Skip to main content

Digging Deeper: Axl Rose is NOT the Singer With the Widest Range


Update - May 28, 2014 - 8:35 PM
We've added almost fifty new vocalists, at our reader's suggestion, to the list.

Update - May 26, 2014 - 7:00 PM
We've added a few dozen more singers to the list.  Many thanks to the users at The Range Place who have been such a great help in correcting, adding and explaining their findings.

Update - May 23, 2014 - 4:15 PM
Once again, we've taken your many suggestions and incorporated them into the list along with correcting a couple of mistakes that were pointed out by our readers.

Update - May 22, 2014 - 5:50 PM
We've updated the list based on the suggestions from the comments. If a singer had been analyzed on The Range Place's site, they were placed either on the main list (4 octaves or more) or on the list of suggested singers with smaller ranges. We have also added a list of those yet to be analyzed.

A few notes:
  • Where The Range Place listed both vocal/melodic and total range, we used the vocal/melodic.
  • While the original article at Concerthotels.com listed the songs where the lowest and highest notes were hit, we did not add it to this article.  You can find that information along with a LOT more over at The Range Place. 
  • A discrepancy was pointed out between the original post's listing for Steve Winwood which showed A2 to G6 (4 octaves, 6 notes) and our listing which has A2 to D6 (4 octaves, 3 notes). It appears that further analysis was done on Winwood's recordings and a correction made on The Range Place site. It also appears that the line for Winwood was drawn incorrectly on the original post, showing a range of only 3 octaves, 3 notes. 
  • Keep in mind that this list is based on vocal range and does not attempt to rank by perceived quality.

When we published a story on Tuesday on the singers with the greatest range, it elicited a list of other vocalists that readers thought had been short changed.

To be fair to the original list from Concerthotels.com, it was not meant to be all inclusive. They took those singers who had made Rolling Stones' 100 Greatest Singers and the nominees for this year's Billboard Music Awards and included those whose range had been analyzed on The Range Place. Many vocalists did not qualify for the list based on that criteria.

So, we decided to do further research to check the suggested singers along with a broad sampling of other vocalist's on The Range Place's site which led us to the conclusion that there are a LOT of other great singers out there (at least as far as range in concerned) that didn't fit to the RS List/Billboard Awards criteria. As a matter of fact, the singer that were at the bottom of the top ten on the original list are tied for 36th on ours.

We found that Axl Rose is still a formidable force, but he is not the artist with the biggest vocal range. He drops to number 2 on our list behind Mike Patton of Faith No More who was the only singer we found with a range greater than six octaves.

Here is brand new list of the vocalists with the largest range, limited to those with 4 octaves or more.

