I know there are A LOT of great singers out there in the world and I KNOW that all of you have your favorites that you can identify through a bullet proof sheet of glass underwater through ear muffs while chewing on a Ritz cracker, okay! Throughout the history of music there have been voices that lifted you to Heaven and others that tortured you like fake metal nails on a old school chalk board. Each was unique since it was one that you would remember forever…or you just listened to the album so much that you could possibly identify them in a line-up solely based on their glass shattering crescendo. Point is, you know the singer even if they utter one single syllable. That is what I’m going to give you guys now! A look, based on the consensus of my staff (aka my friends who eventually get me away from this infernal machine!) on their top picks of the most distinctive voices in music! It’s not a top list…just a list in no order.
1. Rod Stewart
A little raspy, a little sultry. and little Rod. His voice is actually one of the more “truer” voices I think I can recognize. It’s not a perfect voice, but interesting and it perks your ears a little when you hear it.
2. Freddie Mercury
Oh, damn! Yes, if I had a time machine…but then all my happy dreams start out that way. I cannot lie when I say that Freddie is one of my favorites since his voice is powerful, but soft and sad at times.
3, Michael Jackson
Yet another one that I would love to have had a time machine for! Just to go back to 1983 and say “Stop! Whatever you are thinking, just stop!” and then I would feel that everything was okay. If you were a child of the 70’s and 80’s you grew up with this voice and could pick it out from a whole mesh of radio static.
4. Janis Joplin
My dad is a huge Joplin fan but when I was young, I wasn’t too charmed with her voice. I thought it really raw and dull, like if I was given money to sing! But I later learned, in my wise older age, that her voice was special to the generation and was totally different than what anyone had heard before.
5. Ozzy Osbourne
Hells yeah! His voice has to be special! He’s the Prince of Darkness! Like so many voices on this list, it’s not necessarily the quality of the voice but it’s delivery and power. Ozzy has still got that! When you hear him sing, you scream your head off.
6. Johnny Cash
I would know this voice anywhere! If his family randomly released unreleased shit from him, I would hear his voice and know it’s him. Dark, deep and impossible not to like!
7. Bob Dylan
This may come as a shock to many of you and I’m sorry to say it, but I’m not that huge of a Dylan fan. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of his stuff but the man has released so much in his long career that I just haven’t had the patience to go through it all. His voice is another thing though. I can hear that of his harmonica and guess who it is!
8. David Gahan
Yes. I have Depeche Mode here too! You know that thing above about listening to an album over and over again until you know…I’m that way with David.
9. Axl Rose
Another grating voice! Yay us! As much as we might not like Axl as a person, his songs from the late 80’s early 90’s were the shit! Though he and Guns n Roses did a lot of covers, you would totally know if it was Axl since that voice had an edge to it.
10. Barry Gibb
A truly unique voice for the list! Singer for the marvelously successful Bee Gees this guy had to highten the pitch of his voice to sing. it became so distinctive to their sound, he just kept singing that way!
11. Robert Plant
Oh…I love Led Zeppelin! I’m just gonna say…damn! What a great voice!
12. David Bowie
I swoon over David Bowie. That is the power of his voice! He has a beautiful voice that is deeply languid and completely addictive. He thrashes it, he serenades, and he rocks it out!
13. Rob Zombie
A very rough voice that almost sounds digitized. It’s not really “singing” in the best word since he doesn’t belt out high notes but it’s such a rockin’ voice! If you get a chance to see him live…well, I wasn’t disappointed!
14. Elvis Presley
I don’t even nee to go into this. It’s Elvis people, end of story.
15. Louis Armstrong
A lot of people probably didn’t see this coming. If you’ve heard this man’s voice through recordings or Youtube, it is so rough and raspy that there is no one else I have heard of with his success that sounds the way he does.
16. Dolly Parton
This is a voice I grew up on and to this day I can even recognize her talking voice. She is the embodiment of the smart “dumb blonde” and I would love to age with grace the way her voice has!