[REMOVE ADS]




Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. #1

    Is Michael Jackson a "great" singer?

    Michael Jackson was inarguably a great artist

    He was inarguably a great entertainer

    He was inarguably a great talent

    But was he a great singer?

    I don't really hear him described that way

    To be fair, I've never heard anyone say that MJ has a "bad" voice or even just an "average" voice propped up my material or production

    But his name doesn't really come up in discussions about great voices the way that Otis Redding, David Ruffin, Aretha and Marvin are

    To my ears he is

    I've always loved his voice from J5 to an adult



    PS: I just had to edit the post as I realized I kept using "is" instead of "was"

    Nearly a decade on, I still can't believe that he's gone

  2. #2
    I believe that Michael Jackson was a GREAT singer.

  3. #3
    Of course it depends on one's definition of what a great singer is, so for some he might be that, for others not so much. In my book MJ was a great singer as a child and an underrated great singer as an adult. I think his voice is always praised when his younger years are discussed, but agree that you don't hear a lot of praise for his vocals during his adult years. Some of my favorite MJ vocal performances: "Lady In My Life", "Man In the Mirror", "Remember the Time", "Off the Wall", "Someone In the Dark". I love that he could be equally effective with a subdued vocal or tearin it up.

  4. #4
    No he's not,a good singer of course,a great entertainer.

  5. #5
    Good question. Last weekend, I was listening to songs from "Off The Wall" and it struck me how much stronger his voice was on that album and "Thriller" than it was on most of his later output. In my opinion, you have singers and song stylists. Singers are those I find to be technically incredible and song stylists are those who can sing a song in a way that is wonderful, even if not technically perfect. Marvin was a singer, Stevie is a stylist. Luther Vandross and Peabo Bryson and John Legend are singers, Teddy Pendergrass, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett were stylists.

    In my very very subjective opinion, Michael Jackson was a great singer until he became a mimic of himself. His latter albums simply employed too much of what we heard before. The various screeches and ticks were new back in the '80s and tiresome by the '90s. Maybe he would have maintained his freshness if he didn't break from Q.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Oz View Post
    In my opinion, you have singers and song stylists. Singers are those I find to be technically incredible and song stylists are those who can sing a song in a way that is wonderful, even if not technically perfect. Marvin was a singer, Stevie is a stylist. Luther Vandross and Peabo Bryson and John Legend are singers, Teddy Pendergrass, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett were stylists.

    In my very very subjective opinion, Michael Jackson was a great singer until he became a mimic of himself. His latter albums simply employed too much of what we heard before. The various screeches and ticks were new back in the '80s and tiresome by the '90s. Maybe he would have maintained his freshness if he didn't break from Q.
    Good dichotomy. Although I still consider as very fine singers those artists I enjoy who are song stylists. I need to find a word like stylist for technically incredible singers. (Or not )
    Imo, there are far fewer technically incredible singers and, though they fill me with awe they don't necessarily touch me. When they can do both they are truly amazing.
    My favorite singers ever seem to always happen to be stylists.

    Michael Jackson was amazing as a child singer. His adult voice doesn't appeal as much to me. That doesn't stop me from loving Off The Wall and parts of Thriller.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2012 View Post
    Good dichotomy. Although I still consider as very fine singers those artists I enjoy who are song stylists. I need to find a word like stylist for technically incredible singers. (Or not )
    Imo, there are far fewer technically incredible singers and, though they fill me with awe they don't necessarily touch me. When they can do both they are truly amazing.
    My favorite singers ever seem to always happen to be stylists.

    Michael Jackson was amazing as a child singer. His adult voice doesn't appeal as much to me. That doesn't stop me from loving Off The Wall and parts of Thriller.
    Now, I'm thinking about this more than I wanted to. Ella Fitzgerald is my favorite singer and she was both a technically flawless singer and a stylist, so I may have to rethink my distinction. As far as touching me, some of her songs still give me chills. Chaka Khan at one point was like this, but never as technically great as Ella. I saw Rufus in concert in 1978. I was never a fan of Chaka's screaming and over the top stylings until I saw her in concert and she blew me away with a great set. I hear her differently since then.

