These are singers whose voices move, soothe and inspire me. Some of the artists I’ve listed with their band’s name; this is in addition to their solo efforts. The “choice cuts” for each vocalist represent either my favourite songs by these artists, or a track highlighting their incredible style, range or crafting of the song.
And now, on to the list…
Starting with the best… Karen Carpenter, a voice direct from the angels in heaven. When Karen died tragically in 1983, a light went out in the music world. She will never be replaced.
Superstar, Goodbye To Love, Rainy Days & Mondays
With her husband Ben Watt, Tracey Thorn was the other half of the group Everything But The Girl. EBTG had great success in the 80s and into the 90s. There’s few people who haven’t heard their haunting, wistful Missing from 1994. Tracey has released a few albums in the 2000s, and continues to make beautiful music. For my post dedicated to Tracey Thorne, check this out.
Half-Light (Day Version), Protection, Cross My Heart, Missing
Hannah Reid (London Grammar)
Ah, Miss Hannah… my current absolute favourite vocalist. This woman’s incredible voice makes my hair stand on end and my toes curl. Fronting the group London Grammar, Hannah Reid has one of the most engaging and beautiful voices of any artist performing today. What a haunting contralto… her voice moves me in ways no other singer can.
Strong, Interlude, Metal & Dust, Big Picture, Different Breeds
Sarah Cracknell (Saint Etienne)
Singing with Saint Etienne or solo, Sarah Cracknell has a voice like golden honey dripping down a pot. There’s something magical about this woman’s voice and, coupled with Saint Etienne’s musical styling, it exudes pure London.
Hobart Paving, Goldie (solo), Like A Motorway, Teenage Winter
Justine Suissa is a British singer, currently the vocalist of trance group OceanLab (which includes the members of Above & Beyond). She’s collaborated with many of Trance’s prominent producers, such as Armin van Buuren, Markus Schulz, Robbie Rivera and Chicane. Justine has a dreamy, ethereal voice.
On A Good Day, Lonely Girl, Miracle, Burned With Desire
What a beautiful voice this man has. Iva was the voice of Icehouse in the 80s, and has gone on to great solo success in the 90s and beyond. To read my post dedicated to Iva Davies, check this out.
Heroes, Heaven, No Promises (with Icehouse), Crazy (Midnight Mix)
David Byron (Uriah Heep)
What a set of pipes!
David Byron (real name David Garrick) was a British singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist in Uriah Heep. His was the voice on the 10 Uriah Heep albums released between 1969 and 1976. At the time, few lead singers in Rock could scream and wail like David Byron.
He lived a life of classic rock and roll excess, indulging in lots of drugs and booze. This, inevitably, led to dismissal from Uriah Heep in 1976 for his increasingly erratic behaviour and excessive alcohol consumption. David made several unsuccessful attempts to revive his career following the split, first with a band named Rough Diamond, then with a solo album and a brief career with The Byron Band.
He died from liver damage complicated by epilepsy on February 28, 1985 at the age of 38.
The Wizard, Sweet Lorraine, Rainbow Demon, Rain
Simon & Garfunkel
Pure. Vocal. Perfection.
For Emily Wherever I May Find Her, Scarborough Fair/Canticle, The Only Living Boy In New York, April Come She Will, All I Know (Art Garfunkel)
A Goddess in my world, Alison Moyet has a bluesy, beautiful contralto. From Yazoo in the 70s till now, she’s had many decades of success singing so many styles of music, excelling in them all.
Dorothy, Take Of Me, Winter Kills (with Yazoo), Cry Me A River
Corinne Drewery (Swing Out Sister)
I don’t know much about Corinne Drewery, other than I love her voice. Through the 80s and early 90s she was the silky smooth voice of the group Swing Out Sister.
Twilight World, Breakout, After Hours
What more could one possibly say about Dusty Springfield that hasn’t already been said?
Am I The Same Girl?, Goin’ Back, Nothing Has Been Proved, Wishin’ And Hopin’, What Have I Done To Deserve This? (with Pet Shop Boys)
Where would the 60s (and beyond) have been without Dionne Warwick and the David/Bacharach writing team? Warwick is the master of vocal phrasing (just take a listen to Promises, Promises).
Promises, Promises, Heartbreaker, I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, Do You Know the Way to San Jose?, Walk On By
Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet)
Tony is still workin’ it all these post-Spandau years later and the pipes remain in amazing condition. What a powerhouse voice and amazing vocal range.
Through the Barricades, Gold, True, Round And Round
Mimi Page is an underrated singer-songwriter, producer and composer from the U.S. In the studio she blends her ethereal vocals with piano-driven, atmospheric soundscapes, resulting in a haunting and luxuriant sound. In addition to her albums, she has self-produced and released several film and gaming soundtracks.
Porcelain, Secunda (Skyrim)
Ah yes, the one and only Joni… enough said.
Help Me, Chinese Cafe, Circle Game, A Case Of You
And lastly, Honorable Mentions for Powerhouse Vocals go to:
Ian Gillan (with and without Deep Purple)
and, of course, Freddie.