Wednesday Question: Best Singers Of All Time?

In 2012, UG Top 10s have tackled bassists, drummers and guitarists. But what about the people who front it all with a voice of steel? Place your nominations here.

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Since opening the UG 'Top 10' nominations to reader nominations and votes this year, we've had some truly stellar lists.

So far you've tackled everything from the best rock guitarists to the top live recordings, but it's time to pay tribute to the people who front it all: the singers.

This week's Wednesday question is:

Who are the best singers of all time?

Since this is UG, we expect a pretty rockin' set of nominations, but you don't have to stick to rock and metal genres if the singer deserves it. That's not to say Pavarotti would be suitable, but it would be great to see a nod towards other genres in the comments.

It's fine to nominate people who scream as well as sing, of course.

Don't forget to nominate female singers too too - there might be fewer women in the rock world, but there are plenty who deserve your attention in this poll.

Place your nominations in the comments, and remember to upvote others that you agree with. We'll stack up the results and compile them in a post on Friday.

787 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    N-D
    I'm not a fan of Queen, but I think, of course, Freddie Mercury should be in Top 10.
    TJWhonley
    its all about Robert Plant. can anybody but him sing kashmir?
    N-D
    If you take not only rock singers, I think James Brown was a great singer with incredible energy.
    N-D
    And sorry for double post - you should check this video:
    NightProwlerr
    Someones excited
    hotdogs585
    Mike Patton, Nico De Gallo (The female singer from Star Fucking Hipsters), Paul Westerberg, Laura Jane Grace/Tom Gabel, William Elliott Whitmore, Brian Fallon, Michael Jackson, Shane Macgowan, Cedric Bixler Zavala. They all have personality and cannot be mistaken for anyone else.
    whywefight
    That's a pretty good list, but I never got why people put lists up to answer these questions. How is UG supposed to know what part of the list people are thumbing up?
    hotdogs585
    That's just because I really don't care if my entry makes it in. We all know the final list is going to either be garbage or will include the obvious singers that are only on the list out of nostalgia (Freddy Mercury, Robert Plant, etc) I just like the discussion.
    Aero|
    Solid list. I just love you for actually including Cedric before I had the chance to voice his name. One of my favourites for sure.
    N-D
    Oh, of course, Mike Patton! Check out his vocal range:
    arnolddrummer
    If we're talking vocal range, let's get Mathew Bellamy in this. I know Ugers tend to not like him, but the man has an amazing voice.
    theogonia777
    I mean, A2 to C6 is a decent vocal range, but it's only three octaves and a minor third (a major 3rd if you count up to C#6). Guys like Mark Slaughter, Geoff Tate, Rob Halford, etc have almost a whole octave on him if that is his actual range. I mean, even I can go as high (C#6) and about a fourth lower (E2). Now, I don't have a great voice, but the point is that vocal range doesn't make someone a great singer. It's better to be able to have a great voice and a range of an octave and a 6th than four octaves of meh, and I really don't think MB's voice is that great, at least not compared to the guys that I mentioned that do in fact have 4 octave ranges (or used to, I don't know if the first two still do, and I know Rob certainly doesn't). But I guess MB's voice not being so great is just my opinion, and others will disagree. But anyway, there are about a million classical/opera singers with far better voices than just about an rock/metal/blues/country/jazz/whatever vocalist, but nobody even cares about them. But as far as non-art music goes, some of the jazz guys like Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, etc have absolutely amazing voices. I'm also going to say that I find Bruce Dickinson's voice to be the single worst part of Iron Maiden by far and pretty much any halfway decent power metal vocalist can outclass him, but again, that's my opinion and I'm sure a lot of people will disagree. I also feel like the guy from Dream Theater is pretty mediocre (and don't even care to look up his name), and Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, and Robert Plant have objectively terrible sounding voices, but their voices fit their music very well which is in many cases far more important than actually having a good voice. I think as far as rock goes, the guys from CSN have great voices, especially their harmonies, though I don't like their voices that much. I guess I could say the same thing about the Byrds. Freddy Mercury is probably the best singer in all of rock though.
    Schofey
    Not sure if he's been mentioned yet, but Miljenko Matijevic (Steelheart) is an amazing vocalist.
    N-D
    I know, he will not be included in the list, but Greg Puciato from The Dillinger Escape Plan is also a great vocalist - check out him:
    And good example of his live abilities (my favourite moment on 2:51):
    N-D
    Another great example of Mike Patton's skills as amazing vocalist and frontman:
    The_DSO
    Along those lines, I have to add Louis Armstrong, Nat King King Cole and Tom Waits but why is Pavarotti not suitable? he has a magnificent voice, and can control it like no other person apart from maybe Feddie Mercury
    dannydesktop
    I like everyone you mentioned, they have great voices that suit a lot of styles but i probably wouldn't put them in a list of top singers.
    Bassplay_josh
    Jim Morrison
    marijuanaman420
    Jimi Hendrix
    MrDo0m
    Jimi Hendrix is a vastly underrated lyricist and singer. Everyone thinks that it's all about his guitar playing, but the man had pipes and wrote meaningful, poetic lyrics.
    dannydesktop
    Morrison was a okay front man, great singer? I dunno he was kind of like a Elvis impersonator...
    Tkwndbobo
    Morrison was ok... he didn't really come off as all to versatile. However, take Roger Daltrey, he had range, tone, power. He is a magnificent singer, plus I saw him about a month ago and his voice has loss none of that power
    I.shower.naked
    ToolCreedence
    Layne Staley is probably my favorite. Also, Phil Anselmo Mike Patton Maynard James Keenan Freddie Mercury Cedric Bixler-Zavala Steve Winwood Robert Plant David Gilmour Crosby Stills and/or Nash Al Green Steve Perry Jewel Norah Jones James Taylor Jeff Buckley Greg Allman Paul Rodgers (Bad Company) Tommy Giles Rodgers (BTBAM) Bill Withers Beth Gibbons (Portishead) Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) Jack Bruce (Cream) David Bowie Chino Moreno Ann Wilson (Heart) Meat Loaf Thom Yorke Van Morrison Pretty Random..
    CinderellaFan14
    Diamond David Lee Roth? You may not be all for his flamboyant persona in Van Halen, but you need to check out this song from his solo career. It's almost Pink Floyd-ish, it's insanely good.
    ihartfood
    Here's some good ones: Jeff Buckley Don Henley (the dude from The Eagles) Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave) Adele Norah Jones Mikael kerfeldt (Opeth. Listen to their song Harvest, he has an amazing voice) Brent Smith (Shinedown. He has an amazing voice as well) and of course Eddie Vedder. His singing on the Into the Wild soundtrack, his ukulele album, and some of Pearl Jam's less known songs are amazing.
    KTbass
    dunno what to do. downvote you for adele or upvote for jeff buckley
    xonty
    Robert Plant and Geddy Lee
    MetalHermit
    sonny sandoval(p.o.d.) tom araya(slayer) angelea garssow(arch enemy) john davis(korn) dont know his name but the guy from gojira.
    tele-disaster
    one problem with your choices, they dont SING. my choices would be marvin gaye,james brown,freddie mercury,albert and bb king,chris cornell,robert plant,pavorotti,roger daltrey.
    Chronologo
    Only Angela Gossow sings in that list, people think that gutural doesn't take technique, but Angela's gutural style does have a proper technique.
    Floyd Phoenix
    Love Rush and everything, but to be perfectly honest I wouldn't say Geddy has the best voice, awesome as it is. Also, haven't seen Dio anywhere..
    CJSchecter96
    yes he is definetly up there. personally i think Myles Kennedy. the guy is simply amazing.