    Al Jarreau is another technically marvelous singer who was a remarkable song stylist, IMO. There are a few out there.

    My problem with many female singers in this century is that they don't have a lot of distinction in their voices. Since Jam & Lewis went into a laboratory and stitched together Janet Jackson, many female singers have been the by-product of production and not talent. Producers don't want the next Billie Holiday, they seem to want the next Beyonce. But why, when we already have the first? It's sad, too because there are a lot of great female singers who can't express themselves on records.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jerry oz View Post
    good question. Last weekend, i was listening to songs from "off the wall" and it struck me how much stronger his voice was on that album and "thriller" than it was on most of his later output. In my opinion, you have singers and song stylists. Singers are those i find to be technically incredible and song stylists are those who can sing a song in a way that is wonderful, even if not technically perfect. Marvin was a singer, stevie is a stylist. Luther vandross and peabo bryson and john legend are singers, teddy pendergrass, otis redding and wilson pickett were stylists.

    In my very very subjective opinion, michael jackson was a great singer until he became a mimic of himself. His latter albums simply employed too much of what we heard before. The various screeches and ticks were new back in the '80s and tiresome by the '90s. Maybe he would have maintained his freshness if he didn't break from q.
    thanks jerry,i totally agree with your assessment of his later work,it seems that after leaving q the music seemed to block out his singing.

  9. #9
    I'm biased but yeah he was. You have to really study his voice in his music. He hit notes I ain't capable of hitting and I can sing high if I want but not THAT high. He was definitely was a great singer during the Motown years.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    No he's not,a good singer of course,a great entertainer.
    I agree with this; the singer was overshadowed by the entertainer

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    I'm biased but yeah he was. You have to really study his voice in his music. He hit notes I ain't capable of hitting and I can sing high if I want but not THAT high. He was definitely was a great singer during the Motown years.
    I'm a big fan. But the high note in "Lady In My Life" was the single worse syllable he ever put to record. I love that song but cringe every time I hear it. But it stood out because he was (in my opinion) one of a kind.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Oz View Post
    I'm a big fan. But the high note in "Lady In My Life" was the single worse syllable he ever put to record. I love that song but cringe every time I hear it. But it stood out because he was (in my opinion) one of a kind.
    I wasn't fond of that note either. He was obviously strangling lol (BUT it was his trademark) I didn't mean THAT high note btw lmao

    I mean the high notes here:

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    No he's not,a good singer of course,a great entertainer.
    Totally agree. A superb entertainer with a good voice, but not a great one in the technical sense.

  14. #14
    My vote is 'no'. Wonderful in the boyhood years and nearly intolerable hiccupping and gasping by the end.

  15. #15
    I think Michael was a great singer. He was very versatile in terms of his ability to perform upbeat dance material as well as ballads convincingly.

  16. #16
    I'd say, yeah, he was. Especially in his younger years!! Maybe not technically or in terms of power (?) (I'm not an expert ) but his voice was just engaging. I remember listening to "Get It" by Stevie & Michael and being reminded why Michael was, indeed, the King of Pop.
    Last edited by TomatoTom123; 10-10-2018 at 09:24 PM.

  17. #17
    Name:  av-5.jpg
Views: 173
Size:  21.1 KB
    I would say that Michael Jackson was NOT a great singer. He was a great showman and entertainer, but not a great singer. To me, a great singer is someone who sang like Nat Cole, Arthur Prysock, Sarah Vaughn, Ray Pollard, Nate Nelson, Eugene Mumford, Rudy West, Sollie McElroy, Brenda Holloway, Gloria Lynne, Dee Dee Warwick, Dionne Warwick, Lennie Welch, Sam Cooke, Joe van Loan, Pookie Hudson, Richard Street, Tony Williams, Perkle Lee Moses, Sonny Til. I wouldn't say that Smokey Robinson was a great singer, and he was a much, much better singer than Michael Jackson. Michael was a good quality, accomplished singer, and a World-class showman. I have known many people, personally, who were better singers than he.
    Last edited by robb_k; 10-10-2018 at 09:23 PM.

