The Ten Cheesiest Singers Of All-Time
Posted Wed Apr 23 3:33pm PDT by in List Of The Day
Using the word "cheesy" to describe someone's singing isn't often
looked upon as a compliment. However, this is show-biz and a certain
amount of Velveeta is often necessary if you're going to be an
entertainer. People come to your shows to see something larger than
life. If they wanted to watch a bunch of average joes in everyday
threads shyly singing into their armpits, they could attend a Yo La
But some singers take cheese beyond one of the
basic food groups and turn it into a way of life. Donny Osmond and his
entire oversmiling family have made "corny wholesomeness" an accepted
media trend. Donny (not even "Don") makes John Denver seem nutritious
Over the years, there have been plenty of obvious ham and cheese puffs. Anyone who performs a showtune is embedded
with cheese. So when devising this list of the cheesiest singers, it
was important to choose singers who didn't have to resort to such
over-the-top drama, singers who could've just sang the damn song and
been done with it. But no--they insisted on a little Feta, a little
Provolone to go along with the act.
10) Billy Joel: Billy
Joel could've been a convincing rock 'n' roll guy, but he had too much
of the "drunk uncle at the wedding" in him to tone it down. He's a
natural born ham likely to give himself a heart-attack-yack-yack-yack
with all his extra showbiz flourishes. It hasn't done him any good with
critics, but his fans love the extra schmaltz.
9) David Lee Roth: David
Lee Roth is perhaps the only hard rock singer who actually gets it.
There are plenty of other hard rock singers, including his eventual
replacement in Van Halen, Sammy Hagar, who are cheesy without wit,
without self-knowledge. But DLR knew what he was doing and he
reveled in his role as not only the lead singer of a hard rock band,
but as the carnival barker eager to sell you whatever you might be
interested in purchasing. Not just a gigolo, but the gigolo.
8) Barry Manilow: You
can't sing "Mandy" or "Looks Like We Made It" or "Daybreak" or just
about anything in this man's catalog without feeling a little foolish,
without breaking into a laugh with friends. Yet we suspend out belief
and pretend it isn't silly, as if somehow beyond the hallmark
sentiments rests a universal human truth that at heart we are all made
of blood, water, skin, bone and perpetual corniness.
7) Morrissey: Whether solo or with the Smiths, Morrissey turned every hangnail into a life or death situation. He over-dramatized getting a job.
As if somehow applying for employment steals one's soul, rendering them
useless to the rest of humanity and to their true self. He blames the
failures of his love life on what? Getting caught wearing a Wal-Mart
6) David Clayton-Thomas (Blood Sweat And Tears): Yes,
he's made us so very happy, he's so GLAD he's come into our lives.
Aside from inspiring an entire generation of future grunge rockers
(Eddie Vedder, call the main office), DCT with Blood, Sweat and Tears
helped redefine the schmaltz of ‘70s AM radio. While they never
ventured into the icky love sentiments of Bread (responsible for "Make
It With You" and "Baby I'm A Want You"), DCT with just that
vibrato-laden voice of his made everything from "Spinning Wheel" to
"And When I Die" sound like it was coming from another planet of
emotionally distraught aliens.
5) Tom Jones:
Everything Tom Jones touches turns to kitsch. Whether it's Rod Stewart
("Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?"), Prince ("Kiss") or one from the
Bacharach-David songbook ("What's New, Pussycat?"), Jones delivers it
all with the shameless come-on of a guy with an over-obvious one-track
mind. There's no studied aloofness here, no "cool guy" routine. He's
letting you know why he's in the room. The men don't know, but the
little girls--and the older ones with the blue hair--understand.
From the sound effects of the motorcycles revving to the play-by-play
announcements from Phil Rizzuto, Meat Loaf albums are jammed with
overwrought details and emotion that suggest he's likely to suffer a
coronary before he finds true love. He makes Bruce Springsteen sound
restrained. I'm still not sure what he won't do for love, but I do know
that he'll tell us with every last melodramatic trill he has left in
his still-beating heart.
3) Cher: You
always know it's Cher. She's incapable of singing anything without
sounding overexcited and like she's being beamed in from another era.
She vamps, she tramps, she sings like her gaudy, risqué stage outfits
coming to life. When they added the vocoder to her voice for "Believe,"
coming from her it was as if it was completely natural.
2) Neil Diamond:
He's a living legend and he deserves to be in the Rock n' Roll Hall of
Fame as much as the Dave Clark Five, the Lovin' Spoonful, the Eagles
and Billy Joel. But for some reason, Neil's considered too
showbiz. Yeah, a band that sang about "Me and You and Rain on the Roof"
isn't too cutesy, but the guy who gave us "Solitary Man" and "Cracklin'
Rosie" is taking things too far. Of course, he is. He's a
cornball! If you don't act like a complete idiot singing along to "I
Am, I Said," then you simply aren't singing it right!
1) Michael Buble: I've
bestowed this honor on Michael because he's the most recent addition to
our canon of shameless audience pandering performers--those who give
the people what they want whether they really should or not. Frank
Sinatra he's not. Dean Martin? Not even close. His pick of tunes makes
Kenny G look like a music connoisseur. But everything he sings, he
sings as if the past five decades never happened. And that is an accomplishment all its own. Cheeze-whiz for everyone!
I do think it's a bit unfair sometimes, but hey, everyone's a critic!