Home Music Music Lists

Readers’ Poll: The Best Vocal Performances in Rock History

Your picks included ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’

Readers' Poll: What's the greatest vocal performance in rock history?

Michael Putland/Getty Images; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images; David Redfern/Redferns

A great vocal performance can elevate an otherwise standard song to amazing heights. Imagine the Who's "Love Reign O'er Me" sung by anybody other than Roger Daltrey or "River Deep, Mountain High" sung by some run-of-the-mill soul singer. It just wouldn't work. If you need any evidence, search YouTube for Audioslave's attempts to perform Rage Against the Machine numbers; Chris Cornell is amazing, but "Bulls on Parade" cannot work without Zack de la Rocha.

Last week, we asked you to vote on your favorite vocal performances in rock history. Click through to see the results. 

Play video

1. Queen, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Only Freddie Mercury could effortlessly sell lyrics like "Scaramouch, scaramouch/ Will you do the fandango?" He's also one of the few artists capable of cooking up such a fantastically complex and bizarre song. It took shape over a number of years, and the band spend weeks recording it. They pushed all the technological limitations of the day practically to breaking point, and the result is a six-minute mini-opera that defied the skeptics and became a huge radio hit. Drummer Roger Taylor hits many of the high notes during the opera portion of the song, but it's really Freddie who carries the vocals. It's the ultimate showcase for his tremendous vocal range and the band's crowning achievement. 

Show Comments