Know Me
by Ray Charles, (6) Stand By Your Man by Tammy Wynette, (5) Blue Yodel #9 by
Jimmy Rodgers, (4) He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones, (3) I'm So
Lonesome I Could Cry by Hank Williams Sr., (2) Crazy by Patsy Cline, (1) I Walk
the Line by Johnny Cash
Top Ten Cover Songs: "Mad World" by Gary Jules and Adam
Lambert, the reggae version of
"Red Red Wine" by UB40, "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" by Guns 'n'
Roses, "Hurt" by Johnny Cash, "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley
and K.D. Lang, "Nothing Compares
2U" by Sinead O'Conner, "Proud Mary" by Ike & Tina Turner, "Twist and Shout" by
the Beatles, "Respect" by Aretha Franklin Honorable Mention: "My Way" snarled by Sid Vicious,
"Crying" by K. D. Lang, "Rock
the Casbah" by Algerian singer Rachid Taha, the reggae version of "Wichita
Lineman" by Dennis Brown, the new wave version of "Take Me to the River" by the
Talking Heads, "Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin, "With
a Little Help from My Friends" by Joe Cocker, "Hazy Shade of Winter" by the Bangles, "Mister Tambourine Man" by
the Byrds, "Jolene"
by the White Stripes, "I Fought the Law" by The Clash,
"Tainted Love" by Soft Cell, "Walk this Way" by Run DMC and Aerosmith, "I Love
Rock 'n' Roll" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, "I Shot the Sheriff" by Eric
Clapton, "With a Little Help from My Friends" by Joe Cocker, "I Heard it through the Grapevine" by CCR,
"Satisfaction" by Devo,
"Blue Suede Shoes" by Elvis Presley, "Not Fade Away" by the Rolling
Stones, "Blinded by the Light" by Manfred Mann and the Earth Band,
"Because the Night" and "Gloria" by Patti Smith, "All Along the
Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix & The Experience, "On Broadway" by George
Benson, "I Can't Stop Loving You" by Ray Charles, "I Will Always Love You" by
Whitney Houston, "Both Sides Now" by Judy Collins and Joni
Mitchell (who wrote the song but released her version after Judy Collins made it
a hit), "Woodstock" by Crosby, Stills and Nash & Young
B. B. King was born Riley B. King. He was nicknamed the "Beale Street Blues Boy," which was eventually shortened to "Blues Boy," then to the initials B. B.
The Top Ten Frontmen and Frontwomen: Little Richard, Jimi
Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, James Brown, Freddie Mercury, Mick Jagger,
Michael Jackson, Prince, Robert Plant Honorable Mention: Jon Bon Jovi, Bono, Bon Scott, David Bowie,
Boy George, Alice Cooper, David Coverdale, Eric Burdon, Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain,
Roger Daltrey, Bruce Dickinson, Ronnie James Dio, Joe Elliot, Aretha Franklin,
Peter Gabriel, Lady Gaga, Rob Halford, Sammy Hagar, Debbie Harry, James Hetfield,
Chrissie Hynde, Joan Jett, Elton John, Brian Johnson, John Lennon, Jerry Lee
Lewis, Madonna, Bob Marley, Paul McCartney, Meatloaf, Jim Morrison, Stevie
Nicks, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Perry, Iggy Pop, Axl Rose, Diana Ross, David Lee
Roth, Johnny Rotten, Grace Slick, Bruce Springsteen, Gwen Stefani, Sting, Geoff
Tate, Tina Turner, Steven Tyler, Ann Wilson
Talent Show Superstars
Aaliyah (Star Search, age 10), Christina Aguilera (Star Search winner, age 8),
Clay Aiken (American Idol runner-up), David Archuleta (Star Search winning
junior vocalist, age 12, then American Idol runner-up at age 16), Backstreet
Boys (Star Search), Fantasia Barrino (American Idol winner), Beyoncé (Star
Search, age 12), Susan Boyle (BGT, age 48), Kelly Clarkson (American Idol's
first winner), Destiny's Child (Star Search), Chris Daughtry (American Idol),
Jackie Evancho (AGT, age 10), Sam Harris (Star Search), Jennifer Hudson
(American Idol), Alan Jackson (You Can Be a Star), Adam Lambert (American Idol
runner-up and Queen frontman), Miranda Lambert (Nashville Star, age 20), Leona
Lewis (X Factor UK winner), Katherine McPhee (American Idol runner-up), Alanis
Morissette (Star Search, age 14), One Direction (X Factor UK, created by the
judges), Pentatonix (The Sing-Off), Kellie Pickler, Pittbull (Star Search),
Alisan Porter (after wowing Star Search at age 5, she went on to win The Voice
USA as an adult), LeAnn Rimes (Star Search), Sawyer Brown (Star Search), Nicole
Scherzinger (Popstars), Jessica Simpson (Star Search), Jordin Sparks (American
Idol winner, age 17), Britney Spears (Star Search, age 11), Justin Timberlake
(Star Search, age 11), Carrie Underwood (American Idol winner, with 65 million
records sold), Usher (Star Search, age 13), Trisha Yearwood (You Can Be a Star)
What Were The Judges Thinking? The Worst Talent Show Snubs!
(#10) Christina Grimmie finished third on The Voice, but put out five albums and
more than 20 singles before dying prematurely at age 22.
(#10) Only a last second chair turn for Sophie May Williams, really?
(#9) Alex and Sierra were rejected by American Idol, but won the X-Factor, go
(#8) Amber Riley (aka Mercedes Jones) didn't make it through the American Idol
prelims, but she became a Glee diva.
(#7) Simon Cowell called Tori Kelly's voice "annoying." She has since been
nominated for a Grammy and has opened for Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran.
(#6) Colbie Caillat auditioned for American Idol twice, and never made it
through the prelims. But several Idol-ators have covered her hit song "Bubbly."
(#5) Katharine McPhee finished second on American Idol, but has since released
five albums and ten singles.
(#4) Jennifer Hudson finished seventh on American Idol, but she won an Academy
Award for Dreamgirls and one of her albums was nominated for four
(#3) Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum auditioned for American Idol twice, and
never even made it through the preliminary rounds. She now has five Grammys.
(#2) Jackie Evancho second? How many millions of singles and albums will she
sell before her career is over?
(#1) Adam Lambert second, really? And yet he's now the lead singer for Queen?
(#1) It defies explanation that Julia Ivanova didn't win The Voice Ukraine; like
Lambert she could headline for Queen.
Honorable Mention: Haley Reinhart, Billy Gilman, Frenchie Davis, Joshua Ledet, Colton Swon, Mickey Guyton, Luke Edgemon, Robyn Troup, Mary Lambert, Naya Rivera
The Top Forty Most Moving, Unexpected and Eye-Opening Vocal Performances
Captured During Talent Show Auditions
(#40) Наргиз Закирова (Nargiz Zakirova) singing "Still Loving You" on The Voice
(#39) Charly Luske singing "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" on The Voice
Holland, with four instant chair turns
(#39) Mennel singing a
bilingual version of "Hallelujah" like an angel on The Voice France, only to be
forced from the show for supporting Palestine and wearing a headscarf
(#38) Christina Grimmie singing "Wrecking Ball" on The Voice USA
(#37) Sundance Head singing "I've Been Loving You Too Long," "The Climb" and "At
Last" on The Voice USA
(#36) Bars and Melody (Leondre "Bars" Devries and Charlie "Melody" Lenehan)
rapping and singing "Hopeful" on Britain's Got Talent (a staggering 157 million
(#35) Noah Mac singing anything really, but especially "Hold Back the River" and
"Way Down We Go" on The Voice USA
(#34) Chloe Kohanski singing
"The Chain," "Landslide," "Total Eclipse of the Heart"
and "I Want to
Know What Love Is" on The Voice USA
Lucie Jones, from a tiny Welsh village, tackles an international
monster by singing "I Will Always Love You" on Britain's Got Talent,
and kills it
(#32) Sam Harris singing
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on Star Search in 1984
James Arthur singing and rapping his cover of Tulisa's "(Forgive Us, We're) Young" emotively on
X Factor UK
(60 million views)
Carlos Guevara singing "Gravity" on X Factor USA
(#29) Rion Page singing "Blown Away" on X Factor USA (47 million views)
Michael Grimm singing "You Don't Know Me" on America's Got Talent
Bella Ferraro singing "Skinny Love" on X Factor UK
Alex & Sierra singing "Toxic" on X Factor USA with real
sexual chemistry (52 million views)
(#25) Kechi Okwuchi, one of only two survivors of a Nigerian plane crash,
singing "Thinking Out Loud" on America's Got Talent
(#24) Charlotte and Jonathan singing
"The Prayer" on Britain's Got Talent (95 million views); also "Caruso"
(#23) Paul Potts singing "Nessun Dorma" on Britain's Got Talent (168 million
(#22) Clay Aiken singing "Solitaire," "Unchained Melody" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" on American
(#21) David Jackson singing "All I Want" on
The Voice UK
(#20) Josh Daniel singing "Jealous" on X Factor UK (54 million views)
(#20) Leanne Jarvis singing
"Stay with Me Baby" on The Voice UK
(#19) Joshua Ledet singing "It's a Man's Man's
Man's World" on American Idol
(#18) Katherine McPhee singing "Somewhere Over
the Rainbow" on American Idol
(#17) Billy Gilman, a former child star, singing
"Crying," "Anyway" and "I Surrender" on The Voice
(#16) Wé McDonald transforming her squeaky
speaking voice into a soul monster on "Feelin' Good," "Take Me to Church" and
"God Bless the Child"
(#15) Steve McCrorie singing "All I Want" on The
(#14) Fantasia Barrino singing "Summertime" on
(#13) Calum Scott singing "Dancing on My Own" on
Britain's Got Talent (98 million views)
(#12) Jamie Archer belting out “Sex on Fire” on
X Factor UK and getting Simon Cowell to lip-synch while the crowd went wild
and sang along
(#11) Mitchell Brunings singing "Redemption Song"
on The Voice Holland (58 million views)
