Greatest Rock Vocal Performances

Have we done this one before? I’m curious as to what people think the greatest vocal performances have been in rock music. Not necessarily the best songs or bands, just the best vocal.

Here are a couple that I’d put on the list:

Twist and Shout - John Lennon

Piece of my Heart - Janis Joplin. But I could be convinced to switch that to Me and Bobby McGee

Jeremy - Eddie Vedder

Love Reign O’er Me - Roger Daltrey

Any other candidates?

Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan on Strange Kind Of Woman, from the live album Made In Japan, when he starts matching Blackmore’s guitar licks note for note until you can’t tell which is guitar and which is vocals - a breathtaking display of technique that always makes the hairs on my arms stand on end.

Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah.”

I win, thread over.

A number of Meatloaf songs. Great voice.

Another vote for Ian Gillan, on almost anything. I still think he’s what a rock singer ought to sound like. Incidentally, as well as all his mainstream work with Purple et el., he did a great job as Jesus on the studio recording of the ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ album.

I’d also like to give close-but-no-cigar prizes to Freddie Mercury (pick your own track, but I’d go for ‘One Vision’) or Peter Gabriel (‘Sledgehammer’).

Hallelujah isn’t rock.

Gimme Shelter, with Merry Clayton showing Mick Jagger how it’s done – there’s your winner.

I’ll offer up Paul McCartney on “Oh! Darling”, although it was not achieved in one take. Also, check him out on “Monkberry Moon Delight”. He went through a (short) period of using voice-as-instrument, and came up with some very impressive vocal feats.

Roger Daltrey’s scream on “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

Second Merry Clayton on “Gimme Shelter.”

Aretha Franklin deserves a little Respect here.

Interesting. It sounds like some of you, at least, favor the raw, “I’ve been screaming all night and my vocal cords are shot” sort of vocal performance.
I have a confession to make. You know what song spontaneously started playing in my brain around the time I saw this thread? I hesitate to tell you, because I could lose serious Coolness Points. Just remember, this isn’t my own, carefully reasoned choice; it’s something that some part of my brain came up with. And I don’t know what my brain was thinking. I haven’t heard the song recently, and I have no idea what pushed it into my consciousness, but, for whatever reason, the vocal performance forcing itself into my head right now is… “Mr. Roboto,” by Styx.

Third Gimme Shelter. Best rock song, best rock vocal performance.

From all accounts I’ve heard, personality-wise Dennis DeYoung is a complete and utter ass - but he’s got a great voice. I’m not sure Mr. Roboto is the best example thereof, but my brain is prone to coming up with weird shit, too.

Add my vote for Meat Loaf, for Heaven Can Wait. It’s a good performance throughout, but that final note is just way too cool.

Burton Cummings of The Guess Who - Undun, and These Eyes.

David Clayton-Thomas (Blood. Sweat & Tears) - Hi-De-Ho.

Midge Ure (Ultravox) - Vienna, and Dancing With Tears In My Eyes.

I don’t think Freddie Mercury ever did a bad job on any song, but there’s a solo track from his album The Great Pretender, called Exercises in Free Love. OK, not really a rock song, but since I’d classify him as a rock singer, it counts (my brain, my rules :slight_smile: ) In Exercises In Free Love, Freddie sings soprano, and quite well. It’s mindblowing.

I think it’s interesting, too, because that’s not a style that I particularly favor.

The person I thought of when I saw this thread was Sam Cooke. (Hey, if we can have Aretha, we can have Sam.) *Beautiful * voice.

Ooh, great answers! I’ve loved going through life as almost the only 20-something I know who even knows who these people are.

I’d add:

Leon Russell - A Song For You

Fredie Mercury - Somebody To Love

Bruce Springsteen - Jungleland

Crosby Stills, and Nash - Helplessly Hoping

There’s got to be a “perfect” Zeppelin tune, maybe the Immigrant Song?

It seems strange to post a great vocal performance by Queen without mentioning Freddie(which there are dozens),but Roger Taylor’s Meeeeeeeeeeeee in Bohemian Rhapsody deserves a nod.

Battle of Evermore, which is made perfect by the addition of Sandy Denny on harmony vocals.

The song itself is trite garbage, but rock & roll can be summed up by Elvis’ vocal on Viva Las Vegas.

The most talented singing I’ve heard in American rock is probably Joshua Homme in Tangled Up in Plaid, though admittedly it’s not the best song nor the most emotional singing. Eventually I think he’ll be #1 though, he just needs to make more emotional songs.

I haven’t heard any of the other songs listed in this thread though, except Fred Mercury, who I would still rank Homme above. (Though Mercury played about more in different ranges.)

Not quite rock but, given that Aretha Franklin found her way in here, Otis Redding on his song A Change is Gonna Come is probably the song with the most emotion that I can think of which would be close enough to mainstream rock.

Even though he just dies, how about Brad Delp from Boston for “More Than a Feeling”

In the same vein: Steve Perry from Journey’s solo hit “Oh, Sherry”

Joe Cocker in A Little Help From My Friends, The Letter, Feelin’ Alright?

Rod Stewart in In a Broken Dream

I like Del Shannon’s Runaway, especially the new version he recorded for the opening credits of Crime Story. His voice had gained some character since the original.