Nelson Clyde: Is It Just Me: The voice to stand the test of time


I remember it almost like it was yesterday. It was the summer of 1982 and I was freshly graduated from high school and already enrolled in summer school at The University of Texas. Together with school, there were fraternity rush activities, which kept my social life pretty busy.

The KA's had put a trip together to float the river in New Braunfels. The float trip was eventful and rife with the requisite underage consumption of alcohol.

At the end of a very long and sunburned day, we headed back to Austin with at least seven of us riding in the back of a pickup.

Part of the visit included Chris Simons asserting that Steve Perry (lead singer of the band Journey) had the most distinctive voice in music at the time. I thought his point was well reasoned and could not offer an acceptable alternative at the time.

Plus, it was getting dusk and I kept staring at this kid from Houston across the truck bed from me who definitely had 3.5 nipples. No kidding. It was like they ran him through the printing press a second time in heaven and then caught him just before number 4 was fully made. I remember his name to this day and have never since witnessed such an unusual configuration of factory equipment.

Over the years, I've thought about Mr. Simon's argument and surely added a few names to the list. Adam Levine of Maroon 5 comes to mind along with Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt, David Lee Roth, Paul McCartney, Elvis, and for good measure, throw in Sinatra.

The only one of those I ever caught in concert was Sinatra back in the early '80s. While Joe Cocker is recognizable, he and Bonnie Raitt fall in the same raspy category that sometimes make me wonder if I would rather listen to them sing or have someone run their fingernails down a chalkboard or just bite down on a piece of aluminum foil on top of one of my fillings.

The guy with Maroon 5 is pretty good but it would be hard to put either he or Steve Perry in the same category as Elvis, Sinatra or McCartney. And David Lee Roth doesn't stand the test of time at the end of it all for me. Don't you think? Or is it just me?

Who would you say has the most distinctive voice in music across the spectrum of time?

Send your responses to or post them on our Facebook page or Tweet them or just mail them to us as a last resort at 410 W. Erwin, Tyler, Texas 75710

Recommended for you

Load comments