Wednesday, November 19, 2008, 8:18 PM // 0 comments

Top Five Records: Female Singers

Recently Rolling Stone Magazine published the The 100 Greatest Singers list. Loven 'em or hate 'em the Rolling Stones lists will get you talking and, in my case, thinking about my favorite singers. Starting with the ladies - here's my top 10 list in no particular order:

Ella FitzgeraldElla Fitzgerald – Bewitched

With a vocal range spanning three octaves, Ella Fitzgerald was noted for her purity of tone, phrasing and intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing. All that aside, her voice is so warm and gentle. When I hear her sing I want to wrap my body with her voice like a blanket.

Suzanne Vega - 99.9 F

I know this sounds cliche - but I would listen to Suzanne Vega read the phone book. Her voice is so convincing and she sings great stories. I fell in love with Vega's voice with her 1992 album 99.9F°. This album is definitely worth seeking out.

Sheryl Crow - Steve McQueen

Sheryl Crow is an amazing musician, singer, and songwriter. And she's hot too. There is a sexiness associated with her voice that, combined with attitude, draws you into to every song she sings like cheap romance novel.

Aretha Franklin - Save Me

Rolling Stone ranks Aretha Franklin as the Greatest Singer of All Time. I wouldn't go that far but I would say that her voice is the very definition of soul music.

Pretenders - Precious

I love Chrissy Hynde. She is my favorite rock and roll female singer of all time. I came to this conclusion the first time I heard "Precious" - trk one from the debut Pretenders album. I believe rock and roll is all about attitude. Chrissy Hynde's voice sweats attitude.

Madonna - Beautiful Stranger

It only been in the last ten years or so that I've come to appreciate and respect Madonna as a musician and not a whore. That's a little strong but, frankly, I just didn't get it. Then, in 1998, she released Ray of Light and I thought, "Wait a minute, there's a lot more to Madonna than a pretty smile and nice cans. This woman can sing."

Maria Callas - Printemps Qui Commence

Printemps qui commence from the opera Samsom et Dalila. In an attempt to seduce Samson away from his leadership of the Israelite uprising, Dalila and a group of girls dance for him and Dalila sings how spring is blossoming all around her. Yet, in her heart, she feels like it is still winter. As you listen to Maria Callas sing this song you'll feel the pain of the chill in her heart. Her voice is absolutely beautiful.

Liz Phair - Johnny Sunshine

Once you get past the sex songs and the shock value of her lyrics you'll relize that Liz Phair is a great song writer who, like Sheryl Crow, uses her voice to seduce you.

Linda Ronstadt - Blue Bayou

I never really thought much of Linda Ronstadt until one day I really listened to her version of "Blue Bayou." In the same way Aretha stole "Respect" from Otis Redding, Ronstadt made Roy Orbison's "Blue Bayou" her very own.

Bonnie Raitt - Blender BluesBonnie Raitt - Blender Blues

My love affair with the blues and Bonnie Raitt began the first time I ever heard her sing "Blender Blues." Bonnie is only 23 years old singing this song but somehow she conveys a maturity well beyond her age. This recording is from a 1972 WMMR live concert recording that should be officially released. Her performance, guitar playing, interaction with the audience, and her singing is amazing.

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Paul Altobelli is a veteran Internet, marketing and technology professional with considerable expertise in search engine marketing, web site development, design, implementation and project management. [more]

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