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MHD

Robert #3 Greatest Singer In Rock

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This month's Classic Rock features the top singers in rock. Robert has made #3 (#2 Paul Rodgers, #1 Freddie Mercury). Here is the write-up.

ROBERT PLANT ~ 'The quintessential 'Black Country Hippy' has successfully employed numerous vocal guises'

"His voice is picturesque. It sounds so new and so old at the same time. With this crazy European mystery to it." ~ Alison Krauss

Robert Plant has changed his musical stripes so many times over the course of his 40 year career ~ from wannabe psychedelic troubadour in Band Of Joy; to cock-rocking golden god in Led Zeppelin; to clipped-hair-and-vocals post-new wave solo artist in the 80s; to world-music championing, Page-partnering musical maverick in the 90s; up to his present incarnation as Americana-crooning rock survivor with Alison Krauss, to name just the best known of his many guises.

As a result, it is sometimes overlooked just how stupendously great he is as, well, just a singer. Whatever the cut of the jib he is currently employing, however, one thing you can always be sure about with Percy is that he will always be reasy to, in his own words, 'give it some welly' whenever he steps up to the mic.

Another remarkable trait is that, unlikehis contemporaries, few of Plant's earliest influences ~ from Elvis to Johnny Ray, to Howlin'Wolf and Robert Johnson ~ can be easily detected in his voice.

Indeed, if one wanted to pinpoint the source of that lion's roar he emitted during his best days in Zeppelinthe name's Joe Cocker, Stevie Winwoodand Rod Stewart would surely spring more readily to mind. Ask Plant, though, and he'll just as likely tell you it was all down to an over-fondness for Love's Arthur Lee or Skip James from Moby Grape. None of which ultimately matters. Not when your voice is as readily recognisable as Plant's.

Some say he is singing better than ever these days in his career reviving role with Krauss. For most, though, his earliest years in Zeppelin ~ often singing barefoot on the stage, the quintessential "Black Country hippy" as he puts it now ~ will never be bettered.

One story has it that he broke down and cried the first time he saw the 2003 DVD footage of himself singing at the Albert Hall with Zep in '69, so moved was he be the realisation that he would never sound quite so good again. But then, who has sounded anywhere near as good as that since then?

*Greatest vocal: Stairway To Heaven from LZ IV (1971). All the key components of Plant's vast vocal range are contained herein, from kaftan'ed crooner to bare-chested rock lothario and mystic meglomaniac.

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Congratulationsss , but he deserves number 1 :D :D

Edited by Coda.S

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I agree with Freddie Mercury being number one, but would place Robert as second and Paul as third.

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I agree with Coda.S.Plant is number one in my book.

And thanks for putting this up MissHoneydripper.

Will this be another one of your famous multipage threads?

I believe it has the potential!

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Just to add my two cents i firmly believe that Roger Daltrey deserves a position above Paul Rodgers.I really believe these "Top 10" lists are more the personal opinions of the writers then they are of public opinion. I often wonder what measure of criteria they use to contrive such a list? Who shakes there bottom best?

Regrads

Cav

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Paul Rogers has a great voice but is purely a one dimensional singer, he approaches every song the same way and never sings outside of his comfort zone.

Personally, I don't think he's even in the same class as either Plant or Mercury,

they're just so much more vocally interesting than Paul Rogers.

Edited by snapper

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Thanks for posting Miss Honeydripper! Although he's 3rd on this list, Robert will always be #1 in my book. :D

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Paul Rogers has a great voice but is purely a one dimensional singer, he approaches every song the same way and never sings outside of his comfort zone.

Personally, I don't think he's even in the same class as either Plant or Mercury,

they're just so much more vocally interesting than Paul Rogers.

He's got a great delivery, Rogers does. If you compare "City Sirens" versions w/ Rogers and Steve Winwood, Rogers just owns the song, as if Jimmy had written for his voice. On the other hand, "Who's to Blame" is much better with Winwood or even David Coverdale :faint1: -- Rogers doesn't hit the notes well (it's a great song for Winwood).

But I can't help but think that if Jimmy hadn't played with Rogers in the Firm, he'd be further down the list, i dunno. Or maybe it's the tour Rogers did with Queen? It would have been so simple and easy to put Robert at #2 behind Freddie M. And what about Daltrey?

