6 Musicians Whose Voices Got Significantly Worse

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6 Musicians Whose Voices Got Significantly Worse
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Vince Neil

Vince Neil has let himself go and sings through his nose. Enough said.

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Meat Loaf

At one time, Meat Loaf was considered one of the greatest singers in the world. Now watch this video and remember, this is the guy that blazed through Bat Out of Hell. Tragic, isn't it?

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David Lee Roth

Sadly, Roth's vocal cords haven't held up nearly as well as the rest of his body.

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Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell sounds like she can hardly breathe while singing in this video, which should answer questions as to why she hasn't toured in a while.

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Roger Waters

This video unfortunately shows what Waters has resorted to over the last few years: Backing tracks and backing vocals to hide just how badly his voice has disintegrated. One can hardly blame him considering his advanced age and all that screaming he did in the '70s, but it's just sad to hear him croaking along to "Have a Cigar" here. He should probably lay off the cigars, all things considered.

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Ozzy Osbourne

More and more, Ozzy's singing voice is turning into his speaking voice and coming out as a mumble of "fuck"s and "go fucking crazy"s.

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117 comments sorted by best / new / date

    xeper9
    James LaBrie. His voice never recovered from that food poisoning in the 90s.
    Darth Crow
    Yeah, poor James. Mind you, he sounds pretty amazing on softer songs, it's just that he can't use as much power as he used to be able to...
    tonello
    And I think a lot of people hate his vocals because they don't know about that incident.
    Cazman
    Got any details on how food poisoning influenced his vocal cords? 
    tonello
    He ate some bad shrimp and when he was throwing up, he ruptured his vocal chords. Not to mention stomach acid can be pretty unpleasant for one's throat. To be fair, he didn't help the situation either. He was told to rest his voice as much as possible and instead he went and toured with Dream Theater. So it's partially his fault for letting his voice get like this, 
    Junior#1
    My thoughts exactly.  Back in like '93, he was one of the best in the world.  Food poisoning left him as a broken shell of his former self.
    crosskip
    Still, no way he could keep singing like he did before the incident. He was already singing above his range in the early 90s. Yeah it sounded cool, but also forced as hell. 
    Downfault
    That would be great to have an article about artist whose voices got significantly better in time.
    k.mccarthyander
    One I might put on that list is David Gilmour. Saw him about a year ago and was blown away, he was hitting notes higher and cleaner than I've ever heard him hit on the record a few decades ago.
    trailofblood
    Ian Gillan - Deep Purple.. but he sure did not make it easy for himself
    karschnyphilip
    I mean, his normal singing voice is still good, but when he tries to do the high notes, it just falls apart.
    GibsonKG
    Liam Gallagher too
    westley23j
    he was the first one that came to my mind. 
    kjt1981
    First one I thought of too. He sounded incredible in the mid 90's - Slide Away, Headshrinker, Champagne Supernova his three standout performances, but nowadays sounds dreadful. Hearing him try to mewl his way through Wonderwall at the Olympics in 2012 made me wish I was deaf.
    the3tw
    Chris Cornell. That Audioslave reunion.... wow
    javdoc
    He definitely can't hit those super high screams anymore, but I think his voice is holding up well and if anything I think he is much more consistent now than he was in his youth.  Sounds like early in his career he just showed up and started wailing and now he knows how to manage his voice. Either way, I'd kill to sing like him even now....
    scottishmob
    Dude - it's crazy to say this, because I felt his voice had seriously deteriorated around the time after the 1st Audioslave album.. but I saw them in 2012 and I swear to you he can still hit those notes. The performance I saw had better vocals than any of their recorded albums. I don't doubt that it could have been a fluke, but I almost fainted from fan boy syndrome when Chris his a note so high his fucking mic malfunctioned. It was fucking heaven, sir. That is all.
    javdoc
