Songs where he sings higher than she
March 7, 2014 8:51 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for examples of pop songs based on male/female vocal harmony, where the man is singing at a higher pitch than the woman. It sounds so fascinating to me. Every once in a while I'll hear an example on the radio, but I'm completely at a loss to recall them. Can you think of any? Bonus for songs where the man isn't employing falsetto to achieve this.
posted by oxisos to Media & Arts (30 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Don't Leave Me This Way, by the Communards springs to mind, although Jimmy Sommerville is known for his falsetto.
posted by ninazer0 at 9:04 PM on March 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure, maybe he sings slightly higher than her, or maybe equal, but Goyte's Somebody That I Used to Know?
posted by Blitz at 9:12 PM on March 7, 2014

Leather and Lace. The second chorus in particular.
posted by Knappster at 9:14 PM on March 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Next Time I Fall - Peter Cetera and Amy Grant
posted by SisterHavana at 9:38 PM on March 7, 2014

Gram Parsons did this quite a bit. On the Grievous Angel album Emmylou Harris does a lot of the harmony while he sings the melody (they trade off some, but I think that's because when he's reaching higher notes it's not falsetto). Sorry I don't have a link handy; it's worth a listen.
posted by whoiam at 9:42 PM on March 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pink and Nate Ruess: Just Give Me A Reason. When they harmonize, she's singing the higher notes, but his vocal colour is lighter than hers so it actually kind of sounds like he's singing higher.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:57 PM on March 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

So, I'm pretty bad at distinguishing harmonies and voices, so I can't tell if this is Alison and Vince or Alison and Alison: "Only You" by Yazoo.
posted by ApathyGirl at 10:14 PM on March 7, 2014

The Pixies do this a lot and it sounds great. "This Monkey's Gone to Heaven"
posted by Captain Najork at 10:29 PM on March 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Brazilian superstar Ney Matogrosso has a natural countertenor. I did a little searching for some duets.

Eugénia Melo e Castro com Ney Matogrosso - A Luz do Meu Caminho
Ney Matogrosso e Marília Pera - Eu Dei
Eugénia Melo e Castro & Ney Matogrosso - Dança da Lua
Roberta Sá e Ney Matogrosso - Peito Vazio

Bonus fun fact for rock fans: Suposedly. a 1973 ad in Billboard for Matogrosso's glam rock band was the inspiration for KISS' makeup.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:33 PM on March 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Girlyman does this sometimes. They're sadly broken up now, but you've got a good bit of back catalog to mine. Try Nothing Left, Reva Thereafter, and Fall Stories as a representative sample.
posted by ActionPopulated at 10:36 PM on March 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

This Mess We're In by PJ Harvey, with Thom Yorke (also known for his falsetto).
posted by Athanassiel at 12:00 AM on March 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

The Heartache Warren Zevon, BVs Jennifer Warnes.
posted by hawthorne at 2:56 AM on March 8, 2014

My Eyes from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, maybe?
posted by JimBJ9 at 3:18 AM on March 8, 2014

And in Falling Slowly by The Swell Season, Glen and Marketa do switch off during the chorus and he takes the high vocal harmony, if only for a single note.
posted by JimBJ9 at 3:24 AM on March 8, 2014

Try Airborne by Wussy, around 0.57.
posted by mister_kaupungister at 4:14 AM on March 8, 2014

Eddie Kendricks manages to get higher than Diana Ross in I Second that Emotion. Mostly a duet with a little harmony section at the end.
posted by nevan at 4:18 AM on March 8, 2014

Sonny & Cher.
posted by JanetLand at 4:21 AM on March 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Aimee Mann does this quite often, especially on her last two or three albums.
posted by mykescipark at 4:59 AM on March 8, 2014

Walkaway Joe, Trisha Yearwood - Walkaway Joe ft. Don Henley.
posted by toastchee at 5:51 AM on March 8, 2014

Best answer: Seconding Aimee Mann. She has started a new band called The Both with Ted Leo. Ted is known for his falsetto and he typically takes the high part of the harmony.

You can hear it in their song Milwaukee for example.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 7:17 AM on March 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Civil Wars kind of switch off during If I Didn't Know Better. You might also enjoy the cover from the show Nashville.
posted by missmerrymack at 7:58 AM on March 8, 2014

Best answer: In the 1956 musical High Society Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly sing True Love together, and he sings higher than her in parts.
posted by wdenton at 8:46 AM on March 8, 2014

This is a really lovely cover: Seu Jorge and Ana Carolina doing É isso aí, a Brazilian version of Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter". He's a tenor and she's a contralto, so they sing in the same range, and on a few notes, his harmonies go higher than hers. This song is gorgeous.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:01 AM on March 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Low does this a lot, for example on Over the Ocean and California.
posted by aparrish at 10:30 AM on March 8, 2014

The Dead Weather. Nearly 4 years of owning Sea of Cowards I'm still checking concert video's to find out which parts are Jack White's and which are Alison Mosshart's. Die by the drop is an example, as is Hustle and cuss.
posted by gijsvs at 2:56 PM on March 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Weakerthans - Benediction
posted by bibliogrrl at 4:09 PM on March 8, 2014

(also, it's not the whole song, just some of the end of the song)
posted by bibliogrrl at 4:09 PM on March 8, 2014

Best answer: Somethin' Stupid -
posted by cornflakegirl at 6:14 PM on March 8, 2014

Little Scream - in lots of her songs, but particularly The Heron and the Fox. Bonus points because it's the best song ever written.
posted by andreapandrea at 7:24 PM on March 8, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great suggestions. I especially like the songs where the artists have significantly different pitch/color, almost equal vocal impact, and where they harmonize for most of the song, not just the chorus.

Somethin' Stupid by Frank and Nancy Sinatra is for me the best example of the effect I'm looking for, where the voices intertwine so wonderfully and my mind is blown by this macho man whose daughter provides such a strong harmonic anchor.

If you find any more examples, I'm all ears!
posted by oxisos at 9:23 PM on March 12, 2014

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