Vocalists You Should Hear [December 2010]

Having been reminded of Paul Young last summer, we thought we’d talk about some of the best vocalists.  We’re mindful many of our Meganauts are in their early 20s (some are in their teens), so if all you know are Justin Timberlake and Kelly Clarkson, you need to expand your musical horizons a little bit.

Male Vocalists

Ricardo Arjona, Tony Bennett, James Brown, Jeff Buckley, Solomon Burke, Ray Charles, Kurt Cobain, Sam Cooke, Terence Trent D’Arby, Bobby Darin, John Denver, Dion, John Fogerty, David Gates, Marvin Gaye, Vince Gill, Al Green, Donny Hathaway, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, B.B. King, Ben E. King, Little Richard, Curtis Mayfield, Freddie Mercury, Don McLean, Musiq Soulchild, Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville, Teddy Pendergrass, Robert Plant, Elvis Presley, Prince, Otis Redding, Reyli, Seal, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, George Strait, Sylvester, Russell Thompkins Jr., Randy Travis, Frankie Valli, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Paul Young

Female Vocalists

Yolanda Adams, Joan Baez, Karen Carpenter, Eva Cassidy, Petula Clark, Patsy Cline, Celia Cruz, Aretha Franklin, Alejandra Guzman, Billie Holiday, Whitney Houston, Mahalia Jackson, Etta James, Alison Krauss, Patti LaBelle, k.d. lang, Alison Moyet, Odetta, Edith Piaf, Dusty Springfield, Candi Staton, Donna Summer, Irma Thomas, Tracey Thorn, Tina Turner, Martha Wash, Wynonna

Note that some of these vocalists never released solo recordings.  This is only an abridged list.  We’ll publish a more comprehensive survey later on our Music Camp page (call it the extended mix).  In the meantime, check out NPR’s 50 Great Voices (npr.org).  NPR’s yearlong project takes a slightly different approach.  Its list of 135 nominees includes opera singers, rappers, and artists who would be the first to admit they’re not very good vocalists (Leonard Cohen, for example).

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