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Albums/Bands with great vocal harmonies
Old 5th September 2009
Gear nut
Dale Turner's Avatar

"Seconding" my s*ck off, due to previous mentions:

Beach Boys
Elliott Smith
King's X

JON BRION's MEANINGLESS solo record!!!!!!
For vox & vocoder usage.
Old 5th September 2009
Lives for gear
Grumblefoot's Avatar

The end of Journey's "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezein'" is one of my favorite.
Old 5th September 2009
Gear maniac

Porcupine Tree. The background vocals and the way they are worked into some tunes is awesome.
Old 5th September 2009
Gear nut
MindRiot's Avatar

Best Harmonies...

Just a handful of my all-time favs...

Alice in Chains (no band has been that dark while being so melodic)
Bee Gees
Beatles ('IF I FELL'...absolute perfection)
Beach Boys (Brian Wilson...nuff said)
The Mamas & the Papas

Old 5th September 2009
Originally Posted by MindRiot View Post
Just a handful of my all-time favs...

Alice in Chains (no band has been that dark while being so melodic)
Bee Gees
Beatles ('IF I FELL'...absolute perfection)
Beach Boys (Brian Wilson...nuff said)
The Mamas & the Papas

Good calls, all of 'em. I always thought Alice in Chains' vocals were one of the most most interesting things in rock at the time. I was just listening to Bee Gee's Horizontal album (from their 60s Oz-Beatles period). BB goes w/o saying, of course. But it's great to see the Mamas & Papas listed, their studio stuff had great vocal arrangements. Some of the most enjoyable harmony stuff in pop at the time*... and because they were full on lifestyle hippie troublemakers they actually had some rock crossover fans. Live, they could have bigtime issues but that was an era when no one could ever hear anyone else on stage, for the most part.

*Honorable mention to the Association. I personally never much liked them but they really had the glossy harmony thing down pat. And they were hugely popular. And "Along Came Marry" is pretty damn catchy, too. ("Cherish" gives me the creeps, but that's just me. I have a low tolerance for sweet/treacly stuff.)
Old 5th September 2009
Lives for gear
FireMoon's Avatar
Gentle Giant... if you havenl;t heard some of their stuff check it out, particularly the first couple of albums...

And how can you talk about harmonies without not mentioning the "Trio Bulgarka"

I mean come ion any dare tell me the first time they heard those lasses sing you didn't think ...WTF is that? just how do you sing like that? what the chuff are those scales

YouTube - kate bush with trio bulgarka
Old 5th September 2009
Lives for gear

Well, first let me say that the Beach Boys and Queen are my two favorite bands of all time. They're more than obvious mentions in this thread.

For a modern group with a great harmony vibe, try Little Big Town. Their last couple albums have a lot of great moments where you can hear that the band is standing around one mic singing those harmonies. They sound fantastic together. Kind of an eagles/fleetwood mac sound with a modern country flair. Good stuff. In fact "I'm so Lost Without You" is chillingly good.
Old 5th September 2009
Gear Addict
my traveling star- james taylor

its getting better- ma's and pa's

close to you, wont last a day without you- carpenters

ol' 55, tequila sunrise, lyin' eyes- eagles

I need love-sam phillips

the more I see you- peter allen
Old 5th September 2009
Gear Maniac
JDM's Avatar

Old 5th September 2009
Lives for gear
Mark Kaufman's Avatar

Robyn Hitchcock can kick out some glorious harmonies...Bowie too.
Old 5th September 2009
Lives for gear
Teddy Ray's Avatar

jaysus... doesnt anyone listen to newer bands(and im not talking about commercial stuff) there are so many options outside of the tired and cliched "classics"

Fleet Foxes

Goose Creek Symphony

Pure Prairie League

Flying Burrito Brothers

incredible string band

handsome family

the everybodyfields!! (AMAZING)

got a whole lot more suggestions coming....
Old 5th September 2009
Gear Addict
AdamB420's Avatar
Alice In Chains (new album sounds great too)

Nirvana - Grohl backing Cobain "In Bloom"

Julianna Hatfield backing Evan Dando

QOTSA - 1st It Giveth - one of my fav rock harmonies

Fleetwood Mac
Old 5th September 2009
Registered User

Bee Gees, Simon & Garfunkel, Beach Boys (Brian Wilson mapped out the harmonies like a true composer), Mamas & the Papas. ------------- Also, 2 of my favorite songs of all time have really solid and magnificent harmony singing ... 1) Sail On - The Commodores ... 2) Ventura Highway - America. The 60's and 70's rule when it comes to songwriting skill and vocal harmonies.
Old 5th September 2009
I like Robyn Hitchcock's vocal arrangements as well. Dr. Dog is a modern band with awesome harmonies...I wish BGV were more prominent, they are sort of a rare thing today.
Old 5th September 2009
Lives for gear
toneguru's Avatar
Just off the top of my head..

