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Axl Rose Has Largest Recorded Vocal Range in Rock/ Pop


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Posted (edited)

This is not a new article but I don't recall it being discussed before (apologies if it has).

I was reading a National Geographic article on Arethra Franklin boasting about her incredible vocal range so did a bit of digging and stumbled on this list and was amazed to see Axl at number one. This site have measured the vocal range of various vocal artists by comparing the lowest and highest notes of their studio recordings (don't think live has been included which obviously could change things) and Axl tops the list, above even Mariah Carey etc which I must say I was surprised about even though I know Axl has a fantastic voice.

https://www.concerthotels.com/worlds-greatest-vocal-ranges

Cue "Mickey always did have a high voice" puns... but the truth is at his prime Axl has / had a phenomenal voice with incredible power, range, timbre and dynamics.

I'm just surprised Lemmy didn't make the list...

Edited by ToonGuns
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I still remember listening to AFD for the first time. I thought it was different members singing  on the first two, equally brillant tracks. Very cool.

Now we have angry Mickey and whiny Mickey. :D

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8 hours ago, Nice Boy said:

They then 'discovered' that Mike Patton had a bigger range as I recall, but who knows.

Love Mike Patton. Regardless of range his versatility is incredible. 

On the subject of range Phil Anselmo must be in with a shout, clearly he's lost range now, but compare his head scream in Cemetery Gates to his low growl. 

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12 hours ago, El Guapo said:

I still remember listening to AFD for the first time. I thought it was different members singing  on the first two, equally brillant tracks. Very cool.

Now we have angry Mickey and whiny Mickey. :D

Lol I remember when I was younger, back with dial up internet and information and videos not being immediately accessible, looking at the back of the Appetite CD and thinking that the guy with the low voice on ISO must have been that mysterious looking dude with the black hair a.k.a. Izzy :lol:  Naive kid me thought that is was Axl on the high parts and Izzy would duet with him whenever they needed a low voice ha

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1 hour ago, eggers said:

Patton destroys Axl vocally. Come on.

Sure. You’re correct, Mike Patton is universally recognized by his peers as one of the greatest vocalist/frontman in the history of rock music. Ok.

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1 minute ago, Ixtlan said:

Sure. You’re correct, Mike Patton is universally recognized by his peers as one of the greatest vocalist/frontman in the history of rock music. Ok.

Vocalist and frontman are two different things, and the argument you've made here wasn't what Eggers said.

Patton is incredibly versatile and hard working. Axl "may" (other opinions are available) be the better/ bigger front man from the more famous brand / band, but it doesn't necessarily make him a better vocalist. There are tens of thousands of trained singers that could argue they are better vocalists than Axl or Mike Patton. However where Patton does excel Axl by some margin is his versatility, his musicality, his ability to reinvent himself, his amazing discography and his voice is still as strong as ever. Axl has pretty much always stuck to hard rock, and his voice isn't a patch on what it used to be. Patton performs with Faith No More, Mr Bungle, Tomahawk, Mondo Cane, Fantomas and much more... he has done everything from math rock to ambient and everything in between, has released multiple albums, and still has an excellent voice and incredible vocal control.

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14 minutes ago, ToonGuns said:

Vocalist and frontman are two different things, and the argument you've made here wasn't what Eggers said.

Patton is incredibly versatile and hard working. Axl "may" (other opinions are available) be the better/ bigger front man from the more famous brand / band, but it doesn't necessarily make him a better vocalist. There are tens of thousands of trained singers that could argue they are better vocalists than Axl or Mike Patton. However where Patton does excel Axl by some margin is his versatility, his musicality, his ability to reinvent himself, his amazing discography and his voice is still as strong as ever. Axl has pretty much always stuck to hard rock, and his voice isn't a patch on what it used to be. Patton performs with Faith No More, Mr Bungle, Tomahawk, Mondo Cane, Fantomas and much more... he has done everything from math rock to ambient and everything in between, has released multiple albums, and still has an excellent voice and incredible vocal control.

I appreciate the education of facts on Mike Patton. However,  Axl is vastly more talented than Mike Patton. 

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39 minutes ago, Ixtlan said:

I appreciate the education of facts on Mike Patton. However,  Axl is vastly more talented than Mike Patton. 

I think it depends on your definition of "talent". Axl was (not sure whether "is" is valid anymore) one of the most talented rock singers and front men ever, but he was restricted to that narrow niche and has never pushed himself at all. Patton is the front man of multiple rock band but also sings jazz, avant garde, ambient, fusion, pop, metal... both in English and other languages, is highly respected across multiple genres, over a more extended period, while still retaining incredible vocal power, versatility and control. Popularity and talent are not the same thing. Axl is much more popular, but there is a very strong argument Patton has more talent. Singing one style of music and depreciating in quality of performance over time v singing multiple different challenging styles of music with a consistent quality of performance over time.

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I’d have thought Bruce Dickinson would have been in there.

Axl’s range live would interest me more than in the studio. Some of the notes he hit on the illusions tour were insane. Especially while having that grit to his vocal.

As for the OPs comment on Lemmy, I love Motorhead caught them live 10-12 times over 25+ years, but Lemmys range was between Jack Daniels and Marlboros. It was a growl mostly. :D

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32 minutes ago, lame ass security said:

I love Axl's low register, it is pretty earth shaking. A lot of people can match him in the upper register but not the lower. As Elvis sang, "Way down like a tidal wave."

His lower, natural voice on Chinese Democracy (the song, and on some other parts of the album) was very good. He sounds a bit like that on the studio Silkworms leaks too. I wonder if we will hear more of that on CD2/the next album. I also like his higher clean vocals, like on Catcher and Atlas. And of course his CD-era "rasp" like on parts of Hardschool, Scraped, Sorry, etc. 

A buddy I introduced CD to in 2008 (he loved the album) asked me if the band had two lead singers.

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6 hours ago, marlon_brando said:

Why?

For me Axl’s stage performance during the UYI tour is one reason. Axl live during his prime is untouchable. 

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This list pops up every now and again, and if I recall it was just a ranking of the vocal ranges of the 100 singers on Rolling Stones’ top 100 singers list. The RS list wasn’t based just on vocal ability, it included all the other intangible qualities of being a performer and a star. That is the reason why excellent vocalists with similar quality ranges are not listed, because they weren’t on the RS list.

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1 hour ago, TeeJay410 said:

This list pops up every now and again, and if I recall it was just a ranking of the vocal ranges of the 100 singers on Rolling Stones’ top 100 singers list. The RS list wasn’t based just on vocal ability, it included all the other intangible qualities of being a performer and a star. That is the reason why excellent vocalists with similar quality ranges are not listed, because they weren’t on the RS list.

This makes sense because Im sure alot more opera singers and the such would of been ranked higher then eminem lol

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