Top 10 Greatest Vocal Performances of All Time

These are vocal performances that show off the singer's true talent, range, and ability including vocals that go beyond the the limit and truly unforgettable.

The Top Ten

1 Nessun Dorma - Jackie Evancho Nessun Dorma - Jackie Evancho Cover Art

I've heard this song sung by many, and the variety is immense, from Deanna Durbin (honest) to Pavarotti to Paul Potts. You can't rule out any of the elements of performance in order to determine the "best" vocal performance. The overall effect is the determining factor. Jackie Evancho's version is completely overwhelming, especially on video of the PBS Special, Dream With Me. That combination of little girl, big stage, full orchestra; but then the mastery of her voice quality, breath control and dramatic presentation are the most amazing elements you will ever experience IN YOUR LIFE!

The greatest vocal performance of all time is always the next performance by Jackie Evancho. She strolls out on stage, opens her mouth and this incredible sound comes out. You are riveted to her for the next two hours wanting her to never stop. I've seen many great acts where they have lots of loud music, great voices, colorful flashing lights, dancing routines, smoke, even explosions. With Jackie it's just her and her voice and some musical accompaniment. Truth is she could sing A Capella for two hours with no music and hold the audience spellbound.

Nessun Dorma is an opera aria written for male sopranos. Not supposed to attempt it before the age of 30.
Jackie Evancho sang it when she was 10 years old, and amazed everyone with the power and beauty of her voice.
I submit that as one of the greatest vocal performances of all time. Watch it on YouTube and be amazed!

Jackie was actually 11 when she performed this at BGT. Forget her age as on this poll she is being compared to the greats. I'm sure if Luciano Pavarotti had witnessed Jackie's singing that night be would have smiled broadly. Make no mistake, this was a world class performance by the best singer I've ever heard.

2 Bohemian Rhapsody - Freddie Mercury

In any best vocalist/singer/vocal performance list, the first two spots HAVE to go to Freddie and Rod (who's too good for you all, I see) then there are a number of other vocal performances that are absolutely amazing (just not as amazing as the two I've already mentioned).

Umm, it seems you mentioned 2 singers but not 2 performances.
And no, it's unreasonable to believe that any 2 specific performers HAVE to be placed in the first 2 spots of such a list - especially when they don't necessarily deserve the exaggerated praise.

This is simple. It's not the song it's his voice that needs credit. He was just a unique talent.

Dude, the things Freddie does with his voice in this song ar amazing!

Without question the best vocalist of all time, but the track to listen to is Barcelona with Montserrat Caballé. Freddie Mercury had it all and is a massive lost to us all.

3 The Show Must Go On - Freddie Mercury

What a jaw dropping vocal here. Freddie's voice a gift to us all and especially here when he was in his last few months of life and in a lot of pain. It is truly great and by definition a refusal to let his illness define him

This song has such a strong and personal message that Brian May wrote for Freddie. It was one of the last songs he ever sang and he couldn't even stand on his own when they recorded it. It is his best vocal performance and a powerful song that will give you goose bumps. Easily my favorite by Queen, they saved the best for last with this one!

BoRap is amazing, but I go more for this one as an example of Freddie himself. BoRap is incredible both for his performance as well as the incredible high harmonies by Roger Taylor. This is all about Freddie, arguably at the peak of his power, despite having AIDS. The fact that he could sing this at all despite having AIDS is miraculous enough to put this at no. 1, in my opinion.

Mercury did this on his deathbed, but he sounded more badass. Respect him forever.

4 Painkiller - Rob Halford
5 Rainbow In The Dark - Ronnie James Dio

Simple phenomenal

6 Hallowed Be Thy Name - Bruce Dickinson

An extremely demanding song - Requires the singer to shout lyrics with syllables that last micro-seconds (As Steve Harris loves to do in many of his songs) and requires the emotion of a man about to be killed to be felt. The pacing of the song often changes, and there are long periods of speaking combined with pitch changes that can easily strain a voice and leave the singer virtually breathless ("Running low-OWW-Yeaaahh! "). Bruce Dickinson deserves the recognition for this one. Go find the live version from Beast Over Hammersmith '82 on youtube. It's an amazing vocal performance from when the band was young and hungry for success!

7 A Day In the Life - John Lennon
8 Bridge Over Troubled Water - Art Garfunkel

Unbelievably beautiful performance by Art Garfunkel. His finest recording moments without doubt. Is there anything better?

There are stronger singers out there (Freddie) but there is no other performance that breaks your heart like this one.

This performance by Art Garfunkel is timeless and beautiful. It deserves to be at the top of this list.

Challenging melody flawlessly and calmly delivered before such a massive audience

9 Child in Time - Ian Gillan

Not as wonderful as Freddie Mercury's in "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "The Show Must Go On", but definitely top 3! I mean, it's wondrous!

Well, this recording should be tagged "don't try this at home". It may harms your vocal cords!

Phenomenal performance! Twice I've seen him do it live.

No word's can describe it.

10 Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston Cover Art

Such vocal strengths should not have ever departed from this world

Whitney is one of the best vocalist that ever lived

She should be number 1

I think she is the best

The Contenders

11 And Then There Was Silence - Hansi Kürsch
12 Twist and Shout - John Lennon
13 My Last Sunrise - Hansi Kürsch

Chills guaranteed right here. If you are not familiar with this song, don't miss the chance - I'm sure it would be a great addition to your collection of great vocal performances. This is the most passionate vocal performance I've ever heard. Hansi's voice is breathtaking - a unique combination of the most angelic and most demonic voice you've ever heard. This is an incredibly powerful but also emotive, expressive and divine tone.

14 Beat It - Michael Jackson Beat It - Michael Jackson Cover Art

The best, the legend, the genius

15 (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman - Aretha Franklin

It's what brought me to this list

16 Oh! Darling - Paul McCartney

Sing what you mean, mean what you sing, that's all you need

17 Maybe I'm Amazed - Paul McCartney Maybe I'm Amazed - Paul McCartney Cover Art

Honestly, this should be above John Lennon's songs. A Day in the Life is an incredibly written song, but when it comes to actual vocal performance, this song is raw emotion.

Just listen to it, it should be in the top ten no question about it

18 My Immortal - Amy Lee

Any Lee is THE top rock vocalist today, bar none. I just wish she'd record more.

One of the most beautiful voices. Amy Lee is perfect.

19 Caravan - Van Morrison Caravan - Van Morrison Cover Art

This is true artistry - beyond any of the others!

20 Yesterday - Paul McCartney
21 Dream On - Steven Tyler

Best vocals ever

22 Into the Mystic - Van Morrison Into the Mystic - Van Morrison Cover Art
23 Without You - Harry Nilsson Without You - Harry Nilsson Cover Art

Yes he is a good piece of song I like it

24 Stargazer - Ronnie James Dio

I really can't believe this vocal masterpiece is in 103 place...

Another level from any other.

Just listen to it.

One of the best ever - RIP RJD

25 Heaven and Hell - Ronnie James Dio
8Load More
PSearch List