Iran's Mohammad Reza Shajarian, a superstar of Persian classical music, walks onstage to perform with his son Homayoun and the Ava Ensemble to a largely Iranian audience at the Orpheum Theater in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2008.
Heinz Ruckemann/UPI Photo / Landovhide caption
It's urgent. It's acrobatic. It's pulsing with raw sexuality. It's the unmistakable voice of Robert Plant. The iconic Led Zeppelin vocalist behind the wailing "Whole Lotta Love" continues to challenge his instrument on his new album, Band of Joy.
The suave singer is synonymous with tango. Gardel revolutionized the style of music and brought it from the underground dance salons to the mainstream. Though he died more than 75 years ago, his recordings continue to leave a lasting impact on tango musicians and enthusiasts around the world.
He was said to have sung while still in the crib, and toured Eastern European synagogues before he was 10. And that was just the beginning. By the 1920s, Rosenblatt had transcended the boundaries of Jewish sacred music to become an international sensation.
Yossele Rosenblatt: The Cantor With The Heavenly Voice
The Queen frontman chose a stage name in perfect harmony with his voice. He could move from an earthy baritone to a wild but heavenly tenor, and he connected with huge stadium audiences. The world lost the vibrant musician in 1991 when, at 45, he died of complications from AIDS.
Clark sings like John Coltrane played: Her notes are clear and clean, her phrasing and timing exquisite. Many know her as the leader of The Clark Sisters and as a master organist, but Clark's voice is the sum of many parts.
The singer, as widely known for her eccentric outfits and behavior as she is for her voice, is easily the most famous Icelander in the world. Inspired by childhood adventures walking among lava fields, Bjork's music is full of stories about pitch-dark forests and tiny sparks that live within them. Her music may prove challenging to listen to, but there are always moments of beauty and transcendence.
Algerian singer Khaled is known internationally for singing rai — a kind of North African music with roots in traditional folklore. Taken literally, rai translates to "opinion," and Khaled has taken that idea to heart. Although his music won him enemies among Algeria's Islamic fundamentalists in the 1980s, he continues to use his voice to spread a message of peace, love and personal freedom.
You don't have to be Lebanese to know the voice of Nihad Haddad, better known as Fairuz. She sang for a united Lebanon, even when the country was engulfed in a bloody civil war. Music has long been her form of political activism, and her delicate voice and modern songs still take listeners from around the world to a more peaceful place.
The writer-producer-arranger had a voice that was clear and powerful, and his piano-playing is remarkable in its own right. Although Hathaway is perhaps best known for his duets with singer Roberta Flack, the body of work he left behind when he died 30 years ago is part of the bedrock of American soul music.
Sandy Denny became the queen of British folk rock when she joined the band Fairport Convention in 1968. Her fans included Robert Plant and Nina Simone. Denny was a skilled songwriter with a powerful and expressive voice, yet today many people don't recognize her name.