We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

And now for something pleasantly different

Right, nuts to the G20. Here is a fine appreciation of the late Dusty Springfield, one of the world’s greatest singers, who would have been 70 today.

Quick Friday quiz: name your favourite singers (male and female, both contemporary and classical).

27 comments to And now for something pleasantly different

  • manuel II paleologos

    The best one I’ve ever seen live was Mirella Freni in La Boheme at the Vienna state opera. Magic.

    Favourite “contemporary” (kind of) was Jacques Brel, although with most (and especially him) it’s hard to separate the singing from the songwriting.

  • Jesse

    In my opinion…
    Maynard James Keenan is the king of the vocals.
    Bjork Gutmonsdottir is queen.

  • Paul

    Gerry Rafferty. Even better live than his superbly produced albums.
    A shame he’s drinking his liver into oblivion these
    days 🙁

  • Jesse

    In my opinon…
    Maynard James Keenan is the King of vocals.
    Bjork Gudmundsdottir reigns as Queen.

  • Ian B

    Eluned Morgan MEP.

  • Corsair

    F: Kate Bush, Dawn Upshaw
    M: Dunno.

  • Frank Smith

    Jerry Jeff Walker, country music

  • Gidders

    King: Harry Nilsson
    Queen: Lily Allen

    (Dusty Springfield was born on April 16th, not April 3rd)

  • Karen Carpenter: the best natural female voice of her generation.

  • Kim du Toit

    Gotta categorize them, because the list of greats is just too long.

    Classical: Maria Callas, Jussi Bjorling

    Standards: Billie Holiday, Tony Bennett

    Country: Wynonna Judd, David Allan Coe

    Modern: Kate Bush, Bobby McFerrin

    Balladeers: Ute Lemper, Harry Nilsson

    Blues: Etta James, Ray Charles

    Jazz: Sarah Vaughan, Harry Connick Jr

    Rock: Ann Wilson, Robert Plant

    …and no, I didn’t “forget” Frank Sinatra. One of my absolute minimum standards is that a singer can sing in tune.

  • Male Vocalist: Chris Cornell (of Soundgarden and Audioslave fame), his voice is the only one issuing from a male throat which makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
    Female Vocalist: Either Aretha Franklin or Billy Holliday, I’m torn between them.

  • Laird

    It’s hard to argue with Kim’s list, but I would replace Maria Callas with Kathleen Battle. In general I’m not a big fan of operatic sopranos, but Battle’s voice is so fluid and dextrous, and her pitch so sure, that I am enthralled.

    Oh, and when he was young Sinatra was pretty good. He didn’t age well, though (unlike Tony Bennett).

    Incidentally, I’m not a big fan of Dusty Springfield. Not that she’s a bad singer, but I never much cared for her song selections.

  • Sinatra less of a singer, and more of a performer. For example, Nat King Cole was a much better singer, but I’d much rather listen to Sinatra.

    If the quiz is about singers-performers rather than singers-songwriters, than Elvis would be the king, and Patsy Cline would be the queen. If however it’s about the latter, than the list is so long, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

  • Oh, and of course jazz is also a category in its own, with Ella at the top of any list, especially when paired with Armstrong. Pure bliss those two together.

  • Windy Wilson

    Sinatra was a performer, Dean Martin was a SINGER.
    It doesn’t count if you sort of sidle up to the notes, that’s like faking a sharp or flat on a harmonica by playing the two adjacent notes together.

    And I don’ know about anybody else’s opinion, but I found Tommy Duncan to be pretty good. It’s hard to listen to singers who sing through their noses.

  • Eamon Brennan

    Kim’s post highlights a problem with categories.

    Where exactly would you put John Martyn?


  • Greego

    Chris Cornell, up to about the age of 35… not so keen on his voice nowadays (also the album with Timbaland is an abomination.) Maynard’s pretty awesome too but seems to have gotten better with age.

  • My favorite singers are all male British/Irish rockers:

    Roger Daltrey
    Van Morrison
    Paul Rodgers
    Freddy Mercury

  • nostalgic

    For me:

    Cecilia Bartolli

    Dennis Locorriere

  • kentuckyliz

    I have so much in common with Kim’s list, that I won’t bother retyping.

    I absolutely adore Etta James and finally get to see her live in Columbus, Ohio on May 2. Worth a 4 hour drive.

    Huge Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan fan too.

    I must make a plug for some great bluegrass ladies: Allison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, and Dale Bradley. Perhaps not a genre that most Samizdatistas embrace.

  • Monkey63

    M- Peter Gabriel, Nat King Cole
    F – Kate Bush, Ella Fitzgerald

  • Debbie Harry, Sarah Cracknell, Beth Gibbons, Nina Persson, Belinda Carlisle, Alison Goldfrapp, Janis Joplin, Elivs Presley, Johnnie Cash, Marvin Gaye, Everly Brothers, Abba, Tina Turner, Bob Marley…

    Probs a fair few more.

  • Sunfish

    Steve Earle. Okay, he’s a socialist whackjob, but “Someday” was the soundtrack of my childhood. And nothing will rip your heart out quite like his duets with Emmylou Harris.

    Shawn Colvin.

    Mary Lou Lord.

    Amy Ray/Emily Sailers (See above about absolute freaking loons, but they’re moonbats who can write)

  • Classical:
    Male: Luciano Pavarotti; yeah, yeah I know. Just listen to the guy at his peak, and you”ll know he deserves his fame.
    Female: Maria Callas. See above.

    Male: Freddie Mercury; there’s never been anyone who sounds just like him.
    Female: Björk Guðmundsdóttir. Again, unique.

  • John_R in Western Australia

    Male: Leonard Cohen
    Female: Kate Bush

    Both strange but beautiful.

  • John_R:

    Male: Yes!!! Not a “singer” though, if you know what I mean:-)
    Female: No!!! I am truly amazed at how many fans of Kate Bush are here. I can certainly understand the attraction, but unfortunately just cannot share in it. The pitch is simply too high for my ear.