Golden voices - the best of the best

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My daughter just sent me a video of The Seekers singing "A world of our own", which she says reminds her of a happy childhood.


I got to thinking ; which mainstream female singers had a purity of voice and those "special" qualities of grace and class which you remember forever.

My top five, and I wouldn't presume to rate them in any order, would be:

Judith Durham (look at her other videos on Youtube)
Joan Baez
Nana Mouskouri
Sarah Brightman
Cass Elliott

Is it just my age that says I can't think of any popular singer who would come close?

Perhaps Charlotte Church and Hayley Westenra, but they are nowhere near as wildly popular as the above five goddesses!
  • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
    Hey Peter...how's it going?

    Nice choices.

    Unfortunately for me, I've been exposed to so much music (both mainstream
    and obscure) since I first started listening to pop music in 1964, that I
    wouldn't even know where to begin with a list.

    But...if you asked me who had the most angelic and wonderful voice in all
    of pop music, I would have to say, hands down, without even thinking
    about it...this gal.

    There will never be another one like her.


    Aside from her....I'd have

    Judy Collins
    Spanky McFarlane (From Spanky & Our Gang)
    Judith Durham (From The Seekers)
    Julie Andrews
    Carly Simon
    Mama Cass Elliott (From The Mamas And The Pappas)

    Lord...there are so many more, but I'll stop here.

    I'll try to dig up some of the obscure ones that I've heard over the years
    if they're up at YouTube.
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    • Profile picture of the author peter_act
      Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

      Hey Peter...how's it going?

      Nice choices. I wouldn't even know where to begin with a list.
      Hi Steven,

      Another weekend, when I've got nothing better to do than to reminisce!

      I deliberately didn't want to have a list, or any semblance of ranking.
      I must admit, I've never heard of Annie Haslam, but I have now - nice choice yourself.

      I'll let Karen Carpenter in my personal hall of fame.

      I was just thinking throughout the day, none of my choices would be considered pretty enough for today's music.

      None of them were pretty, but all of them were beautiful - there's certainly a difference.
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Karen Carpenter.

    End of list.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      Karen Carpenter.

      End of list.

      Oh Crap! How in the hell did I forget about her?

      That's what happens when you're tired.

      I would put her in my top 3 certainly. And I'm sure I've forgotten others as
      well.

      There is too much music stuffed in my head from 46 years of this stuff.
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      Karen Carpenter.

      End of list.
      HECK YEAH!

      and

      Nana Mouskouri
      Cass Elliott
      also
      Judy Collins
      Julie Andrews
      Carly Simon
      as I recall

      BTW did they EVER Mouskouri's nationality straigthened out? I mean she is GREEK, but someone listed her in a directory as FRENCH. Of course, she sings in English, Greek, Dutch, Spanish, German, and who knows what else.

      Oh, and maybe it is because I am male, and she adds such cute affectations etc... but I like Bridgit Bardot also. I don't think I even knew she could sing until I came across a tape in the french section looking for Nana Mouskouri!

      Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author solardave
      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      Karen Carpenter.

      End of list.
      And
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
        Ah Melanie...What an oddball voice she had indeed.

        Loved her, but wouldn't classify her as having a beautiful voice.

        But one of the most recognizable voices in rock and roll history.
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        • Profile picture of the author serrac
          Eva Cassidy.

          I'll never forget the first time I heard her sing "Over the rainbow".
          It came on the radio while I had the bedroom floor up, sorting out the plumbing.
          Had to down tools and listen in awe :-)

          Serrac
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  • Profile picture of the author Lawrh
    Kate Bush and Pat Benatar perhaps.

    The qualifications of purity of voice with grace and class seem a little pretentious for the pop music world. There are many unique and beautiful voices which delight the ear, but purity of voice is a characteristic of classical voice training.

    Besides Pat Benatar (Julliard) and Nana Mouskouri (Athens Consevatoire) and Sarah Brightman (Trinity College and Julliard) few pop singers have had advanced vocal training.