Maybe the Mag figured it was best to create a stir to get people talking - who'd buy it otherwise?

Edited by Mercurious

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Nice read.

If anyone gets ahold of that Royal Albert Hall footage from 69' let me know ;)

:lol: I'm slow. It had only been 1970 for a few days when they hit the stage, right?

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He's got a great delivery, Rogers does. If you compare "City Sirens" versions w/ Rogers and Steve Winwood, Rogers just owns the song, as if Jimmy had written for his voice. On the other hand, "Who's to Blame" is much better with Winwood or even David Coverdale :faint1: -- Rogers doesn't hit the notes well (it's a great song for Winwood).

But I can't help but think that if Jimmy hadn't played with Rogers in the Firm, he'd be further down the list, i dunno. Or maybe it's the tour Rogers did with Queen? It would have been so simple and easy to put Robert at #2 behind Freddie M. And what about Daltrey?

Maybe the Mag figured it was best to create a stir to get people talking - who'd buy it otherwise?

These lists are pretty subjective so I think it's more a result of that than the magazine trying to get people talking to buy it because many people do read it.

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Freddie Mercury is obviously replaceable as proved by Queen going back on tour, sadly as we all well know Robert IS irreplaceable, and will ALWAYS be the greatest singer in rock and roll

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I just bought this. It's supposed to be a 'Top 50' singers list but only lists 30 which I find rather odd. Anyway, glad Robert made it high in the list and it's also nice to see the great Steve Marriott at number 4.

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Freddie Mercury is obviously replaceable as proved by Queen going back on tour, sadly as we all well know Robert IS irreplaceable, and will ALWAYS be the greatest singer in rock and roll

Well a) that's your opinion. A lot of Queen fans might not agree with you. B) they've billed it Queen with Paul Rodgers so I think they aren't really trying to "replace" Freddie but carry on with a new singer/sound.

Robert in many people's minds (myself included) would be number one on any vocalist top list but again, not everyone is going to agree and it doesn't mean they're right or wrong. It's just one's opinions.

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These things drive me crazy, but here's my lousy two cents.... I'm here posting on this site because I'm a Zep guy, a Plant guy, so obviously I'm a biased. But you know what? Throw all of that out, and the case STILL has to seriously be made for our guy Rob to top that list. Freddie was clearly special, and we miss him to this day. Paul has a fine voice, but he's just not on the same planet as Robert... It's just not a contest.

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Planty should be number one. Mercury was great an' all but ya know, I don't really hear too many folks over the years who have tried to emulate him and actually be him (Mercury, that is). Plus, Robert WAS Mercury's fave singer. Maybe if Robert had died before his time too (with all the accolades that usually follow such things) then it wouldn't even be up for debate??? Thankfully, he didn't.

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Yahuh.

What is rock music without Robert Plant. What are femmes without Robert Plant lol - oh the beauty that lies yonder lol.

I don't mind so much that Mercury is #1 but I don't agree either. He had great pipes but he did not have the 4-octave range of Plant.

Which singer can you think of that swoops to deep deep baritones and from those baritones soars to stinging shrieks and deafening wail. No one has the range of Robert Plant. He even sounds better live. ROBERT PLANT IS #1!

Personally my top three:

1 ROBERT PLANT

2 FREDDIE MERCURY

3 PAUL MCCARTNEY

Elvis would have been my third but since he really made more heartthrob movies than rock music I'd say Paul McCartney who has done more rock music for the most part. Man his vocals from Yesterday to Let it Be to Hey Jude to I've Got a Feeling, he just switches the emotions of a song by those croons and joons.

Thanks MissHD.

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Paul Rodgers' work with Free alone should get him into any top 3 of classic/blues/rock singers... Don't people listen to Free these days or something?

His set of pipes circa 1970 were unrivaled.

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Paul Rodgers' work with Free alone should get him into any top 3 of classic/blues/rock singers... Don't people listen to Free these days or something?

His set of pipes circa 1970 were unrivaled.

Paul Rodgers simply fantastic! much more than a 'one dimensional singer' Any one that can be the singer in one of the best bands in the world in FREE go on to Bad Company, sing with Jimmy page and have the guts to perform with Queen, has to have more than one dimension.

Easily top three!

