10 of the Hardest Popular Songs to Sing

These are those popular songs - you know, everyone loves - that people can really struggle to sing. Only one song per artist.

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These are those popular songs - you know, everyone loves - that people can really struggle to sing. There will be only one song per artist, as there could be a number of songs from certain artists that could make the list. YouTube videos are attached underneath.

10 of the Hardest Popular Songs to Sing

10. "Unchained Melody" - The Righteous Brothers

This song is full vocal trills, dramatic pitch changes and dynamics. Coupled on with the fact that it's largely considered a classic, doing a poor rendition of this song would not be considered inexcusable, but would certainly rile up fans.

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9. "My All" - Mariah Carey

It wouldn't be considered wrong to fill a list with Mariah Carey songs, as they all contain plenty of vocal complications. "My All," however, was chosen because of the vocal bounces throughout the song. In addition to this, Mariah keeps the volume very quiet for the majority of the chorus - this really is a song that can be butchered quite horribly.



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8. The Star Spangled Banner

There is a reason why this song has been lip-synced by numerous celebrities. America's national anthem is commonly considered difficult to get right, as the singer not only has to sing the correct notes, put in the right amount of power and time their breathing correctly - they also have to convey the patriotism through their singing.

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7. "Over the Rainbow" - Judy Garland

Right off the bat, this song hits you with a D sharp octave change. The difficulty of this song does not lie with technical versatility or anything like that - in fact, the song is quite simple in that regard. Instead, the singer must have the ability to sing this simple ballad with enough emotion to captivate and enthrall the audience, taking them on the journey with them.



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6. "I Will Always Love You" - Whitney Houston

Bet you didn't see this coming! Many attribute this song as very hard to sing. The a capella opening exposes any weaknesses the singer may have early on, and struggling here can really knock the confidence of the singer. However, the real struggle comes with the big note in the chorus, which after being held for a lengthy period of time, has to be followed by a change to the higher register. Whitney Houston can really be the only one to properly sing this ballad.

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5. "Chandelier" - Sia

This is a deceptively difficult song to sing. It may appear not too difficult on first glance, but the chorus is really where things begin to get hard. A fifth change for the first bar into the chorus followed by the full octave really exposes a number of weaknesses. Then there's the power - Sia, being such a powerful vocalist, pulls this off with ease - but not everyone is so lucky. Even getting this right, it may never sound good simply because of the tone of voice. Kat Perkins of the "Voice 2014" sang this song with the correct pitch, but her tone completely overrode this song. It may not sound too difficult, but as many professional singers will tell you - this is very difficult to sing.

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4. "Lovin' You" - Minnie Riperton

Another obvious choice! Only a handful of people in the world can pull off a falsetto, especially one so smooth and tender. A song not about power, but about technical articulation. The song remains at such a way that overdoing the power will devoid it of emotion, and will often sound like more of a struggle than a song. If you don't have the right voice for this song, good luck trying to sing it.

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3. "Wuthering Heights" - Kate Bush

Another artist whose songs could fill this list. Honestly, there is so much that can go wrong in this song, it would seem a very bad idea to attempt it unless you can do it perfectly. The key changes, the time signature changes, the transition into the chorus - any one of these will stray into disaster. Even getting this right, the balance of power and mystery in the singer must be spot on - and even if this is right, it may end up sounding like wailing, just because your voice doesn't suit the song.

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2. "Dream On" - Aerosmith

Composed in the key of F minor, Aerosmith composed this song back in the seventies, and singers have struggled to sing this ever since. A number of vocal slides and long notes in this song can easily drive the song to failure. Combined with the contrasting dynamics, the high Bb-A bounce in the chorus can (and very often does) end up sounding screechy and off. Sometimes this works in the singer's favour - but mostly it doesn't.

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And finally...

1. "Bohemian Rhapsody" - Queen

Was there really any doubt? This six minute number is full of key and tempo changes. In addition to large staccato and powerful sections, this song's length can often exhaust the singer long before the end, meaning breathing techniques are key here. Even if this song is sung almost perfectly (which I can almost guarantee it won't be) it will certainly draw comparisons to Freddie Mercury, regarded as the best vocalist of all time. Whilst this song can be attempted, unless you're completely prepared for all it throws at you - don't attempt it.