(#10) Elfin and adorable Janet Devlin singing "Your Song" in a lovely breathless
voice on X Factor UK
(#10) Andrew Johnston, a thirteen-year-old victim of bullying, singing "Pie Jesu"
in an impossibly high, sweet register on
Britain's Got Talent
(#10) Susan Boyle singing "I Dreamed a
Dream" on Britain's Got Talent, converting rolling eyeballs into receptacles of
awe (220 million views)
(#10) Ash Morgan singing "Never Tear Us
Apart" with rare power on The Voice UK
(#10) Brian Justin Crum singing "Creep" and
"Somebody to Love" on America's Got Talent
(#10) Alexandra Burke singing "Hallelujah" on X-Factor UK
(#10) Terrence Cunningham singing "My Girl"
during his blind audition on The Voice USA; Alicia Keys said it was like
divinity entering the room
(#9) Jordin Sparks singing "(With) A
Broken Wing" and "I Who Have Nothing" on American Idol
(#8) Haley Reinhart singing "Bennie and the
Jets," "I Who Have Nothing" and "House of
the Rising Sun" on American Idol
(#8) Julia Ivanova singing "The Show Must Go On"
on The Voice Ukraine
Sawyer Fredericks singing "I am a Man of Constant Sorrow" on The Voice USA
and shocking the judges into instant chair turns
Alice Fredenham singing "My Funny Valentine" like a golden-age
chanteuse on Britain's Got Talent (47 million views)
(#5) Carly Rose Sonenclar singing "Feelin' Good" on X Factor USA
(39 million views)
Jackie Evancho's debut at age ten, singing "Ave Maria" like an
angel on America's Got Talent (14 million views)
(#3) Jordan Smith singing "Chandelier"
on The Voice USA (53 million views)
Adam Lambert singing "Mad World," "A
Change Is Gonna Come," "Satisfaction" and "Whole Lotta Love" on American Idol
(#2) Leona Lewis singing "Summertime," "Without You," "I Have Nothing," "Over
the Rainbow," "All By Myself," "I'll Be There" on X Factor UK
Josh Krajcik singing "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" poolside for X
Factor USA judges Nicole Scherzinger and Enrique Iglesias
Fastest 4-Chair Turns: Anthony Riley, Charly Luske, Karise Eden, Matthew
Schuler, Glenn Claes, Mateusz Ziółko, Ahla Sawt, Joniver Robles, David
Rodriguez, Judith Hill, Sarah Simmons, Mennel, Terrence Cunningham
10-Second Chair Turns: Mennel (4), Anthony Riley (4), Charly Luske (4), Sawyer Fredericks
(3), Christina Grimmie (3), Bria Kelly (2), Brooke Adee (2), Ivonne Acero (2),
Joshua Davis (2), Katie Basden (2), Anita Antoinette (2), Mike Schiavo (2),
Holly Henry, Cody Wickline, Brian Johnson, Morgan Frazier, Adam Wakefield, Dia
Frampton, Natalie Yacovazzi, Monique Abbadie, Emily Keener, Travis Ewing, Nathan
Hermida, Siahna Im, Jesse Pitts, Terrence Cunningham
Trivia: In addition to winning the Voice 2016, Sundance Head also made the top
eight men on American Idol (sixth season). Give the man a gold star for
versatility, as he competed with songs as diverse as "Jeremy," "Nights in White
Satin," "Stormy Monday," "At Last," "Me and Jesus" and "Mustang Sally."
Best Comeback: Billy Gilman (a child country star, after his voice changed he
came back as a pop singer covering songs by Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Roy
Orbison, Queen and Frank Sinatra)
Biggest Surprise: Susan Boyle, Kathleen Jenkins, Charlotte and Jonathan, Wé McDonald, Sundance
Head, Mano Raduly Botond (looks like a leprechaun, sings like a giant), Magnus
Most Eye-Rolling: Susan Boyle, before she started to sing and converted the
audience (and Simon Cowell) to the true faith in her voice ("The biggest wakeup
Most Charismatic: Jamie "Afro" Archer, Danyl Johnson, Adam Lambert,
Sierra Deaton, Chris Blue, Angelica Hale
Most Energy: Danyl Johnson, Chris Blue, Conor Scott, Simon Morin
Most Unique Voices: Conor Scott, Cher Lloyd, Sawyer Fredericks, Terrence
Most Powerful Voices: Jonathan Antoine, Susan Boyle, Ash Morgan, Samantha Atkinson, Paul Potts,
Brian Justin Crum, Marlin Williford, Victoria Pesterean, La'Porsha Renae, Sami
Big Voices in Small Packages: Rion Page, Angelica Hale
Men Hitting the High Notes: Sam Harris, Adam Lambert, Billy Gilman, Calum Scott, Jahmene
Douglas, Chris Blue
Most Adorable: Jackie Evancho, Janet Devlin, Sierra Deaton
Best Chemistry: Alex & Sierra
Sexiest: Sierra Deaton, Danyl Johnson, Haley Reinhart, Alice Fredenham, Julia Ivanova,
Old Souls: Alice Fredenham, Carly Rose Sonenclar, Mike Yung, Sophie May
Williams, Ella Henderson
Unexpected Soul: Brandie Love, James Kenny, Taylor Hicks, David Fenley, Michael
Collings, Owen Campbell, Isaac Waddington
Best Torch Singers and Throwbacks: Alice Fredenham, Haley Reinhart, Noah Mac
Most Inspirational: Kechi Okwuchi, Emmanuel Kelly, Calysta Bevier, Rion Page,
Susan Boyle, Angelica Hale
Most Tear-Worthy: Josh Daniel, Lusine Kocharyan, Christian Burrows, Monica
Michael, Jake Quickenden, Daryl Markham, Christopher Maloney, Jillian Jensen
Country Staples: Sawyer Fredericks, Craig Wayne Boyd, Scott McCreery, Lauren
Alaina, Sundance Head, Lauren Duski, Adam Wakefield, Emily Ann Roberts, Swon
Rockers: Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert, Julia Ivanova, David Cook, Lee DeWyze, Crystal Bowersox,
Honorable Mention: Paul Potts singing "Nessun Dorma" on Britain's Got Talent, Christina
Grimmie singing "Wrecking Ball" on The Voice USA, Jack Vidgen singing "I Have Nothing" on Australia's Got Talent, Max Milner
singing and rapping "Lose Yours/Come Together" on The Voice UK, Taylor Phelan
singing "Sweater Weather" on The Voice USA,
Chelsea Redfern singing "Purple Rain" on Britain's Got Talent,
Sophie May Williams singing "Time After Time" on The Voice UK, Chris
Daughtry singing "Hemorrhage" and "I Walk the Line" on American Idol, Pia
Toscano singing "I'll Stand By You" and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" on
American Idol, Carrie Underwood singing "Alone" and "Independence Day" on
American Idol, Jennifer Hudson singing "The Circle of Life" on American Idol,
Jason Castro singing "Hallelujah" on American Idol, Kelly Clarkson singing "A
Moment Like This," "Respect" and "Natural Woman" on American Idol, David Cook
singing "Eleanor Rigby" and "Billie Jean" on American Idol, Kris Allen singing "Ain't
No Sunshine (When She's Gone)" on American Idol, David Archuleta singing "Imagine" on American Idol,
Melanie Amaro singing "I Have Nothing" on X Factor USA, Rachel
Potter singing "Somebody to Love" on X Factor USA, Mateusz Ziółko singing "When
a man loves a woman" on The Voice of Poland, Trent Harmon singing
"Chandelier" on American Idol, Caleb Johnson singing "Dream On" on American
Idol, Fantasia Barrino singing "Summertime" on American Idol, Cassadee
Pope singing "Torn" on The Voice USA, Panda Ross singing "Bring it on Home" to
Simon Cowell on X Factor USA, Tessanne Chin singing "Try" on The Voice USA,
Anthony Riley singing "I Feel Good" on the Voice USA, Louisa Johnson singing "Who's Lovin' You" on X-Factor UK, Kevin Simm
singing "Chandelier" on The Voice UK, Karise Eden singing "It's a Man's Man's Man's World"
on The Voice UK, Candice Glover singing "Lovesong" on American Idol,
Lee Glasson singing "Can't Get You Out of My Head" on The Voice UK
Best Talent Show Judge Songs: "Back for Good" by Gary Barlow
and Take That, "Miss Independent" by Kelly Clarkson, "Call My Name" by Cheryl
Cole, "It Had to Be You" by Harry Connick Jr., "Forget You" by CeeLo Green,
"It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones, "No One" by Alicia Keys, "She Will Be Loved" by
Adam Levine and Maroon 5, "E.T." by Katy Perry, "Austin" by Blake Shelton,
"Don't Speak" by Gwen Stefani and No Doubt, "Young" by Tulisa, "Dream On" by
Steven Tyler, "Somebody Like You" by Keith Urban, "Yeah" by Usher
Best performances of "The Star Spangled Banner": Carrie
Underwood at the 2010 Super Bowl, Lady Antebellum at the 2010 World Series, Jim
Cornelison on the tenth anniversary of 9-11 at Chicago's Soldier Field, Marvin
Gaye with a soulful version at a basketball game in 1983, Lady Gaga at the 2016
Super Bowl, Luther Vandross at the 1996 Super Bowl, Jennifer Hudson at the 2009
Super Bowl, Martina McBride at the 2004 World Series and the 2009 AFC
Championship Game, Kelly Clarkson at the 2012 Super Bowl, Jordin Sparks at the
2008 Super Bowl, Faith Hill at the 2000 Super Bowl, The U.S. Military Chorus at
the 2005 Super Bowl, Beyoncé at the 2004 Super Bowl, Whitney Houston at the 1991
Super Bowl during the Gulf War, Jennifer Nettles before the largest college
football crowd ever at the Bristol Motor Speedway in 2016 for a game between the
University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech
Top Ten One-Hit Wonders: "Duke of Earl" by Gene Chandler, "Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight
Runners, "Take On Me" by A-ha, "Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco,
"Beds Are Burning" by Midnight Oil, "True" by Spandau Ballet, "Tubthumping"
by Chumbawamba, "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum (the first song he ever
wrote and, as far as we know, the last), "In a Big Country" by Big Country (who
apparently knew they would only have one hit and named themselves after it), and
"96 Tears" by the aptly named ? and the Mysterians Honorable Mention: "The Freshmen" by the Verve Pipe, "Criminal"
by Fiona Apple, "Get It On (Bang a Gong) by T. Rex, "Layla"
by Derek and the Dominoes, "Love Hurts" by Nazareth, "All the Young Dudes" by
Mott the Hoople, "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang, "Do They Know It's
Christmas" by Band Aid, "She Blinded Me with Science" by Thomas Dolby, "Until
the Night" by Benny Mardones, "Bitter Sweet Symphony" by the Verve, "Truly Madly
