View Full Version : Progressive vocalists

10-01-2001, 02:11 PM
In the "Pendragon" thread, exPurple mentioned his dislike for most progressive vocalists. I have experienced the same feelings as he has (but to a lesser extent), and started to wonder what other people felt about progressive rock vocalists. Who are your favorites? Or would you just do without them altogether? Sound in, prog-heads!

Here's my list of favorites:

Jon Anderson - If you have to ask, you'll never understand!

Peter Gabriel - While I like much of the Phil Collins period (especially W&W and TOTT), this man is the true voice of Genesis, in my opinion. He has a distinct, recognizable style and sound, and conveys an unbelievable range of emotion in all his work.

Greg Lake - A great voice that accompanies the great music, rather than dominating it. From the gentle reserve of "I Talk to the Wind" to the grandiose pride of "Jerusalem," Lake covers all the bases.

Neal Morse - I'm sure many of you won't agree with me, but this guy may be the best singer to come along in the last few years. He doesn't really have a broad range or an operatic background, but what he lacks in technical skill, he more than makes up in raw emotion. And that's what really counts in my book; some bands are so hell-bent on showing off their chops (*cough* Dream Theater *cough, cough*), that the emotion never has a chance to surface. IMO, this ain't the case with Spock's Beard or Transatlantic.

Lana Lane - Another example of raw emotion, this chick can really belt it out. Only difference here, though, is that the voice takes center stage and the music doesn't really blow you away. But man, what pipes!

Honorable mentions (don't really have anything to say about them, but I still like)--
Geddy Lee (Rush)
D.C. Cooper (Royal Hunt on "Paradox" and "Moving Target")
Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius, guest spot with Ayreon)

I'm sure I could come up with more, but I'll let it go for now. However, I would like to put in my vote for best example of a vocalist ruining a great progressive band.

Though it pains me to say it, since they are one of my new favorite bands, Galleon has got a really bad vocalist. Goran Förs just really can't cut it as a singer. I wonder how far this band could have gone with vocalist more in tune with the English language. Not every song is awful but there are always a few lines that leave begging for the next keyboard solo to arrive.

Well, there you have it, folks. I'm spent. Let's here what you all have to say about it.

10-01-2001, 03:15 PM
Zero vocals for me. Paicey and PROGRESIVE also.

My two favourites are missing from AM.
It almost beggars belief.
I utterly idolise Jim Morrison. The other is Grace Slick.
There is a third but not progrock and that is Karen Carpenter.

Lana Lane can't half give it some though.

10-01-2001, 03:22 PM
Good question!

Here are my favorites:

Peter Gabriel - One of my favorite vocalists of all-time, if not my #1 favorite! This guy has so much emotion in his voice, that even his most obscure lyrics have a very profound meaning and feel. Another thing about Peter is the way he can alter his voice to become the different characters portrayed in some of Genesis' songs. Just take 'Get 'Em Out By Friday' and 'Battle of Epping Forest' for instance. I definitely idolize this guy as a singer and a songwriter. He's absolutely brilliant!

Robert Wyatt - This former frontman of the Soft Machine, and also solo artist had quite a unique voice. Very unique, but nice and soothing at the same time.

Peter Hammil - Sometimes his voice gets on my nerves actually, but I do like his vocal style a lot. It reminds me of David Bowie's voice for some reason, but more intense.

Greg Lake - Awesome vocalist! His voice reminds me of John Lennon's in a way. Greg has more of a tenor voice though. I personally think he sounded better while he was with King Crimson. His voice was better suited for their music.

You might hate me for this, but I've got to disagree with you about Jon Anderson's voice. His voice is probably the primary reason why I can't stand Yes. The guy sounds like a fairy in my opinion. His voice gets on my nerves too easily.

10-02-2001, 12:54 PM
I'd have to agree that a good prog vocalist seems to be the hardest postion to fill in bands. That's why I generally prefer instrumentals, and those handful of vocalists that actually add to the music. After that, I like those vocalists that don't stand out, but at least don't detract from the music. I don't know how often I've heard a piece of music, really enjoying it, then the vocals kick in and I'm hitting the "next track" button...
the great ones: Lake, Gabriel, Anderson, Gilmour, Glenn Hughes from Iluvatar (I don't care if he sounds like Collins), what's his name from Citizen Cain, Fish from Marillion, Francesco from Banco, PFM's lead vocalist; wow, that's a bigger handful than I thought. And I'm sure I missed a few.

