[To read an introduction to The Greatest Voices Project, click here.]
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel belong together on most musical lists, but, when it comes to vocal quality, Art Garfunkel is in another classification. What sets Garfunkel apart from most pop and folk singers is his control. While Garfunkel had a significant vocal range, he was able to sing under total control no matter what notes the tune called for.
Art Garfunkel is a poet, a singer, and an actor, but for those of us who love singers, it is his voice that draws us to both his time with Paul Simon and his solo career. Obviously, no song shows of his terrific range and control any better than “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Here he is, along with Paul Simon, singing the song live.
Not to give away the list, but Chris Cornell is the only person to make the list from a strictly hard rock/heavy metal background.
The lead singer of Soundgarden, Cornell transcends the heavy metal genre with a range that, at times, seems limitless. When most singers in that style of music revert to screaming, Cornell is still able to sing notes and hold them for amazing lengths of time.
Not being a big fan of heavy metal, I am still drawn to Cornell’s ability to sing, something not found enough in that genre of music. Due to his vocal talents, Cornell often sings live and records solo works. Amazingly, he is known to perform “Ave Maria” at times. Here is one of his versions of the song.
In my opinion, Frank Sinatra is the king of the “Rat Pack.” His style continually draws listeners in to hear him sing classic songs. Fully engaged in big city style, Sinatra’s swing style and jazz concepts lend his own unique style to nearly song one can name. I think it’s pretty simple: once Sinatra chooses to sing a song, it is his.
While his persona has become larger than life, his voice is undeniably great, and it is almost impossible to duplicate. There will only be one real “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” Enjoy his classic song “My Way.”
Once described as the greatest white soul singer alive, Annie Lennox moved from the lead singer of The Eurythmics in the 1980s to a solo career that has taken her around the world singing deeply emotional songs.
Lennox is able to put herself in every note she sings, and loves singing songs of great emotion. To me, what sets Lennox apart from many other soul singers is her ability to change from soft styles to certain phrases of great power. Even when she sings simple songs like “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” her ability to sing with conviction draws in the listener.
But, when Lennox sings her soul ballads, her talent is completely seen. Picking a song that best displays that is so hard, but her ballad “Why?” will have to do for her one song.
“Dusty in Memphis” may only be one record, but, if that’s all Dusty Springfield ever had recorded, she would probably still be on this list. An amazing collection of songs that perfectly displayed Springfield’s soulful voice, “Dusty in Memphis” is a rock classic filled with hits.
However, Springfield was more than just a pop singer. Dusty Springfield made you believe every word she sang, because her smooth and confident delivery is heard in every note she ever sang. From “Son of a Preacher Man” to “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” to “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” Dusty’s songs are timeless classics, all held together by her amazing voice. Sadly, Springfield’s life and voice her cut short by breast cancer at the age of just 59.
While “Son of a Preacher Man” is probably Springfield’s best known song, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” shows off her voice better. Enjoy this classic.