Singers Who've Kept Their Voice

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i'd almost prefer a thread of the opposite idea, singers who've preserved their instrument beautifully over the years (two examples off the top of my head: philip bailey and chaka khan)

well alright then. so we don't pogo back & forth on the other thread

anyway, I'd start with Todd Rundgren, who is 70 years old now and really doesn't sound much different than he did 40 years ago. when he speaks his voice is notably a lot lower than it used to be but he can still sing really well

Peter Hammill, which is kind of a surprise given his powerful style of singing, you'd think he'd wear it out by now

Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues...dunno what he sounds like nowadays but when I saw the Moodies a decade ago he sounded great. like he hadn't aged a bit

frogbs, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:43 (two weeks ago) link

David Byrne?

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:43 (two weeks ago) link

Judging from their Glastonbury performance, Robert Smith of The Cure

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:44 (two weeks ago) link

Bill Callahan comes to mind, not just in having 'kept' his voice, but after (Smog) especially hearing it become clearer and clearer with the years.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:44 (two weeks ago) link

I cited Ralph Stanley on the other thread, I'd throw in Mavis Staples too. She always had a husky contralto so that's part of it.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:45 (two weeks ago) link

There's been some question of how much sweetener Dolly Parton enlists, but she can clearly still sing pretty well.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:46 (two weeks ago) link

oof yeah I should've thought of her

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:47 (two weeks ago) link

Tony Bennett, mostly

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:47 (two weeks ago) link

(haven't heard him much the last 5 years tho)

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:47 (two weeks ago) link

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau fits snugly in neither thread, but perhaps this one suits him a wee bit better.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:48 (two weeks ago) link

Emmylou's voice has changed, but she still sounds pretty good.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:48 (two weeks ago) link

some indie-ish singers have gotten better with age simply because they learned how to sing. thinking david gedge, mac mccaughan, perhaps elvis costello and peej

mookieproof, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:49 (two weeks ago) link

I saw OMD last spring and Andy McCluskey sounded legitimately just as good as he did during their peak era, it was astonishing.

omar little, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:49 (two weeks ago) link

I thought about Dolly Parton too but then checked a recent recording and... nah I don't think so !

AlXTC from Paris, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:49 (two weeks ago) link

Judging from their Glastonbury performance, Robert Smith of The Cure

― mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 17:44 

I felt the opposite. He's forced to do the usual tricks to keep up: speak singing here and there, changing melody or octave. His voice is fine, but definitely showing its age.

Duke, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:51 (two weeks ago) link

Bowie p much

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:51 (two weeks ago) link

I think Brett Anderson still sounds roughly the same, doesn't he ?
At 50+ and with the life of excesses he's had, it's quite impressive !

AlXTC from Paris, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:52 (two weeks ago) link

I can never tell if older singers are struggling or if they're just bored with their songs.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:52 (two weeks ago) link

Surprisingly, I also think Liam Gallagher roughly still sounds the same. That's a miracle for him !

AlXTC from Paris, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:53 (two weeks ago) link

ahah

AlXTC from Paris, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:53 (two weeks ago) link

I just saw some of those Stones clips, and Mick sounds ... okay. But then I saw a clip of them doing Monkey Man, and no way did he even go for that mid-song scream.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:53 (two weeks ago) link

(checking the latest Gallagher song - for scientific purpose ! - and yup, he still sounds the same)

AlXTC from Paris, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:54 (two weeks ago) link

Robert Smith definitely was "struggling" here and there. Avoiding high notes, for example. Not a big deal. But his voice hasn't been perfectly preserved, if that is the idea of this thread

Duke, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:54 (two weeks ago) link

Xxpost

Duke, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:54 (two weeks ago) link

I saw OMD last spring and Andy McCluskey sounded legitimately just as good as he did during their peak era, it was astonishing.

yeah this is a good call, it's not a case of "still sounds good in old age" as much as it is "somehow sounds exactly the same", it's almost a little creepy

Neil Tennant kinda in that boat too

frogbs, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:55 (two weeks ago) link

Staying out of the debate over whether she sings flat or not, Chrissie Hynde sounds exactly the same as in 1980 (I caught her opening for Stevie Nicks not long ago)

Josefa, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:56 (two weeks ago) link

I was listening to some live Rundgren recordings a few months ago and thinking that he has lost a lot of plosives and fricatives and does a lot of moaning-the-melody.