  • 6 octaves, 1/2 note
    • Mike Patton (Eb1 to E7)
    • 5 octaves, 5-1/2 notes
      • Corey Taylor (Eb1 to C7)
    • 5 octaves, 4-1/2 notes
      • Diamanda Gal├ís (F2 to C#8)
    • 5 octaves, 3 notes
      • David Lee Roth  (E1 to A6)
    • 5 octaves, 2-1/2 notes
      • Axl Rose (F1 to Bb6)
    • 5 octaves, 2 notes
      • Rody Walker (G1 to B6)
    • 5 octaves, 1 note
      • Nina Hagen (G#1 to Bb6)
    • 5 octaves, 1/2 notes
      • Ville Valo (C1 to C#6)
    • 4 octaves, 6-1/2 notes
      • Roger Waters (B1 to Bb6)
      • Mariah Carey (G#2 to G7)
    • 4 octaves, 5-1/2 notes
      • Kyo (F#1 to E6)
      • Devin Townsend (C2 to Bb6)
      • 4 octaves, 5 notes
        • Paul McCartney (A1 to F6)
      • 4 octaves, 4 notes
        • Dan Swano (D1 to A5)
        • Jonathan Davis (A1 to E6)
        • Prince (E2 to B6)
      • 4 octaves, 3 notes
        • Tim Foust (Eb1 to G#5)
      • octaves, 2-1/2 notes
        • Jon Bon Jovi (E2 to G#6)
        • Chino Moreno (F#2 to B6)
      • 4 octaves, 2 notes
        • King Diamond (A1 to C6)
        • Peter Steele (Eb1 to F#5)
        • Minnie Ripperton (Eb3 to F#7)
      • 4 octaves, 1-1/2 notes
        • Billy Gibbons (G1 to Bb5)
        • Ken Tamplin (G1 to Bb5)
      • 4 octaves, 1 note
        • Elvis Presley (G1 to A5)
        • Anthony Keidis (G1 to A5)
        • Warrel Dane (G#1 to Bb5)
        • Jim Gillette (C2 to D6)
        • Burton Cummings (C2 to D6)
        • Steven Tyler (D2 to E6)
        • Serj Tankian (D2 to E6)
        • Vita (D2 to E6)
        • Doug Pinnick (E2 to F6)
      • 4 octaves, 1/2 note
        • David Bowie (G1 to G#5)
        • Peter Gabriel (G1 to G#5)
        • Phil Anselmo  (A1 to Bb5)
        • David Draiman (Bb1 to B5)
        • Rob Halford (C2 to C#6)
        • Marvin Gaye (D2 to Eb6)
        • James Brown (Eb2 to E6)
        • Christina Aguilera (C3 to C#7)
      • 4 octaves
        • Maynard James Keenan (G1 to G5)
        • Geoff Tate (A1 to A5)
        • Captain Beefheart (A1 to A5)
        • Jon Oliva (A1 to A5)
        • Nils Frykdahl (A1 to A5)
        • Tom Araya (C#2 to C#6)
        • Kai Hansen (C#2 to C#6)
        • Ian Gillan (D2 to D6)
        • Glenn Hughes (D2 to D6)
        • Daniel Heiman (Eb2 to Eb6)
        • Freddie Mercury (F2 to F6)
      • 3 octaves, 6-1/2 notes
        • Jorn Lande (Bb1 to A5)
        • Trent Reznor (C#2 to C6)
      • 3 octaves, 6 notes
        • Rob Zombie (A1 to G5)
        • Jack Black (A1 to G5)
        • Daniel Gildenlow (B1 to A5)
        • John Lennon (C2 to B5)
        • Eric Adams (C2 to B5)
        • Tommy Karevik (PelleK) (D2 to C6)
        • Nils K. Rue (D2 to C6)
        • Elton John (E2 to D6)
        • Robert Smith (E2 to D6)
        • Jeff Buckley (F2 to E6)
        • Luis Miguel (G2 to F6) (note: still being analyzed)
      • 3 octaves, 5-1/2 notes
        • Russell Allen (G#1 to F5)
        • Nick Cave (B1 to G#5)
        • Bobby McFerrin (B1 to G#5)
        • Tony Kakko (B1 to G#5)
        • Quorthon (B1 to G#5)
        • Tiny Tim (Eb2 to C6)
        • Robert Plant (E2 to C#6)
      • 3 octaves, 5 notes
        • Barry White (F#1 to Eb5)
        • Roy Khan (Bb1 to F#5)
        • Roger Daltrey (B1 to G5)
        • Lou Gramm (B1 to G5)
        • Chris Isaak (B1 to G5)
        • Billy Joel (C2 to A5)
