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How low can they go?
October 26, 2010 1:28 AM   Subscribe

Who are your favourite pop/rock/whatever singers with deep voices? I'm talking Stephin Merritt deep, I'm talking Calvin Johnson deep, I'm talking... deep voices.
posted by Ted Maul to Media & Arts (62 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Leonard Cohen, for sure. I consider "I'm your man" to be the seminal work of the deep-voice genre.
posted by springload at 1:32 AM on October 26, 2010


I thought immediately of Crash Test Dummies vocalist Brad Roberts.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 1:45 AM on October 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Percy Mayfield. Fred Neil.
posted by Jode at 1:50 AM on October 26, 2010


Iggy Pop, Leonard Cohen, The White Buffalo, and Nick Cave are my go-to's for that sort of thing. Also, NoMeansNo, Type-O Negative and Joy Division, but those aren't so mainstream.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:50 AM on October 26, 2010


Matt Berninger of The National.
posted by so much modern time at 1:58 AM on October 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


The ladies love Mr. Barry White.
posted by three blind mice at 2:00 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good suggestions so far... some new to me, some not. Barry White gives me a huge erection when I press my body against the speakers, and I'm also gonna throw Andrew Eldritch from the Sisters of Mercy out there for anyone else who's following this question.
posted by Ted Maul at 2:04 AM on October 26, 2010


Chali 2na from Jurassic 5.

His stage name is a reference to Charlie the Tuna, the deep-voiced animated mascot of StarKist Tuna.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:18 AM on October 26, 2010


Zulu singer Mahlathini was the acknowledged exponent of the deep-voiced, basso profundo "groaning" style that came to symbolize South African mbaqanga music in the 1960s. They even appeared on the Letterman Show. The Mahotella Queens are still performing, though.
posted by zaelic at 2:50 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


This may not be relevant, but some of my favorite female singers have relatively low, almost balsy, voices, my favorites being Joan Armatrading, Anita Baker, Alison Moyet of Yazoo and Mary Fahl, formerly of October Project. Going through my fave artists, I realize that most of my favorite male vocalists sing in a higher register than these ladies...

While not a singer, my favorite de-e-e-ep voiced performer is "Word Jazz" creator Ken Nordine... (speaking of Charley the Tuna, there was a Los Angeles DJ who used that name on the air, but his voice was nowhere near as deep as Herschel Bernardi, who did Charlie in the commercials, but I digress).

To get back on topic, I'm SHOCKED nobody has mentioned JOHNNY CASH.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:52 AM on October 26, 2010


Nick Cave.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:12 AM on October 26, 2010


Lee Hazlewood; The Righteous Brothers
posted by ouke at 3:13 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


My favourite is Bill Callahan (Smog).
posted by creeky at 3:39 AM on October 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Greg Brown
posted by vitabellosi at 3:40 AM on October 26, 2010


Brett Sparks of The Handsome Family.
posted by liquidindian at 3:45 AM on October 26, 2010


Carl McCoy - Fields of the Nephilim
Peter Steele - Type O Negative
posted by Bodd at 3:48 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nina Simone
posted by K.P. at 4:12 AM on October 26, 2010


Mark Lanegan

It's a good album, too.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:18 AM on October 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Certainly Mefi's perennial favorite Tom Waits.
posted by frobozz at 5:02 AM on October 26, 2010


Howlin' Wolf. Old gritty howlin sound. Smokestack Lightning is in a few movies.

Oh and Johnny Cash, obviously.
posted by jander03 at 5:02 AM on October 26, 2010


Daddy G (Grant Marshall) from Massive Attack
posted by mukade at 5:09 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Scott Walker.
posted by griphus at 6:10 AM on October 26, 2010


Human League
posted by cottoncandybeard at 6:14 AM on October 26, 2010


Kurt Wagner from Lambchop.

Stuart Staples from Tindersticks.
posted by afx237vi at 6:27 AM on October 26, 2010


Aw, man... nobody's mentioned the late, great Mark Sandman from Morphine (check out "Buena" or "Honey White"). That dude's voice is like slightly tranq'd-out seductiveness boiled down until it's rich and dark and dangerously concentrated, then drizzled all over the bare abdomen of a beautiful lady.
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:28 AM on October 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Now for something completely different: Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife.
posted by Beardman at 6:29 AM on October 26, 2010


Oh, and seconding Mary Fahl. I saw her live in a wee tiny venue once - just her and one backing musician. That lady's pipes damn near blew that room apart.
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:30 AM on October 26, 2010


Nico?
posted by smirkyfodder at 6:51 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty surprised no one said Stephin Merritt.
posted by TheBones at 7:13 AM on October 26, 2010


Dammit, the OP said stephin merritt, sorry, too early here.
posted by TheBones at 7:14 AM on October 26, 2010


Country music singer Josh Turner
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:18 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Josh Groban
posted by yawper at 7:21 AM on October 26, 2010


Peter Murphy--formerly of Bauhaus, but I love his solo album Deep (well, there's an obvious title for you) the most.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:42 AM on October 26, 2010


Rammstein?
posted by wittgenstein at 7:48 AM on October 26, 2010


Criag Lorentson of Lowlife has one of the deepest, darkest voices. Rather, had. He's sadly now deceased.

