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The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time
2252 Posts
6 April 2010 - 4.44am

... according to Rolling Stone Magazine.

Here's the main article.

If you're like me, you'll skip to the people you care about:

John Lennon

Paul McCartney

I can't say I disagree with the top five, but I think Paul should have been higher! There are some amazing singers on this list all the same.

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!

6 April 2010 - 6.16am

Yeah, I remember when that came out. I think it's pretty accurate... except that I think it should be called the 100 Greatest Rock-Related Singers of all time... I mean, how can you compare Bob Dylan to, say, Placido Domingo or some other operatic singer?

...and I don't think Jackson Browne's description does John complete justice. It's appropriately adoring, don't get me wrong... but it doesn't really get across the forceful beauty of John's voice. But it's cool John came out #5... he rocks!

478 Posts
6 April 2010 - 6.26am

Ok, there's something fuzzy here: What makes a singer better than another?

The tone/colour of the voice? the technique? the lyrics?

I think that Paul is better singer than John (except, perhaps, the last point), but John is a greater artist.

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I'd like to say "thank you" on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition.
John Lennon

2252 Posts
6 April 2010 - 6.27am

So when did this come out? I was looking all over that page for the date, but I couldn't see it.

Re: John, singers

Yes, but when you're limited to a page? a-hard-days-night-paul-7 It would be tough to do.

It's also limited time wise. I bet there was some Roman guy who would melt your heart every time he opened his mouth.


Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!

6 April 2010 - 7.57am

skye said:

So when did this come out?


This list came out in 2008.


Marcelo, the whole "Who is a better singer?" question is completely subjective. Obviously, many of us think it's John while others think it's Paul. It's an eternal debate... and one with no definitive answer. (Except we all know it's really John. a-hard-days-night-john-3 lol ~ j/k) Anyway, many famous musicians voted and this survey reflects their opinions.

A Park in the Dark
367 Posts
6 April 2010 - 7.48pm

I think Macca got seriously short-sheeted in that article.  I understand that deciding who is "the greatest singer" is really, really a subjective thing, but there are certain objective points that can be measured, too.  I'm not saying John was better than Paul, or Paul was better than John, but I do think Paul had a stronger mastery over the technique than John did (even if John was phenomenal at just letting his voice become a conduit for his emotions).


Paul had a wider range of notes.  He could do the low-end stuff (listen to the way he tumbles towards the basement in "All My Loving"), and he could do the screaming high-end stuff ("Long Tall Sally" and the chorus of "Maybe I'm Amazed" come immediately to mind).  He could infuse the vocal with raw rock-n-roll growl (again, "I'm Down" or "Oh Darling" or "I've Got A Feeling"), or he could hit those exact same high notes with creamy smoothness ("My Love", or "Here, There And Everywhere").  He could even do both in the same song, as in "Too Many People".


I read somewhere that he recorded the vocal-shredding "I'm Down" in the same session that he recorded "Yesterday", in that order, one right after the other.  That takes some serious vocal flexibility, and that's not something John could have done (or at least, that seems to be the case - remember, he saved "Twist And Shout" until last in the session because he said he wouldn't be able to sing anything after that).

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Mr. Kite

Not a bit like Cagney.

2252 Posts
6 April 2010 - 9.08pm

John did have a cold when he did Twist And Shout, but I agree with you about Paul's range. I'm not sure who I'd kick out to put him in the top ten. More could be said than he's an impressionist.

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!

478 Posts
6 April 2010 - 9.57pm

I'm trying to be objective here, I don't know if I could accomplish the task.

Don't take me wrong: I'm almost obsess with the life and figure of John Winston Ono Lennon. a-hard-days-night-john-6

What I say is that Paul has a beautiful singing voice, but I always feel that he put a distance between him and the song, and between him and the listener, a prudential way of being an artist and don't die in the process. John, in the opposite, developed himself to be naked in his songs: Julia, You've Got To Hide Your Love Away, I Am The Walrus and solo songs: Mother, Working Class Hero; are perfect examples of what I mean to say.

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I'd like to say "thank you" on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition.
John Lennon

Find me in my field of grass
397 Posts
7 April 2010 - 12.32am

If we're going purely by 'best singers' I would ideally have Paul before John. I am a John girl, don't get me wrong! But singing wise... I don't know. Paul can really belt it- pitch perfect too. My heart kind of rides on the waves of his voice, and with John singing, his voice just kind of seeps right in. Others have mentioned it, John's singing leaves much more of an emotional resonance, but Paul, while his songs are about uncles or groupies, still get me because of his voice. 
I think he's great! 

Artist though? John would prevail any old day.


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Tongue, lose thy light. Moon, take thy flight… see ya, George!

7 April 2010 - 6.10am

Marcelo said:

I'm trying to be objective here, I don't know if I could accomplish the task.


No need to be objective… this whole thing is very subjective. I like the way you put it. a-hard-days-night-paul-10Yes, Paul has excellent range. Yes, he can howl. I still think John is a better singer. He's so expressive, so forcefully gentle, so elegant, so full of character…. so unique and unmistakeable!


Peace and love, y'all! a-hard-days-night-george-8

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