Axl Rose Named 'Greatest' Singer Ever

Posted by Billy Gil, May 21, 2014 11:24am | Post a Comment

There’s this thing going around the Internet right now saying Axl Rose is the greatest singer ever.

This list by something called Concert Hotels has actually done something really cool by showing the recorded vocal ranges of some of pop music’s most celebrated singers, taken from Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list. The Guns N’ Roses singer came in at No. 1, meaning he has the widest recorded range.

Axl Rose (center) in Guns N' Roses

It’s fun to see Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and others represented pretty well on the list—did you know Lana Del Rey’s recorded vocal range is three octaves, dwarfing Taylor Swift’s two-and-change? Or that Eminem has a recorded range of more than three octaves?

Probably the actually coolest thing is to see the actual notes of the range, and what songs they correspond to. You can see Brian Wilson’s lowest recorded note is an F2 (“Shortenin’ Bread”) and highest is a G5 (“Monkey’s Uncle”). Provided these people did their homework, it’s a pretty remarkable thing to catalog, and kudos for including a wide variety of vocalists, from Bjork to Luke Bryan.

However, there’s no accounting for tone, much less taste, and media outlets are wrong when they cite this list and say having the widest vocal range equates being the greatest singer. Singers with divisive yet original voices like Robert Smith, Joanna Newsom and Billy Corgan are nowhere to be found. Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera are praised, even if singing coaches will call them out for a lack of feeling or restraint. Calling Axl Rose the greatest singer ever is like calling your cat the greatest cat ever—it’s entirely subjective. Same goes for guitarists, drummer, etc. Sure, any music list is subjective, but it’s not the same thing to call one album greater or more impactful than another vs. saying someone who has a wider vocal range or is more proficient at an instrument is a "better" musician.

That being said, obviously Axl Rose is a great singer; I mean who can listen to "November Rain" without getting the chills? (From Use Your Illusion I)

Anyway! End of rant. Check the thing out for yourself here.

Relevant Tags

Axl Rose (3), Guns N' Roses (8), Singers (1), Vocalists (1), Brian Wilson (11), Lana Del Rey (24), Taylor Swift (7), Eminem (18)