The most awkward moment in singers’ careers occurs when they fail to perform their hits live. However, while that experience is incredibly embarrassing for acts, who run the risk of being labelled frauds when critics judge their studio vs live performances, it is even more confusing for heir loyal fans.
This week’s Way Back Wednesday special highlights vocalists who have delivered stunning incredible live showings that were far better than the recorded versions of their hits. Whether they increased the tempo, added well-placed runs or sang even higher, these performers have proven their worth.
Listen to the studio recordings of some of the industry’s truly talented singers and compare them to their live performances below:
Aretha Franklin – ‘Respect’ (Studio)
Aretha Franklin – ‘Respect’ (Live)
Beyonce – ’1+1′ (Studio)
Beyonce – ’1+1′ (Live)
Luther Vandross – ‘Love Won’t Let Me Wait’ (Studio)
Luther Vandross – ‘Love Won’t Let Me Wait’ (Live)
Mariah Carey – ‘Yours’ (Studio)
Mariah Carey – ‘Yours’ (Live)
Whitney Houston – ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ (Studio)
Whitney Houston – ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ (Live)
The best way for a singer to perform a song better than the studio recording is not to attempt to recreate the arrangement. In most cases, the original studio compositions entail vocal layering or effects that were achieved with multiple takes or with the aid of technology. So, trying to recapture those elements live are almost impossible.
The top live singers understand the difference between studio and live settings, and develop new arrangements for their songs either extemporaneously or with careful planning. Undoubtedly, Aretha Franklin is by far the most talented vocalist in that department and basically revamps her entire catalogue every time! In fact, I would argue that the above performance of ‘Respect’ is one of the greatest vocal showings ever delivered!
So, now that you’ve observed a few singers who have demonstrated the skill of translating their songs live, watch Christina Aguilera butcher ‘Fighter’ with unnecessary runs, grunts, squeals and failed high notes below:
Christina Aguilera – ‘Fighter’ (Studio)
Christina Aguilera – ‘Fighter’ (Live)