Someone once complimented my singing by telling me I have a "rare set of pipes." I am going to steal that turn-of-phrase for this entry. This whole Chris Cornell thing has got me thinking about rock vocalists? Who are the greatest rock vocalists of our time? I won't be judging them on academic vocal technique or any of that nonsense. When I say rock, I mean guitar crunchin', drum slammin', kickin' ass and takin' names, slappin' your mama, apostrophe usin' rock! Here are my faves.
Chris Cornell - I've already talked about Chris. He just has one of the most gut-busting, gutteral, raw, chewed-on-razorblades rock voices I've ever heard.
Steve Lukather - Luke is the guitarist for Toto and because of that he is overlooked as a major talent. This guy in amazing. Not only is he one of the great guitarists of the world, he can sing like it's nobody's business. His voice has a smoky flavor that does justice to ballads and rockers alike.
Dan Huff - Dan's also an amazing guitar player but his vocals are great. I liked him in Whiteheart and I loved him in Giant.
Ann Wilson - The lead singer for Heart, Ann's got vocal chords to spare. Before she came along, all we had was Janis Joplin and she was way overrated. As far as I'm concerned, Ann sits on the throne as Queen of Rockers.
Brad Delp - Brad, the lead singer for Boston, has an outstanding voice with a range that's out of this world.
Paul Rodgers - Rodgers voice is so smooth you wouldn't think it would work for rock and roll, but it does. He gets around but he sounds good no matter who he's performing with.
Brian Johnson - Where did he get that voice? It sounds like Gollum with the flu but it works. I never liked AC/DC all that much when Bon Scott was their singer but when Brian fired it up on Back in Black, I was hooked.
Patty Smyth - She has an incredible rock and roll voice. Her 1987 solo album Never Enough is one of my all time faves. One of my favorite memories is listening to her sing Tom Wait's Downtown Train on my walkman while I was in New York City. The song just came alive for me. I hear she's touring again with Scandal. Patty, come to Seattle!
Doug Pinnick - All the guys in King's X sing but Doug's voice is the most distinct. He's got a fat, soulful voice that hangs down low. Usually that doesn't work for rock but it does here. His voice has been shaky over the last few years but I understand he's quit smoking weed because he realized it was ruining his voice. Duh!
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Stevie was a young man with an old voice. He always looked and sounded 20 years older than he was. We used to do some of his songs in a band I was in and I loved singing his songs but I knew I didn't do them justice. His voice just dripped smoke and sweat and the blues.
Doyle Bramhall II - Doyle pulls off something amazing. His voice is husky and smooth at the same time. I wish he'd release some new music. We haven't heard from him since 2001.
Steve Perry - The golden throat behind Journey, Perry's pipes were a major inspiration to me in the 70's and 80's. I can't sing like him but in trying to I learned alot about tone and harmony. It's too bad he and Journey can't mend fences. The new guy just doesn't cut the mustard.
Now I know I didn't mention Robert Plant, Freddy Mercury, Roger Daltrey, Meatloaf, Sting, Scott Weiland, David Lee Roth, Phil Lynott, Malford Milligan, Burton Cummings, Steven Tyler, Myles Kennedy, Corey Glover, David Clayton-Thomas, James Taylor, Paul McCartney, Kevin Cronin, Steve Walsh, Gary Cherone, Sammy Hagar and on and on and on. It doesn't mean they're not great...it just means that they didn't fit the category or they're farther down on my list. Sue me...it's my list. Besides, if you object you are more than welcome to comment. Let's dialogue. Heck, I may have forgotten someone important.