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© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis
Most singers cancel a recording session if they have so much as a sniffle. John Lennon was different. Suffering from a bad cold when The Beatles recorded their first landmark album, 1963’s Please Please Me, Lennon practically burst his larynx in an eleventh-hour rendition of Twist And Shout that ranks as one of rock’s most urgent, raw and impassioned vocal performances ever.
Lost in the towering and timeless achievements of The Beatles is the fact that they were also a supreme singing group, and Lennon led the way. Surprisingly, he hated the sound of his voice and always tried disguising it, which resulted in myriad astonishing applications.
Whether pining for love (This Boy), begging for acceptance (Help!) reflective and/or confessional (In My Life, Norwegian Wood), child-like and surreal (Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds), bone-cuttingly vulnerable (Julia) wallowing in drug-addled agony (Yer Blues), inciting political activism (Revolution), or brimming with fatherly bliss in one of his last offerings (Beautiful Boy), Lennon had no cap on his emotions, and he conveyed them all through an instrument that was his and his alone.
"Robert Plant, Axl Rose, James Hetfield, David Gilmour, John Lennon and Paul McCartney are the best lead singers!" (From Sondre via Facebook, thanks)