Deeply" by Savage Garden, "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell, "Sugar Sugar" by the
Archies (when I heard this song the first time the lead singer sounded exactly
like Neil Diamond), "Afternoon Delight" by the Starland Vocal Band, "I Ran (So
Far Away) by Flock of Seagulls (a band best known for its eclectic hairstyles
which really did look like seagull nests), "Whip It" by Devo, "Video Killed the
Radio Star" by the Buggles, C'est La Vie by Robbie Nevil, "Pass the Dutchie" by
Musical Youth, "Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas, "Turning Japanese" by the
Vapors, "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins, "Book of Love" by the Monotones, "To
Know Him is to Love Him" by the Teddy Bears, "I'm Too Sexy (for My Shirt)"
by Right Said Fred, "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot, "Who Let the Dogs Out" by
Baha Men, "Take Me to Church" by Hozier, "My Sharona" by the Knack One Hit Wonders by Actors, Actresses, Comedians and other Celebrities:
"True Love" by Grace Kelly, "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody" by Jerry
Lewis, "Love Me or Leave Me" by Lena Horne, "Autumn Leaves" by Steve Allen, "Cry
Me a River" by Julie London, "April in Paris" by Count Basie, "The Old
Philosopher" by Eddie Lawrence, "Deck of Cards" by Wink Martindale, "I Just
Don't Understand" by Ann-Margret, "Ringo" by Lorne Greene, "Little Ole Man" by
Bill Cosby, "MacArthur Park" by Richard Harris, "Tip Toe Thru' the Tulips with
Me" by Tiny Tim, "I'm Easy" by Keith Carradine, "Don't Give Up On Us" by David
Soul, "Basketball Jones" by Cheech & Chong, "King Tut" by Steve Martin, "Makin'
It" by David Naughton, "Gee Whiz" by Bernadette Peters, "Killin' Time" by Susan
Anton, "Far From Over" by Frank Stallone, "They Don't Know" by Tracey Ullman,
"Respect Yourself" by Bruce Willis, "She's Like the Wind" by Patrick Swayze, "Do
the Bartman" by the Simpsons, "U.N.I.T.Y." by Queen Latifah, "The Chanukah
Song" by Adam Lambert, "Gigolo" by Nick Cannon, "Stars are Blind" by Paris
Hilton, "Dream On" by Neil Patrick Harris, "Ew!" by Jimmy Fallon, "The Hanging
Tree" by Jennifer Lawrence
The Best Guest and Backing Vocals of All Time
Clare Torry using her voice as a supersonic instrument on "The Great Gig in the
Sky" with Pink Floyd
Merry Clayton providing those stratospheric backing vocals on "Gimme
Shelter" by the Rolling Stones, with lead vocals by Mick Jagger
Many years later, Lady Gaga hitting all those crazy high notes in a live
performance of "Gimme Shelter," sharing the stage with Jagger & Co.
David Bowie and Freddie Mercury backing each other up quixotically on the Queen
song "Under Pressure"
Roger Taylor and Brian May hitting those wonderfully high falsetto notes in support of lead
singer Freddie Mercury on Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Years later, Adam Lambert stepping in as lead singer for Queen, after Freddie
Mercury's death; Brian May said that only Lambert could match Mercury's
Richie Sambora wailing that single word "Wanted!" on the Bon Jovi song "Wanted
Dead or Alive"
Steven Tyler and Joe Perry providing electric backing vocals on the Run DMC
cover of the Aerosmith song "Walk this Way"
Joni Mitchell singing her own backing vocals on "Song for Sharon"
The rapper Eve on the Gwen Stefani song "Rich Girl"
Gwen Stefani providing powerful backing vocals on the Moby song "South Side"
Nancy Wilson backing up her sister Ann on "Magic Man" and other Heart hits
Best up-tempo and/or "feel good" songs: "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by George Michael of Wham!,
"Faith" and "Monkey" by George Michael, "Forget You" by Cee-Lo Green, "Walking
on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves, "Celebration" by Kool & the Gang, "Don't Worry Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin,
"Good Golly Miss Molly" and "Tutti Frutti" by Little Richard, "Whole Lotta
Shakin' Goin' On" by Jerry Lee Lewis, "Shock the Monkey" by Peter Gabriel,
"Girls Just Want to Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper, "Twist and Shout" by the Beatles,
"Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, "Book of Love"
by the Monotones, "At the Hop" by Danny and the Juniors, "Duke of Earl" by Gene
Chandler, "Come and Go with Me" by the Dell Vikings, "Young Blood" by the
Coasters and as covered by Bad Company, "Rockin' Robin" by Bobby Day and as
covered by Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five, "Wild Ones" by Flo Rida, "Louie
Louie" by the Kingsmen, "Only the Good Die Young" by Billy Joel, "Crocodile
Rock" and "Bennie and the Jets" by Elton John," "Rapture" by Debbie Harry and
Blondie, "Roar" by Katy Perry, "(Girls) Run the World" by Beyoncé,
"It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones, "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong
Best eerie, bizarre and unusual songs: "Israelites (Don't want
to end up like Bonnie and Clyde") by Desmond Dekker & the Aces; "Five O'Clock
World" by the Vogues; "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by the Tokens; "I'm Flying in
Winchester Cathedral" by Crosby, Stills & Nash; "Solsbury Hill" by Peter
Gabriel; "Copperhead Road" by Steve Earle; "Until the Night" by Billy Joel;
"Captain Jack" by Billy Joel; "White Room" by Cream; "Whiter Shade of Pale" by
Procol Harum; "Ghosts" by Dan Fogelberg; "Ghost/Haunted" by Beyoncé;
"Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd; "Ben" by Michael Jackson (a love song to a
rat!); "Every Breath You Take" by the Police (a stalker song that people get
married to!); "Alone" by Heart (an obsessive stalker song sung by a woman: "And
now it chills me to the bone: How do I get you ALONE?"); "One" by U2 (another
bizarre song people get married to, with lyrics like "Have you come here to play
Jesus to the lepers in your head?"), "After the Gold Rush" by Neil Young,
"Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin
The Top Ten Country Music Vocals of All Time
Hank Williams Sr. singing "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," "Lovesick Blues" and
"Your Cheatin' Heart"
Merle Haggard singing "Today I Started Loving You Again" and "Mama Tried"
George Jones singing "He Stopped Loving Her Today"
Patsy Cline singing "Crazy" and "I Fall to Pieces"
Johnny Cash singing "I Walk the Line" and "Ring of Fire" (the first a vow to be
faithful to his wife, the second a song written by his mistress June Carter)
Roseanne Cash singing "Seven Year Ache" (she is Johnny Cash's daughter)
Willie Nelson singing "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground," "Always on My
Mind" and "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain"
Martina McBride singing "Independence Day"
Conway Twitty singing "It's Only Make Believe" and "Hello Darlin'"
Garth Brooks singing "The Thunder Rolls," "The Dance," "The River," "Friends in
Low Places," and "Shameless" (a song written by Billy Joel)
High Honorable Mention: "Wichita Lineman" by Glen Campbell, "King of the Road"
by Roger Miller, "Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford, "El Paso" by Marty
Robbins, "Forever and Ever Amen" by Randy Travis, "Amarillo by Morning" by
George Strait, "Help Me Make It Through the Night" and "The Highwayman" by Kris
Kristofferson, "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" by Charley Pride, "Coal Miner's
Daughter" by Loretta Lynn, "Blue Yodel #1" ("T" for Texas") by Jimmy Rodgers,
"Stand by Your Man" by Tammy Wynette, "Rose Garden" by Lynn Anderson, "Seven
Spanish Angels" by Ray Charles and Willie Nelson, "Fire on the Mountain" by
Charlie Daniels, "Jolene" by Dolly Parton, "Delta Dawn" and "Would You Lay with
Me in a Field of Stone" by Tanya Tucker, "All the Gold in California" and
"Midnight Choir" ("Will there be Mogen David in Heaven?") and "Broken Lady" by
Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, "It Turns Me Inside Out" by Lee Greenwood,
"Copperhead Road" by Steve Earle, "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift,
"Harper Valley PTA" by Jeanie C. Riley
RCA Studio B, built in 1957, has been called the birthplace of the "Nashville
Sound." A sophisticated style characterized by background vocals and strings,
the Nashville Sound helped revive the popularity of country music and establish
Nashville as "Music City." Some of the recording artists who made RCA Studio B a
musical Mecca include Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, the Everly Brothers, Charley
Pride, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Connie
Francis, Don Gibson, Al Hirt, Roger Miller, Dolly Parton, Jim Reeves and
Connie Smith. Some of the better-known songs
recorded there include "It's Now or Never" and "Crying in the Chapel" by Elvis
Presley, "Crying" and "Only the Lonely" by Roy Orbison, "All I Have to Do Is
Dream" and "Cathy's Clown" by the Everly Brothers, "Kiss an Angel Good Morning"
by Charley Pride, "I Will Always Love You" and "Jolene" by Dolly Parton (written
on the same day at Studio B!), "What's He Doing in My World" by Eddy Arnold,
"Green Green Grass of Home" by Porter Wagoner, "Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro, "T
for Texas" by Grandpa Jones, and "San Antonio Rose" by Floyd Cramer.
Elvis Presley's second post-army recording session took place at Nashville’s RCA
studio on April 3, 1960. He was joined by a roomful of Nashville's A-list
musicians: Scotty Moore and Hank Garland on guitar, Bob Moore on bass, D. J.
