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Aaron Neville’s 5 Favorite Vocal Performances

R&B icon discusses inspirations ranging from Sam Cooke to Beyoncé

Aaron Neville's Five Favorite Vocal Performances

Aaron Neville discusses five vocal performances that inspire him, including songs by Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke and Beyoncé.

Sarah A. Friedman

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Aaron Neville's first R&B Number One hit, "Tell It Like It Is," which recently turned up on Barack Obama's summer playlist. The R&B icon, who celebrated his 75th birthday in January, has been keeping busy in 2016: His latest LP, 'Apache,' came out in July, and he begins a new round of touring in September. We spoke to Neville about his greatest vocal inspirations.

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Nat “King” Cole, “Mona Lisa”

I used to sneak my way into movie theaters singing this song. Whoever was working the door would just let me in for free after hearing it. 

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Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come”

From the opening notes on, this song just captures your heart and soul. He was killed before it even came out. 

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Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On”

If it came out now, this song would still be right on time. He's singing about picket lines and police brutality. 

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Linda Ronstadt, “Cry Like a Rainstorm”

I'll be on an airplane trip and put this song on. It just soothes me. She has one of the greatest voices of all time. 

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Beyoncé, “At Last”

Her records don't always do her justice, but she can sing. Etta James was so natural with this, and so was Beyoncé. We've never met, but I'd like to sing with her someday. 

In This Article: Aaron Neville

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