  18. #18
    I respect the opinions on here and I can see to some degree how he wouldn't be in the "great" singer category. Sometime between the Dangerous and HIStory tours, he developed laryngitis and bronchitis (as well as nodules) and that made it difficult for him to sing live, plus he was dancing more technically than he did in his youth so it was taken a toll on him.

    That said, he's had moments of greatness in singing as an adult but I can see how he's not everyone's cup of tea when it comes to straight up singing.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    I respect the opinions on here and I can see to some degree how he wouldn't be in the "great" singer category. Sometime between the Dangerous and HIStory tours, he developed laryngitis and bronchitis (as well as nodules) and that made it difficult for him to sing live, plus he was dancing more technically than he did in his youth so it was taken a toll on him.

    That said, he's had moments of greatness in singing as an adult but I can see how he's not everyone's cup of tea when it comes to straight up singing.
    It's all very subjective and everyone has his own opinion. When it comes to what makes a "great singer", I'd suppose many of us consider the songs as much as the singer. Michael certainly had plenty of "umph" in his earlier work but even then, there were songs that just did not hit the mark. A lot of his most iconic songs could have been sung differently but just as well by another singer in my opinion. I can't say that about the best records of Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Al Jarreau or Luther Vandross among others. Ella, Dinah, Aretha and Whitney were the same. (Hmm.... Just first names for my favorite women singers seems to be enough.) On some records, they put something special on every note.

    Please don't get me wrong; Michael Jackson was phenomenal and an all-time talent. And his voice was singularly unique. But when it comes to whether it was that voice that made him special or the production or the show, to me it was mostly the total package and not primarily the track. I still love his stuff and miss him, but IMHO he was great because he was talented, not because he was a great singer.

  20. #20
    Nah I agree, very subjective. What may not sound great to one person will sound great to another, it happens.

  21. #21
    Interesting question . Have never given it much thought. Seems like in reviews and commentaries of his works over the years not much was made about the fine ness of his singing. Nothing wrong with it , but it wasn't the focus. He was more of a total package in which his vocal style served him well.
    But can't imagine a project like "Michael Jackson sings the standards" going over well.
    Sort of like Mick Jagger . No one says , "wow what a voice". yet he wouldn't be Mick sounding any other way.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2012 View Post

    ...Michael Jackson was amazing as a child singer. His adult voice doesn't appeal as much to me. That doesn't stop me from loving Off The Wall and parts of Thriller.
    That's just about how I feel.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Sort of like Mick Jagger . No one says , "wow what a voice".
    You're right there Boogie

  24. #24
    On the book "Black Music Encyclopedia" (UK, Salamander books, around 1982), on the intro on the 80's decade capitol (they talk about 1981-2, the year the book was published) they talk about how finished the previous decade, the 70's and how starts "the new decade" (the 80's) with some changes about the "star system" with "new STYLISTS" as "Teddy Pendergrass (who have had several hits in the previous decade) and MICHAEL JACKSON". I don't what means "stylist" for the autor when names T.P. and M.J. under the same category (??). I allways apreciate the clear voice of MJ from my favorite of him "Ben" on his childhhod to "Thriller" and I associate his vocal range with some other "clear voices" as Patti Austin or El Debarge.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

[REMOVE ADS]

Ralph Terrana
MODERATOR

Welcome to Soulful Detroit! Kindly Consider Turning Off Your Ad BlockingX
Soulful Detroit is a free service that relies on revenue from ad display [regrettably] and donations. We notice that you are using an ad-blocking program that prevents us from earning revenue during your visit.
Ads are REMOVED for Members who donate to Soulful Detroit. [You must be logged in for ads to disappear]
DONATE HERE »
And have Ads removed.