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The top 5 "screams" in rock music

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

There are a million and one things that make listening to music an uplifting experience. For example a searing guitar riff, a pulsating drum fill, a mind blowing synth solo,or a heart-rending vocal harmony.

But sometimes something more visceral can hit you emotionally just as much as the obvious, I'm talking about those random screams, yelps and hollers that are dotted all over the musicial landscape like land mines, waiting to explode out of the speakers and take your breath away.

You will have your favourites, but to get you thinking, here are my 5 top picks for "screams in rock music" that take songs to the next level.

1) The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again (original album version)

Let's get the obvious one out of the way - probably the best known, and most scary scream in rock, from the terrific tonsils of Roger Daltrey, It happens at 7:44 in the album version of this legendary rocker:

2) Kate Bush - The Big Sky

I had to include this, it's no surprise that such a versatile vocalist as Kate Bush would have a memorable scream in her locker, and she delivers value for money here with no fewer than two fantastic lung-busting yelps, listen out for the first at 3:36 and then an even more impressive one at 3:53

3) Prefab Sprout - Goodbye Lucille #1 (aka Johnny Johnny)

I didn't get The Prefabs back in the 80's, but over the years their tunes have infiltrated my brain cells so completely that they now rank as one of my favourite bands of all time. Singer Paddy McAloon has a reputation as a master songsmith, and that is completely justified, but his actual singing is mightily impressive also, and at 3:42 he let's out a blood curdling scream that give me the shivers - in a good way!

4) Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love

Had to include one from Zep, bending the rules a little as he's actually singing the word "love" but we'll look the other way as he gives it all at 4:19

5) Joe Cocker - With A Little Help From My Friends

One of my personal faves, this is one of those rare occasions where a cover version may well improve on the original (which will be the subject of a future blog), and the manic scream comes in at 3:48

It didn't take me long to round up these five examples, I am sure there are many more. What are your favourites that I haven't mentioned? Let me know on twitter @vinylshrine

John Hodgson (June 2019)



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