Non-autotuned singers that really could have used it

This really isn’t about whether autotune is good or bad, just kind of a fun thread about singers singing a bit off key, maybe in just in specific parts in specific songs.

I’ll go. Eddie Money in just about anything. Take Me Home Tonight “Yeah yeah yeah” at the beginning as an example.

https://youtu.be/BRh-w8_BuRc?t=15

In fact, at times in the song it sounds like they’re shifting the pitch of the music to accommodate him. Like a reverse auto-tune.

Because I Love You (The Postman Song)” by Stevie B really sounds like he “sang” an a cappella melody line and then they went back and put instruments over it; the timing is off and the singing is outta tune in many places. Ick!

Fabian (Forte). One of the earliest examples of “let’s take this good-looking kid and make him a pop star”.

His early singing career in his own words : “…I rehearsed and rehearsed, and I really felt like a fish out of water. And we made a record. And it was horrible…”

There is an apocryphal story of him rehearsing over and over to be able to sing “Happy Birthday” during a television appearance.

Joan Osborne sings “Let’s Just Get Naked” out of tune on the album Relish. Now Joan is a very skilled vocalist and sings everything else perfectly in tune. All I can think is that she must have sung “Let’s Just Get Naked” out of tune on purpose. I can’t for the life of me understand why she would do that. Maybe “just for a laugh” like a line in the song says. But it sounds atrocious, unlistenable. Please autotune her on just that one song.

I just listened to “Let’s Just Get Naked”. I thought I wouldn’t think it was that bad since I don’t have that great of an ear-- I’ve heard people say “singer X sang that part a little off-key” and I don’t hear it. But that Joan Osborne song, ugh, that was like nails on a chalkboard.

Bob Dylan in everything he ever sang.

To me, it sounds like Joan Osborne is trying to evoke some sort early 90s indie/alt-rock vibe a la Exile-In-Guyville–era Liz Phair or something of that nature, but overshoots it a bit. It’s got a bit of a cool, detached, apathetic, fatalist vibe to it. Maybe even hinting a little bit at Lou Reed.

These guys are really old, but Jay of Jay and the Americans used to really hurt my overly sensitive intetnal pitch meter.

Ditto Lou Reed. He can’t even talk in tune.

It’s not that Bob Dylan sings off-key, necessarily. He very well may sing off-key sometimes, but the main issue is that he has a very non-conventional, some would simply say bad, singing voice. I happen to like his vocal style, but if you’re one of the people who don’t, ain’t no amount of auto-tuning gonna make it sound better to you.

The guy from Stealers Wheel sounds like Bob Dylan would, if Bob Dylan could hold a tune. In fact, I thought it was Dylan for a long time and wondered how he managed to sing so well on that song.

Greg Lake. In my OPINION (which I won’t bother defending) he had a terrific natural singing voice but didn’t really know how to use it, which is why he usually sounded really good, sometimes sounded magnificent, but too often sounded strained or had erratic pitch.
With a little professional voice coaching he could have had more terrific performances and no bad ones.
Back in the 70’s I read a story (Rolling Stone Magazine) about a voice coach, a middle-aged woman whose clients included classical singers as well as a few pop/rock types (Janis Joplin and Country Joe MacDonald are the only names I remember being mentioned). The interviewer asked her who she would most have liked to work with and her reply was Greg Lake, who “has a monster of a voice but doesn’t use it effectively.” I was pleased to see I wasn’t the only one to have noticed.

Back to say IMO autotune is for people who can’t sing very well, and Greg Lake was definitely not such a person.

I know this’ll be unpopular, but…add Ray Charles to the list.

That defect actually helped, for once, on “21st Century Schizoid Man.” A nice voice couldn’t have fit the song.

I’ll tell you somebody for whom autotune would be completely irrelevant: David Thomas of Pere Ubu. He doesn’t sing out of tune; he doesn’t sing in tune—he just doesn’t sing tunes at all. He just… puts his voice out there chaotically. I can’t think of any other way to describe it. On a few early Pere Ubu tracks, like “30 Seconds Over Tokyo,” he sang rudimentary almost-melodies… but from their second album Dub Housing on, he almost entirely abandoned vocal melody. If you applied autotune to his vocals… nobody’d be able to tell!

[quote="Johanna, post:15, topic:913274"]

That defect actually helped , for once, on “21st Century Schizoid Man.” A nice voice couldn’t have fit the song.
[/quote]

Yep. By the way, that’s the only song from KC#1 that I still listen to frequently. It has aged very well.

John Lennon.

Fight me.