If you had to pick one song with Lennon's best vocals

A friend mentioned “Sexy Sadie”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IcK4S5lDE0 and I realised, ok, I don’t think I can come up with a better one. His range, here, is amazing - especially right after he sings, really high, “however big, you think you are - ooo - are - are,” and then dips right down low to “Sexy Sadie, oooh…”.
Apparently George Martin’s favourite Lennon vox was “A Day in the Life”, which, yeah, is up there, too. JL may not have had Paul’s dynamic melodic range, but had an intangible edge that I think Paul lacked.
Actually JL’s constipated mumbling at the end of “You Know My Name (Look Up My Number)” ain’t bad either. “Wild Honey Pie” is also pretty suave.

“Twist and Shout.” MY voice hurts just listening to it. JL must have been sore for a week. Great rock vocal.

“I’m So Tired” off The White Album


“I’ll Be Back”
“Bad Boy”

I don’t know why, but the first song that came to me was “Rain”.

It’s not his most technically demanding, but man, I love the vocal on “Ticket to Ride.”

I know I’ve said this before in another thread, but the great Lennon vocal that doesn’t exist was his version of Oh Darling from Abbey Road. Lennon said in some interview that he thought the song was far better suited for his own voice than McCartney’s. I tend to agree.

Lennon’s version of Stand By Me is amazing.

(Just Like) Starting Over.

Though I like I’m So Tired better, A Day in the Life is really his best showing.


She Said She Said is good – “when I was a booyy…”. Also Across the Universe (“jai gurUUuu DEva”), Not a Second Time, (“youOOoo-oo-oo-oo-oo yeh”), and Don’t Let Me Down.

Oh yeah - one of the great rock vocal performances.

Personally, I am a Hide Your Love Away kind of guy. His pained, flat delivery captures the essence of the lyric so well.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from Twist and Shout - and that breadth is what is so wonderful about Lennon.

Side note: to be clear, Lennon hated his own singing voice, and also hated recording vocals. That is why he was always looking for ways to “treat” his voice with different effects. And that is also why GMartin’s engineering team created a way to double Lennon’s vocals - so they could thicken up his nasal tone by double-tracking it (very common), but without Lennon having to record it twice.

“No. 9 Dream”

Steel and Glass, Twist and Shout, You’ve Got to Hide your Love Away are my favorites.

Really difficult to choose. I can’t think of a bad recorded performance.

“I’m Only Sleeping.” “And Your Bird Can Sing.”

I might second this. One thing Lennon did really well was soulful ballads, and he tore into this one particularly well… better than the original, I’d say.

But there are so many other great Lennon vocals. It’s hard not to pick something from Plastic Ono Band.

“It’s Only Love” is one of my favorites.

Maybe HIS favorite among his vocal performances with Two Minutes Silence.

(The man could cover anything – Isley Brothers, Ben E. King, John Cage…)

That sounds suspiciously like John Denver’s The Ballad of Richard Nixon.