Famous singers that were not 'born' singers?

Musical talent varies in my family tremendously.
Singing in tune is something that seems to be particularly challenging .

But it got me thinking, there are actually quite a few famous , even legendary musicians and pop stars, that weren’t born with a natural talent for singing .

One that stands to mind is John Lennon. And yet he probably worked at it and he wrote songs and sang his own songs better than anyone.

Jimi Hendrix is another example with an even tougher challenge but he still managed to crank out the hits .

Any other examples spring to mind ?


Was Lennon a bad singer? If you listen to Beatles tracks without the music the harmony is outstanding.


Tom Waits can’t sing at all.


He definitely wasn’t a bad singer. But I doubt anyone would have picked him out of the choir. :grinning:
He was a musical genius (and also wrote a lot of bad songs), but that’s not the question here.

Tom Waits croaks better than anyone.


I’m listening to Chuck Berry lisping his way through a song now lol.

Billie Holiday. Especially in a time of Sarah Vaughan and other virtuosos, it’s quite amazing she broke through and found her niche followers.

Same deal with Stevie Nicks.

And I love this song. She’s reminiscing of a earlier, simpler time when money was short. When she and partner were, well, doing this and living like a gypsy:

So I’m back to the velvet underground
Back to the floor that I love
To a room with some lace and paper flowers
Back to the gypsy that I was
To the gypsy that I was

Bob Dylan does not have a “nice” singing voice. Good example of someone who is recognized for his artistry, and not for his technical skill.


Triggered by Christmas carols eh? :laughing:

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Bob Dylan’s whiny voice annoys me no end. Can’t listen to any of his songs - at least, not sung by Bob Dylan.


I’m the same, but hated to admit it because I felt like others judged me “un-American” or something, lol.


I used to feel that way. Still do sometimes. Then one day when I was feeling down and wanted music to match I listened to the album “Blood on the Tracks.”

Fit my mood. Then I started to get it: "Ah. He’s not a singer. He’s a storyteller, and a poet, and an artist. And his voice is important only so that you know these stories are coming from a real person (not an “entertainer”), but the voice is fairly unimportant as an instrument to be admired. Almost as if the talentless everyman quality of the voice is broadcasting an unspoken message: “This is not entertainment, this is my message.”


I think Frank Sinatra

I still think he can’t sing
He just talks the words


What? No way. I think it’s because he sits way back, almost to the point of being late on the beats: There’s no rushing things. And I like how he enunciates. Listen to the “k” on “the way you look tonight,” for example. Very good singer in my opinion.


Ok just for you

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Singing is a skill that can be learned , just like a musical instrument.


I think singing is like running. Everyone can get much, much better. Many can get good. And some are just naturally good.


About the voice, I think it was on Letterman that he joked, “My doc told me, ‘You keep on with the whiskey and cigarettes, you’re gonna end up just like Sinatra.’ I said, ‘What, rich and powerful?’”

He doesn’t sound too bad on this one:

Then there’s this one, speaking of John Lennon:

hello me, it’s me again!