Fontana and Buddy Harman on drums, Floyd Cramer on piano, Boots Randolph on sax,
and the Jordanaires and Charlie Hodge on background vocals. Steve Sholes and
Chet Atkins were producers with Bill Porter as the engineer. During this session
Elvis recorded "It's Now or Never," a newly-written song that borrowed the
melody from the opera aria "O Sole Mio." Vocally, the song was quite a departure
from the material Elvis had been recording. Other hits recorded by Elvis at RCA
Studio B include "Are You Lonesome Tonight," "How Great Thou Art," "Little
Sister," "A Fool Such as I," "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck," "Good Luck Charm"
and "Surrender." According to Gordon Stoker, Elvis would show up an hour late
for a 6pm session, order Krystal hamburgers, warm up for a couple hours by
singing gospel numbers, then record all night.
Two singers Elvis declined to cover were Roy Orbison and Dobie Gray. "We Had It
All" was apparently written for Elvis, but when he heard Dobie Gray's demo of
the song, he didn't think he could improve on it. Elvis held Roy Orbison in
exalted regard, saying that Orbison
had the "most perfect voice" and referring to him as the "greatest singer
in the world" during one of his Vegas concerts. The respect was mutual because
Orbison said of Elvis: "His energy was incredible, his instinct was just amazing
... I just didn't know what to make of it. There was just no reference point in
the culture to compare it to." Or as John Lennon noted: "Before Elvis there
was nothing." But Elvis was apparently equally awed by Orbison, telling him at
one of concerts: "You're that good that I’ll never
appear on stage with you!"
The term "Nashville Sound" was first used in a 1958 article in the Music
Reporter. Pioneers of the Nashville
Sound included Lynn Anderson, Whisperin' Bill Anderson, Eddy Arnold, Bobby Bare,
Jim Ed Brown, Chet Atkins, Patsy Cline, Skeeter Davis, Little
Jimmy Dean, Ferlin Husky, George Jones, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Charlie McCoy,
Ray Price, Jim Reeves, Charlie Rich, Kenny Rogers, Hank Snow, Ray Stevens,
Ernest Tubb, Conway Twitty, Kitty Wells,
Dottie West and Tammy Wynette.
Mel Tillis had one of the all-time great jokes: "I had a handicap and turned it
into an ass-ass-asset." Tillis may have been dubbed the Stutterin’ Boy (the
title of his autobiography), but he was a smooth singer with a deep, rich
baritone voice. He also wrote over 1,000 songs during his long and storied
career, which began in earnest with a record deal in 1958 when he had his first
Top 40 hit with "The Violet and the Rose." But Tillis was something of a late
bloomer who didn't have his first number one song until 1972 at age 40. The best
vocal performances of Mel Tillis include "Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town,"
"Wine (Pretty Red Wine)," "Who's Julie," "I Believe in You," "Life Turned Her
That Way," "The Arms of a Fool," "Rose of El Paso" and "Detroit City."
The Top Ten Gospel Songs of All Time
Enya angelically singing "O Come O Come Emmanuel"
Vince Gill singing "Go Rest High on that Mountain" (a song he wrote for his
brother after his death)
Mahalia Jackson singing
"Trouble of the World"
Aretha Franklin and Joe Ligon of The Mighty Clouds
Of Joy singing "I've Been in the Storm Too Long" with tremendous passion,
conviction and artistry
Elvis Presley singing "Peace in the Valley"
Hank Williams Sr. singing "I Saw the Light"
Patti Labelle singing "You'll Never Walk Alone"
Etta James singing "Amazing Grace"
"It Is Well With My Soul" By Wesley Pritchard and
Gillian Welch with Allison Krauss singing a bluegrass version of "I'll Fly Away"
High Honorable Mention: "Down to the River to Pray" by Allison Krauss, "Mary Did
You Know" by Pentatonix, "Can the Circle be Unbroken" by The Carter Family, "El
Shaddai" by Amy Grant, "People Get Ready" by Al Green, "The Holy City
(Jerusalem) by the Three Tenors, "You Raise Me Up" by Celtic Women, "The Prayer"
by Celine Dion and Josh Groban, "Take Me to Church" by Hozier
Michael McDonald played keyboards and sang lead and backing vocals with Steely
Dan before joining the Doobie Brothers in 1976. While with
the Doobies, McDonald was the lead vocalist on "What a Fool Believes,"
"Minute By Minute," "Takin' It to the Streets," "It Keeps You Runnin'," "Real
Love," "One Step Closer" and other songs. After leaving the group in 1982, he
went on to record eight solo albums and some of the best duets of all time,
including "On My Own" with Patti LaBelle, "Ever Changing Times" with Aretha
Franklin, "Yah-Mo Be There" with James Ingram, and "This Is It" with Kenny
Loggins. McDonald's solo hits include "I Keep Forgettin'," "You Belong to Me" (a
song he wrote with Carly Simon) and "Sweet Freedom."
Steely Dan was called "more of a concept than a band" by Rolling Stone,
and its founders worked with a wide range of studio musicians (at least 42,
according to Wikipedia, and 11 engineers!). In addition to Michael McDonald and
another future Doobie Brother, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, the eclectic Becker and
Fagen collaborated with Barbara Streisand (who recorded one of their early
songs), Rickie Lee Jones (produced by Becker), Rick Derringer, Mark Knopfler,
Elliot Randall, Lee Ritenour, Kenny Loggins, Boz Scaggs and even Chevy Chase
(who played drums with Becker and Fagen in a band called Bad Rock Group).
Per Rolling Stone: Of all the British Invasion singers, Eric Burdon had
the most physically imposing voice. When he burst onto the scene in 1964, his
voice was "big and dark," says Steve Van Zandt. "He invented the genre of the
white guy singing low."
One might speculate that hard rock has its roots in that harder, darker edge
created by Eric Burdon and the Animals, when Elvis and the Beatles were decidedly less threatening!
Music Trivia: Celine Dion's signature song and biggest hit "My Heart Will Go On"
almost didn't get released. In fact, her only recording of the song was a
one-take demo! (A flawless demo, obviously.) She didn't want to cut the demo and
had to be persuaded to do so by her husband. Titanic director James Cameron
didn't want to use it, but thought the movie needed a theme song for promotional
purposes. (There was a LOT of money on the line.) Cameron worried that the song
might be seen as "too commercial." Kate Winslet complained that the song made
her feel like "throwing up" and caused her to have "massive internal eye-rolls"
whenever she heard it performed! Maxim deemed it "the second most
tragic event ever to result from that fabled ocean liner." But really, the song
is a heartfelt love ballad (what on earth is wrong with that?) and Celine's
singing is out of this world. Heavenly. It's not one of my all-time favorite
songs, but it is a very impressive―and very good―vocal performance. I will give
the song a solid B and the singing an A+.
Music Trivia: Elvis was a blond! He died his hair black using Clairol "Black
Velvet" 51D hair dye. Elvis was a fan of Captain Marvel and his hair color,
jumpsuits, capes, boots and golden lightning bolts were apparently inspired by
the superhero. Elvis's childhood collection of Captain Marvel comic books still
exists in the attic of his Graceland mansion.
The Best Vocal Performances by Seal (aka Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide
Adeola Samuel, born February 19, 1963): "Kiss from a Rose," "Crazy," "A
Change is Gonna Come," "I've Been Loving You Too Long," "Prayer for the Dying,"
"Fly Like an Eagle," "Walk On By," "Get It Together," "Love's Divine"
Leonard Cohen is gone at age 82. And while Cohen may not have been one of the
greatest vocalists, he certainly inspired great vocalists with songs like
"Hallelujah" (covered by nearly everybody, including Jeff Buckley, Rufus
Wainwright, K. D. Lang, Celine Dion, Michael McDonald, Michael Bolton, Bon Jovi,
Bono, Susan Boyle, John Cale, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, LeAnne Rimes, Justin
Timberlake, Pentatonix and Il Divo), "Suzanne"
(covered by Judy Collins, Neil Diamond, Nina Simone, Roberta Flack, Fairport
Convention, Peter Gabriel, Pearls Before Swine and Nick Cave), "Bird on a Wire"
(covered by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Jennifer Warnes, Joe Cocker, The Neville
Brothers and Katey Sagal), "Famous Blue Raincoat" (covered by Tori Amos), "First
We Take Manhattan" (covered by R.E.M.), "I Can't Forget" (covered by the
Pixies), "Master Song" (covered by Beck), "You Know Who I Am" (covered by Mama
Cass Elliot), "I'm Your Man" (covered by Elton John and Michael Bublé), "In My
Secret Life (covered by Eric Burdon), and "Tower of Song" (covered by U2 and Tom
Leon Russell passed away at age 74. Russell is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He started out as
session player in the 1950's. In the early 1960's he played clubs in the Los
Angeles area with David Gates, later of Bread fame. Russell played on dozens of
hit records, including "Monster Mash," "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Help Me Rhonda,"
"This Diamond Ring (Doesn't Shine for me Anymore)" and "Danke Schoen" by Wayne
Newton. In 1969 Russell formed Shelter Records and went solo with songs like
"Tightrope," "Lady Blue," "A Song for You," "Back to the Island,"
"Bluebird," "Roll Away the Stone," "Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms," "Watching the
River Flow," "Dixie Lullaby," "This Masquerade" (covered by George Benson) and "Superstar" (covered by the Carpenters).
