Who are the five worst singers of pop music in the second half of the 20th century?

Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus?

Surprised that no one mentioned Sonny Bono yet, who was inspired by the fact that Bob Dylan’s voice was considered to be adequate.

Actually my favorite song by him is Esperanza, one of his newer songs. (Note: No singing!)

Neil and Bob. . .is that their names, or what they do?

/Bad Face! Bad! Sorry. How can you not spike a set-up like that?
//“Everyone Knows this is Nowhere” is one of my Desert Island albums, and I am very fond of several of Dylan’s songs.
///“Lady Blue” and “Tight Rope” are great tunes.

With these threads, I usually think something along the lines of ,“ehh, it’s always a matter of taste, and mine sometimes change back and forth.”

But then I read this:

Who has two thumbs and doesn’t have the stomach to listen to “Mr. Peppermint Man” again? – This guy!

That is the weird thing about Billy, he has an objectively awful voice and yet somehow in his band it works, but don’t ask me how. I was listening to the radio one day and heard his cover of Stevie Nick’s Landslide, awful just awful he destroyed a beautiful song, I had to quickly change the station.

If we widen the definition of pop music -and singing- then Yoko Ono deserves mention.

As a wee lad, I was really into KISS and Ace Frehley was my favorite.

When it was made known that he was going to sing lead vocals for the first time, I was duly worked up.

I tried my best to like his song, Shock Me but even to my kid ears, I grasped pretty quickly that this guy couldn’t sing for squat. link if you want to hear for yourself.

(He got a little better over time. In his bio, he acknowledges his limited vocal capacity but says screw it, it’s rock and roll not opera at the Met.)

Indeed. It took me a little while to get used to his voice (I hated the Pumpkins for awhile because of him), but I now love it in the context of the Smashing Pumpkins (one of my favorite bands). I can’t see that band with any other singer.

Same thing with Liz Phair. I love her voice for her music, especially the early records. There’s just something sneering and sincere and hurt and angry and honest about it. I can feel the bite of her lyrics because of that voice. Once she got into the more middle-of-the-road pop by her later records and her voice started changing towards that generic female pop star voice, I lost pretty much all interest.

Love Cohen’s distinctive, deep, dark, gravelly voice, too. Gives me chills.

As to the OP? I dunno. Paula Abdul? I mean, I loved her music in the 80s (and still listen to it from time to time), but she has a very mediocre thin voice. Same era, I’d nominate Janet Jackson, and I’d probably agree with Madonna, but I enjoy all these artists’ music. I also can’t imagine those are “the worst.” They’re just adequate enough.

Tom Reynolds in “I Hate Myself and Want to Die; The 52 Most Depressing Songs You Ever Heard” calls this a Brain Concussion Modulation. He names the big three as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Celene Dion. Three singers I cannot abide.

I was listening to Sun Radio (100.1 locally and they have an app- solar powered, non-profit, I HIGHLY recommend) Saturday and they played Willie Nelson’s “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die”. Snoop can rap. Snoop is NOT a singer. It was kind of painful.

We are not singers. We are Devo.

I don’t really get the Liz Phair ire. I judge her on the first LP, and there is no way to make an album that great without a lot of vocal soul. I remember it was a lot more mature sounding than other females singers at the time. She might be getting away with it on the singing front because of her original material, but that’s what Dylan and a lot of others did.

I mean “passable” meaning a major label backed pro singer who should not be doing it. I am not talking about modern pop and rock artists who are too numerous and horrible to put on lists. I mean the ones who had a good song or were of interest in a real musical way.

Good suggestions I’m watching:
Sonny Bono
Leonard Cohen
Tiny Tim

Peter Criss sang lead on “Beth”. He can’t carry a tune in a bucket either.

Nobody’s mentioned Michael Bolton yet?

Also Johnny Cash

Release The Bats has one of the all-time great vocal performances, and only Nick Cave could have pulled it off.


I don’t know if these folks deserve the “worst” designation, but clearly many of the aforementioned merit “highly fucking annoying”.

Journey - “When the lights… go down… in the sit-tay…”

George Harrison - deserves a category all by hisself, as he wasn’t much of a guitarist either. But the high falsettos and nasal scouse accent, good lord.

Bob Dylan - voice has been described as “gargled broken glass, with a draino chaser”, not too far off the mark. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!” (yes, he really did this too) is one of my favorites because of this. But I’ve loved Bobby Ds catalog as much as any. Well, I haven’t shelled out $600 for the entire set of track 12 outtakes of Rainy Day Women, but I’ve an extensive appreciation of especially, pre-crash Bob. He has a great voice, sense of melody and tunefulness.

John Lennon - just about anything after he started believing his own BS, popping acid like candy, etc. Just an insufferable ass by all accounts. His early straight ahead rockers - “Leave My Kitten Alone”, were perhaps unsurpassed. Watching him crack up in just a couple short years is textbook insanity. Yoko was of course (and is) considered a form of torture by many.

Alice Cooper. Seen him twice, about 40 years apart. Still can’t hold a note.

Adam Duritz (It’s an endless December)

Madonna (So famous, so awful)

Mark Knopfler (Why not hire a singer?)

Tom Waits (born with a noose around his neck?)

Billy Corgan (it takes dedication to be that bad)

No one’s mentioned Meat Loaf yet? I had a friend that wanted to get into the music business and changed his mind when Mr. Loaf hit it big. He said, “This obviously isn’t about actual talent.”

^ Nailed it

Gregg Rolie may not have the pipes Steve Perry does (or did, before his health failed) but he can definitely sing. And “Lights” is one of my all-time favorite songs.