Manfred Hemming-Hawing (WmC), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:57 (two weeks ago) link

Russell Mael

shhh / let peaceful like things (wins), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 15:57 (two weeks ago) link

Tony Bennett, mostly

Came to vote for this

Vini C. Riley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:01 (two weeks ago) link

Ian Hunter's 80 and still sounds more or less the same. Not saying he was ever really known for his vocal prowess, but what he had he's still got.

henry s, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:02 (two weeks ago) link

Stevie Wonder

dinnerboat, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:02 (two weeks ago) link

McCartney has kind of kept it together, especially for someone who can do a 3-hour show with no rest. Only in very recent years has the natural decline seemed more apparent.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:03 (two weeks ago) link

Al Green
Toots Hibbert (and can still perform at age 76. after being bludgeoned with a liquor bottle while onstage)

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:04 (two weeks ago) link

Rundgren is an interesting case. I think he has kept a lot of his vocal chops, but can't just blare them out at any time anymore (which is totally understandable). But when I saw him at a fundraiser for his charity two years ago, he was in pretty good form most of the night but def. had to pick his spots to really let it fly (ie, "Love Is the Answer").

Naive Teen Idol, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:08 (two weeks ago) link

Ian Hunter's 80 and still sounds more or less the same. Not saying he was ever really known for his vocal prowess, but what he had he's still got.

Seconded

Vini C. Riley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:09 (two weeks ago) link

Roger Daltrey can’t do the CSI scream anymore but he still sings with a full-bodied voice in the same range as back in the day. The version I saw of Love Reign O’er Me in May would’ve been impressive for a singer of any age.

mott the hoopleheads (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:17 (two weeks ago) link

Stella Vander of Magma, 68 and doesn't seem to have lost anything of her range. Although I haven't seen them for a few years so maybe things have changed, I'll find out in October when they play London.

Zeuhl Idol (Matt #2), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:25 (two weeks ago) link

kind of surprising but Van Morrison still sounds in good voice on his recent albums

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:35 (two weeks ago) link

Buck Dharma from Blue Oyster Cult sounds exactly the same (Eric Bloom on the other hand...)

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:35 (two weeks ago) link

wonder if she can still sing her yé-yé stuff (xpost)

tandoor vittles (unregistered), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:35 (two weeks ago) link

I 100% agree with Robert Smith. I was really struck by the RRHOF set by how he literally sounded like he fell directly out of the 80s. (Also, he changes melodic lines and speak-sings some things in almost all of his live performances going back at least to 1992, when I first saw them live.)

brigadier pudding (DJP), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:36 (two weeks ago) link

Also I haven't heard Dennis DeYoung this year but I know within this decade he was still incredible

brigadier pudding (DJP), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:38 (two weeks ago) link

Rundgren is an interesting case. I think he has kept a lot of his vocal chops, but can't just blare them out at any time anymore (which is totally understandable). But when I saw him at a fundraiser for his charity two years ago, he was in pretty good form most of the night but def. had to pick his spots to really let it fly (ie, "Love Is the Answer").

he sounded really good when I saw him about a year and a half ago though he did lean pretty heavily on his newer material which doesn't have as many crazy notes

frogbs, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:53 (two weeks ago) link

to chime in I saw the Cure over a year ago and was reaaaalllly surprised by how well Smith still sings

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:55 (two weeks ago) link

Xpost, Van Morrison sounds surprisingly good live as well. He’s lost the higher notes he could hit in the early 70s but that’s about it.

that's not my post, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 16:58 (two weeks ago) link

I forgot a pretty obvious one, Gary Numan

having an odd, inimitable voice seems to help...see Peter Hammill or Mark E Smith

frogbs, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 17:02 (two weeks ago) link

or Elvis Costello

frogbs, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 17:04 (two weeks ago) link

Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden actually sounded better when I saw him - five times between 2003-2008 - than he did on Live After Death, recorded in 1985.

Diamanda Galás still has all her range and power, and may have actually gotten stronger in the last decade or so, too.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Wednesday, 3 July 2019 17:08 (two weeks ago) link

colin blunstone

budo jeru, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 17:10 (two weeks ago) link

The problem with Van is when he lost his tenor range, he lost what was so great about that voice. Now he rumbles in the low ranges like an old blues guy, and it's fine, but it no longer astonishes. Listen to You Don't Pull No Punches or anything pre-75.

Dr X O'Skeleton, Wednesday, 3 July 2019 17:14 (two weeks ago) link

also Morrissey's new albums have more autotune than T-Pain

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 4 July 2019 00:15 (two weeks ago) link

Although he just technically retired from live performances, Garland Jeffreys still sounds pretty good at 75, wait 76 now.

Vini C. Riley (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 4 July 2019 00:22 (two weeks ago) link

Aimee Mann

Paul, Thursday, 4 July 2019 02:14 (two weeks ago) link

Ray Price sounded amazing well into his 80s.

Ρεμπετολογια, Thursday, 4 July 2019 03:20 (two weeks ago) link

Bruce Dickinson has amazed me the times I have seen them in the past few years. A lot of singers who didn't lose much as they got up there in years didn't have a lot to begin with (which is fine, technically impeccable singers are nice but not necessary) but he was always someone with a distinctive range and watching him keep most of it even now is really phenomenal.