Glen Campbell played guitar with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Elvis Presley, from the
Monkees to Cream, and he will be greatly and intensely missed. Alice Cooper
called him one of the five best guitar players in the world, rock or country,
and said that Eddie Van Halen once sought him out for guitar lessons. Campbell played
bass and sang falsetto harmonies with the Beach Boys, filling in for Brian
Wilson from 1964-1965, and was asked to become a member of the group. He played
some mean bagpipes on "Mull of Kintyre" and
yodeled on "Lovesick Blues." He
co-starred in True Grit with John Wayne and sang the title song. In
1967 he won an unprecedented four Grammies in the country and pop categories. As a singer he had a golden voice and perfect
pitch. These are the best vocal performances of Glen Campbell: "You'll Never
Walk Alone," "Lovesick Blues" and "Lightning in a Bottle" (so clear and pure on
the high notes), "It's Over" and "Crying" (his stellar covers of two Roy
Orbison classics), "It's Only Make Believe" (his cover of the Conway Twitty
hit), "Wichita Lineman," "Galveston," "Am I All Alone (Or Is It Only Me)" (the
harmonies with Vince Gil are so good they seem to be singing with one voice), "I
Knew Jesus (Before He Was a Superstar)," "Woman, Woman,"
"Without You" (his 1972 cover of the Badfinger/Harry Nilsson song), "Don't
Pull Your Love Out On Me Baby," "Tomorrow Never Comes," "Adios," "Highwayman"
(he recorded it before the country supergroup of the same name), "Only the
Lonely" (his cover of the Roy Orbison song), "Guess I'm Dumb" (his lead vocals
with the Beach Boys), "Where's the Playground Susie" (interesting colors in his
higher register), "I Wanna Live," "Until it's Time for You to Go," "Faithless
Love," "I Will Never Pass this Way Again," "Still Within the Sound of My Voice,"
"Gentle on My Mind," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Turn Around Look at Me," "Rhinestone
Cowboy," "Southern Nights," "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" (this song
about his struggles with Alzheimer's Disease begins with the poignant line ""I'm
still here but yet I'm gone ..."), "Where Shadows Never Fall" (hopefully, where
he ended up!)
Chuck Berry's best songs and vocal performances: Johnny B. Goode, No Particular
Place to Go, Maybellene, Nadine, Roll Over Beethoven, Rock and Roll Music, Downbound Train, Promised Land, My Ding-a-Ling, Little Queenie, Sweet Little
Sixteen, Reelin' and Rockin', Memphis Tennessee, C'est La Vie (You Never Can
Tell), Back in the USA, Let It Rock, School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell),
Brown Eyed Handsome Man
Walter Becker of Steely Dan fame died Sunday, September 3, 2017 at age 67. When
I think of Steely Dan, the word that comes to mind is "smooth." Also "ironic," since Steely Dan is
probably the only band named after a giant pneumatic dildo! Walter
Becker's best vocal performances with his longtime partner Donald Fagen include
"Deacon Blues," "Babylon Sister," "Gaslighting Abbie," "FM (No Static At All),"
"Hey Nineteen," "Reelin' in the Years," "Do It Again," "Josie,"
"Aja," "Black Cow," "The Fez," "Rikki Don't
Loose That Number," "Peg"
Graham Nash, a member of the Hollies and later Crosby Stills & Nash [& sometimes
Young], was initially attracted to music by Samuel Barber's "Adagio for
Strings." The iconic vocalist called the instrumental an "incredibly emotional
piece of music." But when Nash and his musical partner
Allan Clarke started the Hollies, their primary inspirations were the pure
harmonies of the Everly Brothers. "Who the [expletive] would've NOT been a fan
of the Everly Brothers?" Nash asked in an interview, still a fan at age
75. Who indeed? Graham Nash is not a fan of
Donald Trump; he says Trump has encouraged the KKK, neo-Nazis and other
"crazies." Nash says it's his job to tell the truth, to reflect "the times
in which we live," and to spread "more love, more peace, more creation, every
day." That, he says, is what he wants for the remainder of his life. The best
vocal performances of Graham Nash include lead vocals and/or harmonies on the
haunting "(I'm Flying in Winchester) Cathedral," "Teach Your Children," "Our
House," "Suite Judy Blue Eyes," "Wooden Ships," "Just a Song Before I Go," "Déjà
Vu," "Love is the Reason," "Simple Man," "Southern Cross," "Ohio," "Woodstock,"
"Chicago," "Wasted on the Way" and old Hollies classics like
"Carrie Anne" and "Bus Stop."
The best songs and vocal performances of Gregg Allman, the lead singer
of the Allman Brothers: I'm No Angel, One Way Out, Whipping Post,
(Sweet) Melissa, Midnight Rider, Tuesday's Gone, Desdemona, Blue Sky, Soulshine,
It's Not My Cross to Bear, Dreams, Ramblin' Man, Floating Bridge, Don't Mess Up
a Good Thing, Ain't Wastin' Time No More, Statesboro Blues, Will the Circle be
Unbroken, Stormy Monday, No One to Run With, Wasted Words, Southbound, Rockin'
Horse, Come and Go Blues, Queen of Hearts, Multi-Colored Lady, Sailin' 'Cross
the Devil's Sea, Just Ain't Easy, High Cost of Low Living,
Old Before My Time
The best songs and vocal performances of Chris Cornell, the lead singer of
Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog: Say Hello 2 Heaven, Hunger Strike, Rusty Cage, Fell On Black Days, Black Hole Sun, Outshined, Seasons, Jesus Christ
Pose, Burden in My Hand, The Day I Tried to Live, The
Promise, Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart, Scream, Slaves and Bulldozers, Hands All Over, I Am the Highway, Loud Love, Ground Zero, Spoonman, Cochise, Ty Cobb, Show Me How to Live, You Know My Name,
plus covers of Immigrant Song, Imagine, A Day in the Life, Redemption Song,
Freebird, Billie Jean, Nothing Compares 2 U, I Will Always Love You, Wild World
(duet with Cat Stevens)
The Best Vocal Performances of All Time (Expanded List)
Janis Joplin belting out Heartbreaker, Piece of My Heart, Mercedes Benz, Bobby
McGee, Summertime, Down on Me, Move Over, Try, Cry Baby
Amateurs need not apply when Etta James is singing At Last, I'd Rather Go Blind,
I've Been Loving You Too Long, Stormy Weather
Luciano Pavarotti singing Ave Maria, Nessun Dorma, O Sole Mio, Caruso, La Donna
e Mobile, Torna a Surriento, All for Love, It's a Man's World
Andrea Bocelli singing Con te Partiro, Nessum Dorma, Ave Maria, The Lord's Prayer, The Prayer,
Time to Say Goodbye
Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit, Summertime, God Bless the Child, All of
Me, I'll Be Seeing You, Gloomy Sunday, Solitude, For All We Know
Celine Dion singing All By Myself, I Surrender, The Power
of Love, My Heart Will Go On, Beauty and the Beast, I Drove All Night
Bobby Hatfield singing Unchained Melody, Only You, Ebb Tide, My Prayer, My Girl,
When a Man Loves a Woman, I Need a Girl, Dream On
Bill Medley singing You'll Never Walk Alone, You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling,
Soul and Heart Inspiration, The Time of My Life, Just Once in My Life
The elfin and magical Janet Devlin singing Your Song, Friday in Love, Time After
Time, Mad World, Stay With Me, Jolene, Numb, Hallelujah
Julie London sweetly and smokily singing Cry Me a River, Blue Moon, My Funny
Valentine, As Time Goes By, God Bless the Child, Sway, Perfidia
Aretha Franklin singing Spanish Harlem, Chain of Fools, Respect, Think, Natural
Woman, Nessun Dorma, I Get High, A Change is Gonna Come
Elvis Presley singing Blue Moon, Fever, American Trilogy, Heartbreak Hotel, Jailhouse Rock, In the Ghetto,
Suspicious Minds, Peace in the Valley
Dobie Gray singing Drift Away, Loving Arms, We Had It All, The In Crowd, Who's
Loving You, Out on the Floor, There's a
Honky Tonk Angel
K. D. Lang singing Hallelujah, Crying (solo and with Roy Orbison), Constant
Craving, Helpless, The Air that I Breathe, Miss Chatelaine
Whitney Houston singing I Have Nothing, I Will Always Love You, One Moment in
Time, How Will I Know, Run to You, Greatest Love of All
Jackie Wilson "Mr. Excitement" with that four-octave voice singing Lonely Teardrops, Higher and Higher, I Love You So, Danny Boy,
Chuck Berry singing Johnny B. Goode, No Particular Place to Go, Maybellene,
Nadine, Roll Over Beethoven, Rock and Roll Music, Downbound Train
Ronnie James Dio singing Holy Diver, Rainbow in the Dark, Stargazer, Last in
Line, Heaven and Hell, Man on the Silver Mountain, This is Your Life
Percy Sledge singing When a Man Loves a Woman, Try a Little Tenderness, If Loving You is Wrong, Cover
Me, Bring It on Home to Me
Bob Seger singing Turn the Page, Night Moves, Against the Wind, Roll Me Away,
Still the Same, Like a Rock, Main Street, We've Got Tonight
Josh Groban singing You Raise Me Up, To Where You Are, Broken Vow, February
Song, The Prayer, Awake,
Sam Cooke singing A Change Is Gonna Come, Chain Gang, Cupid, Bring it on Home, You
Send Me, Another Saturday Night, Wonderful World
Barbara Streisand singing Memory, Somewhere, Guilty, Stoney End, Woman in Love,
The Way We Were, Evergreen, People, What Kind of Fool
Marvin Gaye beautifully singing Sexual Healing, Let's Get It On, Mercy Mercy Me,
What's Going On, I Heard It Through the Grapevine
Martina McBride singing Independence Day, Broken Wing, Anyway, Concrete Angel,
I'm Gonna Love You Through It, This One's for the Girls
Alicia Keys singing Fallin', No One, Girl on Fire, If I Ain't Got You, Wild
Horses, In Common, Holy War, A Woman's Worth, Hallelujah
Bruno Mars singing When I Was Your Man, Stay, Grenade, Just the Way You Are, It Will
Rain, Uptown Funk, Marry You, Gorilla, 24
Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones singing Satisfaction, Wild Horses, Angie, Miss
You, Shattered, Paint It Black, Sympathy for the Devil, Gimme Shelter
Little Richard, who taught Lennon those primal screams, performing Tutti Frutti, Good Golly Miss Molly, Lawdy Miss
Clawdy, Lucille, Long Tall Sally