    This is not to disparage pop singers, more to say that the attractiveness of their voices may be more in their uniqueness and the seductiveness of female tonality. Ruth Etting springs to mind.
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  • Profile picture of the author leverage
    morgan freeman
    Drake
    2pac
    Scott Stewart.
    Gandhi
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  • Profile picture of the author pjCheviot
    Banned
    This one, for me, holds a special place . . . . .

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    • Profile picture of the author peter_act
      I'd never heard of Beth either - thank you for bringing her to my attention.

      I never thought Joni had an exceptional voice, but boy, what an influence she had, and what a great songwriter. One of the greats.

      Incidentally, the other songs my daughter sent me, that she remembers playing from my collection of LPs (remember those?) were:

      Goin' to the zoo - Julie Felix (I can't believe she's 72!)
      Oh Carol! - Neil Sedaka
      Blowin' in the wind - Peter, Paul and Mary (she now understands the lyrics)

      BTW, how could I have forgotten about Mary Travers? - she would have to be up there with the great female voices.

      Amazing the things your kids remember from that age.

      Steven: be interesting to hear what your kids remember from your eclectic musical tastes when they were little!
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      • Profile picture of the author pjCheviot
        Banned
        Originally Posted by peter_act View Post

        I'd never heard of Beth either - thank you for bringing her to my attention.
        You're welcome, Peter

        Here's one of my first loves . . .

        Dusty

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      • Profile picture of the author Edk
        From all areas of the spectrum:

        Elizabeth Schwartkopf
        Ella Fitzgerald
        Doris Day (Black Hills of Dakota)
        Skeeta Davis (end of the world)

        There'll be others I'll be annoyedwith myself for having overlooked, but theses are good
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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by peter_act View Post

        Blowin' in the wind - Peter, Paul and Mary (she now understands the lyrics)
        Funny, I guess everyone understands it to be something different. Personally, I always understood it to be an anthem against war and futility. The third stanza of the verses is consistant and clearly against war.

        How many times must the cannonballs fly
        Before they are forever banned

        (ban weapons)

        How many times can a man turn his head
        And pretend that he just doesn't see

        (don't ignore it)

        How many deaths will it take till he knows
        That too many people have died

        (shouldn't there be a limit to the conflict?)

        And it was right in the middle of the vietnam war which they were all against. Of course, it was in the middle of the civil rights movement also, and the first and second stanzas could go either way.

        Lyrics and Music

        One thing I WOULD like to know is what "puff the magic dragon" is. Call me naive, but I always thought it was a song about imagination, maybe friendship, and how things move on.
        Of course SOME say it is about things like marijuana(It DOES say puff and paper. 8-)).

        Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
    Originally Posted by sgtwhite View Post

    How about:

    Ann Murry
    Whitney Houston
    Nina Simon
    Faith Hill
    Billy Holiday
    Ann Murry - Nice voice
    Whitney - Strong voice but annoys the hell out of me
    Nina Simon - No comment
    Faith Hill - She's okay but doesn't make my blood boil or anything
    Billy Holiday - Before my time. Never really listened to her stuff
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    • Profile picture of the author TimPhelan
      Steven, why do you feel the need to critique others lists? I think Sarge's "how about" was rhetorical. I could critique your list also but won't.

      Plus, "Billy Holiday - Before my time. Never really listened to her stuff". Gee, that's like an art critic saying "Van Gogh. Wasn't around then. I never saw his paintings".

      Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

      Ann Murry - Nice voice
      Whitney - Strong voice but annoys the hell out of me
      Nina Simon - No comment
      Faith Hill - She's okay but doesn't make my blood boil or anything
      Billy Holiday - Before my time. Never really listened to her stuff
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
        Originally Posted by TimPhelan View Post

        Steven, why do you feel the need to critique others lists? I think Sarge's "how about" was rhetorical. I could critique your list also but won't.

        Plus, "Billy Holiday - Before my time. Never really listened to her stuff". Gee, that's like an art critic saying "Van Gogh. Wasn't around then. I never saw his paintings".
        Please feel free to critique my list if you like. I was just offering my opinion.

        What is it with people around here that get so damn defensive about
        stupid sh*t?

        Geez. Forgive me for living.
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        • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
          Here, I'll critique my own list.

          Annie Haslam - If she's so great, how come hardly anybody ever heard of her? Plus, she could be a real show off sometimes.

