The 10 best English singers are among the great voices in rock and roll. From heavy metal screechers to pop harmonizers, these epochal vocalists are some of the most recognizable names in music.
- Lennon & McCartney – There’s not much to say that hasn’t been said before about the two most recognizable voices in the history of rock. Lennon & McCartney weren’t just famous, they were damn good. These two best English singers ever could harmonize like no other duo, and frequently created very elaborate dual lead vocal parts that weave in and around one another like twin guitar solos.
- Freddie Mercury – Only in terms of influence are Lennon & McCartney better singers than Freddie Mercury. Were it not for the indisputable popularity of The Beatles, Mercury would be number one among the 10 best English singers. As Queen’s frontman, Mercury displayed inimitable range and power on songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Fat Bottomed Girls.”
- Joe Cocker – Joe Cocker’s aching blues croon is familiar to young Americans on account of the credit sequence for hit television show “The Wonder Years.” But Cocker, one of the 10 best English singers, is made much more than sitcom music. While he didn’t always have the best music bed, he made the most of every opportunity, squeezing tremendous passion out of every note.
- Robert Plant – Robert Plant is a bit controversial. Some love him, some think his voice ruined the greatest rock band of all time, Led Zeppelin. Yet Plant’s powerful, blues-inspired belting served as the template for countless thick-maned heavy metal frontmen throughout the 70’s and 80’s, and perfectly fit the bombast of Zep’s music. He is certainly one of the ten best English singers.
- Dusty Springfield – Dusty Springfield was a very plain looking English woman with a number with silly hairstyles and a pristine pop voice. She recorded a number of popular originals and covers, including “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself” and the iconic “Son of Preacher Man.”
- Johnny Rotten – Johnny Rotten? That guy from the Sex Pistols? Is he really one of the 10 best English singers? Yes. Because his bratty snarl served as the foundation for every drunk, high, pissed punk singer to emerge after the Pistols exploded in the late 1970’s. And try as they might, no one since has been able to match Rotten’s delivery.
- Rod Stewart – It’s hard to believe in 2010, after Stewart has spent over a decade catering to the nostalgia of geriatrics by releasing an endless parade of tepid “Greatest Generation” standards covers, but Rod was once a dirty, sweaty, sexy rock icon with a raspy soul croon heavily indebted to Sam Cooke. Despite his egregious sins, Stewart’s catalog is too strong for him to not be one of the 10 best English singers.
- Thom Yorke – Radiohead singer Yorke's pining, ethereal vocals heralded a new phase in British pop music upon the release of the band’s sophomore record “The Bends” in 1995. In the years that have transpired since, Yorke has warped his voice to fit spacey rock anthems, paranoid electronica, futuristic ballads, and creepy ambient drones. Yorke is heavily imitated and admired.
- Liam Gallagher – Gallagher is famous for spats with big brother Noel, which eventually led to the split of their generation-defining rock group, Oasis. Yet behind the microphone, Liam did an incredible job of blending the raspy passion of early 70’s John Lennon with the aggressive snarl of Johnny Rotten. His powerful voice carried such hits as “Wonderwall.”
- Joe Strummer – The Clash were a much better band than the Sex Pistols, and Strummer ultimately a better singer than Rotten. Strummer genuinely believed that his music had the power to change the world, and that yearning and belief bleeds through on nearly every note the man sang.
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