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Who has the greatest singing voice in Classic Rock history?

Greatest singing voice in Classic Rock history  

28 members have voted

  1. 1. Who has the greatest singing voice in Classic Rock history?

    • Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)
      4
    • Freddie Mercury (Queen)
      11
    • David Bowie
      0
    • Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac)
      0
    • Jim Morrison (The Doors)
      0
    • Ian Gillan (Deep Purple)
      0
    • John Lennon (The Beatles)
      1
    • Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
      0
    • Johnny Cash
      0
    • Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath)
      0
    • Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow, Black Sabbath)
      0
    • Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)
      0
    • Roger Daltrey (The Who)
      1
    • Steve Perry (Journey)
      1
    • Ann Wilson (Heart)
      1
    • Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones)
      1
    • Janis Joplin
      2
    • Elton John
      1
    • Honorable Mention Group (Specify in Thread): Pat Benatar, Bon Scott, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Karen Carpenter, Annie Lennox, Don Henley, Iggy Pop, James Taylor, John Fogerty, Gregg Allman, Lou Reed, Rod Stewart, Brian Wilson, Chuck Berry, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Winwood, Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Peter Gabriel, Annie Haslam, Jon Anderson, Merry Clayton, John Wetton, Greg Lake, James Dewer, John Cafferty
      3
    • OTHER - Specify in thread
      2


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I heard this topic/question asked over the air while I was listening to my favorite local classic rock station, and was curious how JN felt about it.  

For our purposes, "Classic Rock" is primarily focused on the 1967-82 era, which was the peak of the "album era". If you disagree, feel free to use the OTHER option and state your case for someone outside the poll options.  

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I'm big fan of bands fronted by female lead vocalists so Stevie Nicks and Ann Wilson rise towards the top for me.  Just something great about a strong woman lead who sings with killer guitar and drums behind her.  This carries over to 90's alternative rock which was the era most influential on me and singers like Shirley Manson (Garbage), Kim Deal (Breeders), and Courtney Love (Hole)....but I digress. :D

Of your list my choice came down to Robert Plant, Steven Tyler and Steve Perry.  In terms of pure voice I had to go with Steve Perry as the greatest....although my preference and who I'd choose to listen to most often is probably Plant.

My all-time favorite lead vocalist though is Chris Cornell....and it's not really close.  If this were a post-1982 poll I'd throw David Coverdale in the mix.

Good poll!

 

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1 minute ago, jetstream23 said:

I'm big fan of bands fronted by female lead vocalists so Stevie Nicks and Ann Wilson rise towards the top for me.  Just something great about a strong woman lead who sings with killer guitar and drums behind her.  This carries over to 90's alternative rock which was the era most influential on me and singers like Shirley Manson (Garbage), Kim Deal (Breeders), and Courtney Love (Hole)....but I digress. :D

Of your list my choice came down to Robert Plant, Steven Tyler and Steve Perry.  In terms of pure voice I had to go with Steve Perry as the greatest....although my preference and who I'd choose to listen to most often is probably Plant.

My all-time favorite lead vocalist though is Chris Cornell....and it's not really close.  If this were a post-1982 poll I'd throw David Coverdale in the mix.

Good poll!

 

 

Yep if we expanded outward, Cornell would have been one of the top options.  

Prince would have made the list too.

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I voted for Janis. It's the little things she does, like the syncopation and added words plus the feel. I am not a big vocals fan preferring instrumental players but her voice was more like an instrument than the others. Listen to the run ups, the perfect individuals steps, her ability to make covers her own songs (not easy)

A special award for Claire Torry for her work on Great Gig in the Sky. Amazing work. 

Does Aretha count as classic rock? If so, she's on the same pedestal as Janis

Peter Gabriel, Annie Haslam, Jon Anderson, Merry Clayton, John Wetton, Greg Lake, James Dewer and John Cafferty needs to at least be added to the honorable mention list if not the main list. 

Good Poll !

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1 hour ago, The Crimson King said:

Does Aretha count as classic rock? If so, she's on the same pedestal as Janis

Peter Gabriel, Annie Haslam, Jon Anderson, Merry Clayton, John Wetton, Greg Lake, James Dewer and John Cafferty needs to at least be added to the honorable mention list if not the main list. 

I thought Aretha didn't bleed far enough into Rock, but added her to the honorable mention group along with the other names you just listed!  The more the merrier!

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 I've heard a young Bono, and Veder live, Freddy was the best. I heard Elvis was pretty good too.

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2 hours ago, jetstream23 said:

I'm big fan of bands fronted by female lead vocalists so Stevie Nicks and Ann Wilson rise towards the top for me.  Just something great about a strong woman lead who sings with killer guitar and drums behind her.  This carries over to 90's alternative rock which was the era most influential on me and singers like Shirley Manson (Garbage), Kim Deal (Breeders), and Courtney Love (Hole)....but I digress. :D

Of your list my choice came down to Robert Plant, Steven Tyler and Steve Perry.  In terms of pure voice I had to go with Steve Perry as the greatest....although my preference and who I'd choose to listen to most often is probably Plant.