Permanent Sleep

Eternity Road
posted by vers at 8:21 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


David Berman of the Silver Jews. I'd put him up there with Calvin Johnson, Matt Berninger, and and Stephin Merritt. Here is a sample from my favorite song, Sleeping Is the Only Love.
posted by *s at 8:21 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a previous question.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:27 AM on October 26, 2010


He doesn't always sing this low, but here's Arnaldo Antunes' "Saiba." (There's a closeup shot of a dirty diaper around 1:40, so you may want to let this clip run in the background.)
posted by hydrophonic at 8:40 AM on October 26, 2010


Seconding Mark Lanegan so hard. His solo stuff is good, but of course he was the lead singer of Screaming Trees.
posted by peep at 8:50 AM on October 26, 2010


Peter Steele (r.i.p.)
posted by lunachic at 9:09 AM on October 26, 2010


Marianne Faithfull...
posted by MisterMo at 9:43 AM on October 26, 2010


TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb
posted by useyourmachinegunarm at 9:48 AM on October 26, 2010


Benjamin Orr of The Cars on certain songs.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:51 AM on October 26, 2010


If we're talking bass singers, can't do much better than JD Sumner (part of Elvis' backup group The Stamps). An example (the really low stuff starts at about 2:49).
posted by schleppo at 11:27 AM on October 26, 2010


Yat-Kha (example)

Swans (example)

...and they both do covers of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Swans) (Yat-Kha)
posted by not_on_display at 12:06 PM on October 26, 2010


Two Dollar Guitar/La Lengua Asesina ("Wide Load", "Down to Sleep", and the title song "La Lengua Asesina" are all good examples).
posted by ifjuly at 1:02 PM on October 26, 2010


And oh man, how could I forget: Hayden!
posted by ifjuly at 1:14 PM on October 26, 2010


Michael Gira of Swans (already mentioned by not_on_display) and Angels of Light.
posted by klausness at 2:10 PM on October 26, 2010


Long John Baldry
posted by canoehead at 2:17 PM on October 26, 2010


Also, Mike Johnson.
posted by klausness at 2:19 PM on October 26, 2010


Another vote for Peter Murphy, both with Bauhaus and solo. Also the marvelous Neil Hannon, of Divine Comedy fame (two good examples here and here). And David Bowie doesn't tend to use his lower register a lot, but when he does it is a thing of ROWR!
posted by scody at 3:03 PM on October 26, 2010


the editors!!
posted by freddymetz at 5:16 PM on October 26, 2010


Well, many of my top choices (Smog, Stuart Staples of Tindersticks) have been mentioned, but here are a few more:

Aidan Moffat of Arab Strap (e.g., Cherubs, The Shy Retirer)
Howe Gelb of Giant Sand (e.g., Stranded Pearl)
Jay Farrar of Son Volt and Uncle Tupelo (e.g., No Depression)

As David Berman put it, "All my favorite singers couldn't sing."
posted by cirripede at 6:30 PM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Old school but I love Hoyt Axton's voice.

Mark Lanegan did some great stuff with the Queens of the Stone Age and the Soulsavers as well as the above mentioned.

Dan Auerback from The Black Keys

And Gomez. And the other (not main) singer in Devil Makes Three also has a great deep voice.
posted by fshgrl at 8:41 PM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Andy Bey is worth checking out.
posted by WalkingAround at 9:41 AM on October 27, 2010


No-one should miss the song Blackwater (with vocals by David Sylvian).

Also, Mark Eitzel from American Music Club.
posted by WalkingAround at 9:53 AM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Diamanda Galas
posted by K.P. at 11:08 AM on October 27, 2010


Diamanda! Of course!
posted by MisterMo at 11:38 AM on October 27, 2010


Captain Beefheart
posted by not_on_display at 12:04 PM on October 27, 2010


Hello, I'm Johnny Cash.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:56 AM on October 30, 2010


Mr. Lordi (of the Finnish band Lordi ):
Blood Red Sandman
Hardrock Hallelujah
Would You Love a Monsterman
posted by Lexica at 5:36 PM on October 30, 2010


The Phantom Band
posted by liquidindian at 9:10 AM on November 3, 2010


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