Classically good singers in rock/punk

King Diamond has range but he lacks style. (I love his solo stuff but I love it for the guitar work, not his voice) I saw him live twice and he can sing.

Ian Gillian from Deep Purple has the range, or used to, to do some serious classical work. (Check out Black Sabbath’s ‘Born Again’ to hear his range)

Bruce Dickenson from Iron Maiden had great range. I think Bruce tore his voice up on tour though. I think the scream at the begining of “Flight of Icarus” killed his voice.

Also, just about everybody in Dream Theater studied at Berklee School of Music.


Or the original London cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar.

I’ve always wondered where Ann (or is it Nancy?) Wilson of Heart would rank in something like this. Her vocals on songs like “Crazy On You” are simply not duplicable by any male vocalist short of Halford. But is she that good compared to other women? Alas, the shortage of female rock vocalists makes it hard to tell. But her singing on the aforementioned tune and others from Heart’s “classic rock” period, i.e., their first 2-3 albums, was one of the strengths of Heart as a band. I saw them live last year, and she still has about 95% of her voice.

And whoever that European woman was who sang lead for T’Pau. (Remember “Heart and Soul”?) She could wail too, but I think her range wasn’t quite on the same level as Wilson’s.

Sarah Slean has an a stunningly beautiful voice. I have her version of the ‘Pie Jesu’ which is absolutely amazing.

Esthero also sounds quite nice to me. I also second Maynard from Tool.

That is so weird, Lizard - I just finished listening to that T’Pau song.

Ann is the Wilson sister who generally sang, but Nancy sings lead on a few Heart songs - and their voices are similar enough that it’s difficult to tell them apart until they get loud. At that point, Nancy’s voice falters, where Ann’s comes unnervingly close to shrieking.

Sebastian Bach of Skid Row has had stints on Broadway with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and has toured off Broadway (maybe actually on, as well?) in Jesus Christ Superstar. He has a hell of a voice, even if he is a jerk.

Axel Rose said that he considers Freddie Mercury the best rock vocalist ever. Mercury did have a terrific range. In “Bohemian Rhapsody” alone he sings cabaret, operetta, and hard rock.

I guess my first post did not stick, no problem, I will try again,

Bryan Ferry (of Roxy Music) is in my opinion a fantastically talented singer.

Paula Cole has incredible range and control (and is “easy on the eyes” too).


Oh! I forgot one - Dennis DeYoung of Styx. He’s also made the move to Broadway, also in Superstar, as I recall.

I remember someone once telling me that the A-flat octave jump he sings in Bridge over Troubled Water (i.e., “When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all–ah!”) is a very difficult and impressive thing to do. Most men’s voices supposedly break at A-flat.

I don’t if that’s true or not, but I do think he has an incredible tenor.

While it varies, most tenors voices switch to falsetto around a B or even a C. However, on that particular song, Art is singing primarily in falsetto thus allieviating any potential breaking point.

Jim Morrison had a beautiful voice, especially when he sang in the lower part of his range.

…who’s the lead singer for ‘Concrete Blonde’?

Jon Anderson of Yes, who can still hit notes Michael Jackson only dreams of.

Johnette Napolitano

You gotta go with Dennis DeYoung. The Grand Illusion was just the tip of the iceburg. However, Styx may be better without him. He wasn’t exactly stable. and they have been pumping out songs without him.

Elvis Costello never had any formal training to my knowledge, but he’s an amazing vocalist, more in live performance than on record.

you guys wanna hear someone that can hit higher notes than geddy lee ever could? do ya? the band is coheed and cambria…go to equal vision records and i believe you can download a song…sheesh, this guy can hit the high notes…i saw them in a small club in chapel hill an dhe pulls it off live…as close to punk/hardcore as anything any of you have mentioned…

Gwen Stefani has a hell of a voice, so I was terribly disappointed seeing her during the Super Bowl. That was pretty awful. Perhaps she felt a bit of pressure following Shania? I dunno, but it sucked. I expected much better.

I listen, or at least appreciate, bands who can do two of three things fairly consistently:

Play clean, crisp music.

Have a singer who can actually sing, rather than growl/talk/scream/mumble.

Sing lyrics that are not only more than just the same three lines over and over, but don’t try to send a social message and shit every song.

That said, some of the guys that can actually sing, IMO are (guys I consider rock anyways). Keep in mind that to me, music ended around 1988:

Rob Halford, who it was once said, had the respect of Pavarotti for his ability. Bruce Dickenson, Meat Loaf, Blackmore, Geoff Tate, Freddy Mercury, Geddy Lee, Vince Neil, the chubby guy with a Letterman tooth gap from Grim Reaper (stupid band, but the guy had a hell of a voice). There are many more, but that’s just off the top of my head. There were a LOT of women who had great voices (Saw Benatar live on her Get Nervous tour, and she sounded better live than on tape).

That’s why I miss the 80’s. Even the one hit wonders had people that could sing. Music of the 90’s and today is unintelligible crap from people who can’t sing in bands that can’t play instruments. But they are different and send a message so they are cool. My wife made me listen to some new crapola band the other day. During 6 songs, for the 40 seconds the lead singer actually sang, he was great. The rest of it was raspy moaning.

Damn I’m getting old.

Linda Ronstadt is totally awesome. I don’t think there is a style she can’t (and hasn’t) sung in. And she does them all perfectly.