I recently saw an article rating professionally recorded singers according to the vocal ranges of notes they could hit. I thought this was interesting so I decided to check it out. They actually had Axl Rose from Guns and Roses as the “top” vocalist with vocal range. I believe Mariah Carey was second and Prince was third. These are all great singers, but when it comes to vocal range there are “a few” that I felt should have been mentioned. Pattie Labelle’s vocal range is just “inhuman.” I remember a game where she sang the “Star Spangled Banner” with no musical accompaniment and she started it off in a key that was “way” too high. Since I have perfect pitch, I was anxiously waiting to see what would happen when she got to the high lyric of the song which was “The rocket’s red glare.” She looked as though she realized she started the song in the wrong key, but then when that part came up she just reared her head back and “hit” that note. I was instantly impressed. In order to really appreciate that you needed to hear it. Also, there is a hit song from years back by the Spinners entitled “It’s a Shame.” The lead singer of that song rendered a singing performance that was “off this planet.” That man was my good friend GC Cameron. To this day “VERY” few people can match his level on this song. Now that the years have taken it’s toll, even GC himself cannot match what he did, but at least we know through his recording that he did an “awesome” job. Eddie Kendricks had a falsetto that didn’t even “feel” like a falsetto. Eddie was the tenor of the group the “Temptations” and if you listen to the songs he sang lead on (and a few of his own solo projects) you might come to realize that he should be listed as one of the greatest tenors “ever.” There is one man that I had the pleasure to perform with, and he is known more for his jazz music, even though he has a range that could “easily” compete with Patti. This man’s name is “Phil Perry” and if you don’t know him then you need to Google his name. This man’s range is “crazy” and he does it effortlessly. Even though he was an incredible singer, he was not marketed like he should have been (this industry is extremely visual) but I will definitely be one to recognize him here. Marvin Gaye also had some incredible notes and singing performances. To me, he was the “ultimate” soulful singer. He couldn’t dance a lick, but he made up for all of it with his singing. Most people don’t realize it, but Anita Baker’s range is amazing as well, and the thing about her is she goes into her high notes just as strong as her regular notes. Of course, Jame Brown, who did a lot of grunting in his songs with lyrics that even he couldn’t remember could hit notes that were “way” up there in the stratosphere. Finally, there is a lady from back in the day that I had the pleasure to play for, and this woman could hit notes “higher and stronger” than Mariah Carey. She was mostly known as one of the vintage soul singers, but if you ever get the chance to check her out in concert, this woman has “got it.” Her name? Betty Wright.” Kenny Loggins was great and if I had enough time I am sure I could find many more. Of course, a great singer depends mostly on your “definition” of one, and while I may have missed a few here I feel comfortable with those I have mentioned. Just because an artist doesn’t hit a high note on record doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t have the range to do so. There are way too many great singers to note, and I apologize for any great singer I forgot. This is my opinion, and I always welcome any and all responses. Thanks for allowing me to share today, and I wish you the very best.
GC Cameron (“It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday” and “It’s a shame”) and Brett Jolly in rehearsal at PIR Studios