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Freddie Mercury is obviously replaceable as proved by Queen going back on tour, sadly as we all well know Robert IS irreplaceable, and will ALWAYS be the greatest singer in rock and roll

This is my first post in this forum, after being a long-time lurker ...

I will say that as a whole, Zeppelin is my #2 favorite band of all time only behind Black Sabbath (as it was this band that got me to start drumming, and made me explore the rest of classic rock altogether ... really a definition for me). However, as far as technically efficient, I think it's fairly inarguable that Robert Plant is extremely sloppy, moreso after '72. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Robert Plant greatly, but the best years he had, for me, were DEFINITELY in his hey-days of the first 4 albums of Zeppelin.

Houses of the Holy showcased what can definitely be heard as the beginning of the changes of his voice ... listen closely to the tracks of this album, and compare them to Zeppelin IV. Listen carefully, and you can just hear the tonalities in his voice are changing. A great example would be "The Song Remains The Same", specifically at the end, when the weird over-the-top production of his voice ceases, and you can hear his almost through-the-nose humming at the end. His voice only continues to change from track to track on this album.

Physical Graffiti, obviously, is the end of Robert's early voice altogether on the '74 recorded tracks. On the contrary, while not always being 100% on every single tour, Freddie Mercury, even through being the drug addict he was, and even dying of Aids for 5 years, STILL had enduring range and power to his voice that Robert can't even match ... AND he was older than Plant!

As for the octave comment, to whomever left that, I don't think that Robert's voice honestly had all that powerful range in his early years. Honestly, it was fueled more by falsetto and just raw belting in that range. Freddie Mercury, it has been said, if you look around enough, has a 4, and sometimes FIVE octave note range. It is not hard to imagine that, if you listen to albums like "Sheer Heart Attack", or "A Night At The Opera".

The beauty of Freddie's voice was that he could easily be raw and rock'n'roll, but then could become operatic and melodic at any given time. I can't think of a time Robert ever had even that much control over his own voice.

If you were to ask me on either two counts (technicality, or preferrability) ... A) Factually, it would have certainly been Freddie, and B) I think that the world's most popular songs driven by vocals, such as the rather simplistic "We Will Rock You", and "Killer Queen", or "Tie Your Mother Down" would have surpassed recognizability over Robert's deliveries in other well known Zeppelin songs such as "Rock 'N' Roll", "Black Dog", and "Stairway To Heaven".

Do bare in mind that I love Zeppelin, and Robert. A lot of what has fueled my opinion of his lacking 70's prowess (which as has been said by oh so many interviews and reviews over the decades are his best years), are the bootlegs you can catch in the mid-late 70's of Robert's failing vocals. Granted, I am of the opinion that his '77 performances had better results over his '75 tour (which I think can be attributed to his vocal chord surgeries).

I just firmly believe that Freddie had a much more all-around voice, even though he suffered the same vocal nodules that Robert did.

Yes, this is my opinion, and I'm sure it'll get argued with. I just hate to see such one-sided bias, or such callous statements as was quoted above, whether you meant it as worded, or not. :)

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Well, here are some of my thoughts of Robert Plant's change of voice.

For sure, he was more powerful, had wider range in the early days of Zeppelin. Then he struggled when his throat cords suffered, couldn't exactly reach the high notes without cracking. And then, he "changed" the way he sung, reinvented a new sound, which fit his "new" voice and IMO, suited those Zeppelin albums from House of the Holy til ITTOD perfectly.

And well, live performances could be sometimes different, but on the studio versions did he sound "worse" than on Led Zeppelin or II? I don't think so.

And for me personally, RP's biggest talent is not his power, but the way he sings with his whole heart, the feelings he can carry along within the words. It doesn't matter what he was singing, his performance of "Nothin'" on the Raising Sand album can still blow me away.

Paul Rodgers is a great singer, I had listened to him and his collaboration with Queen and appreciated that. But still, he couldn't touch my heart, I guess it's all about personal taste.

And I really don't think all those "greatest singer" polls make any sense. There are so many wonderful singers, you love this one and still can enjoy the others, that's all.

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Paul Rodgers is a great singer, I had listened to him and his collaboration with Queen and appreciated that. But still, he couldn't touch my heart, I guess it's all about personal taste.

The way to hear Paul Rodgers is Free or Bad Company... People who are judging him on the Queen stuff are going it at arse backwards if you ask me..

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