6. Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends (1969)
Youtube link – 2:10 is when he really gets into it
A classic song that if you haven’t heard, you probably don’t have any friends. The story goes that the entire band was on LSD for this performance…except for Joe Cocker (lead singer), who reportedly abstained. But what do you think?
5. Nirvana – Where Did You Sleep Last Night (1993)
Youtube link – 3:25 is where you really start to feel his pain
This song is actually an oldie whose true name is “In the Pines”, as part of the lyrics go. Still, you could believe that it was an original Nirvana number, especially by how it is performed at this set. The beloved lead singer, Kurt Cobain, killed himself just 5 months after this performance. What was Courtney’s opinion of this song? You’d have to ask her.
4. Alabama Shakes – Hold On on SNL (2013)
Youtube link – Right around the 2:00 mark is where it hits you right in the feels
Yeah, this is the newest song and youngest performers on this list. Does that mean it is the worst? The next generation’s greatest performers have to come from somewhere. Sex appeal doesn’t seem to be the highest priority for this band and, honestly, I appreciate that. Any old porn serves that need. This is like porn for the ears.
3. The Who – Love Reign O’er Me (2012)
Youtube link – Check out 2:37 to see him really belt it out
This may not be the absolutely most pleasing performance to the trained ear, but it is still amazing, especially considering that the lead singer has been performing it for some 40 years! His curly locks and ripped 6-pack is a thing of the past, but his voice still deserves serious recognition. As a quintessential rock band from back in the day, this song has taught many groups what it means to have a lead singer.
2. Pink Floyd – Great Gig in the Sky (1994)
Youtube link – At around 1:10, you better have it turned up
Let’s face it: this song had to be on hear. But considering that we’re talking about live performances, the (wonderful) album version doesn’t count. Admittedly, this is not a good quality recording. Still, you can tell that the singer is worth her weight in gold. This song deserves this place on the list and if anybody can find a better quality recording, please share it below in the comments!
1. Queen – Somebody to Love (1981)
Youtube link – Jump to 3:40 to see a hear a real vocal performance
Freddy Mercury. Period. What else do I have to say? An inspirational man with a uniquely astounding voice. On top of that, his showmanship was second to none. In a totally heterosexual way, I fucking love this man. This song, specifically, embodies the struggle of his life as a man in the spotlight and the closet. If you don’t appreciate his skills, go ahead and cut off your ears.
Bonus! Bohmenian Rhapsody (from the same Queen concert in 1981)
Youtube link – Just listen to the whole thing, you know you want to
This song includes much more than vocal awesomeness, but I wanted to include it anyways. Party on Wayne, party on Garth!