Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So, I mean, it's cool if you keep quiet, but I like singing.

Rolling Stone recently named its "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" (top 10: Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, and James Brown). Since they included Tom Waits and Lou Reed among this stellar company, I must conclude that pure vocal beauty is not the sole criterion for inclusion, and therefore, I offer the following as some of my favorite voices, many of which are beautiful but all of which are compelling to me--voices I'm never sorry to hear:
  • Annie Lennox
  • Brian Wilson
  • Regina Spektor
  • Bryan Ferry
  • Stephen Stills
  • that guy from Depeche Mode
  • Gillian Welch
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jimmie Dale Gilmore
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Kate Bush
  • Mavis Staples
  • Marianne Faithfull
  • Nellie McKay
  • Patty Scialfa
  • Peggy Lee
  • Chrissie Hynde
  • Michael Stipe
  • Richard Thompson
  • Rickie Lee Jones
  • Shawn Colvin
  • Prince
  • Sylvester Stone
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Taj Mahal
  • Al Green
  • Jim Kerr
  • Youssou N'Dour
and, frankly, Tori Amos, Bono, Van Morrison, and Eddie Vedder.

Who makes your heart sing?


  1. Lila Downs , Bryan Ferry , Nina Simone and Joan Baez.

  2. Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and especially Hank Williams. Robert Earl Keen, John Prine, Trisha Yearwood, Dolly Parton, and especially ESPECIALLY Ralph Stanley. Otis Redding. Van Morrison. Muddy Waters. Buddy Holley. Strangely, Tom Jones. Dusty Springfield, of course. Elvis. The guy from DePeche Mode for sure. Also the guy from the Gourds. Also the guy from AC/DC. Robert Plant. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Barbara Bonney. Frederica Von Stade. Johnny Mathis singing Silver Bells. Judy Garland singing "Get Happy." Aren't you happy you asked?

  3. ALSO Joe Ely and Lyle Lovett. Emmy Lou Harris, too. And that guy who sings "She's a Brick! House!"

  4. Also, from the "not for pure vocal beauty" camp, I'd include Thom Yorke and Jeff Mangum.

  5. Also John Fogerty. I'll be quiet now.

  6. guy from Depeche Mode=Dave Gahan; and also Martin Gore.

  7. wow--hard to know where to start on that list! here are a few just based on recent listening:

    Lucinda Williams
    Ryan Adams
    Justin Vernon (Bon Iver)
    Mike Scott (Waterboys)
    Gary Louris/Mark Olson (together more than apart)
    Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips)
    Kasey Chambers

    And of course jazz would be a whole other issue!

  8. I agree with sam, Thom Yorke's voice makes anything better. I also really love Ray LaMontagne. Same deal.

  9. kate voegele. alexz johnson. christina aguilera. pete yorn. ben folds. rufus wainwright. paul mccartney. that's all for now..

  10. My first love: Charlie Rich. Which leads to the next few: Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Andy Williams.
    But now: Tori Amos, Annie Lennox, Alison Kraus, I second Ann on Ralph Stanley, Nina Simone, Billy Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Rufus!!, David Byrne, Alejandro Escovedo, Jeff Tweedy, ani (though not so much lately). Buddy Holly!! The Cure, Morrisey. So many. Amy Winehouse.
    People who make my ears bleed: Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey.
    People I can't believe I like but, somehow, I do: Carrie Underwood, Alanis Morisette, Sheryl Crowe. Madonna? Oh, there are others....

  11. any beatle besides Ringo, eddie veddar of course the singer of the cranberries chris martin I love thom yorke pete yorn tori amos ooooh cat power elliot smith micheal stipe shawn colvin (mostly for nostalgia but turned out I love her) james taylor and elton john I love you always and forever. TA DA!



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