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Best screaming vocalist of all time
2 November 2012
2.24am
Funny Paper
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Among Paul's many talents (bass, acoustic and electric guitar, piano, drums, songwriting), one particular one is not often singled out for praise: his ability to scream well.  His screaming is effortlessly powerful even when rising into high registers, it punctuates the songs perfectly, it has high quality. 

 

Examples: 

 

Long Tall Sally

I Saw Her Standing There

Why Don't We Do It In The Road??

Helter Skelter

I've Got a Feeling

Oh Darling

Maybe I'm Amazed

Back Seat of My Car (near the end)

Mumbo (!!!!!!!!!!!)

1985 (again, especially near the end)

Jet (in certain places)

Ballroom Dancing (in places)

 

I may have missed a few.

 

The only thing I suspect some would fault him for in this regard is that he doesn't have that kind of "painful" soul depth, and it could be faulted for being faultless in technique, but not in raw emotion. (Thus Lennon's screaming in, e.g. "Mother", is certainly compelling to listen to, and "I Want You" and "Yer Blues" are great, but still, he is simply inferior in tone and verve and aplomb to Paul's screaming.)

 

I'm not one of those critics -- I think Paul is simply the best screamer in all singing history, even better than Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, and certainly better than Little Richard or Joe Cocker or anyone else one could name.

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2 November 2012
1.14pm
Ben Ramon
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Very, very true. I'd also like to nominate Oh Woman Oh Why, I'm Down, Wild Life, A Love For You, So Glad to See You Here and Call Me Back Again as particularly impressive gritty vocal performances in high registers. His final "oh yeah" scream at the end of Soily live 1976 in Seattle is one of the most incredible things I've ever heard, the E above tenor high C and extremely powerful, well sustained and full sounding.

Some might argue that in their prime Robert Plant and Roger Daltrey were more formidable rock singers but their vocal ranges diminished very quickly due to overuse and improper technique- the superhuman high notes Plant possessed in the early days of Zeppelin were pretty shot by the late 70s. Macca has preserved his voice ridiculously well for a man who writes songs often in the demanding upper tenor range and has consistently performed them in their original key up to this day.

I'll also take this opportunity to plug a video I made (again!) illustrating Paul's vocal range and showcasing some of his best highs (and lows). Read the video description for further details on the notes he hits and the songs they are from.

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
2 November 2012
3.06pm
frankdialogue
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Don't forget 'I'm Down', 'Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey' or the the under rated 'Big Barn Bed'.

2 November 2012
4.11pm
Von Bontee
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Another good one: "Drive All Night", from the expanded "Ram".

Agreed with Ben that Robert Plant, much as I love him, really damaged his voice within the first coupla years of his recording career. (Janis Joplin probably woulda done the same; ironically/sadly, she never lived long enough to do so.)

Yoko certainly deserves a mention here for her stamina/sustainability, and for that wacky vibrato or tremelo or whatever you call that effect she often achieved. (But I guess she's really more of a "shrieker" than a screamer, after all.)

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
2 November 2012
5.17pm
BluemeanAl
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I think that I'll disagree just a bit on the side of Robert Plant.  While he's certainly no longer at the "Immigrant Song" level of 1970, I'd argue that he's become a better overall singer as a result.  I've seen him a couple of times in the past 3 years -- he more than held his own with Alison Krauss when performing "The Battle of Evermore" (a song that, I believe, Zeppelin never did live due to the lack of a female singer to do the Sandy Denny part from the album) when I saw that performed on the Raising Sand tour...goosebump time for me on that one.

I saw Paul in concert sandwiched somewhere between the two Plant shows -- both guys sounded excellent to me given the age, wear-and-tear on their voices.  I don't think I'd rate one above the other based on those live samplings.

I guess that I'll find out about Daltrey in another week when I see the Who...they are performing Quadrophenia, so "Love Reign O'er Me" coming at the end of the set will be a challenge for sure.

And while Paul's screams were probably technically superior to John's, I have to say that I generally prefer the raw edge of John's voice in those settings.  Paul has more "soul" in his screams, John rocked out a bit better I think.

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2 November 2012
8.38pm
Funny Paper
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frankdialogue said
Don't forget 'I'm Down', 'Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey' or the the under rated 'Big Barn Bed'.

I like "Big Barn Bed" a lot, but I wouldn't say his voice rises to the level quite to screaming, proper.  He sings at a range close to screaming, and it's very forceful and a pleasure to listen to -- but never quite crosses over to screaming.

 

McCartney Trivia question:  on what album and where on that album can a precursor to "Big Barn Bed" be found?

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2 November 2012
8.46pm
Funny Paper
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I forgot to mention a major example of Paul's screaming forte:

 

Get On the Right Thing (from Red Rose Speedway)

 

That one song by itself blows Robert Plant and Roger Daltrey out of the water, IMHO.

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2 November 2012
10.16pm
Ben Ramon
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Funny Paper said

frankdialogue said
Don't forget 'I'm Down', 'Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey' or the the under rated 'Big Barn Bed'.

I like "Big Barn Bed" a lot, but I wouldn't say his voice rises to the level quite to screaming, proper.  He sings at a range close to screaming, and it's very forceful and a pleasure to listen to -- but never quite crosses over to screaming.

 

McCartney Trivia question:  on what album and where on that album can a precursor to "Big Barn Bed" be found?

At the end of the Ram On reprise.

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
3 November 2012
5.46am
Funny Paper
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Ben Ramon said

Funny Paper said

frankdialogue said
Don't forget 'I'm Down', 'Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey' or the the under rated 'Big Barn Bed'.