John Lennon of the Beatles singing Imagine,
Twist and Shout, Working
Class Hero, Give Peace a Chance, Mother, Woman, Instant Karma
Paul McCartney of the Beatles singing Hey Jude, Let It Be, Eleanor Rigby,
Yesterday, Penny Lane, All My Loving, Uncle Albert, Band on the Run
George Harrison of the Beatles singing Here Comes the Sun, Dark Horse, My Sweet Lord, Something, What Is Life, Give Me
Ringo Starr of the Beatles singing With a Little Help from My Friends, Yellow
Submarine, Photograph, It Don't Come Easy, You're Sixteen
George Michael of Wham! singing Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Last Christmas,
Freedom, I'm Your Man, Faith, Careless Whisper, Father Figure
Jimi Hendrix playing and singing All Along the Watchtower, Purple Haze, The Wind
Cries Mary, Hey Joe, Voodoo Chile, Little Wing, Angel, Foxy Lady
Ray Charles singing What I Say, Hit the Road Jack, I Can't Stop Loving
You, Georgia on My Mind
Lady Gaga singing (I Was) Born This Way, Poker Face, Paparazzi, Edge of Glory,
Alejandro, You and I, Monster, Just Dance, Applause
Rihanna singing Stay, Diamonds, Umbrella, Love the Way You Lie, Russian
Roulette, We Found Love, Take a Bow, What's My Name
Beyoncé singing Halo, Heaven, Jealous, No Angel, If I Were a Boy, Crazy
in Love, Irreplaceable, Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), Love on Top
Lorde singing: Royals, In the Air Tonight, Green Light, Team, Sober, Everybody
Wants to Rule the World, All Apologies, Tennis Court, Magnets
Tanya Tucker singing Delta Dawn, Would You Lay with Me in a Field of Stone?,
It's a Little Too Late, What's Your Mama's Name Child
The Everly Brothers with those amazing harmonies on Love Hurts, Bye Bye Love,
All I Have to Do is Dream, Wake Up Little Susie, Cathy's Clown
Mahalia Jackson singing Trouble of the World, Amazing Grace, There Is a Balm in
Gilead, His Eye Is on the Sparrow, Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho
Nat King Cole singing Unforgettable, Mona Lisa, When I Fall in Love (It Will Be
Forever), The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
Gene Chandler singing Duke of Earl, Just Be True, Bless Our Love, What Now
James Brown singing I Feel Good, It's a Man's World, Please Please Please, Get
on Up, Papa's Got a Brand New Bag, Say It Loud I'm Black & Proud
Dan McCafferty of Nazareth belting out Love Hurts, one of the greatest love
songs of all time, and Hair of the Dog ("Son of a Bitch")
Michael Hutchence of Simply Red on Holding Back the Years, If You Don't Know Me
By Now, You Make Me
Feel Brand New
Bruce Springsteen singing Born to Run, Thunder Road, Rosalita, She's the
One, Jungleland, Glory Days, Dancing in the Dark, Born in the USA,
Tina Turner singing River Deep Mountain High, Proud Mary, Nutbush,
Private Dancer, What's Love Got to Do with It, We Don't Need Another Hero
Lou Christie hitting those laser-like high notes on Lightnin' Strikes (Again)
and Two Faces Have I
Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees
singing I Started a Joke, Massachusetts, Message to You, Holiday, How Do You
Mend a Broken Heart, Lamplight, Juliet
Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees
singing Words, Run to Me, Staying Alive, Night Fever, Tragedy, Guilty (with
Barbara Streisand), Fanny, Alone, Jive Talkin'
Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees
singing Nights on Broadway (those super-high background falsettos), Wildflower
and Closer than Close (lead vocals)
Andy Gibb singing Shadow Dancing, I Just Want to Be Your Everything, Desire,
Don't Throw It All Away, An Everlasting Love, Thicker than Water
Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons singing Rag Doll, Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry,
Walk Like a Man, Dawn, December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)
Al Stewart with that sweet, haunting voice singing Roads to Moscow, Time
Passages, Year of the Cat, Song on the Radio, On the Border
Amy Lee of Evanescence singing My Immortal, Bring Me Back to Life
Peter Gabriel of Genesis singing In Your Eyes, Sledgehammer, Solsbury Hill,
Shock the Monkey, Big Time, Biko
Lou Gramm of Foreigner singing I Want to Know What Love Is, Urgent, Juke Box
Hero, Hot Blooded, Cold As Ice, Double Vision, Waiting
Sinead O'Connor angelically and hauntingly singing Nothing Compares 2U, House of the Rising Sun,
Danny Boy, Molly Malone, All Apolgies
Cat Stevens singing Oh Very Young, Peace Train, Moonshadow, Morning Has Broken,
Where Do the Children Play, Wild World, Can't Keep It In
Dan Fogelberg singing Ghosts, The Sand and the Foam, The Reach, The Lion's
Share, Longer, Same Old Lang Syne, Make Love Stay, Netherlands
Eric Carmen of the Raspberries singing All By Myself, Hungry Eyes, Never Gonna
Fall in Love Again, Go All the Way, I'm
Through with Love
Cher singing Gypsies Tramps and Thieves, Believe, If I Could Turn Back Time,
Half-Breed, I Got You Babe, The Beat Goes On, Bang Bang
Sonny and Cher singing I Got You Babe, Bang Bang, The Beat Goes On, It Never
Rains in Southern California
Jackson Browne singing Doctor My Eyes, The Pretender, The Load-Out / Stay,
Running on Empty, Rock Me on the Water
Linda Ronstadt singing Different Drum, Blue Bayou, You're No Good, When Will I
Be Loved, I Don't Know Much with Aaron Neville
Patti Labelle singing Lady Marmalade, On My Own (with Michael McDonald), New
Attitude, Stir It Up
Brad Delph of Boston singing More Than a Feeling, Foreplay/Long Time, Smokin',
Peace of Mind, Hollyann, We're Ready, Rock &
Steve Walsh of Kansas singing Dust in the Wind, Carry on My Wayward Son, Point
of Know Return, All I Wanted, Play the Game Tonight
Michael Hutchence of INXS singing Devil Inside, Need You Tonight, Suicide
Blonde, Way of the World, Let It Ride, Shine, Never Tear Us Apart
Johnny Cash singing I Walk the Line (a song in which he pledged to be faithful
to his wife) and Ring of Fire (a song written by his mistress)
Gary Brooker of Procol Harum singing the eerie masterpiece Whiter Shade of Pale
(the most-performed-and-played song in England the last 70 years)
Simon & Garfunkel singing Bridge Over Troubled Water, El Condor Pasa,
America, The Boxer, The Sound of Silence, Homeward Bound, Cecilia
Buddy Holly singing Rave On, Not Fade Away, Words of Love, True Love Ways, Everyday, That'll Be the Day, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy!, It's
Howlin' Wolf singing Smoke Stack Lighting, Back Door Man, Cause of It All, How
Many More Years, Moanin' at Midnight, I Asked Her for Water
Louis Armstrong singing Hello Dolly, Saint James Infirmary Blues, What a
Wonderful World, When the Saints Go Marching In
Hank Williams Sr. singing I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, Lovesick Blues, Your
Cheatin' Heart, Hey Good Lookin', Kaw-Liga,
Jerry Lee Lewis singing Great Balls of Fire, Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On, Wild One,
I'm on Fire
Christian Aguilera belting out the James Brown classic It's a Man's World,
I Will Be, Oh Mother, Beautiful, Hurt, At Last and
Genie in a Bottle
Eminem rapping on Stan, Lose Yourself, Love the Way You Lie, The Real Slim
Shady, My Name Is, Not Afraid, Headlights, Rap God, Without Me
Vince Gill singing Go Rest High on that Mountain (a song he wrote initially for
Keith Whitely, then finished as an elegy for his older brother Bob)
Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys singing God Only Knows, In My Room, Good
Vibrations, I Get Around, Little Saint Nick, Don't Worry Baby
Smokey Robinson singing Tracks of My Tears, Tears of a Clown, Ooh Baby Baby,
Just to See Her, Cruisin'
George Jones, the most soulful country artist, singing He Stopped Loving Her
Today, She Thinks I Still Care
Neal Diamond singing I Am I Said, Solitary Man, I'm a Believer, Cracklin' Rosie,
Cherry Cherry, America, Love on the
Adam Levine of Maroon 5 singing She Will Be Loved, Payphone, Sugar, Moves Like
Jagger, Animals, Don't Wanna Know, One More Night
Blake Shelton singing Austin, Honey Bee, Came Here to Forget, Ol' Red, Hillbilly
Bone, God Gave Me You, She's Got a Way with Words
Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield singing "For What It's Worth"
Elvis Costello of the Attractions singing Alison, Everyday I Write the Book,
Veronica, Radio Radio, She, Peace Love and Understanding
Darryl Hall of Hall & Oates singing She's Gone, Sara Smile, Rich Girl, Maneater,
Kiss on My List, I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)
Sam Smith singing Stay With Me, I'm Not the Only
One, Money on My Mind, Latch, La La La, Like I Can, Omen
Five for Fighting (Vladimir John Ondrasik III)
singing Superman (It's Not Easy), 100 Years, All I
Know, The Riddle, Chances, What If
Levon Helm of The Band singing The Weight, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,
Up on Cripple Creek, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Ophelia
Ronnie Van Zandt of Lynyrd Skynyrd singing Free Bird, Simple Man, Call Me the
Breeze, Tuesday's Gone, Sweet Home Alabama, Gimme Three Steps
John Fogerty of CCRl singing Fortunate Son, Have You Ever Seen the Rain, Who'll
Stop the Rain, Proud Mary, Green River, Bad Moon Rising, Lodi
Melanie Safka singing Lay Down (Candles in the Rain), Brand New Key, What Have
They Done To My Song Ma?, Ring The Living Bell
Eric Burdon of The Animals and War singing House of the Rising Sun, We Gotta Get
Out of this Place, Don't Let Me Be
Misunderstood, Spill the Wine
The Vogues yodeling their way to immortality with their eerie Five O'Clock World
Patsy Cline singing Crazy, I Fall to Pieces, Walkin' After Midnight
Amy Grant singing Breath of Heaven, El Shaddai, Agnus Dei, Baby Baby, I Will
Kurt Cobain of Nirvana singing Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come as You Are, All
Apologies, Lithium, In the Pines (Where Did You Sleep Last Night?)
