Singers who can't really sing but are awesome

Runamok

Country Gent
I’ll second or third this. I’ve seen Tom Waits live a number of times. during the Mule Variations tour it occurred that he has near operatic depth to his voice control of what he’s doing. The grit character and ‘faltering’ is curated not limitation.
His early voice was fine. Ppl who don’t know it should check out Blue Skies & Shiver My Timbers, Ol’ 55. Lie to Me, Baby.

More recently: I thought it was the smokes.
The growl was to great effect in the hourlong video they sometimes show on PBS.
 
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NJDevil

Country Gent
Jul 9, 2014
1,466
Commack, NY
I’ll second or third this. I’ve seen Tom Waits live a number of times. during the Mule Variations tour it occurred that he has near operatic depth to his voice control of what he’s doing. The grit character and ‘faltering’ is curated not limitation.
I wouldn't want to hear Tom Waits sing any Simon & Garfunkel song but Tom Waits' voice is essential for everything he does as it magnifies the meaning/plot/story the lyrics. I'm a big fan and of course a huge fan of Tom Hammond Jr. and was thought it was brilliant to learn that Tom Waits wrote most, if not all, the songs on Hammond's 2001 album "Wicked Grin".

I guess Tom Hammond Jr. is another to add in the mix. Both Hammond and Waits really use their voice to not just communicate the lyrics but also lift and shape the character of the song. Awesome stuff.
 

SLICKFASTER

Country Gent
Dec 29, 2009
1,307
USA
Character Voice Vs Sing Songie Voice.. both are enjoyable... Singing off key.. sharp/flat is not...
You only have what god gave you.. some enhancement is possible but it’s more “ya got it or ya don’t”... kinda sad for me.
Boooo Hoooo!!
Moooon River, Wider Than A mile I’ll be Crossing You in Style Some day....
 

stevo

Friend of Fred
May 1, 2012
7,076
Atlanta
If you're going to review a musician you might want to do the bare minimum concerning who they are famous for playing with!!!! BUFFALO SPRINGFIED, for god's sake.

Someone should let her know! Love the Springfield. That is perhaps my favorite tangent to CSNY.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,715
Petaluma
Neil Young and Jerry Garcia I group together. Neither have great voices, but are extremely emotive, like a grandfather telling a story.

They both also, IMO, have pretty raw guitar playing, though I much prefer Garcia on electric guitar.
 

stevo

Friend of Fred
May 1, 2012
7,076
Atlanta
Neil Young and Jerry Garcia I group together. Neither have great voices, but are extremely emotive, like a grandfather telling a story.

They both also, IMO, have pretty raw guitar playing, though I much prefer Garcia on electric guitar.

I’m intrigued about the rawness of Jerry’s guitar playing...
 
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Johno99

Electromatic
Feb 24, 2017
38
Haslemere, UK
Can't - Adele, Diana Ross, Van Morrison, Tom Waites (oh but the lyrics!!)
Can - Peter Gabriel, Mercury ( but I hate his voice), John Sebastian.
Reach for the off switch - Adele, Spice Girls, any of the current "Girl Bands"
 

Jami

Newbie
Dec 12, 2019
1
Berlin, Germany
Can't - Adele, Diana Ross, Van Morrison, Tom Waites (oh but the lyrics!!)
Can - Peter Gabriel, Mercury ( but I hate his voice), John Sebastian.
Reach for the off switch - Adele, Spice Girls, any of the current "Girl Bands"

Hah! How the views differ - I think Adele's an amazing singer, and I really appreciate her using real instruments in her productions (like actuall drums and bass in "When We Were Young").
Who really can't sing for sh*t is Anthony Kiedis out of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I still like a lot of their music and his style of, uh, rapping is certainly genre-defining, but in terms of actually singing melodies, I think my dog is better at it.
 

mylec

Newbie
Feb 16, 2021
1
Split, Croatia
Just hitting notes is for pianos, elevators and opera. :D Vocal character is what many people like. Most of my favorite singers are character singers. My voice can hit notes but I just dont have the character and hate it when I hear myself sing on recording!
Some favorite character singers:
Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, Joe Cocker, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler, Leonard Cohen, JJ Cale, Neil Young, Shemekia Copeland, Bonnie Raitt, early Lucinda Williams

That's the point,everything is about the character..i sing/play g(retch)uitar in a band, i've been doing it for almost 20 years now and i'm still searching for that holy grail of what my voice can do in terms of authenticity...like, there are those kind of singers that can hit kind of like semi-tones and when they do it,it sounds incredible...and if you try to imitate them, you sound like crap..i bought my Gretsch because of Tim Armstrong, i've always wanted a Gretch but wasn't shure if it could hold my punk vibe and when i saw his signature Gretsch i didn't hesitate one minute...
Sorry,i went astray...what i wanted to say is, someone would characterize his singing as bad, unnatural, out of tune but for me is unique,original and suits his music...same goes for Joe Strummer who was Tim's idol...there is this rock singer in my country (Croatia) who does the same thing...my last album was recorded by his guitarist who is an award winning audio engineer here and i asked him about his way of singing..you know,how come he always sings like he's out of tune and it always sounds….authentic, fresh, but in that frankly my dear i don't give a damn style...and he said that he could hit any note perfectly and sing like an angel if he would needed it but it just wouldn't leave impresion on anyone,good or bad...that's why you have professional back up singers, guys who hit the perfect notes for a living but lack that spark that divides you from others...
Sorry for my English, and for my first but not shortmost post...long live the Gretsch! :)
 

mmannaxx

Electromatic
May 16, 2011
21
Ohio
tom Waits can sing but it is certainly not to everyone's taste. I personally don't care for Neil Young's singing but he can sing. Mick Jagger is not a great voice but is a good singer as well. He does with a limited instrument of limited range.

Now someone who had great range in his prime was John Hiatt. A unique voice but with great range and emotion. He doesn't have what he used to have but he is getting up there where so many people struggle with their voices at his age. Another good singer but without a great voice was John Prine. Unique voice suited to his songs perfectly. Not a great vocal range though.
Someone with a great unique voice and considerable range is Dwight Yoakam. some definite unique vocal mannerisms but he can really do a lot with his voice.
 


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