        • David Coverdale (C2 to A5)
        • Brendon Urie (C#2 to Bb5)
        • Stevie Wonder (E2 to C6)
        • Tobias Sammet (E2 to C6)
        • Rance Allen (F2 to D6)
        • Siouxsie Sioux (A2 to F6)
        • Tina Turner (B2 to G6)
      • 3 octaves, 4-1/2 notes
        • Sean Peck (G1 to Eb5)
        • Tom Waits (Bb1 to F5)
        • Tay Zonday (Bb1 to F5)
        • Marilyn Manson (B1 to F#5)
        • Burton C. Bell (B1 to F#5)
        • Bono (C2 to G#5)
        • Eddie Vedder (C2 to G#5)
        • Gene Simmons (C2 to G#5)
        • Andi Deris (C2 to G#5)
        • Jari Maenpaa (C2 to G#5)
        • David Gilmour (C#2 to A5)
        • Hansi Kursch (C#2 to A5)
        • Morten Harket  (C2 to G#5)
        • James LaBrie  (D2 to Bb5)
        • Matt Barlow (D2 to Bb5)
        • Ted Neeley (D2 to Bb5)
        • Bruce Springsteen (Eb2 to B5)
        • Ronnie James Dio (Eb2 to B5)
        • Tim "Ripper" Owens (Eb2 to B5)
        • Miljenko Matijevic (Eb2 to B5)
        • Brad Delp (F#2 to D6)
        • Philip Bailey (G2 to Eb6)
        • Karen O (B2 to F#6)
        • Claire Boucher (Grimes) (D3 to Bb6)
        • Annette Olzon (D3 to Bb6)
      • 3 octaves, 4 notes
        • Mikael Akerfeldt (G1 to D5)
        • Damon Albarn (B1 to F5)
        • M. Shadows (C#2 to G#5)
        • Chris Cornell (D2 to A5)
        • Brian Johnson (D2 to A5)
        • Richard Page (D2 to A5)
        • Layne Staley (Eb2 to Bb5)
        • Tony Harnell (Eb2 to Bb5)
        • Bruce Dickinson (E2 to B5)
        • Paul Stanley (E2 to B5)
        • Geddy Lee (E2 to B5)
        • Marc Bolan (E2 to B5)
        • Graham Bonnett (F2 to C6)
        • Mark Boals  (F2 to C6)
        • Michael Mills (F2 to C6)
        • Michael Jackson (F#2 to C#6)
        • Sammy Hagar (F#2 to C#6)
        • Sarah Vaughan (G2 to D6)
        • Cedric Bixler-Zavala (G2 to D6)
        • Beyonce (A2 to E6)
        • Kate Bush (B2 to F6)
        • Cyndi Lauper (Eb3 to Bb6)
      • 3 octaves, 3-1/2 notes
        • J.D. Summer (G0 to C#4)
        • Jon Schaffer (F#1 to C5)
        • Greg Puciato (C2 to F#5)
        • Tom Jones (C#2 to G5)
        • Scott Weiland (C#2 to G5)
        • Fabio Laine (Eb2 to A5)
        • Jim Morrison (E2 to Bb5)
        • Adam Lambert (E2 to Bb5)
        • Stu Block (E2 to Bb5)
        • Billy Corgan (F#2 to C6)
        • Myles Kennedy (F#2 to C6)
        • Jimmy Gnecco (F#2 to C6)
        • Klaus Nomi (G2 to C#6)
        • PJ Harvey (A2 to Eb6)
      • 3 octaves, 3 notes
        • Josh Homme (Bb1 to Eb5)
        • Brandon Boyd (B1 to E5)
        • Iggy Pop (B1 to E5)
        • James Hetfield (C2 to F5)
        • Julian Casablancas (C#2 to F#5)
        • Joe Elliott (D2 to G5)
        • Zak Stevens (D2 to G5)
        • Nils Patrik Johansson (Eb2 to G#5)
        • Mick Jagger (E2 to A5)
        • Nina Simone (E2 to A5)
        • George Michael (E2 to A5)
        • Pharrell Williams (E2 to A5)
        • Michael Kiske (E2 to A5)
        • Tommy Giles Rogers (E2 to A5)
        • Tim Buckley (F2 to B5)
        • Brian May (F2 to B5)
        • Tori Amos (G2 to C6)
        • Corey Glover (G2 to C6)
        • Justin Hawkins (B2 to E6)
        • Miley Cyrus (B2 to E6)
        • Marcela Bovio (G#3 to F#5)
      • 3 octaves, 2-1/2 notes