          Judy Collins - She'd probably croak of a heart attack if she sang anything
          harder than "Send In The Clowns"

          Spanky McFarlane (From Spanky & Our Gang) - I used to think she was a
          guy the way she sang.

          Judith Durham (From The Seekers) - Add her to the Judy Collins heart
          attack list.

          Julie Andrews - What the hell is she doing on this list? She's not even a
          pop singer. She's a Broadway and movie star.

          Carly Simon - Your So Vain HAS to be one of the most annoying songs
          ever. Sometimes even I can't listen to her crap.

          Mama Cass Elliott (From The Mamas And The Pappas) - It was a miracle
          she could sing at all as big as she was, rest her soul.


          Now I'm going to say something else.

          Take a look around this forum Tim. People give their opinions on other
          people's opinions CONSTANTLY. It's what makes it a FORUM. Not too long
          ago, we had a knock down drag out over who was better...Bon Scott or
          Brian Johnson. We even got into it over Lebron or Kobe.

          But nobody gets offended when their opinions are challenged. It's part of
          what makes this forum more than just "Hey yeah, good choices." I can go
          to a family dinner if I want an evening of polite pleasantries.

          I gave my opinion on a list of singers. I didn't call Sarge names. I didn't
          say his choices were stupid. In fact, I can justify every person on that
          list based solely on how popular they were...among the greats of our era.

          But if I can't say, "Hey, I like her or I don't like her or, shudder the thought,
          She was before my time" then that's a sad commentary on the state of
          this forum.

          I will stay out of the rest of this thread as I don't want to offend anybody
          else.

          Oh, but feel free to come by my TV themes thread and tell me how bad
          MY choices are.

          I promise not to get as worked up over it as you did.

          Geez...yeah, can you tell I'm pissed?
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          • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
            I"ll make this quick and to the point

            @Sarge

            I am SO so sorry if I said anything to offend you. I was not making a
            comment on the validity of your choices. I was only commenting on the
            singers themselves.

            If I in ANY way offended you, please accept my apologies. Your choices are
            no less valid than anybody else's. If anything, a case could be made for
            each one of those ladies as they are or were extremely popular during their
            time. Again, please accept my apologies. This was not meant as a personal
            attack on you.

            @Tim

            Thank you so much for making me feel like I did something wrong. Today
            my mother would have been 84 years old. Instead I'm visiting her at the
            cemetery today.

            In the future, I will remember that I am not allowed the same courtesies
            as everybody else here who comments on just about everything under
            the sun. If you think I'm kidding, check out any of the musical threads
            and all the comments similar to "I think they suck."

            In this very thread, Caliban clearly stated that Karen Carpenter was
            the end of the list, thus inferring that everybody else's choices were of
            no consequence. People could have gotten offended, but didn't. It's his
            opinion. That's all it is. He's entitled to it. As much as I love Karen, I
            don't agree that nobody else is worthy of being on the list and I didn't
            try to make him feel badly about making such a comment. In fact, many
            could argue that he has a point. Again, I don't necessarily not agree with
            him. She was one of a kind.

            Point is, it seems whenever I say anything around here, you have something
            to say to me about it and I'm tired of it.

            So, to avoid from having to go through this anymore, I'm done. I'll keep
            my opinions to myself.

            It isn't worth it. Now you can go and have your last word, because I know
            you have to. I don't really care. You've made it clear over and over again
            what you think of me. So please, by all means, take your last shots.

            I won't be giving you any other chances to do it. I will just stick to posting
            videos and keeping out of other member's business.

            It's safer that way.

            @Peter

            I am SO sorry for having derailed this thread by making my comments. It
            should have never happened. Please accept my apologies and I hope we
            can just get things back on track
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            • Profile picture of the author TimPhelan
              Geez, maybe I should have put a smiley face after my comment? Yikes. 8-(

              Sorry Steven. I didn't mean to piss you off really. I wasn't offended or worked up over what you wrote. I'm just a smart @ss sometimes. I could have worded my post better, or just let it go and not posted anything. Yep, that probably would have been the better way to go.

