9 Incredible Isolated Vocal Tracks

Apr 29, 2020

Isolated vocal tracks, or master tracks, can give us something of a more complete idea of how good a singer really is, and whether or not it’s all just tricks or effects added in post-production. They allow us to hear the singer in an isolated environment, where we can connect with the performance on a much more personal level than when listening to a fully polished and finished track. Hearing a song sung in isolation can be like hearing it again for the very first time.

That’s why this week we’re reliving some of the greatest vocal performances of all time – in isolation!

This list features a compilation of the very best isolated tracks we could find. Dive in!

Kurt Cobain – Smells Like Teen Spirit

It could be argued that Nirvana’s songs were overplayed during the 1990s, and that has most likely lead to a good number of people forming a negative bias towards the band. But love them or hate them, it’s impossible to deny Kurt’s amazing voice, and the fact that it became one of the most iconic sounds of the ’90s, effectively launching the grunge genre. This isolated track may even change a few minds about Mr. Cobain clear talent.

Marvin Gaye – I Heard it Through the Grapevine

Marvin Gaye was truly one of the greatest, top-notch vocalists, whose voice developed over the years from a smooth sound to a raspier – more “manly” – voice. He started singing in his father’s church, and it is truly unfortunate that the argument between the two men ended the way it did – otherwise who knows what masterpieces Marvin you have gone on to create.

There are few tracks where his vocal excellence is on full display more than in the classic breakup song “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.”

Steve Perry -Don’t Stop Believin’

More than a few rock critics weren’t particularly fond of Steve Perry’s voice in the beginning, but Journey’s success throughout the ’70s proved those naysayers wrong. Today, Steve is rightfully recognized as one of the best vocalists of the ’70s and beyond, with praise coming from all sides. Brian May, of Queen, said he has “a voice in a million,” Jon Bon Jovi literally nicknamed him “The Voice,” and Journey’s own bassist, Randy Jackson, has said, “other than Robert Plant, there’s no singer in rock that even came close to Steve Perry.

You can decide for yourself once you give this isolated track from one of Journey’s biggest mega-hits a listen.

Michael Jackson – Billie Jean

If there are people born to become stars, Michael Jackson was definitely one of them. From a very early age he showed the world his incredible musical talents, and with a lot of hard work and dedication, he became one of the biggest superstars the world has ever seen. His eccentric behaviour and controversy marred much of what should be his musical legacy, but despite that, his talent was undeniable. There’s no questioning it after listening to the vocal track from the song that will likely go on to be the song he’s most remembered for – “Billie Jean.”

Ann Wilson – Barracuda

Beneath the thunderous singing of Heart front-woman Ann Wilson there are many subtle nuances in the truly unique and vital performance: an odd gap at the beginning of the first chorus, disturbingly high notes, folk harmonies on the bridge.

It’s hard to imagine that Ann Wilson was only 26 years old when she recorded this – she had the talent and know-how of a vocalist twice her age.

Dave Grohl – Best of You

After the death of Kurt Cobain and the necessary breakup of Nirvana, Dave Grohl embarked on a new musical career. Of course, after the success of Nirvana, no one expected much from Grohl, and certainly not the incredible levels of success he’s had behind the microphone with the Foo Fighters. Yet, it is safe to say that he has more that proven his breadth of musical talents.

Just check out the vocals from the Foo Fighters’ most successful songs – “Best of You.”

Adele – Rolling in the Deep

Adele is one of modern music’s powerhouses. Not that there was really any doubt about her singing chops, but this isolated vocal track of “Rolling in the Deep” will show you just how incredible her pipes actually are, once and for all.

As you can tell, her voice is perfect, and no matter where you listen to her, she always sounds exactly like the recording you’ve listened to 9,000 times!

Deborah Harry – Heart of Glass

Female singers are not as common on the rock and roll genre, but when one does break through, she tends to rock harder than most of the boys! Blondie, also known as Deborah Harry, didn’t only succeed in breaking through rock’s glass ceiling and destroying the idea that girls don’t belong in rock and roll, she served as an example and roll model for countless upcoming female artists to come later.

Deborah’s voice is a little different from what you usually hear in rock, even among female singers – which is all the more reason to take note of it and her success! Take a listen to one of her most praised performances.

Freddie Mercury – Bohemian Rhapsody

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without one of the most praised vocalists and vocal performances of the last century – Freddy Mercury and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Freddy was a man of many incredible talents. Not only did he have unmatched vocal precision, he also wrote a number of Queens hits: “Don’t Stop me Now,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” and “We Are the Champions,” to name just a few.

And he would go on to record with countless musicians and artists, including Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé, who was more than impressed with Freddy’s voice. In this track you have the rare opportunity to hear his voice completely isolated from the instruments, in a song that showcases the very best of his incredible vocal talents.

Wondering if you can sing like the greats? The first step is lessons! Check out The Music Studio’s vocal programs and sign up today! We even offer online vocal lessons