        • Bob Dylan (C#2 to F5)
        • Kurt Cobain (C#2 to F5)
        • Buddy Holly (D2 to F#5)
        • Chris Martin (Eb2 to G5)
        • Paul Rodgers (E2 to G#5)
        • Chad Kroeger (E2 to G#5)
        • Robin Thicke (F2 to Bb5)
        • Justin Timberlake (F#2 to B5)
        • Jared Leto (G#2 to C6)
        • Norah Jones (A2 to C#6)
        • Chang Yu-Sheng (Bb2 to D6)
        • Kelly Clarkson (Eb3 to G6)
      • 3 octaves, 2 notes
        • Ivan Rebroff (F1 to A5)
        • Ringo Starr (C2 to E5)
        • Steve Vai (C2 to E5)
        • Todd Smith (C2 to E5)
        • Lou Reed (D2 to F5)
        • Eminem (D2 to F5)
        • Thom Yorke (E2 to G5)
        • Adam Levine (E2 to G5)
        • Huey Lewis (F2 to A5)
        • Mika (F2 to A5)
        • Aretha Franklin (G2 to B5)
        • Annie Lennox (G2 to B5)
        • Matt Bellamy (G2 to B5)
        • James Rivera (G2 to B5)
        • Michael Bolton (A2 to C6)
        • Jackie Wilson (A2 to C6)
        • Alanis Morissette (B2 to D6)
        • Grace Slick (B2 to D6)
        • Floor Jansen (D3 to F6)
        • Cher (D3 to F6)
        • Annie Haslam (E3 to G6)
      • 3 octaves, 1-1/2 notes
        • Ozzy Osbourne (Eb2 to F5)
        • Fred First (Eb2 to F5)
        • Darroh Sudderth (Eb2 to F5)
        • Simon LeBon (E2 to F#5)
        • Barry Gibb  (F2 to G#5)
        • Patrick Stump (F2 to G#5)
        • Happy Rhodes (F2 to G#5)
        • Sebastian Bach (F#2 to A5)
        • Lisa Gerrard (F#2 to A5)
        • Steve Perry (F#2 to A5)
        • Matt Tuck (F#2 to A5)
        • Joey Belladonna (G2 to Bb5)
        • Ella Fitzgerald (G#2 to B5)
        • Michael Sweet (Bb2 to C#6)
        • Rihanna (B2 to C#6)
        • Tarja Turunen (F3 to G#6)
      • 3 octaves, 1 note
        • Till Lindemann (G1 to A4)
        • Leonard Cohen (G1 to A4)
        • Dave Gahan (B1 to C5)
        • Glenn Danzig (C2 to D5)
        • Dave Grohl (D2 to E5)
        • Neil Young (E2 to F5)
        • Claudio Sanchez (E2 to F5)
        • Brian Wilson (F2 to G5)
        • Phil Collins (F2 to G5)
        • Joacim Cans (F#2 to G#5) (still being analyzed)
        • David Byron (G2 to A5)
        • Jon Anderson (G2 to A5)
        • John Arch (G2 to A5)
        • Alessandro Conti (G2 to A5)
        • Ray Charles (G#2 to Bb5)
        • Bob Marley (A2 to B5)
        • Steve Winwood (A2 to B5)
        • Ann Wilson (C3 to D6)
      • 3 octaves, 1/2 note
        • Jeremy Enigk (F2 to F#5) (still being analyzed)
        • Marc Storace (G2 to G#5) (still being analyzed)
        • Spencer Sotelo (G#2 to A5)
        • Justin Bieber (A2 to Bb5)
        • Lady Gaga (Bb2 to B5)
        • Beth Gibbons (C#3 to D6)
        • Lana Del Rey (C3 to C#6)
        • Amy Lee (Eb3 to E6)
      • 3 octaves
        • Christopher Lee (Bb1 to Bb4)
        • Billy Idol (C2 to C5)
        • Michael Hutchence (C#2 to C#5)
        • Brian Molko (D2 to D5)
        • Paul Simon (Eb2 to Eb5)
        • Roy Orbison (E2 to E5)
        • Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage) (E2 to E5)
        • Chris Jericho (G2 to G5)
        • Chester Bennington (G#2 to G#5)
        • Lorde (G#2 to G#5)
        • Chris Barretto (G#2 to G#5)
        • Janis Joplin (B2 to B5)
        • Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth (B2 to B5)
