Michael Jackson: The Greatest Singer Ever…Really?

So Michael Jackson has topped our poll of the Greatest Singers Ever. Ever. Really?

Jackson’s pipes had some fine moments during his early career. ‘I Want You Back’, ‘I’ll Be There’ and ‘She’s Out Of My Life’ were all brilliant displays of youthful soulfulness and heart.

But it’s clear that for about 20 years towards the end of his career Michael Jackson’s voice was a parody of what it had formerly been. It had disappeared up its own backside, full of weird whoops, ghostly shrieking and so many vocal ticks that it deserved its own definition in the medical dictionary. Or, in fact, perhaps it did. I think it was called ‘Shamone-itis’.

Out of the list, my personal favourites are Kurt Cobain whose ghostly howl was profoundly affecting, like he was emoting every vowel…

…and David Bowie, who also sometimes pushed himself into parody, but whose best vocal performances lurch from cooingly gentle to matter-a-fact honest.

Here’s the full Top 20, as voted by NME.COM users:

1. Michael Jackson
2. Freddie Mercury
3. Elvis Presley
4. Axl Rose
5. John Lennon
6. David Bowie
7. Robert Plant
8. Paul McCartney
9. Stevie Wonder
10. Aretha Franklin
11. Matt Bellamy
12. Ray Charles
13. Jim Morrison
14. Bob Marley
15. Elton John
16. Kurt Cobain
17. Steven Tyler
18. Mick Jagger
19. Marvin Gaye
20. Tina Turner

Let us know what you make of the list and who your favourite singers are below.