Axl Rose is leading a new list that ranks the vocal ranges of some of the world’s most well-known singers.
ConcertHotels.com made note of the highest and lowest notes a number of artists hit in the recording studio, and the data shows that the Guns N’ Roses frontman has an impressive range of a little more than five octaves.
It doesn’t come close to the world record of ten octaves, but it does put Axl ahead of Mariah Carey. The R&B diva, however, easily hits the highest note of any other singer on the list, while Rose hits the lowest. The rest of the top five after Axl and Mariah includes Prince, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and James Brown.
Radiohead’s Thom Yorke comes in at number ten, while the gravely-voiced Tom Waits surprisingly beats out the likes of Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, and Adele. The full list and the songs at each end of the singer’s range are available to browse at ConcertHotels.com/worlds-greatest-vocal-ranges.
Top Ten Vocal Ranges:
1. Axl Rose
2. Mariah Carey
4. Steven Tyler
5. James Brown
6. Marvin Gaye
7. Christina Aguilera
8. David Bowie
9. Paul McCartney
10. Thom Yorke
How does one accurately gauge the talent of a singer? Unfortunately, there’s no pH test or special scanner to help separate the true songbirds from those that should maybe become a
drummer or guitar tech. However, there is one way to determine a very basic idea of any singer’s inherent talent and potential: examine their vocal range. Now, Concert Hotels have put together a handy-dandy chart comparing the ranges of the world’s most well-known singers. The results are possibly more shocking than this guy.
So, just who has the best vocal range, and thus, at least technically speaking, is music’s greatest singer? Why none other than Axl Rose, who has an insane range of five octaves. (For comparison, the world record holder, a man named Tim Storms, has a range of 10 octaves.) Rose beats out a truly jam-packed top five that includes Mariah Carey, Prince,Steven Tyler, and James Brown. I should have seen this coming the first time I heard“Welcome To The Jungle”.
Perhaps more interesting, though, are who comprise the bottom five. Country singer Luke Bryan may have the smallest range, but he’s joined by some A-listers like Justin Bieber,Taylor Swift, Sam Cooke, and Karen Carpenter, who aren’t all that far behind. In fact, the iconic Cooke and the tween-worshipped Bieber actually have near-identical ranges, as do Swift and Carpenter. I guess it just goes to show it’s what you do with what you’re given rather than what you’ve actually got in the first place.
Other interesting tidbits gleaned from the chart:
– Despite sounding like he gargles gravel every morning, Tom Waits has a wider vocal range than the likes of Cooke, Swift, Stevie Nicks, and Björk.
– Eminem and Lou Reed have the same exact vocal range, D2-F5. Coincidence?
– Despite her status as a vocal powerhouse, Aretha Franklin only ranks in at #37 on the list. In fact, she’s beaten out by the likes of Kurt Cobain, Miley Cyrus, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, and even Thom Yorke. In fact, Yorke ranks among the top 10, with a total range of four octaves.
– There’s plenty of names on the list you wouldn’t expect to have such a noteworthy range:Johnny Cash, Neil Young, John Fogerty, and Rod Stewart.