              I'm not anti Steven or anything. In fact I've given you a few "thanks" in the past. That post I made in your War of Worlds thread was meant good naturedly by the way. I hope you weren't offended by that.

              My apologies.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    For octave range, hard to beat either Whitney or Roy Orbison....But this is from someone whose favorite singer is Howlin' Wolf.
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  • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
    Are dudes included??

    How can we forget Nat King Cole and the rest of the crooners???




    TL
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by TLTheLiberator View Post

      Are dudes included??

      How can we forget Nat King Cole and the rest of the crooners???


      YouTube - Nat King Cole - Unforgettable


      TL
      For what it is worth, I usually don't think about what I like the best in any case, so I leave a LOT of people off the list. That is one reason why I do things like I did here and aggregate those that others like that I like also. I would have included nat king cole also. My mother had one of his records she would often play during Christmas.

      And an uncle always used to try to sing like him. 8-/

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
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  • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Most people familiar with the British folk/rock band 'Steeleye Span' would describe lead singer Maddy Prior's voice as one of the purest in the business, and rightly so, IMO.

    However, their original line-up featured a second female lead vocalist, Gay Woods, whose harmonies, for me, made their debut LP "Hark! The Village Wait", one of the great British folk albums. Such a shame that Gay left the band shortly afterwards.

    Here's Maddy and Gay harmonizing to sublime effect from that first LP:



    Frank
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

      Most people familiar with the British folk/rock band 'Steeleye Span' would describe lead singer Maddy Prior's voice as one of the purest in the business, and rightly so, IMO.

      However, their original line-up featured a second female lead vocalist, Gay Woods, whose harmonies, for me, made their debut LP "Hark! The Village Wait", one of the great British folk albums. Such a shame that Gay left the band shortly afterwards.

      Here's Maddy and Gay harmonizing to sublime effect from that first LP:

      YouTube - Steeleye Span - My Johnny Was A Shoemaker


      Frank
      Frank, Maddy Prior is another one of my favorites. Her "Hard Times Of Old
      England" is one of my favorite songs. In fact, the album "All Around My Hat"
      is one of my all time favorite albums.

      Yeah Steve, you leave out too many people when you make lists.
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  • Profile picture of the author whateverpedia
    Two for the price of one:

    Robert Plant and Sandy Denny.

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  • Profile picture of the author GrantFreeman
    Steve Perry from Journey

    Ronnie Spector - Can't remember which group she was with.. The Shandells?She could whail. Slightly annoying at times.

    Brian White- A friend actually who's a tennor in a southern gospel trio from Texas called "Shiloh". Great tone and vocal range.

    Luther Vandros- "The power of love".. enough said.

    Can't remember her name but she made headlines for her voice when she sang on the show "Britain's Got Talent". She blew everyone away.

    I'd do a YT search for her name, but I'm currently on a dial-up connection and it would take forever. Hopefully someone here knows who I'm talking about. Her voice is spectacular.

    Grant
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  • The American singer Jewel. Her voice is like crystal clear stream water. Soothing to the ear, refreshing to the soul.

    Plus she's a poet and an artist. An all-round talent.


    Andrea, The English Webmistress
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  • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
    I always though she had the smoothest female voice I ever heard at least IMHO.


    Very soothing for me.

    In this song, I always thought she was talking to me.

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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Maybe because she sings disco she doesn't get the credit she deserves, but I'd nominate Donna Summer for having one of the most underrated voices ever:

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    • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      Maybe because she sings disco she doesn't get the credit she deserves, but I'd nominate Donna Summer for having one of the most underrated voices ever:

      YouTube - I Feel Love - Donna Summer



      I still love love to love you baby.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    Yeah steve! I SHOULD have mentioned jewel, and I DO like the celtic women who, believe it or not, I thought about before my first response to this list 8-(! And hey, petula clark and tiffany(though I liked tiffany better when she was younger) Debby Gibson, Nena Kerner.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author madison_avenue
    What about Laura Marling, she's only 18, she's being backed up by Marcus Mumford on here. She's singing Joleene.



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  • Profile picture of the author rjaf
    Paul McCartney had a very beautiful (and adaptable) voice - not any more, though.
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