Not too long ago, Rolling Stone magazine had a cover story on the “100 Greatest Singers Of All Time.”
I won’t get near to one hundred, but I thought I’d share some of my favorite voices of all time. And all these below are in addition to four of my favorite, those voices that belong to people on our staff — April Geiger, Chris Macedo, Rebecca Grayson, and John Pavlovitz.
Randy Meisner, the Eagles. OK, it’s only for one song, “Take It To The Limit”. But the falsetto at the end never fails to make me shudder. My first “favorite song ever” — and I still like it a lot.
Caleb Followill, Kings Of Leon. Man, this guy can sing. He combines urgency, passion, and spiritual angst better than anyone I’ve heard in a long, long time. “Use Somebody” is a masterful track.
Natalie Mains, the Dixie Chicks. When she launches in to the receiving-death-threats part of “Not Ready To Make Nice” it makes me want to join whatever revolution she’s singing about.
Bono, U2. I’d have to be a fool not to put him on this list. I used to think U2 was all about guitar — the Edge could make sounds on songs like “Where The Streets Have No Name” that I’ve never heard anywhere else. But without Bono’s full, soaring vocals those anthems would be, well, not very anthemic. I love how on the new “Magnificent” he declares, “I was born to sing for you.” Yes indeed.
Steve Winwood, Spencer Davis Band, Traffic, solo. So nice and smooth. I’ve wanted to do “Higher Love” in church forever, but I’m the only one who does! Still a great song with some gorgeous vocals.
Don Henley, Eagles, solo. His voice is much better on the solo work than with the Eagles. While Boys Of Summer is my favorite Henley song — and my most enduring “favorite song ever” — his voice was at its best on The End Of The Innocence. At the same time grainy and silky.
Those are mine. Yours?