My all-time favorite lead vocalist though is Chris Cornell....and it's not really close.  If this were a post-1982 poll I'd throw David Coverdale in the mix.

Good poll!

 

Ass that can sing. Now you're

talking.

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It's hard for me not seperate male and females in this debate.  They just sound different, unless you're David Bowie or Freddie Mercury.  Freddie got my vote since I cant vote twice and I dont even really dig Queen all that much.  Dude was just special.

Women it's Stevie and Janis.   Fun fact; did you know Stevie is the only female rock and roll artist to make the HOF as solo artist and as a member of a band?  She's the Queen of classic rock IMO.

 

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9 minutes ago, JiF said:

It's hard for me not seperate male and females in this debate.  They just sound different, unless you're David Bowie or Freddie Mercury.  Freddie got my vote since I cant vote twice and I dont even really dig Queen all that much.  Dude was just special.

Women it's Stevie and Janis.   Fun fact; did you know Stevie is the only female rock and roll artist to make the HOF as solo artist and as a member of a band?  She's the Queen of classic rock IMO.

 

Stevie and Janis are great but any list of female vocalists has to include Ann Wilson IMO.  Below is not a bad way to spend 4 minutes...

 

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4 minutes ago, jetstream23 said:

Stevie and Janis are great but any list of female vocalists has to include Ann Wilson IMO.  Below is not a bad way to spend 4 minutes...

 

She's great and she's on the list 80 provided...but she's no Stevie or Janis, so therefore, I didnt include her in MY list.

 

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24 minutes ago, JiF said:

It's hard for me not seperate male and females in this debate.  They just sound different, unless you're David Bowie or Freddie Mercury.  Freddie got my vote since I cant vote twice and I dont even really dig Queen all that much.  Dude was just special.

Women it's Stevie and Janis.   Fun fact; did you know Stevie is the only female rock and roll artist to make the HOF as solo artist and as a member of a band?  She's the Queen of classic rock IMO.

 

 

Where is Bowie on your list?

Also, I should have used the "multiple polls" option.....

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5 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

 

Where is Bowie on your list?

Also, I should have used the "multiple polls" option.....

Right behind Mercury, they'd be 1 and 2 for me...but that's because I dont really love the options you've listed.

First off, I hate Journey so anything Steve Perry makes my skin crawl.  I also cant stand Aerosmith and think that Steven Tyler sounds exactly the same in every song.  I love Zeppelin, one of my favorite all times bands but Robert Plant is as one note as it gets.   Same goes for Ozzy, Gillan, Cash, Daltrey Morrison and Jagger.   The Beatles?  Meh, not a band I think of for their vocal prowess.  Dio is a strong candidate but another band I cant stand. 

I didnt see Joe Cocker in your list because the honorable mention list was so long but I'd take him over all the dudes above.  Stevie Wonder I dont consider "classic rock" but if we're going there, he's over all those dudes too.   I associate Gabriel with 80's rock but great voice too.

Yeah, maybe multiple options, hard to vote for just one.

 

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Jerry 

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3 minutes ago, JiF said:

Right behind Mercury, they'd be 1 and 2 for me...but that's because I dont really love the options you've listed.

First off, I hate Journey so anything Steve Perry makes my skin crawl.  I also cant stand Aerosmith and think that Steven Tyler sounds exactly the same in every song.  I love Zeppelin, one of my favorite all times bands but Robert Plant is as one note as it gets.   Same goes for Ozzy, Gillan, Cash, Daltrey Morrison and Jagger.   The Beatles?  Meh, not a band I think of for their vocal prowess.  Dio is a strong candidate but another band I cant stand. 

I didnt see Joe Cocker in your list because the honorable mention list was so long but I'd take him over all the dudes above.  Stevie Wonder I dont consider "classic rock" but if we're going there, he's over all those dudes too.   I associate Gabriel with 80's rock but great voice too.

Yeah, maybe multiple options, hard to vote for just one.

 

They are all good in their own way.

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Forgot about Greg Allman.  He's probably be in my top 3 honestly.

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I'll get slaughtered for this but since she was listed under other 'Karen Carpenter' from the main list I'd chose Mercury.

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Someone had to break the color barrier.

Little Richard

James Brown

Jackie Wilson

Ray Charles

These guys........................!

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35 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

I'll get slaughtered for this but since she was listed under other 'Karen Carpenter' from the main list I'd chose Mercury.

100%, forgot about her.

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1 hour ago, JiF said:

Right behind Mercury, they'd be 1 and 2 for me...but that's because I dont really love the options you've listed.

First off, I hate Journey so anything Steve Perry makes my skin crawl.  I also cant stand Aerosmith and think that Steven Tyler sounds exactly the same in every song.  I love Zeppelin, one of my favorite all times bands but Robert Plant is as one note as it gets.   Same goes for Ozzy, Gillan, Cash, Daltrey Morrison and Jagger.   The Beatles?  Meh, not a band I think of for their vocal prowess.  Dio is a strong candidate but another band I cant stand. 

