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

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, and full orchestra is powerful. 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!

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).

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 are amazing!

3 Bridge Over Troubled Water - Art Garfunkel

Unbelievably beautiful performance by Art Garfunkel. His finest recording moment without a 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.

4 The Show Must Go On - Freddie Mercury

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 goosebumps. Easily my favorite by Queen, they saved the best for last with this one!

Bohemian Rhapsody is amazing, but I go more for this one as an example of Freddie himself. Bohemian Rhapsody 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 number one, in my opinion.

5 A Day In the Life - John Lennon
6 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 harm your vocal cords!

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

7 Rainbow In The Dark - Ronnie James Dio
8 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.

9 (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman - Aretha Franklin
10 Twist and Shout - John Lennon
The Contenders
11 Oh! Darling - Paul McCartney
12 Caravan - Van Morrison

This is true artistry - beyond any of the others!

13 Maybe I'm Amazed - Paul McCartney

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.

14 Yesterday - Paul McCartney
15 Dream On - Steven Tyler
16 Into the Mystic - Van Morrison
17 Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
18 And Then There Was Silence - Hansi Kürsch
19 Landslide - Stevie Nicks
20 Without You - Harry Nilsson
21 Painkiller - Rob Halford
22 Piece of My Heart - Janis Joplin

Amazing and probably the greatest female performance of all time.

23 Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston

Such vocal strengths should not have ever departed from this world.

24 Respect - Aretha Franklin
25 Say Hello 2 Heaven - Chris Cornell

Chris had the best voice in rock history and one of the best voices of all time, and he didn't know it! What a voice, what a range! Let aside the lyrics and music he offered us. We didn't appreciate him as he deserved until he left us. Rest in peace, you beautiful, beautiful soul.

Not just technically flawless, but emotionally powerful and heartfelt as well, with a great escalation in intensity until he finally wails in his higher register. Brilliant performance.

Best vocal performance of all time - incredible power - untouched by anything before or since. Was definitely at his peak between '90 and '94.

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