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Thursday, 4 July 2019 03:29 (two weeks ago) link

The underrated Kevin Hewick can still sing as well as he did in 1980.

lingereffect (Kent Burt), Thursday, 4 July 2019 03:40 (two weeks ago) link

Wisely, "Love, Reign O'er Me" isn't in their current setlist, and when they do "Won't Get Fooled Again," it's just Pete and Roger playing acoustic, and no scream.

― Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, July 3, 2019 12:16 PM (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

Love Reign etc was in the set I saw at MSG, sounded very good fwiw

mott the hoopleheads (voodoo chili), Thursday, 4 July 2019 04:04 (two weeks ago) link

Neil Tennant definitely belongs here. It’s always odd seeing him all old and wrinkly but still singing as a younger version of himself without much effort.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 4 July 2019 06:02 (two weeks ago) link

I know I should be suspicious of someone who's known for high-gloss production, but Jeff Lynne still sounds the same.

Hideous Lump, Thursday, 4 July 2019 06:28 (two weeks ago) link

Ol’ blue eyes kept his voice for a very long time, didn’t he ?

AlXTC from Paris, Thursday, 4 July 2019 06:36 (two weeks ago) link

I've just checked Sinatra's 86 live recording and, yeah, he still had it !

AlXTC from Paris, Thursday, 4 July 2019 08:57 (two weeks ago) link

Nick Cave
I actually think Cave's voice is improving with age

I totally agree!

A couple of classic singers that I have heard in the past couple years that seem to still have a strong voice were Judy Collins and Roger McGuinn.

Don't know about Judy Collins but I'll second Roger McGuinn.

Valentijn, Thursday, 4 July 2019 09:36 (two weeks ago) link

Nick Lowe

Sam Weller, Thursday, 4 July 2019 11:27 (two weeks ago) link

Joe Jackson still sounds great.

Fried Egg Sandwich, Thursday, 4 July 2019 11:35 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, actually, I just saw him play a few weeks back and he sounded really good.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 4 July 2019 13:05 (two weeks ago) link

It may initially seem like cheating to include death metal dudes, but I would submit that in fact doing that kind of ultra-guttural stuff is probably more damaging to your vocal cords long-term than being a conventional singer, so the fact that George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher from Cannibal Corpse still sounds just as powerful as he ever has - while headbanging so furiously it's amazing he doesn't have NFL-player-style head trauma - is pretty astonishing.

John Tardy from Obituary still sounds great, too ("great" meaning "like the kind of person you move as far away from as possible on public transit" in this context).

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Thursday, 4 July 2019 14:57 (two weeks ago) link

❤️ June Tabor!!! ❤️

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:22 (two weeks ago) link

https://youtu.be/BWz0IqNHA3Q?t=1553

earlnash, Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:30 (two weeks ago) link

It's a from a few years ago, but this is a Judy Collins show I heard on the radio. She seems pretty cool.

earlnash, Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:33 (two weeks ago) link

Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode hasn’t changed it much and I think he has even improved it “playing the angel” onwards.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:40 (two weeks ago) link

yeah, I agree re DG.

mark e, Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:47 (two weeks ago) link

Love Reign etc was in the set I saw at MSG, sounded very good fwiw

― mott the hoopleheads (voodoo chili), Thursday, July 4, 2019 12:04 AM (eleven hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

Huh, for some reason I thought they'd dropped it. But yeah, Daltrey sounds great in all the clips I've seen of the current tour.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:52 (two weeks ago) link

On a similar note, Bettye LaVette sings the he11 out of "Love Reign O'er Me". Awesome voice.

earlnash, Thursday, 4 July 2019 16:24 (two weeks ago) link

Saw Jonathan Richman the other day, age late 60s now, and while he was hardly ever a classically tuneful singer, he's lost seemingly none of the boyish playfulness and vibrancy. Close your eyes and he sounds little different from the Modern Lovers days.

Soundslike, Thursday, 4 July 2019 17:21 (two weeks ago) link

Dave Gahan started vocal lessons and care after he got clean.

quelle sprocket damage (sic), Thursday, 4 July 2019 17:27 (two weeks ago) link

Paul Buchanan, if not the range, the effect seems the same to me.