Bono of U2 singing One, Pride, Sunday Bloody Sunday, With or Without You, Where
the Streets Have No Name
Brian Johnson of AC/DC singing You Shook Me All Night Long, Back in Black,
Hell's Bells, Who Made Who, TNT, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young singing
Winchester Cathedral, Wooden Ships, Woodstock, Suite Judy Blue Eyes, Ohio, Carry On, Deja Vu
Ron Argent and the Zombies were years ahead of their time with She's Not There
and Time of the Season
Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues singing Nights in White Satin, In Your Wildest
Dreams, I'm Just a Singer, Tuesday Afternoon, Question
Billy Joel singing Captain Jack, Piano Man, Until the Night, New York State of
Mind, Italian Restaurant, Goodnight Saigon, Allentown
Elton John singing Tiny Dancer, Levon, Daniel, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Border
Song, Sacrifice, Rocket Man, Funeral for a Friend
Enya singing O Come O Come Emmanuel, May It Be, Orinco Flow (Sail Away), Book of Days, Only Time,
Anywhere Is, Wild Child, Storms in Africa
Cyndi Lauper singing Time After Time, Change of Heart, Hatful Of Stars, Who Let In
The Rain, Good Enough, True Colors, Sisters of Avalon, She Bop
Dido angelically singing Thank You, White Flag, Here with Me, Stan, If I Rise,
I'm No Angel, Life For Rent, Sand In My Shoes, Hunter, End of Night
Madonna singing This Used to be
My Playground, Cherish, Justify My Love, Papa Don't Preach, Like A Prayer, Ray
Of Light, Live To Tell, Vogue
Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses singing Sweet Child o' Mine, Patience, Knocking
on Heaven's Door, Welcome to the Jungle, Paradise City
Al Green singing Let's Stay Together, Love and Happiness, I'm So Tired of
Being Alone, Call Me, Livin' for You
Prince singing Little Red Corvette, When Doves Cry, Kiss, Raspberry Beret,
Purple Rain, 1999, I Would Die 4U, Let's Go Crazy
Little Stevie Wonder singing Always, Fingertips, Superstition, Ribbon in the
Sky, Overjoyed, Sir Duke, I Was Made to Love Her
Otis Redding singing I've Been Loving You Too Long, Dock of the Bay, Try a
Little Tenderness, These Arms of Mine, Respect, Shake, Tramp
Joe Cocker singing an eight-minute version of (I Get By) With a Little Help from
My Friends at Woodstock, and Up Where We Belong
Roy Orbison singing classic songs like Leah, In Dreams, Only the Lonely
and (of course) Crying
Jim Morrison of the Doors singing The End, Riders on the Storm, Touch Me, Light
My Fire, Break on Through (to the Other Side), L.A. Woman
Roberta Flack singing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Killing Me Softly
(With His Song), The Closer I Get to You, Where is the Love
Pink) singing What About Us, What's Going On, Try, Perfect, Just Give Me a Reason, Trouble,
Beautiful Trauma, So What
Adele singing Rolling in the Deep, Rumor Has It, Someone Like You, Set Fire To
The Rain, Skyfall, Turning Tables, Chasing Pavements, Hello
Ian Gillan of Deep Purple employing his crazy vocal range on Smoke on the Water,
Hush and a ten-minute
version of Child in Time
Roger Plant of Led Zeppelin belting out Stairway to Heaven, Black Dog, Whole Lotta Love, Kashmir, Dazed and
Confused, The Immigrant Song
Roger Waters of Pink Floyd singing Comfortably Numb, Learning to Fly, Wish You
Were Here, Money, The Wall, Time, Eclipse, Echoes, Hey You
Annie Lennox singing Why, Walking On Broken Glass, Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of
This), Missionary Man, Little Bird, Here Comes The Rain Again
Joni Mitchell singing Big Yellow Taxi, Woodstock, Help Me, Both Sides Now, Free
Man In Paris, River, Blue, Chelsea Morning
Lara Fabian singing Je T'aime, Broken Vow
Nick Drake singing (When the) Day is Done, Pink Moon, From the Morning, Hazy
Jane I & II, River Man, Time of No Reply, Northern Sky
Peter Hollens singing Shenandoah, Scarborough Fair, Down by the Salley Gardens,
Poor Wayfaring Stranger, Loch Lomond, Hallelujah
Jackie Evancho singing Ave Maria, Nessun Dorma, Lovers, Time to Say Goodbye, or some random leaf
of the Yellow Pages!
Don Henley singing Hotel California, Desperado, Take It Easy,
Victim of Love, Best of My Love, Dirty
Laundry, Boys of Summer
Sting of the Police singing Roxanne, Fields of Gold, Every Breath You Take,
Russians, Desert Rose, If I Ever Lose My Faith in You
Michael Jackson singing Man in the Mirror, Smooth Criminal, Dirty Diana, Bad,
Billie Jean, Beat It, She's Out of My Life, Thriller, Black or White
David Bowie singing Space Oddity, Modern Love, Suffragette
City, Fame, Changes, Heroes, Young Americans, Ziggy Stardust, China Girl
Mariah Carey singing Vision of
Love, Love Takes Time, Someday, I Don't Wanna Cry, One Sweet Day, Hero, Fantasy, Loverboy, Dreamlover
Bob Marley of the Wailers singing Redemption Song, Red Red Wine, I Shot the
Sheriff, Get Up Stand Up, No Woman No Cry
Jon Bon Jovi singing Bed of Roses, Blaze of Glory, Runaway, Livin' on a Prayer,
Wanted Dead or Alive, Hallelujah, Bad Medicine
John Cougar Mellencamp singing Pink Houses, Jack and Diane, Cherry Bomb, Hurts So Good,
Rain on the Scarecrow
Katy Perry singing Wide Awake, Firework, E.T., Roar, The One that Got
Away, I Kissed A Girl, The One That Got Away, Part Of Me, Dark Horse
B. B. King singing The Thrill Is Gone, Lucille, How Blue Can You Get?, Why I
Sing the Blues, When Love Comes to Town
Ben E. King singing Stand By Me, Spanish Harlem
Frank Sinatra singing Strangers in the Night, My Way, That's Life, Fly Me to the Moon, The Way You Look
Tonight, New York New York
Neil Young singing Heart of Gold, Southern Man, After the Gold Rush, Old Man,
The Needle and the Damage Done, Ohio, Rockin' in the Free World
Rod Stewart singing Maggie May, I Don't Want to Talk about It, The
Killing of Georgie, Tonight's the Night, Downtown Train
Steve Perry singing Open Arms, Send Her My Love, Who's Crying Now,
Faithfully, Wheel in the Sky, Still They Ride, Separate Ways
Freddie Mercury singing Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, The Show Must Go On, Somebody to Love, Who Wants to Live Forever, Radio Ga Ga
Joan Baez singing Diamonds and Rust, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,
Blowin' in the Wind
Judy Collins singing Send in the Clowns, Both Sides Now, Someday Soon, Suzanne,
Amazing Grace, In My Life, Turn! Turn! Turn!
Carole King singing You've Got a Friend, It's Too Late, So Far Away, Been To
Canaan, I Feel The Earth Move, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Stevie Nicks singing Landslide, The Chain, Dreams, Rhiannon, Gypsy, Sara, Gold
Dust Woman, Stand Back, Leather And Lace, Edge Of Seventeen
Michael Bublé singing just about anything with that
incredibly warm, smooth voice of his
Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops singing Baby I Need Your Loving
Jack Bruce of Cream singing White Room, Sunshine of Your Love and
Eric Clapton singing Layla, I Shot the Sheriff, Change the World, Knocking on
Tori Amos singing Silent All
these Years, Crucify, Cornflake Girl, Winter, Carry, Spark, God, A Sorta
Dolly Parton singing I Will Always Love You, Jolene, Coat Of Many Colors, 9 To
5, Eagle When She Flies, Romeo, Two Doors Down
Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart singing Dog And Butterfly, Dreamboat Annie,
Straight On, Barracuda, Crazy On You, Magic Man, Never, Heartless
Sade singing The Sweetest Taboo, Smooth Operator, Your Love Is King, Smooth
Operator, No Ordinary Love, Soldier of Love, Kiss of Life
Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac singing As Long As You Follow, Songbird, The
Chain, Don't Stop, Hold Me, Over My Head, Say You Love Me
Carly Simon singing That's The Way I Always Heard It Should Be,
You're So Vain, Let The River
Run, Anticipation, You Belong To Me, Jesse
Alanis Morissette singing Uninvited, Ironic, You Learn,
You Oughta Know, Hand In My Pocket, Thank U, Unsent
Fats Domino singing Blueberry Hill
Bette Midler singing The Rose, Wind Beneath My Wings, From a Distance,
Superstar, You Don't Own Me, Hello in There, In the Mood
Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane singing White Rabbit, Somebody to Love
Mary J. Blige singing Not Gon' Cry
Muddy Waters singing Got My Mojo Workin', Mannish Boy, I'm Your Hoochie Coochie
Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits singing Sultans of Swing, Money for Nothing (MTV),
Walk of Life, Brothers in Arms, Romeo and Juliet
Jeff Buckley singing Hallelujah, Corpus Christi Carol, Grace, Last Goodbye,
Lover You Should Have Come Over
Chris Cornell of Audioslave and Soundgarden singing Black Hole Sun, Billie Jean,
Say Hello 2 Heaven
Rob Halford of Judas Priest singing Breaking the Law, Victim of Changes,
Painkiller, You Got Another Thing Comin', Paranoid
Taylor Swift singing I Knew You
Were Trouble (When You Walked In), Love Story, You Belong with Me, Red, Shake It
Roy Davies of the Kinks singing You Really Got Me, Lola, Waterloo Sunset, All Day and All of the Night, Come
Van Morrison singing Moondance, Tupelo Honey, Brown Eyed Girl, Gloria, Have I
Told You Lately that I Love You, Someone Like You
Allan Clarke of The Hollies singing Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress, The Air
that I Breathe, He Ain't Heavy, Carrie Ann, Bus Stop
Barry White singing My First My Last My Everything, Never Gonna Give You Up, Let
the Music Play, Practice What You Preach
Curtis Mayfield singing People Get Ready
Eddie Cochran singing Summertime Blues
Survivor belting out Eye of the Tiger
Dusty Springfield singing Son of a Preacher Man, I Only Want to Be with You, You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
Joss Stone singing Son of a Preacher Man, I Put a Spell on You, Summertime, Cry
Baby, Piece of My Heart, People Get Ready
Steve Winwood of the Spencer Davis Group singing Gimme Some Lovin', I'm a Man,
Higher Love, Back in the High Life Again
Bonnie Raitt singing Nick of Time, Love Has No Pride (When I Call Out Your
Name), I Can't Make You Love Me, Something to Talk About
Boyz II Men singing One Sweet Day with Mariah Carey
Sarah McLachlan singing Angel
Chris Isaak singing Wicked Game
Jim Croce singing Time in a Bottle, Operator, I'll Have to Say I Love You in a
Song, One Less Set of Footsteps
Black Sabbath pounding out Iron Man, Paranoid and War Pigs
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden wailing Fear of the Dark, Hallowed Be Thy Name,
Flight of Icarus, The Number of the Beast, Run to the Hills
James Hetfield of
Metallica belting out Enter Sandman, Master of Puppets, One, For Whom the Bell
Tolls, Fade to Black, The Unforgiven
Yes singing Roundabout, Owner of a Lonely Heart, I've Seen All Good People, Long
Distance Runaround, Closer to the Edge
Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes singing She Talks to Angels, Hard to Handle,
Remedy, Jealous Again
Gordon Lightfoot singing Sundown, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, If You
Could Read My Mind, Carefree Highway
Kris Kristofferson singing Sunday Morning Coming Down, Loving Her Was Easier, Me
and Bobby McGee, Help Me Make It Through the Night
Michael Stipe of REM singing Everybody Hurts, Losing My Religion
Burton Cummings of the Guess Who singing These Eyes, No Time, Laughing, American
Woman, Clap for the Wolfman, Stand Tall
ABBA singing Dancing Queen, Fernando, Waterloo, Mamma Mia, The Winner Takes It
All, Take a Chance on Me, S.O.S.
