Coming to work this morning, I heard an old Journey song and was reminded how important the lead vocalist is to my musical tastes and even to getting the creative juices flowing. So, here is a simple list (quite incomplete) of vocalists that inspire my creative side:
- Steve Perry (Journey) | I consider him to be the greatest vocalist to have ever walked the earth. His range, power and purity of his voice have always struck an internal chord with me. I wore out my first copy of Journey’s Greatest Hits on cassette because I would play it over and over and over. When his vocals were matched with Neil Schon’s guitar – the world faded away for me and I couldn’t help but smile.
Favorite Song: “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)”
- Dennis DeYoung (Styx) | In my formative years, I was exposed to all of the classic rock super-groups and Styx was one that stuck out and made me smile whenever I heard them on the radio. Dennis’ ability to vocally weave a story together is unmatched. Styx’s music seemed to always mesh with their lyrics and the vocal quality of Mr. DeYoung made it art.
Favorite Song: “Babe”
- Queen | Freddie Mercury was a musical and lyrical genius that pushed the members of Queen to have one voice, which is why the group, and not simply Freddie, is listed. It is quite hard for me to resist the urge to sing along when their music comes up in the rotation.
Favorite Song: “We are the Champions”
- Barry Manilow | Laugh all you want, but Barry Manilow was a master among amateurs when he was at his peak. His pillowy voice combined with his masterful lyrics makes the romantic in me leap with joy when his music is playing. He understood the natural rhythms of human beings and wrote his music to coincide with them – creating a synergistic effect.
Favorite Song: “Mandy”
- Barbara Streisand | In her prime, this woman could lift you up one minute and bring you right back down to earth the very next. The emotional weight she possesses vocally is quite unique as is her power and range. She’s as much fun to watch as she is to listen to as that emotion covers comes right out.
Favorite Song: “You Belong to Me”
- Kenny Loggins | This guy can get you dancing faster than any other artist. His soft, easy groove can transform any situation into something better. Caddyshack and Footloose woudn’t be near the movies they are without Kenny being a part.
Favorite Song: “This is It”
- Michael McDonald (Doobie Brothers) | His soulful style brought out the genius of the group’s musical talent and together they were able to create some of the most memorable songs of the 70s.
Favorite Song: “Takin’ It to the Streets”
- Graham Russell & Russell Hitchcock (Air Supply) | This duo’s vocal harmonies brought Air Supply’s lyrics to life and made them a favorite choice for mix tapes all over the world.
Favorite Song: “Lost in Love”
- Bart Millard (MercyMe) | Bringing the list to current day artists is the front man of MercyMe. Bart’s talents as a song-writer are only bested by his vocal ability. With a taste for a variety of styles, Bart is as comfortable singing hymns as he is Rock covers.
Favorite Song: “Bring the Rain”