I didnt see Joe Cocker in your list because the honorable mention list was so long but I'd take him over all the dudes above.  Stevie Wonder I dont consider "classic rock" but if we're going there, he's over all those dudes too.   I associate Gabriel with 80's rock but great voice too.

Yeah, maybe multiple options, hard to vote for just one.

 

 

I don't like Steve Perry or Steven Tyler either.  But a lot of people do, so I included them in the main part of the poll.  

I did indeed have Joe Cocker and Stevie Wonder in the Honorable Mention list.  I wish polls let you have more than 20 options, lol.

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26 minutes ago, Kleckineau said:

Someone had to break the color barrier.

Little Richard

James Brown

Jackie Wilson

Ray Charles

These guys........................!

 

I did have James Brown in the "Honorable Mention" option, which admittedly is too long and hard to read.

I felt Little Richard and Ray Charles didn't really fall into that 1967-82 parameter I set, but I agree, they were amazing and hugely influential.

 

49 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

I'll get slaughtered for this but since she was listed under other 'Karen Carpenter' from the main list I'd chose Mercury.

I have her in the "Honorable Mention" pile as well.

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I feel like in terms of just a pure rock voice, Robert Plant was incredible. Not a great singing voice, per se, but really the definition of a rock voice 

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Young Grace Slick was awesome too in that operatic way

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Steve Marriott and it’s not even close, for me. 
 

My top seven (2-7 could change on any given day for me:

1. Steve Marriott

2. Rod Stewart (The Faces days. Could keep up with The Stones on any given night) 

3. Greg Allman

4. Paul Rodgers (Free days) 

5. Jagger

6. Freddie Mercury

7. Chris Robinson  

 

I didn’t include the ladies, but for me, it would be Janis >>>>> 

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4 hours ago, Kleckineau said:

Someone had to break the color barrier.

Little Richard

James Brown

Jackie Wilson

Ray Charles

These guys........................!

Would say the 2 most beautiful voices are Ray Charles and Chris Cornell.

Cornell could sing anything; heard him sing "Ave Maria", like an angel.

Charles and his record company figured he could print money of he recorded a country album, and he did just that. 

Have no problem with any except Steven Tyler. Oversings every damn song. Guy would show up at a supermarket opening if the check is big enough. Saw him at Billy Joel's final show at Shea. Joel brought out Garth Brooks, Tony Bennett, Daltery, Tyler and finally Mccartney. Tony Bennett was in the Navy in WWII, but Tyler looked and sounded older than him.

 

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Pure voice, I have to go Freddy Mercury.

There are a lot of bands, where "this person sounds like this person"   no one sounds like Freddy to me.

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Freddy is the best technically, but Bob Plant is my favorite 

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20 hours ago, T0mShane said:

I feel like in terms of just a pure rock voice, Robert Plant was incredible. Not a great singing voice, per se, but really the definition of a rock voice 

Same for guys like Axl Rose.  Definitve rock, but neither my favorites. But worthy of votes.  Great list of all-time greats.  

For me it's Jagger.   Nowhere near technically the best, but my early Rock roots bring me right to those songs and his voice.  Symathy for the Devil, Heartbreaker... that era.    Daltry's screams were classic too.  He has to be included.  

 

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Favorite Dio

Most powerful (that I have heard live) Rob Halford Phil Collins

 

Best

tough to chose but I will go with Mercury

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Mercury always gets most votes but he’s definitely not my favorite. 
Some top singers on my list 

Anselmo

Turunen
Draiman

Dickerson

Kiske

Rose

Scabbia

Jourgensen

Jansen

Simone Simons

Cornell

Steele

Dio 

Halford 

 

 

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great list. i think rod stewart even tho i dont love or even like all his stuff has a great voice. van morrisons voice is unique and pretty awesome. also levon helms could belt out some great tunes.  +1 to all those who said gregg allman. dude was phenomenal. honestly any from the above poll or in the comments could be the winner

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Great thread idea.  I could spend all day adding some overlooked vocalists.  I'll add a few of my faves.  Will say that in a live setting the best I ever saw were Daltry, Mercury and Plant.  Gun to my head, I'd go with Daltry.  

A few more to add to the list:  Geddy Lee (Rush): Voice is gone now, but back in the day had incredible power.  One note and you know it's Geddy.  Some folks never understood that he was not singing in falsetto or trying to impersonate Plant.  It's his natural voice.

David Byron (Uriah Heep): Before the endless touring and alcohol destroyed it, David was an impressive frontman and singer who along with Ken Hensley produced Heep's complex layered vocal harmonies.

 

Nick Drake: Incredibly talented guitarist, songwriter and vocalist.  Depression/mental illness killed him at age 26.

Another singer from that era who gets no love is Noddy Holder of Slade.  Stunningly powerful voice in the same vein as Steve Marriott.

Two big omissions from the women's side are Bonnie Raitt and Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders).  Both have gorgeous distinctive voices.

Edit:  Forgot one of my heroes, Ian Hunter of Mott.

 

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From the Bowie crooner school, need to add Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music:

Edit:  Elvis Costello.

 

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