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10 of the Most Distinctive (and Bizarre) Voices in Music

Earlier this week NME published the outcome of its readers’ poll about the Greatest Singers of All Time. The results were pretty depressing, but then, the whole thing was a fairly ridiculous exercise to begin with — “of all time” makes no sense considering no one alive today has heard anyone who sang before the late 1800s, and without any evaluable criteria, “greatest” is entirely subjective anyway. Ho hum. Anyway, instead of arguing about whether our favorite singers are “greater” than anyone else’s favorite singers, we got to thinking about a more entertaining criterion — distinctive and downright weird voices. Here are ten of our favorites, past and present. There are plenty more, of course, so let us know your picks.

Kate Bush

When 19-year-old Kate Bush first emerged with “Wuthering Heights” — rake thin in a vintage red dress, spinning madly on a misty heath and singing in a neo-classical helium soprano about an Emily Brontë novel — the world had never seen anything quite like her. Thirty years later, it still hasn’t. Bush remains one of music’s great originals, and its most distinctive voices.