Vote for Scotland’s Greatest Ever Vocalist


Vote for Scotland’s Greatest Ever Vocalist

Stuart Adamson on guitar. Paul Thompson on drums. Derek Forbes on bass. On vocals…? From almost a hundred suggestions we finally came up with this shortlist: Liz Fraser, Alex Harvey, Jim Kerr, King Creosote, Annie Lennox, Billy Mackenzie, Frankie Miller, Paolo Nutini, Bon Scott and Rod Stewart. Voting closes Jan 5, 2010.

Once again, thanks for all the suggestions. As you can imagine, it was a very difficult task to come up with a final shortlist. The poll to the right of this article is open now and will remain open until midnight on Tuesday January 5, 2010.

If you are reading this article after that, then unfortunately your vote wont count, but as always the comments section on this page will remain open and unedited forever.

For Alec Downie’s full list of great Scottish vocalists, have a look at his three articles (‘Best Female Vocalists’, ‘The Frontmen and Singers’, ‘The Popstars Troubadours and Rogues’). But for now, in alphabetical order, the Dear Scotland top ten are as follows:

Liz Fraser

“…she is an indie Super-heroine, who was born out of Punk and stole New Wave from her Grangemouth basis. She was going out with Jeff Buckley when he jumped in the Mississippi, she delivered Massive Attack’s finest moment and turned Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’ into a national anthem.” Wan Clan Dan in comments


Alex Harvey

“…if you asked me, ‘who is the greatest ever Scottish frontman’, my answer would simply be ‘Alex Harvey’, and this article would be considerably shorter.” Alec Downie.


Jim Kerr

“Jim Kerr is by far the greatest ever singer and frontman in Scotland…no no I meant in the world. He is the one that has to win this.” Debbie Kerr in comments.


King Creosote

“Kenny (KC) has the unique ability to bare all in a song and the vocal dexterity to make sure his pain tears at your heart.” Alec Downie.

Annie Lennox

“If Scotland can lay claim to having one definitive “Diva” it is Annie Lennox… her solo career has seen her clutch an Oscar, numerous Brits and a glut of Grammys as she has effortlessly transitioned from being a pop-star into an international icon.” Alec Downie.


Billy MacKenzie

“For me, Billy Mackenzie by a country mile. Did Morrisey really write “William, it was really nothing” about him?” Kenny in comments.


Frankie Miller

“The widow of the late great Otis Redding reckoned: “That little ole white boy Frankie, has the blackest voice since Otis”. I rest my case!” Alec Downie.


Paolo Nutini

“Paolo Nutini has one of the greatest voices out there. Only 2 records, only 22 years old but He is brilliant!!!!” Angela in comments.


Bon Scott

“Its Bon Scott. How do I vote?” Innes in comments.


Rod Stewart

“It might not be a fashionable choice, but it would take something to beat Rod (in his prime) on this list.” Wee Jimmy in comments.


By the way, re: Bon and Rod, have a look at our “Are They Really Scottish List” by Kenny McColl.

We’ll have an article on the winner the day after the poll closes on Wednesday January 6, 2010.


Photo Credit: idg

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98 Responses to “Vote for Scotland’s Greatest Ever Vocalist”
  1. Annie Lennox. Beautiful,dignified, inspirational. Head and shoulders above the rest

    by Anonymous
    on 23 Dec, 2009 8:16am

  2. Very tough decision but I’m going for Liz Fraser. Something so unique about that voice

    by Lisa
    on 23 Dec, 2009 8:31am

  3. Was a difficult choice between Liz Fraser and Billy McKenzie, however Billy had to win. His vocals are ridiculous, god-like. btw, If you voted for anyone else, go back and listen again.
    ps. According to good sources, yes ‘William it was really nothing’ was written about Billy and in direct response to his song ‘Stephen you’re still really something’.

    by Ruth
    on 23 Dec, 2009 10:01am

  4. Between Liz and Billy for me as well, with Billy edging it.

    Was Liz’s chat-up line to Jeff Buckley: “I sang your auld man’s song”?

    by Kenny
    on 23 Dec, 2009 10:23am

  5. had to be the late, great, sensational alex harvey.

