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The Friday 5 – Great Rock Howlers

Sinatra, Dean Martin, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye….just a few of the wonderful, crushed velvet voices which have thrilled generation after generation of music fans. But we aren’t interested in them today, oh no. We want to talk about the bellowers; the chaps who bawl into a possibly-superfluous microphone and shriek to almost epoch-defining levels of sheer, unadulterated RAWK!

1. Robert Plant. You couldn’t have a list like this and not include Percy. With a howl that could have turned back invading armies of visigoths, Plant roared and wailed through the 60’s and 70’s like the leader of some demented noise cult. He then got bored of that, started making World music and recently released a fantastic album with the lovely Allison Krauss. He doesn’t shout on it, to be fair, which is a pity.

2. Axl Rose – In the conversations gentlemen often have with each other, females of their association may be discussed in manner which pertains to ascertain how they would respond to enthusiastic fornication; to wit, ‘that one looks like a screamer.’ Should a reciprocal female-led version of this conversation ever take place about Axl Rose, I think it is safe to say that he is. High-pitched, warbly and with an occasional habit of developing a lower-pitched growl, Rose was THE shouty frontman of the 80’s. Though it’s often been said, we appear closer to Chinese democracy than we do to ‘Chinese Democracy’.

3. Henry Rollins. Mr.Scary Indie Punk Man himself. Spoke a lot, to lull you into a false sense of security, then shouted. At you. ‘LIAR! he screams, on the song ‘Liar’, which gives you a pretty good idea of what he was doing. Strangely motivational, like a sadistic Gym teacher you somehow want to impress.

4. David Coverdale. The Poundsaver Plant, the original Mr.C exuded all the sexual energy of a badly dressed cactus, but somehow the ladies loved him. Belted out his stuff incredibly loudly, incredibly deeply and incredibly cocksuredly. Total poster boy for big hair hard rock, with his re-make of his bands own ‘Here I Go Again’ an 80’s standard. Later worked with jimmy Page. Not the best way to stick clear blue water between him and allegations of ripping Percy off, you have to say.

5. Ronnie James Dio – I just feel sorry for the poor bastard.

I’m sure I’ve missed a few of your favourites, so get into the comments and let us know!


8 Responses

  1. Brian Johnson of ACDC, or Bon Scott. They both knew how to howl. Shame Bon never learned how to drink.

  2. How could you forget Tony Hadley of 80s wankers Spandau Ballet? Even the softest ballad was ‘enlivened’ by his lionine roar.


    Yes Tony, it’s true, we got that….

  3. Freddy Mercury, Chris Cornell and Steve ‘trout mouth’ Tyler.

    All blessed with a rare pair of lungs and pretty distinctive voices.

  4. Billy Corgan – It would do me permanent damage to even try a no-holds barred version of X.Y.U. even once in my life.

    And into the eyes of the jackyl I say ka-boom

  5. Good God Man! – Yes, but Bon did have big balls. It’s hard to put a price on that.

    BDC – Hadley was contemplated but his shoutiness had already been alluded to in the UB40 piece!

    CLovepump – Cornell has a great rock roar, almost like a crooner. Underrated by a lot of people.

    LOz – He was disqualified for having a quiet voice when he wanted!

  6. He’d have no vocal chords left if he didn’t!

  7. What about Mica??????

  8. Yep, it could go the same way as his hair!

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