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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Best Male Rock Voice + The Perfect Song

If you've been listening to rock n' roll for 50 years like a certain old fart, there can be little dispute as to who has the best rock voice. (Although I'd be tickled if you'd beg to differ.) The guy who can best whisper, growl, croon and howl is another gift from the great state of Michigan: Mr. Bob Seger. (Eddie Vedder is 2nd. I'll get around to him one of these days)

But Seger is not just a pretty set of pipes. He's a terrific storyteller and has written, recorded, and charted more classic tunes than most artists could dream of. There are so many songs to choose from to illustrate my not-so humble opinion but I'm going to limit myself to (and beg your indulgence for) three. Sadly, I couldn't find any clips of live performances that satisfied my ears' quality criteria.

First up is a tune that didn't get the airplay that many of his did and still rarely appears on the playlists of oldies stations. But it's a gem.

As always, please turn up your speakers and enjoy Fire Inside.

If Nat "King" Cole's voice was buttery caramel, Seger's is whiskey and a fine cigar. The richness and maturity of tone is evident in Like A Rock. (And there's a sweet slide guitar for some aural dessert.)

You folks know me. I don't toss around terms like "perfect" lightly. For about 20 years, my all-time favourite (and also perfect) song was Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys. Somewhere around 1990, this next tune came on the radio. It was probably the 200th time I'd heard it -- but for some reason it felt like the first. I cranked up the car radio during the guitar intro and knew Good Vibrations had just slipped to 2nd place - where it remains.

Seger wrote and recorded a tune that touched my soul and probably that of millions of people who were teens in the 60s. It's about youth and dreams and immortality - sung from the standpoint of weary, yet defiant resignation.

And it's perfect.

Thanks to metalboombox, jonny1214 and shutterbugger24 for posting the videos.


  1. I can remember the many times you shushed me to turn the radio up to listen to Night Moves (among others) so I'm not at all surprised to see it here. There aren't many of his songs that weren't pretty wonderful.

  2. I wasn't very familiar with Fire Inside, it's a great tune. Bob Seger is pretty special. But here I go again telling you my favorite: (hope that's ok)from Live Bullet, Traveling Man/Beautiful Loser, always gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes.

  3. True dat, Hil. :)

    I wasn't familiar with that one, Lisa. Thanks for the heads-up. :)

  4. Can't argue with Bob Seger's talents, but my favourite rock singer is and always will be Freddy Mercury of Queen. As great as Seger is, his stylistic range pales in comparison to Mercury. Then again, just about any singer's stylistic range pales in comparison to Mercury, so it is no slight to Seger to say so.

    Mercury's voice can be powerful (Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are The Champions) traditionally appealing (Crazy Little Thing Called Love), or downright beautiful, as in this short, elegant example from Queen's second album Queen II; Nevermore:


  5. Charlie, no argument from this quarter that Mercury had a remarkable voice. But in my opinion, not a typical "rock n' roll" voice. Now if the category was "best pop vocalist".... :)

  6. Night Moves is such a wonderful song!!

    I was going to mention Springsteen
    well actually I just did mention Springsteen
    but then Charlie got me thinking about the most wonderful Freddie Mercury

    thankfully there's so much room at the top
    music fill the air yet doesn't take up space :)

    love the header photo

    don't know what the hell took me so long to get here
    you'll never get rid of me now

  7. Dianne, I'm really glad to hear that last bit. :)

    I'm sure Bruce is going to get some time here. He put on the two best concerts I've ever attended.

  8. Springsteen is great too, but I wish he wouldn't clench his teeth so much when he sings. ;)


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