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95 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Edde
    Painkiller is pretty difficult
    ???
    'Whilst this song can be attempted, unless you're completely prepared for all it throws at you - don't attempt it.' I disagree, Bohemian Rhapsody should be sung whenever possible. Preferably with a drink in hand and a few mates...
    Izzy-Sweet
    Please, everybody knows that THIS is the only way to sing Bohemian Rhapsody with your friends.
    alexmcnamee61
    Yeah I meant if you're doing it professionally oh well! My mates and I have done an impro-Bohemian Rhapsody cover where we all just take parts and go with it. It just works.
    roescher1
    Tom Sawyer - Rush
    Akkeli
    Anything by Rush is hard to get right when it comes to vocals. The thing with unique sounding vocalists is that it's kind of hit and miss when trying to cover their tunes.
    Arby911
    Steelheart - I'll never let you go.
    Izzy-Sweet
    I see your wager, and I raise you "She's Gone". 4 octaves in one word? Madness!
    boa_sz
    Yeah, this is my favourite version of it
    (By the way, not everyone noticed "Popular Songs" in the title)
    alexmcnamee61
    Apologies - yeah there's loads I could name straight off the bat. But I'd decided to do ones that everyone knew - didn't think that would make as good a title!
    Arby911
    Agreed, I only included "I'll Never Let You Go" because it still gets occasional airplay.
    GetOverINow
    Arcturus - The chaos path Protest the hero - anything Faith no more - anything etc...
    alexmcnamee61
    Hi - agreed, I missed these. However - I intended this list to mostly be mainstream (usually pop/rock, etc.) songs, with maybe one or two exceptions. As said above, I will have missed many, and may do more lists with branches of certain genres - there were a lot of songs missed!
    dglsconklin
    I know, I hate when I'm singing Epic and I can't hit those monotone, grunting verses.
    qrEE
    Yea well try singing Midlife Crisis, Cuckoo for Caca, or Star AD.
    qrEE
    or The Real Thing. That track is one of those tracks that sounds a lot easier to sing than it is.
    TheLiberation
    Yeah going into slightly less popular and prog metal-ish territory: pretty much anything by Pain of Salvation. Daniel Gildenlow's range and versatility are plain insane, and there's a whole bunch of songs with sections which are almost unbelievable (which he pulls off life perfectly...). Idioglossia comes to my mind as probably the most insane ever.
    henrihell
    How about 'Hallowed be thy Name' or just about any Maiden song for that matter.
    DisarmGoliath
    I find that's actually one of the easier Maiden songs to sing. The Trooper's verses are pretty tough at the speed they play it live though, can hear Bruce struggling to do it sometimes!
    peppersghost08
    Queen at number and rightly so. But even there, Freddie struggled to hit the high notes which is why Brian and Roger used to do them because they found it easier to hit in the higher register. So Queen really was a sum of all it's parts, which is why they're so excellent.
    momo_512
    Paranoid Android Carry On Wayward Son More Than A Feeling SOS d'un terrien en détresse (just popular in France, prefer the Balavoine version) Child In Time Take On Me
    explosteveo75
    All of the Led-heads on this site and no one has mentioned Immigrant Song ? 9 times out of 10 my ears have been offended by a cover band attempting that one with a drunk, or just sub-par, vocalist.
    steveZ86
    maynard did a great cover of bohemian rhapsody under his puscifer thing. great video too funny asf
    lord_abyssium
    as much as people aren't too keen on his vocals, images and words era dream theater stuff has some incredible singing. metropolis and learning to live are 2 good examples and as much as most of it is falsetto, I've never heard anyone do early merciful fate/king diamond justice.
    Hell Kastedo
    I always thought that the Happy Birthday Song was a tough one. When you go to a party, nobody sings it well.
    Baby Joel
    regarding Chandelier. It is not easy for Sia to sing. I've only heard her do the chorus live in two or three concerts on youtube. Most of the time, she won't sing that part, so she essentially 'lipsyncs' to that part. Of course, you don't really know it's lipsyncing, cause she always has her back to the audience. But yeah, incredible song. When she does it live and hits it, oh man
    alexmcnamee61
    I know, yeah. It's hard for anyone to sing. There's some obvious autotune on the record (probably to fit the electropop "feel") and live, she sounds good, but it is still hard for anyone to sing. That said, when Sia does it right, she does it right.
    boa_sz
    I agree that it's not easy to sing for Sia either. You can hear in the live versions that she's struggling with it, but I've never heard a lip synched version. However i saw videos where she sang a slower, less energic version which is a little bit easier for her I think.
    Baby Joel
    good catch. I hadn't noticed it lol so yeah, that would definitely help her out for it.
    fokkertism
    Uriah Heep - Lady in Black You have to keep singing throughout the song - the lyrics all run into each other. There are no breaks except for after the first chorus.
    bit64
    what about chop suey?
    JustStayDown90
    Like, not at all.
    qrEE
    Have you ever actually tried singing the song? The amount of voice control and range you need to hit the final section of the song, definitely no easy task.
    TheLiberation
    In terms of singing it doesn't seem that hard, but actually pronouncing everything clearly like Serj does (and it's not the only song where he says like 10 syllables per second with perfect articulation) is... something different.
    steviegfunk
    Pearl Jam - Eddy's voice is pretty damn hard to recreate.
    Denjario
    It's not that difficult, just wire your jaw shut and try to force it open to sing. Boom! Instant Vedder!
    alfie9000
    Any Bieber song. 1 - learning the lyrics, better make sure your brain doesn't turn to mush 2 - you will feel a bit of a prick, maybe your new gay friend you have accidentally seduced.
    Baz06
    I'd like to mention Rocky Road to Dublin by The Dubliners.
    joe-larsen
    I thought the point of this list was to name the songs that are the hardest to sing. I'm a bit confused as to why Mariah Carey isn't No 1. It is not physically possible for anybody else in the world to hit those notes(At least, as of yet). I think we can all agree that her songs are not the best on the list, nor are they the most preformed, but that isn't relevant to this discussion.
    jclgavieta
    For males this is close to impossible to sing in it original notes, unless you have his voice
    . He is just using his full to mix voice all the way.
    astarothincub
    Instead of a particular song. What about Warrel Dane?Phil Anselmo? Michael Maniaci? and Hanne Hukkelberg of Funeral?
    triface
    Man, first song that came to my mind when I read the title was Chandelier. But can anyone actually think that it's an easy song to sing? The chorus really says it all, I feel.
    DundeeShamrock
    just about any Deftones song. During live performances, Chino can't even sing it right himself. (They're my absolute favorite band btw and do in fact have some great vocal performances between his drunken stupors and slurring of words)