Favorite music, favorite singers, favorite anything, really, is purely subjective. We all have different tastes and criteria that float each of our individual boats. So, I don’t expect people to agree with my selections for this entry, and readily admit up front that this is completely based on my own personal preferences.
That said, there were some outstanding male voices that emerged throughout my favorite music decade.
Iva Davies – Frontman for the iconic Australian band Icehouse, Iva Davies has a voice that easily spans several scales. Recently, I came across a cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” that Davies nailed as well, if not better, than the Thin White Duke himself. Operatic, earnest, and flooded with emotion that envelops listeners and transports them to a place far within themselves, Davies’ voice is easily recognizable and welcomed when an escape from the cruel, cold world is prescribed. Enjoy the following performance given a full 30 years after breaking onto the music scene.
“Heroes” via YouTube user Maiblume4:
Morten Harket – Nothing I can possibly say will do justice to Morten Harket’s voice. The amazing thing about this man is that his singing has gotten even better over the years. Best known for his work with A-Ha and the heavily rotated song “Take On Me,” Harket has continued to knock audiences out with his stunning vocals. A few months ago I featured Harket and A-Ha as “Criminally Underrated” because of the widespread assumption that they were “one-hit wonders.” Not true. Both Harket solo and along with a re-formed A-Ha continue to record and perform before sell-out audiences all over the world. The following is just one example of what he is capable of two decades after his world debut.
“Darkspace” via YouTube user callimitty:
Bryan Ferry – Widely noted for his work with Roxy Music, Ferry’s career began in 1970, but blossomed in the 80’s with his newly re-formed version of the band. Ferry’s voice may not have the range of Harket’s or Davies’, but it is unmistakably gorgeous and sexy. “More Than This” is one of the most beautiful, long-lived love songs from the 80’s. More than 25 years after first hearing this song, I still swoon with overwhelming emotion when I play it. Bryan Ferry gave a world-class performance at the historic Apollo in 2001 and continues to thrill audiences worldwide. I can’t, and don’t even want to imagine my music collection minus Ferry’s seductive crooning. I know this: “Flesh and Blood” and “Avalon” (among other Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music LPs) were intimate friends that saw me through difficult times in the 80’s. Live from the Apollo and still incredibly sexy:
“My Only Love” via YouTube user azija44:
David Sylvian – I have heard that David Sylvian is not fond of his voice during his early Japan days. It’s true that he managed to mask a sultry, sexy, and hypnotic voice under a layer of post-punk glib for several years. When the “real” Sylvian finally emerged, it was as though he were taken over and possessed by aliens, the transformation was that dramatic. Post-Japan, Sylvian’s voice is mellow, hypnotic, and fabulously expressive. He continues to evolve, lyrically and musically with a voice that, like Morten Harket’s and fine wine, grows ever better with age. Whenever I need to curl up with a voice that transports me beyond the daily stresses and annoyances, Sylvian’s, via the LPs “Gone to Earth” or “Secrets of the Beehive” is one of the first to come to mind. Meanwhile, this is a fabulous example of David Sylvian live:
“When Poets Dreamed Of Angels” via YouTube user samadhisound:
Freddie Mercury – Somehow I feel that anything I write about Mercury’s voice has either a) already been written, or b) is woefully inadequate. The best I can do is to describe Mercury’s voice as a finely-tuned instrument, and that he was its master musician. The depth and range of Mercury’s voice knew no bounds. The members of his band Queen could only accompany him, rather than augment what was a superior and vital part of their sound. His untimely death in 1991 was the music industry’s and the world’s devastating loss. I firmly believe that he would have continued to evolve, always remaining elevated above the mere mortals of the music world. Freddie Mercury holding his own beautifully with opera singer Montserrat Cabelle in what would be his last performance:
“Barcelona” via YouTube user buckey888:
Excellent post MissP, especially the Freddie Mercury. I recently watched a fantastic biography on him and was blown away. I am surprised you did not mention Mark Burgess although I am sure you could take a year of posts and never cover off all of the great artists.
Wonderful post MissP, especially love David Sylvian and Bryan Ferry! The 80’s rule!!! ❤
ark Burgess, and his music and poetry are outstanding. Soul In Isolation remains one of my top favorite 80’s songs….but his voice is not in the same league as the ones I mentioned. Lots of strong singers, for sure, came out of that period, but there is something *special* about Davies, Sylvian, Ferry, Mercury, and Harket. 🙂
Yes ((((((((((Merz)))))))))))) they certainly do. And you have been doing great justice to the period on your blog – thank you for that!
Hi MissP. I agree with you and Freddie Mercury is just irreplaceable. As for me, I’d also like to add to your list Geoff Barradale (Vitamin Z) and Nick Van Eede (Cutting Crew). 🙂
As always, you’ve got my curiosity up about these two singers you’ve recommended.
All the best to you!
Ahhh..Cutting Crew formerly known as The Drivers. I have the vinyl of Short Cuts (I think that is the album name) One of my staple mp3 player songs is Tears on your Anorak. Love it!
Love the Freddie Tribute. Queen is my all time favouraite band ever. I had the pleasure of seeing them live. It will be a highlight of my life. No one can touch the voice of Freddie but I think that new kid from American Idol is about as close as one could get. It was chilling seeing him perform with Queen in the finale.
Heya again (((((Moe))))))
Now you have me doing homework – will have to do some research on The Drivers/Cutting Crew.
Pingback: 80’s Music Rules ~ Angelic 80’s Voices ~ Part Two « Rave and Roll Blog
You should definitely add:
-Marian Gold (of Alphaville)
-Ingo Ito (of Bamboo Industry/Rain On Bamboo…just check out their songs “Reading, Writing And Tying Poem Slips To Bamboo” which is very close to David Sylvian and Japan, and moreover the song “Boat On The Bakwater” which is a remake of David’ s “Bamboo Houses”!)
-Paul Roberts (of Stranglers)
-Jim Irvin and Tim Whelan (singers of Furniture)
-Billy Mackenzie (of The Associates)
Those are some wonderful suggestions! I will definitely have to write another “Angelic Voices” installment. Thank you for stopping by and for your comment.
All the best,
im very happy because you are talking about my favorite singer;morten harket and without mention take on me(wich im tired to listen that is the only a-ha song,god damn!)….really a big thank you from the bottom of my heart!