Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental nocturnal emissions specialist Fah Lo Suee and I will be taking an exploratory meeting with George Swine, CEO of EnormoCorp Industries [R-Manchuria]. Something to do with a forthcoming senatorial campaign I may be contemplating now that the Supreme Court has decided that money talks (I would be the bullshit walks part, obviously).
In any event, further posting by moi will have to be sporadic for a day or two.
In the meantime, then, here's a hopefully fun little project for us all:
Post-Elvis Pop/Rock Singer or Group Who Most Influenced (For Good or Ill) the Art of Pop/Rock Singing!!!
No arbitrary rules here whatsoever. (I should also add that my song selections do not necessarily represent the singer or group's most influential work. They're just things I like, or that perhaps immediately sprung to mind.)
And my totally top of my head Top Seven is:
7. Bob Dylan -- Percy's Song
Believe it or not, there are still people who think Dylan couldn't sing. Heh heh. I usually play the studio version of this for those folks, but for some reason I can't find it on my computer at the moment, so this very nice live version will have to suffice. In any case, Dylan's phrasing and charmingly nasal tones have influenced countless singer/songwriters over the years, few of whom would have likely been granted artistic license without his example.
6. The Rolling Stones (Mick Jagger)-- Good Times, Bad Times
Snotty white boy sings the blues and quite convincingly -- this despite the fact that he doesn't really sound all that black, although everybody thinks he does at the time. An amazing accomplishment, when you think of it, and the template for decades of snotty white boy vocalists who probably never even heard of Muddy Waters.
5. Vanilla Fudge -- You Keep Me Hanging On
If truth be told, it wasn't the faux classical instrumental overkill that made The Fudge influential (that stuff is as dead as the papal penis, actually). No, it was their vocal approach. The notion, in rock, that you can simulate soul with pompous Italianate pseudo-operatic yoweling begins here, and legions of bad bands and singers -- mostly from Long Island, for some reason -- have made that appalling innovation part of their gestalt.
4. David Bowie -- Young Americans
The aforementioned pompous Italianate pseudo-operatic yoweling overlaid with an affectless Anthony Newley impression. Influential? Essentially, every unbearable singer out of England between 1971 and the late 80s -- Bryan Ferry, Martin Fry of ABC, The Thompson Twins, that clown in Spandau Ballet -- copped their vocal shtick from Bowie. Hey, thanks for nothing, Dave.
3. Patti LaBelle -- Over the Rainbow
Over-souling: A vocal style in which the singer throws throws some poor song onto the floor, writhing in pain and gasping for breath, and then wrestles it into submission until it simply expires. The late great Jerry Wexler, of Atlantic Records, named it, but it was Patti LaBelle who brought it to the mainstream, and just about every successful r&b singer, male or female, emulates it at the moment. I should add, of course, that Patti's 1985 "Over the Rainbow," as heard above, would be considered a laughable model of subtlety and restraint by most contemporary artistes of the American Idol school.
2. The Doobie Brothers (Michael McDonald) -- What a Fool Believes
Okay, there's no real name for what McDonald does, but it's a style in which the singer's beard does all the work, and for a period in the 80s, it was the dominant male vocal sound of pop music worldwide.
And the numero uno most influential post-Elvis vocalist actually turns out to be...
1. Cher -- Believe
Well, Cher via the dreaded AutoTune. I'm guessing the list of irredeemably crappy hit records featuring robo-vocals in the wake of 100-percent-recycled-plastic-life-form Cher's "Believe" now numbers in the thousands. In any case, the single most insufferable pop music trend of the last decade plus.
Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?
[Shameless blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: best or worst movie adaptation of a stage play, drama or musical -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could find it in your heart to go over there and post a comment, I might be able to con management into upping my already wildly overgenerous freelance fee. Thanks!!!]