I like "Big Barn Bed" a lot, but I wouldn't say his voice rises to the level quite to screaming, proper.  He sings at a range close to screaming, and it's very forceful and a pleasure to listen to -- but never quite crosses over to screaming.

 

McCartney Trivia question:  on what album and where on that album can a precursor to "Big Barn Bed" be found?

At the end of the Ram On reprise.

I knew I couldn't get anything past this crowd!

I wish Paul would do a version that sounds more like that reprise ending.

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3 November 2012
12.23pm
gotagoodreason
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I agree with Funny Paper but you guys seem to have forgotten one major example of screaming, which is the one right before the solo in 'Can't Buy Me Love'. This one is funny because of the double-tracked vocals : in his first vocal Paul delivers a tiny 'woo !' that he KNEW he had to surpass - and how - while overdubbing himself paul-mccartney !

3 November 2012
11.08pm
Funny Paper
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gotagoodreason said
I agree with Funny Paper but you guys seem to have forgotten one major example of screaming, which is the one right before the solo in 'Can't Buy Me Love'. This one is funny because of the double-tracked vocals : in his first vocal Paul delivers a tiny 'woo !' that he KNEW he had to surpass - and how - while overdubbing himself paul-mccartney !

Yes, that's a nice little scream, prefigures more and better to come over the years.

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4 November 2012
7.19am
kedame
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Add "Beware My Love," from Wings at the Speed of Sound.

The first part has an awesome screaming vocal.

Also, for those of you with good ears, I have always argued with myself over the screams at the end of Don't Let Me Down. Does Paul do both of the screams, or does John do one and Paul does the other? One of them clearly sounds like Paul, but the other sounds like it could be either.

"You can manicure a cat but can you caticure a man?" John Lennon- Skywriting by Word of Mouth
9 February 2014
10.04pm
tulane
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Paul is great but Little Richard is the man as far as I'm concerned.

John Fogerty out of Creedence Clearwater deserves a mention too.

9 February 2014
10.39pm
LongHairedLady
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Have we not mentioned Hey Jude yet?  Definitely a screamer..

 

Also from Red Rose Speedway, When the night.

 

From Live at BBC:  Ooh! My Soul!  His voice is absolutely amazing in that one, I can't get enough! 

 

 

 

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

9 February 2014
11.17pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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I'd like to nominate Kurt Cobain. Might just be because I'm on a huge Nirvana kick, but he screams a lot, and it's pretty great.

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10 February 2014
5.31pm
fabfouremily
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IveJustSeenAFaceo said
I'd like to nominate Kurt Cobain. Might just be because I'm on a huge Nirvana kick, but he screams a lot, and it's pretty great.

This is actually a thread about ''screamy'' songs by Paul :)

 

''We're just knocked out. We heard about the sell out. You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people. We're so happy we can hardly count.''

10 February 2014
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IveJustSeenAFaceo
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fabfouremily said

IveJustSeenAFaceo said
I'd like to nominate Kurt Cobain. Might just be because I'm on a huge Nirvana kick, but he screams a lot, and it's pretty great.

This is actually a thread about ''screamy'' songs by Paul :)

 

Oops. That's what I get for only looking at the title. 

Helter Skelter is pretty good. There, I contributed

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12 February 2014
8.46pm
Ahhh Girl
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I just tripped across this thread, and since it is related, I thought I'd link it here as food for thought.

Which Beatle Do You Prefer Singing The "Screaming" Songs? John Or Paul?

13 February 2014
3.12am
4or5Magicians
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IveJustSeenAFaceo said

fabfouremily said

IveJustSeenAFaceo said
I'd like to nominate Kurt Cobain. Might just be because I'm on a huge Nirvana kick, but he screams a lot, and it's pretty great.

This is actually a thread about ''screamy'' songs by Paul :)

 

Oops. That's what I get for only looking at the title. 

Helter Skelter is pretty good. There, I contributed

I thought the OP's last paragraph was opening up comparing to other "screamers" as well. I'll second Kurt Cobain. Reminds me of John's screaming to a certain degree (raw, barely controlled, but powerful and more importantly awesome).

But as for screamy Paul songs, besides the ones already mentioned I love his work on Lucille. As I alluded to in the other thread, though, Paul rocks so hard when he's screaming. paul-mccartney

 

13 February 2014
4.15am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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4or5Magicians said

IveJustSeenAFaceo said

fabfouremily said

IveJustSeenAFaceo said
I'd like to nominate Kurt Cobain. Might just be because I'm on a huge Nirvana kick, but he screams a lot, and it's pretty great.

This is actually a thread about ''screamy'' songs by Paul :)

 

Oops. That's what I get for only looking at the title. 

Helter Skelter is pretty good. There, I contributed

I thought the OP's last paragraph was opening up comparing to other "screamers" as well. I'll second Kurt Cobain. Reminds me of John's screaming to a certain degree (raw, barely controlled, but powerful and more importantly awesome).

But as for screamy Paul songs, besides the ones already mentioned I love his work on Lucille. As I alluded to in the other thread, though, Paul rocks so hard when he's screaming. paul-mccartney

 

One of my favorite Cobain ones is Scentless Apprentice. Fantastic guitar work on that one too.

And Paul's shouting on Birthday has always been cool to me. Sucks he can't really do it anymore. It was a bit painful on Sunday.

Edit: Just realized, if this thread isn't for talking about other screamers, can we get one? Mods, could you move mine and 4or5magicians posts to a thread I'm about to create? It should be there by the time you see this. Thanks

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