Longest Held Note in Singing
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I don't know if she'll be well remembered for future generations. Which is a shame because I think she made quite a stir in the r n b arena. But one thing she can be proud of taking away from her career is her ability to hold one of the longest notes in singing history. 36 seconds of a lung-destroying note.
Morten Harket holds the European record for the longest note held in a Top 40 pop song. During the song "Summer Moved On" Harket sustains a chest voice note for 20.2 seconds (8 measures).
Freddy Curci, once held the Guinness World Record for Longest Note Held in a Number 1 Single in "When I'm With You".
The one that started my appreciation. It might not be the longest but I am always drawn to its power. It felt like it belonged there in the song and not planted for the sake of virtuosity. I've practiced this song on many occasions and I'm pretty proud of being able to stretch the 'skies' note to the same length as Johnny.
Ranger Doug could hardly last 10 seconds now that the aging process has caught up with him. But during his youth he could bust out 25 second high notes like they were nothing.
Toward the end of the song, Withers holds a note for 18 seconds. This is believed to be the second-longest note in UK chart history; Morten Harket of A-ha's 20-second note in "Summer Moved On" is the longest. Nethertheless, Withers' feat remains the longest of any Top 40 hit in the United States. Some claim Freddy Curci of the band Sheriff holds the final falsetto note of "When I'm with You", a number one song in the U.S. in 1989, for about 20 seconds, although his voice seems to transform into a sound effect, created in the studio.
The video shows she can muster a 20 second note. But there have been stories of her achieving an even greater length supposedly at the Waimea Music Festival. Not only that, she did it twice in one sitting and had enough energy in the tank to turn it up a notch on the last round.
A 20 second note from Streisand? Fair play, Barbra. Fair play.
Long-Haired Hare (1949)
Nicolai Shutorov was the man who provided the voice of Giovanni Jones, the opera singer conducted by Bugs Bunny in the cartoon short Long-Haired Hare. He was tasked by the rabbit tohold a singular high G note until he reached his breaking point. His face turns red, purple, blue, green, white, grey, and yellow as he squirms and unravels his formal wear. Bugs leaves his glove hovering in the air and steps outside to order a pair of earmuffs which are delivered instantly after Bugs places the order in the mailbox. Bugs returns to the stage to find Giovanni has obeyed the glove and is still singing the high note, now thrashing about on the floor banging his fists, his face still turning various colors.
The note was held up to 37 seconds. And I would imagine it being harder due to the higher decibels required. Talk about bringing the roof down!
Eric Adams is known for holding high note screams for over 40 seconds at Manowar shows. Adams's main vocal influence is Ian Gillan; Adams declared in an interview that he used to go to every Deep Purple show as a young man because he loved Gillan's voice. However, he has also worked to create his own, personal style. His voice covers 4 octaves from bass B1 to the soprano C6. As Adams has aged, his vocal high end has decreased, so recent Manowar albums are tuned lower than earlier albums.
I thought we'd end on a high note with Weird Al Jankovic who pushed not only his lungs but I suspect other parts of his anatomy to the limit. I think we can all agree that he did more than just bust a gut on this one. ;)
Since singing is subjective and anyone can bullshit the merits of a song, why not have a contest where objectivity does come into play? It may not separate the duds from the true greats in singing but at least something scientifically measurable can come out of it. I like a bit of certainty in my life.
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