Vapor waif (uptown churl), Thursday, 4 July 2019 17:44 (two weeks ago) link

Neil Young. I saw him yesterday in the Waldbühne and when he sang "Old Man" he sounded almost exactly like almost 50 years ago and his impersonation of the "young man" still convinced me though when I looked at him I realised that his "old man" - if he still lives - might be a centennial now. I think for singers with high voices it might be easier to preserve their voice.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 4 July 2019 18:01 (two weeks ago) link

He's also been nominated in the "singers who've lost their voice" thread.

van dyke parks generator (anagram), Thursday, 4 July 2019 18:10 (two weeks ago) link

I agree with Alex, saw him at a small theater, solo acoustic this year and I think his voice is still great

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 4 July 2019 18:35 (two weeks ago) link

hard to say with neil since he always had a creeky, goofy voice.

bookmarkflaglink (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 4 July 2019 18:35 (two weeks ago) link

Neil’s def lost some of his upper register

Οὖτις, Thursday, 4 July 2019 18:37 (two weeks ago) link

James Dean Bradfield

Valentijn, Thursday, 4 July 2019 20:06 (two weeks ago) link

he sounds like Neil Young still, maybe he lost some top end but I'm telling you not much

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 4 July 2019 20:17 (two weeks ago) link

compared to joni mitchell he hasn't lost a lot of his top end...

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 4 July 2019 21:31 (two weeks ago) link

what about tom waits? the voice he is sharing with the public hasn't changed a lot, has it? it's not his normal voice, i think but that is another story.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 4 July 2019 21:34 (two weeks ago) link

James Dean Bradfield

not that old yet (just now 50 - the Manics started real young) but yeah no decline I've noticed

Simon H., Thursday, 4 July 2019 21:43 (two weeks ago) link

not that old yet (just now 50 - the Manics started real young) but yeah no decline I've noticed

Yeah, I wondered whether to get a relatively young singer in, but he's been singing for a long time with pretty amazing consistency. I remembered how my wife walked in the room when I had their last record on & she asked me if the guy ever aged, as the vocals seemed unchanged from their earlier albums.

Valentijn, Friday, 5 July 2019 06:31 (two weeks ago) link

Saw Jonathan Richman the other day, age late 60s now, and while he was hardly ever a classically tuneful singer, he's lost seemingly none of the boyish playfulness and vibrancy. Close your eyes and he sounds little different from the Modern Lovers days.

on a similar note...Gary Wilson. his comeback albums, despite being 30 years after the fact, feature the exact same voice. its kinda creepy.

frogbs, Friday, 5 July 2019 13:38 (two weeks ago) link

Green Gartside (Scritti Politti) has kept his voice intact. I saw him on the last Scritti tour a few years back, and it's pretty impressive that THAT voice comes out of such a tall, bearded man...

henry s, Friday, 5 July 2019 13:48 (two weeks ago) link

Robert Smith is the best example I can think of. Remarkable how good he sounds 40 years into The Cure's career. Can't speak on Bono but I feel like he's preserved - can anyone confirm?

flappy bird, Friday, 5 July 2019 15:24 (two weeks ago) link

Reminds me of this piece she wrote
http://diamandagalas.com/writings/the-greek-vampire-a-threat-to-the-enemies-of-artists/

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 5 July 2019 17:26 (two weeks ago) link

Until his recent passing (or at least into 2014, when Soused came out) Scott Walker seemed to have kept his voice pretty well.

I also remember being impressed by Robert Smith when I saw the Cure a couple of years ago — certainly hearing that voice perform so well was the best part of the show.

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Friday, 5 July 2019 23:47 (two weeks ago) link

some indie-ish singers have gotten better with age simply because they learned how to sing. ...mac mccaughan...

You think? If anything his voice has gotten higher and screechier which is a big part of why I don't ever revisit any recent Superchunk album.

Johnny Fever, Saturday, 6 July 2019 04:08 (two weeks ago) link

I agree with Alex, saw him at a small theater, solo acoustic this year and I think his voice is still great

― Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, July 4, 2019 1:35 PM (two days ago) bookmarkflaglink

still kicking my own dumb self for not making time to go to one of those shows what the FUCK was i thinking

budo jeru, Saturday, 6 July 2019 05:52 (two weeks ago) link

Bono's definitely lost something in recent years. on their latest album, he doesn't go for the high notes as much and he sounds more tired (doesn't help that the album is bad)

Vinnie, Saturday, 6 July 2019 15:12 (two weeks ago) link

bono's voice started sounding compromised and strained in 2000

american bradass (BradNelson), Saturday, 6 July 2019 15:19 (two weeks ago) link

that's a fair assessment. even "Beautiful Day" doesn't have the ease of his singing in the Zoo TV era. but I was struck by Songs of Experience, he sounded like he just couldn't put feeling into those songs

Vinnie, Saturday, 6 July 2019 15:38 (two weeks ago) link

Alice Cooper.

Fried Egg Sandwich, Saturday, 6 July 2019 18:14 (two weeks ago) link

John Fogerty sounds amazingly good in 2019.

Elvis Telecom, Saturday, 6 July 2019 19:05 (two weeks ago) link

oh yeah that’s v true

american bradass (BradNelson), Sunday, 7 July 2019 00:49 (two weeks ago) link


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