Archive for Michael Jackson

Whitney’s 50th birthday: her 15 best live performances (cover songs)

Posted in Live Performances, Whitney Houston with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2013 by Ain't No Other Tan

Today would have been Whitney Houston’s 50th birthday, so to mark this date and to commemorate not only the fact that she was such a flawless and consistent live vocalist and performer but also the number of artists she looked up to and was influenced by, I have compiled 15 of her best cover versions of other people’s songs that she performed live (not ones she recorded and/or re-released, except for “A Song For You”, which she performed long before recording it). Whitney was amazing at taking other people’s songs, paying tribute to them and making the song her own with her own vocal styling that was usually always at least just as good as the original, as she proved many a time in her cover versions that she recorded over the years. I’ve just put them all here alphabetically rather than trying to order them according to how good they are and instead of me going on about each one individually, you can just sit and watch them in awe for yourself.

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A Song For You

Whitney sings her version of this classic song, originally by Leon Russell (1991).

And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going (from “Dreamgirls”)

Whitney sings one of the most vocally challenging songs she’s attempted (1994).

Aretha Franklin medley

Whitney singing a medley of songs popularised by her godmother, Aretha Franklin (1997).

Diana Ross medley

Whitney singing a medley of songs popularised by one of her friends, idols and contemporaries, Diana Ross (1997).

Dionne Warwick medley

Whitney singing a medley of songs popularised by her cousin, Dionne Warwick (1997).

Gonna Be Startin’ Somethin’

Whitney singing one of her favourite Michael Jackson songs (1986).

Home (from “The Wiz”)

Whitney singing this song on her first televised appearance in 1983 (above) and again just over a decade later in 1994 (below) – pay attention to the vast difference, maturity and improvement in her overall voice and style in the two versions.

How Long Has This Been Going On

Whitney sings this jazz standard, written by George Gershwin and popularised by Ella Fitzgerald (1995).

I Am Changing (from “Dreamgirls”)

Whitney singing this vocally demanding song at the age of 21 in 1984 (above) and again in 1986 (below) – take note of the maturity of her voice, the improvement in her technique and her trademark style of playing with the notes and melody that had blossomed within those two years.

I Loves You Porgy/Summertime

Whitney sings these classics popularised by Nina Simone (1997).

Love’s in Need of Love Today

Whitey sings her version of this Stevie Wonder song (1994).

Lover Man

Whitney covers this jazz classic popularised by Billie Holiday (1991).

Never Too Much

Whitney mashes the lyrics to this Luther Vandross classic with the melody to “For the Love of You” by the Isley Brothers (1987).

Sweet Thing

Whitney singing (rehearsals) this Chaka Khan classic (1987/88).

(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

Whitney sings this classic Aretha Franklin song (1994).

Top Twenty Favourite Male Vocalists (11 to 20)

Posted in Male Vocalists with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2013 by Ain't No Other Tan

Continued from previous post:

11) R Kelly

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A lot of people think of R Kelly as another average hip-hop artist, but he is so much more than that and on quite a few occasions has shown to be a really good singer and all-round solid musician. Not a lot of guys in the urban music industry these days are great vocalists and not many of them have a tone as nice, soulful and unique as R Kelly’s, making him the King of R&B today.

12) Lenny Kravitz

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Lenny Kravitz is similar to one of his biggest musical influences, Jimi Hendrix – a rare black rockstar with a really good, yet underrated voice. Lenny has a good mix of soul as well as that great, classic rock tone to his voice that he can add for stylistic purposes when needed, or keep it clean and smooth if he prefers.

13) Michael Jackson

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Michael Jackson may have been known as the King of Pop, but there probably aren’t that many people who would say he has a fantastic voice. Wrong! Ok, he wasn’t sublime, but he sure could sing – especially when he was younger and stuck to singing soul and Motown records, before moving into pop, dance and disco.

14) Prince

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Prince is a vocalist who really knows how to use his voice and change it for whatever style is needed to be sung, be it rock, soul and R&B, funk, jazz and blues or synth and electropop. He has lovely, sweet and sultry tone most of the time but when he lets loose for big, high notes, he can really blow you away.

15) Jon Bon Jovi

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Jon Bon Jovi has the ultimate classic rock voice – full of soul, energy and grit, with a raw rasp to it. A lot of rock singers seem to use very questionable vocal techniques that sound unhealthy and are not to everyone’s taste but Jon Bon Jovi always seems to be a firm favourite with a lot of people, and even after all these years of doing what he does best, his voice is still in tact.

16) George Michael

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One of the main men when it comes to personifying “white man soul”. He may be more known for his camp, fun pop and disco tunes but George Michael is actually a very great singer, with a wide vocal range and smooth, quite sultry tone to his voice.

17) Usher

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I must admit I am not a fan of the recent Usher who has sold out his soul and R&B roots after his “Confessions” album for generic pop-dance songs (and of course, working with that annoying Justin Bieber), but before that he was a fantastic musician with an extremely flexible voice and one hell of a sexy tone, and was a good rival for the King of R&B title back in the day.

18) Seal

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Seal’s rich, deep and soulful voice was, sorry for the cliché description- velvety smooth like chocolate. He reminds me of a modern-day Barry White, but less boring.

19) Justin Timberlake

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A lot of people probably just see Justin as someone who just has a high voice who likes to sing in falsetto all the time, which I guess is quite true, but he is in fact a pretty good singer, and any guy who can sing half a song in falsetto deserves some credibility.

20) Michael Bublé

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With a warm, smooth and rather gorgeous, playful tone to his voice, it’s easy to see why Michael Bublé is so popular (asides from his looks) as he puts his own unique twist to retro jazz and blues classics and has that cool, old-school sound that is very rare on the charts these days (although his mannerisms in his performances are a bit strange…).