10-02-2001, 01:28 PM
Jon Anderson - Yes

Phil Collins - Genesis (although I like the Gabriel-era music much better)

David Gilmour, Richard Wright (and less-so, Roger Waters) - Pink Floyd

Ty Tabor first, Doug Pinnick second - King's X

Geddy Lee - Rush (the later albums, when he lost the screech)

Mark Solomon - Stavesacre (great range, great versatility)

Steve Perry - Journey

Greg Lake - King Crimson

John Wetton - King Crimson and Asia

and perhaps the greatest vocalist ever, tonality and quality-wise, but not range-wise...
Derri Daughtery - The Choir

I'm sure there are others.

Yesspaz out.

10-02-2001, 03:53 PM
The name of Citizen Cain's vocalist is Cyrus. Just Cyrus. He also does their cover art, which I must say is pretty freakin' weird. I do like this guy, but didn't mention him earlier because of his similarity to PG.

Kurt Preston
10-03-2001, 11:49 AM
More great proggish vocalists not yet mentioned:

1. Annie Haslam of Rennaissance
2. Eric Woolfson of Alan Parson's Project
3. Steve Walsh of Kansas

10-03-2001, 12:53 PM
Shit!! How could I forget Gilmour? After all, Floyd is probably my favorite band of all time.

Can Pink Floyd really be considered "Progressive" though?

10-03-2001, 07:26 PM
My fav's are :
Peter Gabriel for his emotion, content and on stage theatrics.
Annie Haslam of Rennaissance sounds like an angel to me...
Ian Anderson, very distinct and always easy to listen to.
And while he could peel paint especially in his early days, I love Geddy Lee's 110% efforts !!

10-04-2001, 02:14 PM
Arrgh! How could I forget Annie of Rennaisance!! What is wrong with me?

And yes, Floyd is definitely prog.

10-08-2001, 12:23 AM
1. Peter Gabriel- Genesis and solo career. Absoutly my favorite vocalist. Amazing range and quality, but what really hits me is the way he makes what he sings some alive. That's probably the main reason that I like him more than Jon Anderson: when Anderson sings a song like "And You and I," it seems like he's always slightly removed from the music and lyrics, using almost no emotion, while when Gabriel sings a song like "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" or "Biko," you know he's totally connected to what's going on and pouring all he can into it. (I don't know if I said that quite right, but hopefully you get the idea).

2. Anne Haslam- Rennaisance. Unbelievable range and totally pure tone. Seriously could be an opera singer with training. Too bad her voice is so shot now.

3. Jon Anderson- Yes. Despite what I said earlier, Jon can still belt one when he wants to. When I first listend to Tales From Topographic Oceans I was a little put off, but I've gradually grown to like his voice. He does have a great tenor.

I never really liked Greg lake as a singer- he was just too. . . "bombastic"? I guess that's the word.

The only other singer that really comes to mind as exceptional is Thom York of Radiohead. He really puts a lot of emotion into every song they do. There should definitely be more Radiohead at AM!

And I agree with Yesspaz- Floyd is more than progressive enough to deserve a place here.

10-08-2001, 11:43 AM
Most hardcore Floyd fans like myself DISAGREE that Pink Floyd is Progressive Rock. The term "Progressive Rock" is given out far too easily to some bands. Pink Floyd is not really prog-rock at all. The closest they came to this was with their 'Animals' album. Yes, a lot of Pink Floyd's stuff is centered around concepts (like most prog is) - but Pink Floyd aren't even remotely in the same vein as Yes or ELP. No one in Pink Floyd were musical virtuosos, except maybe David Gilmour. This is a good thing too! Floyd wern't showoff's like Yes & ELP were. I mean, when I think of ACTUAL 70's prog, bands like ELP, Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Van Der Graaf Generator & Caravan come to mind, but not Pink Floyd.

First of all, Floyd started off as a psychedelic band. Then they became an avant-garde/space-rock group. I guess you could say their stuff starting with DSOTM could be considered "prog", but that's really because there is no other category for it. Pink Floyd falls in a category by themselves really. I find it EXTREMELY misleading for people to call Pink Floyd a Progressive Rock band. Roger Waters even said that Pink Floyd was never a Progressive Rock band.

10-08-2001, 12:59 PM
as a floyd fan, I agree with you!

And my fav vocalists in p/r :
1. Ian Anderson : very distinctive... in his 70s works...recently his voice has went down terribly :(
2. Jan Anderson : no comment!
3. Andrew Latimer : Though many may dislike him...