    Totally agree.  I think he sang differently with Audioslave.  I remember being a little surprised when I heard some of their first songs.  Sounded kinda scratchy or gritty versus what I was used to from Soundgarden.  Was concerned his voice was shot at that point.  But, the SG reunion put that to rest.  Seen SG twice since (2011, 2013) and he can still bring it for sure.  Also saw him on his solo acoustic show last year and it was fantastic.
    scottishmob
    Just saw them headline Northern Invasion and the man killed it again. Goddammit we're lucky to have this great band back.
    CreepingDeth775
    I'll second that comment. I seen him perform in 2014 w/ Soundgarden and I was amazed how well he sounded.
    mr_ibanez
    I was quite suprised too. Saw them in 2013, and he nailed that high scream at the end of Jesus Christ Pose.
    Rebel Scum
    Bob Dylan, I mean I love his old and new music but heck he's bad live these days vocally.
    estranged_2003
    nonsense ive see bob 10 times live the most recent being sunday and this is the best his voice has suited the music since the 1980 tour. 
    kjt1981
    Dylan can be hit and miss. He sounded great on Modern Times and on Together Through Life, but that Christmas album gives me nightmares. Not seen him live for a few years, but looking at some videos on youtube the same applies - sometimes he sounds great, sometimes he sounds like Baa Baa Blacksheep has given up the wool business and is doing a Dylan tribute act.
    estranged_2003
    The last few years have been the most consistent bob has been live. Yes you get the odd idiot who turns up expecting to see the same guy that was on "no direction home" and those people expect to be disappointed, if you go knowing who you are going to see you get a great show. Bob seems to be the only artist that isnt allowed to develop/change/grow old. So many people still think its 1963 its unreal. 
    rodrigo.mij1990
    Phil Anselmo but that's because he didn't take care of his vocal chords well and instead he preferred to massacre them.
    Spinnerweb
    Vince Neil slowly let himself go vocally, appearance-wise and creatively in the past 15 years. It's sad, but I'm glad Crue ended before it got worse.
    alterbridge1988
    Scott Stapp is missing from this list. I mean, apparently his voice has got better again by now but if you listen to videos from the 2009 reunion, man, that was hard to listen to. Especially if you compare the show that was eventually released on DVD (heavily edited) and the same show as it was broadcast live on the internet ("What's This Life For", I still have the direct comparison of stream and DVD version somewhere on my harddrive).
    Jenrac
    I have no shame to say that I'm a fan of Creed, but I also can't deny how true this is. Apparently it was some kind of allergy issue in 2009, but as much as I want to believe that I'm not really sure I can.  He does sound a bit better now, but he'll never have the voice he had in 1998-1999 again. I saw them during their 2009 tour and then again in 2010, and it was like night and day. In 2010 he actually sounded about 85% of his prime.
    yntebraaksma
    Axl Rose.
    eatfresh1736
    Are you joking?! I saw him in Philly last year, and after he warmed up with the first two songs, he sounded like his early 90s self.
    cowens_
    ...should certainly be on the list.
    hamelgui
    In 2000, I would have agree with you for the live Axl (in studio it was fantastic by the way) But now, bitch is back !
    wrightjas
    Chino Moreno anyone?
    metacarpi
    He certainly sounds different these days, but I've been seeing them live since '03 (saw them most recently on the 5th) and I wouldn't say he's gotten worse.
    rocky0
    That tends to happen with age and wrong or really straining techniques. 
    onetonryan
    Exactly.  I'd argue that it has much less to do with age, than it does with poor technique.  
    GN'R Dude
    Ozzy sounded the best out of all of them. Like Axl it seems to depend on the night.
    dying2live2k2
    I as highly disappointed in hearing Danzig's voice in person for the first time last year.
    negativefx
    Perry Farrell.  Saw him with NiN on the NiN/JA tour and the band was playing at least a step lower to account for his voice.  Given the way he sang as a youngin, it's not suprising or maybe not even possible to maintain that high pitch.  
    StrongLikeBull
    This article is silly.  But can we fucking talk about why Joni Mitchell is playing a Parker Fly?
    rbolognese1
    Ask rise is way worse then David Lee Roth you morons .
    rbolognese1
    Axl Rose is way worse then David Lee Roth . David holds back and doesn't try and force the high notes he used to nail. Saw him last year with VH and he was great.
    cbx47