Mike and the Mechanics singing The Living Years
Thom Yorke of Radiohead singing Creep, Fake Plastic Trees, Black Swan, Ingénue
Toni Braxton singing Unbreak My Heart
Luther Vandross singing Never Too Much, Superstar, A House Is Not a Home
Usher singing Gone Too Soon (his tribute to Michael Jackson)
Boz Scaggs singing Lowdown, Lido Shuffle, JoJo, Miss Sun, Look What You've Done
to Me, Breakdown Dead Ahead, Dinah Flo
Steely Dan singing Reelin' in the Years, Do It Again, Hey Nineteen, Peg, Deacon
Blues, Rikki Don't Lose That Number, Aja
England Dan and John Ford Coley singing I'd Really Love to See You Tonight, Love
is the Answer, Nights Are Forever
Kenny Rogers singing The Gambler, Lady, Lucille (Don't Take Your Love to Town)
Donovan singing Hurdy Gurdy Man, Mellow Yellow,
Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch, Atlantis, Jennifer Juniper
Lee Greenwood singing It Turns Me Inside Out, Somebody's Gonna Love You, Ring on
Her Finger Time on her Hands, She's Lying, Fool's Gold
Merle Haggard singing Momma Tried
David Phelps singing O Holy Night, Nessun Dorma,
Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam singing Jeremy, Even Flow, Betterman, Black, Corduroy,
Last Kiss, (Don't Call Me) Daughter
Maynard James Keenan of Tool singing Pushit, Eulogy, Sober, Know Your Enemy, The
Barry Manilow singing Mandy, Weekend in New England
Miley Cyrus singing Lilac Wine, When I Look at You, Wrecking Ball, Jolene, The
Climb, Landslide, Don't Say It's Over, We Can't Stop, Party in the USA
Judy Garland singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, The Man that Got Away, The
Trolley Song (Meet Me in St. Louis), Get Happy, I'm Nobody's Baby
Ozzy Osbourne singing Crazy Train, Mama I'm Coming Home, Paranoid, Shot in the
Dark, Bark at the Moon, Suicide Solution
Fred Astaire singing The Way You Look Tonight, Putting on the Ritz, Let's Face
the Music and Dance, Cheek to Cheek
Toto singing Africa, Rosanna, I Won't Hold You Back, Hold the Line, 99, Georgy
Porgy, Stranger in Town
Lee Ann Womack singing A Little Past Little Rock, Last
Call, I Hope You Dance, Ashes By Now, I May Hate Myself in the Morning
Laura Nyro singing Stoney End, And When I Die, Eli's Comin', Wedding Bell Blues,
Stoned Soul Picnic, Sweet Blindness, Walk on By
Terence Trent D'Arby singing Wishing Well, Sign Your Name, If You Let Me Stay,
Dance Little Sister, Delicate, A Change Is Gonna Come
Marion Williams singing We Shall Overcome, I Shall Be
Released, Oh Happy Day!, It Is Well with My Soul, Amazing Grace, Nobody Knows
John Wallace, a hulking bass player, incongruously singing the falsetto
background parts of Harry Chapin's classic song Taxi
Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners singing Come On Eileen
Brian Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe singing The Freshman
Richard Ashcroft of The Verve singing
Jack Ely of the Kingsmen singing the indecipherable lyrics of Louie Louie
Donny Hathaway singing This Christmas, A Song for You, For All We Know, The
Closer I Get to You, The Ghetto, Where Is the Love
Joan Armatrading singing Love
and Affection, Save Me, In These Times, Down to Zero, The Weakness in Me
Bobby "Blue" Bland singing I Pity the Fool, I Ain't Gonna Be the First to Cry, I
Stand Accused, Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone
Sandy Denny singing Who Knows Where the Time Goes
Jesse Colin Young of the Youngbloods singing Darkness, Darkness
Clare Torry hitting those supersonic high notes on The Great Gig in the
Sky with Pink Floyd
Merry Clayton providing those stratospheric backing vocals on Gimme Shelter by
the Rolling Stones
Joe Sample and Lalah Hathaway singing One Day I'll Fly Away, For All We Know,
Phyllis Hyman singing Living All Alone
Sylvia Moy singing Uptight (Everything's Alright), My Cherie Amour, I Was Made
to Love Her, It Takes Two, Honey Chile
Adam Lambert singing Mad World, What Do You Want from Me, Bohemian Rhapsody,
Ring of Fire, Who Wants to Live Forever
Kelly Clarkson singing Miss Independent, Natural Woman, Piece by Piece,
Underneath the Tree, Medicine, Love So Soft
Carrie Underwood singing Independence Day, Jesus Take the Wheel
Clay Aiken singing Solitaire, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Mary Did You Know,
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
Leona Lewis singing Bleeding Love, Better in Time, Broken, Echo, My Hands, Run,
Happy, I Got You, Yesterday, A Moment Like This
Alice Fredenham singing My Funny Valentine, Cry Me a River, Lady is a Tramp, I
Only Have Eyes for You, Crazy in Love
Ariana Grande singing Emotions, The Way
Chris Daughtry singing Hemorrhage
Carly Rose Soneclar singing Feeling Good, Hallelujah, Somewhere Over the
Rainbow, My Heart Will Go On, Rolling in the Deep
Haley Reinhart singing House of the Rising Sun, Bennie and the Jets, I Who Have
Nothing, Rolling in the Deep, God Bless the Child, Fallin', Piece of My Heart
Jordan Smith singing Chandelier, Halo, Set Fire to the Rain, Somebody to Love,
Mary Did You Know
Billy Gilman singing Crying, Anyway, Man in the Mirror, When We Were Young,
Fight Song, Rolling in the Deep, All I Ask, One Voice
Wé McDonald singing Feelin' Good, Take Me to Church, God Bless the Child, Maybe,
No More Drama, Home, Love on the Brain
Jennifer Hudson singing The Circle of Life, I Am Changing
Harry Styles singing Sign of the Times, Two Ghosts, Kiwi, Sweet Creature
Shawn Mendes singing Mercy, There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back, Stitches, Treat You
Better, In My Blood, Isn't She Lovely, Thinking Out Loud
Oasis singing Wonderwall, Champagne Supernova
Morrissey singing Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
Jeff Tweedy of Wilco singing Sunken Treasure, Hate It Here
Bianca Ryan singing The Rose, I'm Changing, Piece of My Heart
Paul Potts singing Nessun Dorma
Pulp singing Common People
Jason Castro singing Hallelujah
Pia Toscano singing Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me, River Deep Mountain High
Regine Velasquez singing I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing, Chandelier, Titanium
Charice Pempengco singing I Will Always Love You, My Heart Will Go On, I Have
Serena Onasis singing whistle notes higher than Mariah Carey on
O Holy Night
Kyla singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Sam Harris singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Bridge Over Troubled Water, I Am
Changing, At Last
Woody Guthrie singing This Land is Your Land, 900 Miles, House of the Rising
Sun, Pretty Boy Floyd, Vigilante Song, I Ain't Got No Song, Deportee, Do-Re-Mi
Arlo Guthrie singing City of New Orleans, Alice's Restaurant, This Land is Your
Pete Seeger singing Where Have All the Flowers Gone, If I Had a Hammer, We Shall
Overcome, Turn! Turn! Turn!, Little Boxes, Wimoweh,
Midnight Special, On Top of Old Smokey
Bob Dylan singing Like a Rolling Stone (the number one rock song according to
Rolling Stone), Blowin' in the Wind (the number one folk song), Lay
Lady Lay, Tangled Up in Blue
John Prine singing There's a Hole in Daddy's Arm (Where the Money Goes)
Lou Reed singing Take a Walk on the Wild Side, Sweet Jane
Tom Waits singing Downtown Train
Randy Newman singing Short People
Leonard Cohen singing Hallelujah, Bird on a Wire, Tower of Song, Lady Midnight,