Top 10 Bass Songs: How Low Can You Go

July 27, 2009 | Lists,Music

barrywhiteWhile much attention is given to the likes of Mariah Carey, whose multi octave high end range can shatter the Popemobile’s glass, relatively little attention is given to the other end of the vocal spectrum, the one we’re most familiar scraping in the majority of our posts: the bottom. Yes, these voices make Johnny Cash sound like Joe Pesci just before he’s about to administer a beating and thankfully, consist solely of men (or else that would just be really really creepy).

It’d be simple to suggest, ‘Sure, the entire catalog of Barry White songs’ , but that’s easy for you to say, given that it’s much easier to read our blog three times a week than it is to write it (if you don’t believe that’s true, feel free to forward your resume and we’ll consider taking on a guest columnist for a week. Be forewarned: diamond miners in the Ivory Coast get better job perks). So, here we delve into some low, low-voiced karaoke song choices the next time the gravelly voiced among you grace the mic of your local karaoke bar and cause more ears to bleed than Mike Tyson after Ramadan. That the majority of these songs aren’t strictly in the lower register is a testament to how annoying a low rumbling that usually precedes aftershocks can be. That being said, a few feature earth-ware shattering and pet-frightening bottom ends the whole way through.

These are our favorites, in no particular order.

Elvira: Oak Ridge Boys

Say what you will about the Family Guy (it’s a cheap Simpsons knock-off, the setups are obvious, it’s crude, it’s offensive just for the sake of being offensive) but this song was used to great effect when daughter Meg Griffin was having sexual identity issues in one episode.

Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow
Giddy Up Oom Poppa Omm Poppa Mow Mow

Can you Get to That: Funkadelic

A relatively unknown gem from the gray matter of the Funkmaster General himself, George Clinton, featuring a rare acoustic guitar.  One verse (around the two minute mark), cranked to chest-pounding oblivion will have the downstairs neighbors putting in a call to the landlord.


Daddy Sang Bass:  Johnny Cash and the Statler Brothers

For this song, you don’t want to be saddled with the high pitch ‘Mama sang tenor’, seen here. Mama singing tenor is a guarantee of army boots footwear

Old Man River: William Warfield (written by  Jerome Kern)

Bass solos are decidedly rare in musicals, but we wouldn’t know it as we’re more likely to attend an exhibition of Mayan ceramic pottery than ever attend a musical, but to each their own. Actually, if the other kind of bass solo was prevalent in musicals (say, the funk slapping of Flea or Bootsy Collins), that would make the likes of the dreary Jersey Boys much more easy to stomach (we’re guessing, though we wouldn’t want to test out that theory regardless)

Cover of the Rolling Stone:  Dr Hook

Terrific bass part here in this send-up of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle with “I got a freaky old lady named Cocaine Katie who embroiders all my jeans. I got my old gray haired daddy, drivin’ my limousine”. This song was re-released in the UK without the phrase ‘Rolling Stone’ (as that was considered advertising for the magazine). We cannot confirm what happened with the Temptation’s Papa was a Rolling Stone

Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm: Crash Test Dummies

These Crash Test Dummies have not been  roadworthy for a while now, probably because people’s taste for a lead singer who sings in a baritone range are limited to those who’ve lost their hearing in the upper register.

You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch

One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Who doesn’t love Dr Seuss or for that matter, the Grinch, he of the heart that is ‘two sizes too small’. How the Grinch Stole Christmas criticized the commercialization of Christmas, a perfect excuse for readers to check out our Top 20 Crappy Christmas Tree Ornaments Found on EBAY

Can’t Get Enough of Your Love:  Barry White

White made a great appearance on the Simpsons (‘Whacking Day’), chasing the snakes out of the town of Springfield by disturbing them with his low rumbling

Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen

A great song from LC, completely butchered by Bon Jovi (cover your ears and please see our Worst Bon Jovi Cover Songs, but don’t say we didn’t warn you). There are countless versions of this song, but none come close to the original. For more Cohen, please see our number one slot for the Top 10 Bar Songs of All Time, songs about bars.


Chantilly Lace:  Big Bopper

Now THIS is the segue of all segues…Dr Bill Bass, founder of the research facility at the University of Tennessee nicknamed the ‘Body Farm’, actually dug up and exhumed the body of the Big Bopper (don’t worry, the Bass-man got family permission). Hellllllllooooo babbbbbyy….

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Comments

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  1. I really hate to blow your theory of the lowest bass singers but the real champion of bass singers was J. D. Summers of the Stamps a gospel quartet. J. D. was in the Quinness book of records and I have had the privelage of hearing him many times. With his booming voice he would almost blow out the speakers.

    Reply

  2. Ummm, George Younce was the best, best tone, best sound, best everything, all J.D Summers can do is go low, with no clarity

    Reply

  3. You mentioned The Temptations but there was no mention of a Temps song here. “Power” ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtMQw-KSQLo ) is an amazing song if you’re looking for Melvin Franklin’s pipes.
    Also “Devils Gun” by CJ Company ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LojkS7FIzcg ) has a short few bass parts, but still fun to sing along to.

    Reply

  4. I noticed that they never mentioned the other Crash Test Dummies song, also a hit, and an excellent bass song; “Superman’s Song.”

    Reply

  5. You missed 3 great Doo-Wop songs – “I Will Follow Him”, “Mr. Bassman” & “Blue Moon” – the latter especially is the most intricate bass line ever.

    But another aspect of bass singing that you didn’t address is that of the bass singer singing in a high register, which has the timbre of shreeking a super high note, but because the instrument (i.e., the voice) is so low, it has an uncommon quality like a baritone sax in the upper range. As expected, the best source for this type of singing is Barry White, especially his “Don’t Make Me Wait Too Long”

    Reply

  6. dont reject me at my old age. Very low voice needs for this song. russian church song

    Reply

  7. I can sing Elvira and make the guy from the oak ridge boys sound like a schoolgirl.These songs are not that lo to me.I wish I knew where to pitch my talents and make a living from this instead of the occasional karaoke performance where all the drunks go wild and then forget about what they heard 2 minutes later.

    Reply

  8. don’t forget Les Miserable’s STARS:
    Javert sings:

    There, out in the darkness
    A fugitive running
    Fallen from God
    Fallen from grace
    God be my witness
    I never shall yield
    Till we come face to face
    Till we come face to face

    And if they fall
    As Lucifer fell”
    wonderful.

    Reply

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    Reply

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