      • 2 octaves, 6-1/2 notes
        • Dave Mustaine (E2 to Eb5)
        • Taylor Hawkins (F#2 to F5)
        • Hyde. (F#2 to F5)
        • Sting (G2 to F#5)
        • John Fogerty (G2 to F#5)
        • Billy Joe Armstrong (A2 to G#5)
        • Gwen Stefani (Eb3 to D6)
        • Rod Stewart (C#3 to C6)
        • Sinead O'Connor  (A2 to G#5)
        • Bruno Mars (Bb2 to A5)
      • 2 octaves, 6 notes
        • Brent Smith (E2 to D5)
        • Steven Wilson (E2 to D5)
        • Chris Corner (F2 to E5)
        • Robin Gibb (G2 to F5)
        • John Garcia (G2 to F5)
        • Julee Cruise (A2 to G5)
        • John Lydon (A2 to G5) (analysis in progress)
        • Adrian Belew (A2 to G5) (analysis in progress)
        • Mike Pinder (A2 to G5) (analysis in progress)
        • Daniel Tompkins (A2 to G5) (analysis in progress)
        • Billy Ocean (Bb2 to G#5)
        • Joe Cocker (B2 to A5)
        • Adele (C3 to B5)
        • Dolly Parton (E3 to D6)
        • Bjork (E3 to D6)
      • 2 octaves, 5-1/2 notes
        • Johnny Cash (B1 to G#4)
        • Little Richard (F2 to Eb5)
        • Nate Ruess (G#2 to F5)
        • Z.P. Theart (Bb2 to G5)
        • Andrew Stockdale (B2 to G#5)
        • Vince Neil (C3 to Bb5)
      • 2 octaves, 5 notes
        • Michael Stipe (D2 to B4)
        • David Ruffin (E2 to C5)
        • Van Morrison (E2 to C5)
        • Chuck Berry (E2 to C5)
        • Mick Hucknall (F#2 to Eb5)
        • Art Garfunkel (G2 to E5)
        • Chris Jericho (G2 to E5)
        • John Lodge (A2 to F5)
        • Alicia Keys (Bb2 to F#5)
        • Hayley Williams (Bb2 to F#5)
        • Anneke van Giersbergen (C3 to A5)
        • Joanna Newsom (C3 to A5)
      • 2 octaves, 4-1/2 notes
        • Raine Maida (D2 to Bb4)
        • Adam Young (G2 to Eb5)
        • Damian Wilson (B2 to F#5)
        • Joni Mitchell (C#3 to A5)
        • Dusty Springfield (D3 to Bb5)
        • Katy Perry (D3 to Bb5)
      • 2 octaves, 4 notes
        • Gerard Way (G2 to D5)
        • Drake Bell (A2 to E5)
        • Jonny Craig (A2 to E5)
        • Otis Redding (B2 to F5)
        • Stevie Nicks (B2 to F5)
        • Smokey Robinson (C3 to G5)
        • Kellin Quinn (C3 to G5)
        • Whitney Houston (C#3 to G#5)
      • 2 octaves, 3-1/2 notes
        • Frank Sinatra (D2 to G#4)
        • Neil Diamond (D2 to G#4)
        • Josh Groban (F#2 to C5)
        • Meat Loaf (A2 to Eb5)
        • Ray William Johnson (C3 to F#5)
      • 2 octaves, 3 notes
        • Justin Hayward (G2 to C5)
        • Zack de la Rocha (A2 to D5)
        • Jesse Leach (A2 to D5) (analysis in progress)
        • Brian Aubert (B2 to E5)
      • 2 octaves, 2-1/2 notes
        • Jerry Lee Lewis (G#2 to C5)
        • Ricky Martin (Bb2 to D5)
        • Luciano Pavarotti (C#3 to F5)
      • 2 octaves, 2 notes
        • Jeff Magnum (G2 to B4) (analysis in progress)
        • Sam Cooke (A2 to C5)
        • Karen Carpenter (D3 to F5)
        • Loreena McKennitt (E3 to G5)
      • 2 octaves, 1-1/2 notes
        • Taylor Swift (E3 to F#5)
      • 2 octaves, 1/2 note
        • Bill Kaulitz (C3 to C#5) (analysis in progress)
      • 2 octaves
        • Skin (Deborah Dyer) (B3 to B5)
      • 1 octave, 3 notes
        • Avi Kaplan (A2 to D4) (analysis in progress)
      Have not been analyzed:

