Bradley Delp: The Greatest Male Vocalist Ever Recorded

 Bradley Delp: The Greatest Male Vocalist Ever Recorded

Yes, I know Robert Plant is cool. I know Elvis is the king, and I know Dean Martin can croon butter into a pool of delicious goodness. But for my money, there ha s never been a more technically adept, soulful, mind-bogglingly gifted vocalist than Boston’s late front-man, Bradley Delp.

If you don’t believe me, dust off Boston’s first album and check out nearly every cut. Mind you, this was before auto-tune and Pro-Tools recording software could make Daffy Duck sound like god. Every male vocalist, regardless of genre, should at least listen to the newly remastered ‘More Than a Feeling’, and try to nail every nuance of Delp’s staggering performance. There used to be some dispute as to whether Brad hit every single high note on the recording, but if you can track down the early demos or even the isolated vocal from this performance (which showed up on YouTube awhile back) you’ll find out he not only hit every note on record, but in some instances he doubled and even harmonized with the stratospheric highs.

In the 35-plus years since his professional debut, Delp sang on nearly a dozen albums and projects with amazing anonymity despite phenomenal success. The Boston debut alone sold 17 million copies but Delp could still walk down the street and blend right into his neighborhood. With Brad tracking layers and layers of near-perfect harmonies on phenomenal pieces like Boston’s ‘Cantcha Say You Believe in Me’, ‘It’s Easy’ and RTZ’s ‘Until Your Love Comes Back Around’, the time it took to craft and perfect each track from conception to radio hit left the singer ample time to play clubs and charity events doing dead-on impersonations of Lennon and McCartney in his Beatlejuice tribute band.

If you really want to get to the heart of what made Bradley Delp one of a handful of singers to come down the line, it comes down to tone,technical prowess and soul. While his phenomenal vocal range really can’t be understated, his ability to execute difficult leaps in octaves and to double and triple harmonize on recordings with a kind of soulfulness that alludes most singers is what still makes the hairs on my arms stand up three decades after first hearing ‘More Than a Feeling’. In short, many singers can ‘hit’ the notes… but very few can actually truly sing them.

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