Who Is Quintessential Rock Singer?

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Sugarcubes Forever
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Who Is Quintessential Rock Singer?

Postby Sugarcubes Forever » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:28 am

Carrie Brownstein asks, who is the quintessential rock singer?

That lead me to some deep thoughts. Well, as deep as my thoughts go. An inch or two, maybe.

For the life of me, I can't quite wrestle loose a single name that nails it for me. Robert Plant? No. Bono? Hell no. Is the quintessential rock singer someone who defines an era? A style? Is he/she an icon or an overlooked vocal genius? I really want to propose a name from the Punk lexicon. But is that just my bias? There's a whole wide range of rock n roll out there that was just as raw and true to rock's roots as Minor Threat or the Buzzcocks.

Commercial success and all the other trapings aside, this question is all about voice (and I would have to add) stage presence. The quintessential rock singer has to walk the walk, as well as belt it out. When I think of voice, though, I'm not limiting the question only to singers with perfect pitch and an impressive vocal range. Rock isn't about that. Robert Plant might be able to hit all the right notes, but I'd just as soon listen to Motorhead on my iPod as Led Leppelin.

Who is the quintessential rock singer?

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Postby MF » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:16 am

Carrie Brownstein asks, who is the quintessential rock singer?

You might as well ask how long is a piece of string.

But in an effort to play along, the following criteria can be sussed out of Brownstein's piece: Bravado, swagger, throatiness [really? "throatiness"]; a style that is enviable and infulential. The singer's voice "wears disguises without losing authenticity, it is everyman, one man [anyone got an idea how it can be everyman and more than one man? Isn't the idea of an everyman being a single person personifying the masses?], the singer and the serenaded [I have no idea what this means]; it can't be traced back to a distinct originator, it sounds brand-new and is unequalled."

Despite my problems with her language and thought process, David St. Hubbins is clearly the only singer that could possibly fit her description. Or maybe Cher.

Ad
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Re: Who Is Quintessential Rock Singer?

Postby Ad » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:57 am

I disagree with Brownstein's friend's argument, that Jagger is a blues singer, not a rock n roll singer. That's ludicrous. You can say that about almost any "rock n roll" singer, accept perhaps those who sing in bands that fall under the twee-ish indie pop and more extreme industrial, hardcore, and speed/death metal umbrellas.

Love him or hate him, Jagger (along with Richards) pretty much invented the look and style of the swaggering rock 'n' roll gods. And Jagger certainly has the voice, blues based or otherwise.

And as a sidenote: While I Like Brownstein, dare I say she dresses sort of like a hipster?

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Postby Barabajagal » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:11 am

I might have to pick Elvis, which is obvious, but he is sort of the prototype. He had that dual-voice thing--the sort of rich, body-voice velvety croon, and then that snarly, twangy head voice, too. Pretty much became the blueprint for rock.

Mixmaster Shecky
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Postby Mixmaster Shecky » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:50 am

For god's sake, people - it's Bon Scott. He was the absolute epitome of a rock singer; a scabby little punk that sneered instead of singing.

Also, the greatest rock song ever is 'Highway To Hell'. Just to let you know.

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Postby Jake » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:56 am

It's either Eddie Cochrane or Little Richard.

But I agree with John Lennon and think he's actually underrated as a singer. People tend to focus on everything about him except his voice.

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Postby quasarwutwut » Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:06 pm

Jake wrote:It's either Eddie Cochrane or Little Richard. But I agree with John Lennon and think he's actually underrated as a singer. People tend to focus on everything about him except his voice.

If I ever run across that genie again and he grants me another magical power, it will certainly be to sing like Lennon on "Please Mister Postman". Goddammit people, that is It. That's the voice.

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Postby Little Timmy » Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:23 pm

Any girls allowed in this clubhouse? How about Janis Joplin?

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Postby miss carol » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:01 pm

Little Timmy wrote:Any girls allowed in this clubhouse? How about Janis Joplin?


My thoughts exactly. And until someone said Little Richard, I wondered if this was a white washed world.

Plant, he said, was merely emulating the old British and Irish folksingers, re-imagining and reconfiguring their earlier style.


On this I beg to differ. I always thought Plant was channelling a black woman. It seems to me that Page was the British folk fan, but that's another discussion for another thread.

Back to singers: How about Big Momma Thornton? Patti Smith? Screamin' Jay Hawkins?

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Postby BandyLou » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:16 pm

To disqualify a singer because they 'amplify folk' or are really a 'blues singer' (in a white electric band) seems strange to me. That is what rock is. Unless you want to find rock that has all the blues and folk taken out, and then name the quintessential singer of whatever dozen or so bands you have left (Metallica? Tubeway Army? ABC? Skrewdriver?)

John Lennon is a guitar player, a songwriter, a musician who sings, a piano player. When the question posed is "who is the quintessential rock singer," I think of Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Stephen Tyler, Mick Jagger, Bon Scott... someone who has the job title of 'singer' in their band. If the question was of the quintessential 'voice' of rock, I could see the argument for Lennon.


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