      • Christian Alvestam
      • Julie Andrews
      • Marc Anthony
      • Blixa Bargeld
      • Beck
      • Andy Bell
      • Pat Benatar
      • Andre Benjamin (Andre 3000)
      • James Blake
      • Cory Brandan
      • Sarah Brightman
      • Joseph Calleja
      • Anna Carolina
      • Tom Chaplin
      • Kristen Chenowith
      • Jarvis Church
      • Merry Clayton
      • Robert Crowe
      • Atilla Csihar
      • Lisa Dalbello
      • D'Angelo
      • Jon DeLeo
      • Marcella Detroit
      • Ryan Devlin
      • Celine Dion
      • James Euringer
      • Siobhan Fahey
      • Agnetha Faltskog
      • Feist
      • Rachel Ferrell
      • Dani Filth
      • Lisa Fischer
      • Elizabeth Fraser
      • Marta Gabriel
      • Declan Galbraith
      • Merrill Garbus
      • Sameer Ghadia
      • Jared Gomes
      • Ariana Grande
      • Steve Green
      • Emily Haines
      • Zac Hanson
      • Imogen Heap
      • Donnie Iris
      • Freddie Jackson
      • Jim James
      • Alain Johannes
      • Daniel Johns
      • Jyrki 69
      • Tom Keifer
      • Andy Kuntz
      • Patti LaBelle
      • Caroline Lavelle
      • Aaron Lewis
      • Adam Lopez
      • Patti Lupone
      • Billy MacKenzie
      • Madonna
      • Barry Manilow
      • Bobby Martin
      • Dean Martin
      • Sylvia "Skin" Massy
      • Dave Matthews
      • Maxwell
      • Sarah McLachlan
      • Roger Miller
      • Chuck Mosley
      • Peter Murphy
      • Aaron Neville
      • Harry Nilsson
      • Brandy Norwood
      • Alissa Now
      • Sally Oldfield
      • Beth Orton
      • David Pack
      • Ronan Parke
      • Paul Potts
      • Panda Bare
      • Pink
      • Josh Ramsay
      • Lou Rhodes
      • Dax Riggs
      • Jasmine Rodgers
      • Kenny Rogers
      • Linda Ronstadt
      • Gavin Rossdale
      • Mike Semesky
      • Sia
      • Sho
      • Norman Skinner
      • Martina Sorbara
      • Cat Stevens
      • Shirley Strachan
      • Barbra Streisand
      • Stumpen (Gero Ivers)
      • Lacey Sturm
      • Yma Sumac
      • Avey Tare
      • Alan Tecchio
      • Neil Tennant
      • Ray Thomas
      • Tracey Thorn
      • Mel Torme
      • Conway Twitty
      • Jimmy Urine
      • Regine Velasquez
      • Frankie Valli
      • Varg Vikemes
      • Violetta Villas
      • Tim Waurick
      • Alissa White-Gluz
      • Andrew Wood
      • Yama-B
      • Vegard Vlvisaker
      We will fully admit that there very well may be additional artists that belong on this list. We sampled a couple of hundred of names on a list that includes over 700 singers.  If any of our readers thinks we missed one of their favorites, let us know and we will add them to our list.