This morning on the way to work I was flipping through the radio.  I landed on a song that made me stop and listen.  I’d never heard the song before, so it must be new.  Once I got to the office I checked the playlist of the station and discovered the singer.  I sadly discovered the lyrics were rather blasphemous on the playlist widget, but the female singer was so strong it made me stop and listen.

This made me think about what other singers make me stop and listen, regardless of whatever else I’m doing.  So I made a list.  Of course, the list excludes both my wife—the best singer ever, and U2’s Bono.  Everyone knows that U2 is my all-time fave, so it is wrong to put them on the list.

So, here is the list of 5 who come to mind, but it is not a complete list.  Everything is fluid.

  • Natalie Merchant—There is just something ethereal about her voice.  Maybe I’m just showing my Gen-X street cred, but I think her voice is one of the iconic sounds of the last 20 years, whether she’s with the Maniacs or not.

 

  • Jim Morrison—Yeah, I know he was demon possessed but his voice is just odd.  Whenever I hear a Jim Morrison song I have to stop and listen.  Listening to him sing is like rubber-necking at a car crash on the freeway.

 

  • ZZ Top—Not only do these men have the best Texas-Rock and Roll sound ever, but their beards are legendary.  La Grange still gets a lot of airtime, and I have to listen.  I have to listen because I’ve driven through La Grange, Texas more times than I can remember.  I know that the song is about ill repute, but I still have to listen.

 

  • Mick Jagger—I list Jagger, and not the Rolling Stones because to me, Jagger is the power behind that thing.  Keith Richards, I think, actually died in 1987.  Today he is only a digital reanimation brought to us by Dreamworks.  Jagger’s voice, with its arrogant britishness says, “Stop what you’re doing and listen.”  Gimme Shelter  is not the greatest song ever, but it has to be in the top 10.

 

  • Frank Sinatra—Old Blue Eyes has the purest vocals, rivaled only by Nat King Cole.  But Frank is better because he did more.  I think I have every single song he ever sung.  Not only is his voice amazing, he was the king of cool.  I’d like to be the Frank Sinatra of preachers, so now I have to find a way to do all my ministry from Vegas.  Okay, maybe not.

 

Some of you will notice some missing personas.  Led Zeppelin, for one.  I love Led, but Robert Plant on vocals was always a negative, not a positive.  The guitar riffs are what made them.  John Fogerty almost made the list, but I decided that I can skip him over on the radio dial.  What interested me was how these distinctive singers all seem so much more amazing in the backdrop of what passes for music right now.  We are in a music drought with all the vanilla copy-cats.

10 Comments

  1. I love that song too. I can never decipher the lyrics of the songs on the radio anyway so I like to just assume they’re okay. This allows me to listen to the top 40 station with impunity.

    As far as new music, I think there’s a real derth of unique sounds, but the band Cake really jumps out when I’m skimming through the stations. Just about everyone I’ve met tends to like them at least a little bit as well. They’ve been called my generation’s Credence Clearwater Revival. They’ve only been called that by me so far, but It’s due to catch on.

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    1. i’m not that familiar with cake, but i will go check them out. i bet i’ve heard something from then and just don’t know who it is. that’s the way i was for a long time about that group mumford and sons. and if it helps, i’ll start saying “they are your generations credence.”

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  2. I don’t know about you, but I have a sneaking suspicion (don’t ya just love those sneaky little buggers?) that Dusty Hill of ZZ Top is really Elvis in disguise…what better disguise? All you can see are his cheeks! Perfect! He can still work and not be pestered by folks screaming “There’s Elvis!!!” and have you heard ZZ Top perform Viva Las Vegas? Let’s see if we can really stretch here: Elvis was supposed to have had a twin that died at birth…ok. Those two look sort of alike…Elvis’ favorite saying was TCB (which I always assumed was about a Yogurt Store), but the symbol was a lightning bolt…the double Z’s in ZZ Top resemble twin lightning bolts. Hmmm…he doesn’t wiggle around like he used to…maybe because he is seventy four under the hat and hair and sunglasses?
    I was advised to be creative today and your mention of ZZ Top just set it off…maybe Frank Sinatra…nah…never mind… 🙂

    Enjoying your blog BTW.

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  3. I’m a big time U2 fan. They have put out some great tunes over the years. Have seen them 3 times live before. A U2 concert is something everyone ought to experience.

    I also like some music by John Mayer and Jackson. When it comes to old school stuff, I like Bryan Adams and Huey Lewis & The News.

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    1. oh–i thought you meant michael jackson. though he was a little odd, that man had a unique voice, which is why he always had such a large following.
      dude–i’ve only seen U2 once live and that as when i was a kid in college, but then thee is always youtube….

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