Last week, we published a list of the best singers as ranked in order of their respective octave ranges. Amid a list of powerhouse vocalists like Adele, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, and more, one Axl Rose reigned supreme with a mighty range of five octaves. However, if you thought it a little odd that the title of “greatest living singer” went to this guy, you aren’t alone; VVN Music went ahead and dug a little deeper into other singers’ ranges. As it turns out, Rose may want to wait to order those new business cards.
For their purposes, VVN expanded on the original criteria established by Concert Hotels, which drew its sample from Rolling Stones’ list of the 100 Greatest Singers, the nominees for this year’s Billboard Music Awards, and those singers who’d been analyzed by The Range Place. Because of that somewhat strict criteria, a rather sizable chunk of singers were originally excluded.
So, now who stands atop the mountain of crooners and songbirds? That distinction goes to Mike Patton, who has a doubly impressive range of six octaves. (Again, for comparison, world record holder Tim Storms has a range of 10 octaves.) Surely, Rose must still rank fairly high according to VVN’s revised list, right? He’s actually slipped to number four, behind Avant-garder singer Diamanda Galás and Mr. David Lee Roth. While Rose, Galás , and Roth each have a range of five octaves, both Galás and Roth have ranges that are just a few notes higher.
In fact, if you count those extra notes on top of the singer’s base octave range, it helps re-shuffle a majority of the list. Here’s some other interesting tidbits gleaned from the revised list:
– The remainder of the new top 10 features Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, Mariah Carey, Phil Anselmo, German singer Nina Hagen, and Devin Townsend. In fact, Waters, Anselmo, and Townsend weren’t anywhere on the original list. Nor was the new King of the Sing, Patton.
– Several acts have fallen further down on the list. That includes Marvin Gaye slipping from the top 10 to the top 30; Steven Tyler landing out of the top five and into the top 20; James Brown tumbling from #6 to the top 25; Freddie Mercury falling to the 35th spot; and Justin Bieber, who previously ranked in the bottom 10, has been pushed off the list entirely.
– Other notable additions include: Jon Bon Jovi and Deftones’ Chino Moreno in the top 12, each with a range of four actives and 2-1/2 notes; Serj Tankian in the top 20 with a range of four octaves and one note; Maynard James Keenan reaching the top 30 with a range of four octaves; Nick Cave in the top 40 with a range of three octaves and 5-1/2 notes; and Karen O landing securely in the top 50 with a range of three octaves and 4-1/2 notes.
Head over to VVN Music for the entire list, which also includes John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Rihanna, Dave Gahan, Bruno Mars, Ray Charles, and many, many more. Below, enjoy a few samples from the top five.