    You should make also a inverse list, singers who used to sing like shit and now with the age they got a little better, like Anthony Kiedis, Billie Joe Armstrong, etc
    PRSguitars87
    Kurt Cobain. He had the voice of a generation but now his voice has really died off a bit.
    rudi1963
    David Coverdale lost a lot of power in his voice... of course his age is high and the style of his music makes all that. Anyway I watched him couple months ago and he put out great show with Whitesnake again. Greetings to everybody from Zagreb, CROATIA.
    Pinderoonie
    worth pointing out that Roy Harper did the vocals for Have a Cigar and not Waters, as at the time the band thought Water's voice didn't suit the song, so no wonder he doesn't sing it right today...
    MikeBTE
    I wouldn't even put Waters on this list. Gilmour and Wright were the singers and Waters vocals were more like talking. Either way seeing him live doesn't really change a thing. Still one of the top concerts you'll ever see. 
    dennis.1960
    The decline of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull beats all these...and this is a guy who took good care of himself.  Nowadays he brings a "mini me" vocalist on tour to handle all the parts he can't.   Time Waits for No One.  
    mr_ibanez
    I think thats because he had throat-surgery around the tour for Under Wraps in '84. But yeah, it got worse the last years
    dennis.1960
    Didn't know he had surgery.  I'd say the decline became noticeable after the "A" album in 1980 and just kept getting worse & worse.  After seeing them in '76, '77, '78 & '79 I missed a few tours but came back in '85 for the "Crest of a Knave" tour.  It was hard to believe it was still Ian   Have to say happily his voice has made a great recovery on his 2012 & 2014 studio albums "Thick as a Brick 2" and "Homo Erraticus".  Live though, he still brings a guest vocalist to handle the stuff he can't do anymore... 
    mr_ibanez
    Yeah, he did a fine job on those albums, good thing he can still play the flute
    BruceHelbourn
    Tom Delong anyone?
    negativefx
    I'm an old cheshire cat/dude ranch fan, but his voice was always pretty bad.  Did it get even more nasally?  
    ThatSerbDude
    Nope. He went from sounding like Donald Duck to listener wondering what language he's singing in. Seriously, he pronounces words terribly. 
    cbx47
    Tom Delonge sounds better now than before, even with his straingeie proniiunceiitioans
    terranraptor
    I'd be easier to do a "musicians who's voice didn't get significantly worse over the years" list, because even the great ones are losing their voices at some point - Graham Bonnet , Bruce Dickinson, David Coverdale and many others. As long as you are/have been pushing your voice to get the high notes, you've been burning through your voice and can't expect to maintain it forever. I think baritones and people who sing in lower registers in general have a much better chance of preserving their voices as they near the end of their careers, but i am not a vocalist, so maybe someone who knows better could share his experience and point of view
    Jenrac
    I think a lot of it just comes down to taking care of your voice (little alcohol, proper technique) and your personal health in general. There's a good reason why guys like Richard Marx (say what you will about him, I like his music) and Myles Kennedy still sound great for their age. They didn't live the crazy lifestyles a lot of other music artists did in their younger years.
    T-Unit33
    I saw Ozzy with Sabbath on their farewell tour.  I went in with a, "I'm going to say I saw them live, but they're old and I don't expect much," attitude and was actually pleasantly surprised. To be in the condition that Ozzy is, his vocals actually held up pretty well.  And let's call it what it is, Ozzy has never been a vocal virtuoso either.
    Cazman
    Same here, saw them in Japan and he was pretty good. Despite not knowing where the fuck he was. 
    zalant
    Can't believe that no one has mentioned Joe Elliott yet. I recently watched a live vid where he appeared to rank his loss of vocal range up there with Rick losing his arm, Vivian getting cancer, and Steve dying.
    franciscofmenan
    Tom Waits has that voice since childbirth
    LysanderSpoon
    It's funny, early Tom Waits sounds like just some guy, and I'd say that he got much better after he started sounding like gravel, spiders, and bourbon. (I love smooth pleasant-voiced Tom Waits, but he didn't sound like Tom Waits until he stopped shooting for smooth and pleasant.)
    redarno
    Cedric Bixler Zavala
    kill it
    No way. This list is for vocalists who have gotten "significantly worse". Cedric's voice sounds freakin' awesome on the new At the Drive-in album.