Think You Can Sing?
"He/She Can't Sing...!"
Greetings again all. My father used to say..."He/She can't sing...". He was used to "REAL" singers, those with the voices of angels and the looks to match. Well, the following examples really had NONE of those qualities, but are nonetheless immortal.
So, think YOU can sing? Applied for any of the talent shows that are currently in vogue and where you're whole family sits and watches to see who might make it to the finals? Forget dancing and let's take a quick look at some MONSTER singers who simply "couldn't" sing.
1. Johnny Cash: It doesn't matter WHAT genre of music that you're into, literally EVERYBODY knows who Johnny Cash is. Here's a guy who simply captured a world of fans by simply doing ONE thing - namely, singing like he would normally talk. Cash couldn't carry a tune in a basket but, WHAT was it about John that fascinated the whole world and enabled him to make a great living in the music and entertainment biz? Simplicity, being himself, and telling a story.
I think Cash was an 'old boy' from the Southern Midwest of the USA who simply decided to tell it like HE saw it. He adopted the 'man in black' style to compliment his deadpan, poker-faced facade to tell the world what he thought and how it should be.
Could he "sing", as we know how REAL singers sing? Nope -- as mentioned, couldn't carry the tune anyway. He was devoid of real singing qualities (i.e. melodic voice, etc.) but just look at his legacy. Cash was one of the monster hit makers of the 50's, 60's, and further on with hits like "Ring of Fire", "I Walk The Line", and so on, monster hits that we, as young kids, used to twist the names into things unmentionable.
Johnny Cash was a major influence on later musicians and artists and his music had worldwide influence. But...he couldn't SING, could he? No beautiful voice, no nothing. He sang as he saw it, and told you a story with no need for all the jazz and productions -- he just told a story as if he was talking to you in a coffee shop.
And, he fashioned a fabulous career out of it. Not bad for a guy who carry a tune in a basket.
2. Bob Dylan: Well, 'it ain't me' that's going to mention that 'ol Bob (Mr. Zimmerman) also couldn't carry a tune in a basket. Didn't matter, though -- Bob was a monster song writer years ago and basically told the world that we/they were NOT gonna take it anymore. I don't know if you all fully realize the impact of the words he wrote and sang about. Those words and songs literally influenced a whole GENERATION, let alone the later bands that would use him as a reference for their music.
But, could he SING? -- Nope...no melodic quality there at all. Like Cash, he told stories through his nose. "Gave the bums a dime in your prime...didn't you?" -- just stories about life as if he was chatting online or something modern like that these days. Few realize the effect this man had on the world and it's viewpoints; he was a major influence and couldn't sing a note in the proper key. Didn't matter -- he knew what it was he wanted to say, and it worked like a charm, with hit after hit after hit. All from a guy who couldn't sing for breakfast if he had to.
3. Buck Owens: Yee Hah...'ol Buck. Now HERE'S a guy who was pure country fun, no doubt. "Ah...Got...A...Tigah Bye Tha Tayle", and he had the whole world by the tail in the 50's and 60's. Back then, there was mostly radio and Buck took full advantage of that medium, with hit after hit of redneck love and beer parlor, pool table chat. Didn't need the voice of Elvis as 'ol Buck just 'talked' about beer, trucks, faded loves, "mah doawg", and the pure Southern USA way of life. Had the face of warehouse worker, the voice of one of 'too many beers', but a MONSTER influence musically and didn't have to sing a note.
4. Leonard Cohen: The mysterious dead man's poet who is a fabulous sensation both here and especially in Europe. He's a poet, and he knows it! Great Canadian musician who loves the sombre side of life, is rather 'deep' and a bit reclusive, and can't sing worth beans.
BUT...who cares? Mr. Cohen is and has been a monster musician who has teamed up with big named singers and has made a VERY comfortable living by being depressed all the time. Simply put, no matter WHAT he sings about, SOMEONE will relate and buy, simply because they DO relate to his style and what he has to say. Can't carry a tune in a tub and takes some getting used to, but, Lenny don't care -- he's VERY successful at being depressed all the time. Maybe after he "Takes Berlin", he might lighten up...
5. Tiny Tim: Poor 'ol Tiny and his tiny ukulele. Do you realize just how big THAT hit was ("Tiptoe Through The Tulips") just for laughing purposes or whatever? It was a monster. As silly was the song and it's 'singer' was, the song was a MAJOR blast and doesn't matter what you're into these days, almost everybody knows about this song and its' singer. Why? Shaggy hair, small instrument...silly song...couldn't sing...". Still a monster hit for someone who couldn't carry a tune.
6. Joe Cocker: hehe -- if Joe could have stayed sober for most of the time, he probably could have achieved an even GREATER appeal! However, he didn't do too bad nevertheless. 'Ol Joe came to prominence in the late 60's with the Woodstock and that crowd and continued into later decades by teaming up with people like Jennifer Warnes and re-doing of older hits. Joe always sounded like he was a caveman just waking up and looking for venison (arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhhhh....!) but there was something in his voice that contributed to his mass appeal. Couldn't carry a tune in a basket, but, it really didn't matter. Joe and his style was EXTREMELY popular and you couldn't help but notice a sort of lament or sadness in his voice. One thing about Joe is that you always knew it was Joe -- that's great branding in a marketing sense.
So folks, a few examples of those who made it REALLY big without the ability to sing 'real' nice. No kidding though...doesn't matter the voice - what matters was the message. Those who can relate to a common message won't care HOW it's delivered -- does it matter these days if you get a check through the mail, or online, or whatever? As long as you get the check. HOW it's delivered is secondary.
Think you can't sing? It's OK...doesn't matter. Just make sure you know WHAT to sing...
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Thanks for reading and hope this helps some for this type of problem. Worked for me but took some experimenting to get it right.