10cc, Three Dog Night and Todd Rundgren (doin it all)

Honarable mention: KD Lang, Eagles, ELO.
Old 5th September 2009
Lives for gear
harry_seldon's Avatar
While I may get chided for it, I always admired the vocal harmony work on the early Van Halen albums. It was such a nice mix with David Lee Roth's voice.
Old 5th September 2009
Lives for gear
Sky's Avatar
One of my favorites, Big Mama from South Korea:

Old 5th September 2009
Gear maniac

Alice In Chains
Old 5th September 2009
Gear Head

Originally Posted by juniorhifikit View Post
The Carpenters & Jellyfish.

Jellyfish, live, smoked any other "in the trenches"/dirty rock club band I've ever seen. No hidden backup singers, no backing tracks, ****ty club PA, ****ty monitors - still amazing vocals.
Ditto. Jellyfish killed it on the vocal harmonies. Along the same bloodline, if you've never checked out Imperial Drag, do so. Thick, lush, complex, moving vocal harmonies. Sweet stuff indeed. And at the risk of getting banned with my first post on Gearslutz, I'm gonna say Enuff Z'nuff. Sure, it's pretty much the same harmonies as the Beatles did, but they sure sounded good.
Old 5th September 2009
Lives for gear
rocksure's Avatar
Originally Posted by El Goodo View Post
What, no HOLLIES? To me, some of the greatest harmony singing on the planet. Graham Nash singing in the stratosphere full voice (most of the time). Check out "Carrie Ann" or "On a Carousel" or even the later "Air That I Breathe

I agree the Hollies harmonies are some of the best there is. However by "The Air That I Breathe" was released Nash was long gone replaced by Terry Sylvester. I love Graham Nash's voice and love the old Hollies music with him in there, but personally I think the best Hollies music came after he left. ie: "He Ain't Heavy He's my Brother", "Gasoline Alley Bred", "Air That I Breathe" etc.

Also I love Pink Floyd's harmonies. Some of the stuff on "Dark Side of the Moon" for example is awesome.
Old 6th September 2009
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Teddy Ray's Avatar

Old 6th September 2009
Registered User

Apart from agreeing totally about the Beach Boys, BeeGees, Simon&Garfunkel and Queen, I am very surprised...

...that nobody mentioned ABBA yet.

Or did I just overlook it?
Old 6th September 2009
Gear Head
Skylar20's Avatar

Alice In Chains, Fleet Foxes, Dr. Dog as far as cool modern rock goes
Old 6th September 2009
Lives for gear
allencollins's Avatar

Beach Boys and Jackson 5 by far. Eagles a distant second
Little River band. Lots of 70's AM bands like Orleans, Abba, Starland Vocal Group? or Poco
Fifth dimension, even Yes? Like 91025 or even the old 'Yes album' stuff like that.
If they could sing them live that would make them great.
Queen and Boston in the Studio anyway? Beatles had some ok studio trickery too.
same with floyd.

But lots of later rock bands like Journey w/ Perry and Rolie, King's X
Jelly Fish could really sing live. Gentle Giant? good original celtic/english folky harmonies

But as gritty as they were how can you not have Mick and Kieth? It's raw it's mostly
out of tune but it's the **** kickin' rock and roll harmony? root and 5th.......

Also Along with the Jacksons pretty much every Motown group and many disco bands like
Tavares and the BeeGees all had great harmonies.

But Alice in chains was really the last band to pioneer or at least popularize a new 'style' of rock harmony
what was it the 4th? I'm not sure what interval they were harmonizing and maybe they stole
a little from Aerosmith Uncle Salty era but Layne and Cantrell's harmony was truly the last original
unique vocal arrangement. How many bands copied that? 1000? It's still being emulated almost 20 year later now.

Also gotta give it up to Michael Anthony and VH. That is just superhuman
Old 10th December 2009
Gear Head
Music Guru's Avatar

Journey/ Steve Perry:
"Girl Can't Help It"
"Be Good To Yourself"
" Ask The Lonely"
and his solo song "You Better Wait"

Check 'em!
Old 10th December 2009
Gear Head
Tomas1808's Avatar

Originally Posted by chessparov
4) Zombies
Awesome band. Odessey & Oracle is one of the best albums ever IMO

Originally Posted by MindRiot
Beatles ('IF I FELL'...absolute perfection)
thumbsup One of their best harmonies IMO. Just perfect...
Old 10th December 2009
Gear Addict
Beatles - listen to the vocal only track they did on Because (Abbey Road). Granted, Sir George Martin helped with the arrangement but those vocals are perfect and the harmony is a 3 parter performed 3 times with all three singers on one mic for each of the 3 passes. Pretty amazing in my opinion.

Peter Paul and Mary - smooth and tight


Those are some of my favorites but there are SO many. Also, there are so many genres of music and each genre has its own style so this could become a long list. I did not read all the posts but has anyone brought up any of the Barber Shop Quartet groups?
Old 10th December 2009
Gear nut

The Smoke Fairies

Old 10th December 2009
Lives for gear
in the red's Avatar

jimmy eat world
Old 10th December 2009
Pragmatic Snob
u b k's Avatar



Zero 7.

Iron & Wine.

Catherine Wheel.

Gregory Scott - ubk
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