    by the tomahawk kid
    on 23 Dec, 2009 1:09pm

  6. Alex Harvey. Finest front-man Scotland ever produced.

    by ZeeEm
    on 23 Dec, 2009 4:56pm


    by crook town
    on 23 Dec, 2009 6:09pm

  8. Got to be Alex Harvey

    by Vambo roolz okay
    on 24 Dec, 2009 9:15am

  9. KC Rules but Liz Fraser is the boss

    by Anonymous
    on 24 Dec, 2009 9:16am

  10. Alex definitely, even though in this clip he got the words wrong! I said to him once “You sometimes forget the words” and he said “I have NEVER forgot the words!!” but here is proof!

    by Anne Brian
    on 24 Dec, 2009 1:13pm

  11. can be only Alex Harvey

    by Peter
    on 25 Dec, 2009 4:51am

  12. I had to comment her, all choices are great but please do not forget James Dewar, simply the greatest!!

    by Anonymous
    on 25 Dec, 2009 3:13pm

  13. by Alec
    on 26 Dec, 2009 2:06am

  14. Annie lennox of course!! she he a great voice, she is inspirational. Her voice is getiing better and better.

    by Anneke
    on 26 Dec, 2009 6:33am

  15. King Creosote!

    by Becca
    on 26 Dec, 2009 8:13am

  16. For his unique singing style, full of authenticity, deepness, sensuality, vibration, that makes me feel high : JIM KERR !!!!!

    by Anne
    on 26 Dec, 2009 2:49pm

  17. For me it´s definitely JIM KERR !!! Unique voice with a deep sensuality…..He can generate emotions with his voice !!!

    by Angela
    on 26 Dec, 2009 5:59pm

  18. you only have to hear oh jungleland for the power of jim kerr’s voice or hunter and the hunted for melodic and sheer emotion ! jim kerr for me !!

    by Anonymous
    on 26 Dec, 2009 7:35pm

  19. Jim Kerr IS the link between David Bowie and Bryan Ferry, could it be better?!?

    by Anonymous Lasse
    on 27 Dec, 2009 3:47am

  20. Alex Harvey. Has to be.

    So says I, someone who has lived in Scotland for two thirds of my life, but saw him when I still lived in England …

    by Anonymous
    on 27 Dec, 2009 1:52pm

  21. P.S. should have included the band mate of Alex bro … Maggie Bell

    by Anonymous
    on 27 Dec, 2009 1:53pm

  22. Has to be Jim Kerr, just listen to the albums Sons And Fascination and New Gold Dream. Perfect voice for a perfect atmosphere.

    by Anonymous
    on 28 Dec, 2009 3:01am

  23. Jim Kerr: the one and only!

    by Eleonora
    on 28 Dec, 2009 5:38am

  24. For me, Jim Kerr without hesitation! His voice soft and sensual transmits such good feelings in my body and my head! With his voice, Jim takes me to a better world!

    by Missgera
    on 28 Dec, 2009 7:14am

  25. Technically he’s not such a good singer!! But bhoy can he front the band!! A dreamer and a great lyricist.With a great back catalogue spanning 30 years +!! It can only be Jim Kerr!!

    by Jimmy Fontana
    on 28 Dec, 2009 9:45am


    by Anonymous
    on 28 Dec, 2009 10:16pm

  27. King Creosote gets my vote! There’s some stiff competition though.

    by Michael
    on 28 Dec, 2009 11:11pm

  28. Not the strongest Not the most melodic But strangely different from everyone else on the list in a welrd break every rule in book but works kinda way. JK

    BTW – why isnt the the most successful scottish artist of all time on the list?

    by heidthebaw
    on 29 Dec, 2009 4:36pm

  29. why no shirley manson?????? or stuart adamson?????

    by Anonymous larry10
    on 29 Dec, 2009 6:15pm

  30. I have been following scottish voices for some time-there is something that just moves me about them. But I have to tell you, as a visitor this past summer over 3 weeks, I got it. It is the land, the people, the sky, and the angst that tugs at my heart and soul and the voice and lyricist that does it best is James Kerr of Simple Minds, especially when referring to “Scotland’s Greatest Vocalist”.

    When you look at the careers of the artists named above, with the exception of Rod Stewart, it is Jim with his band that has had and continues to have the greatest longevity-giving us little pieces of him and what is happening through the years with a voice that speaks not only something of Scotland but internationally.

    For a better representation of what I’m talking about, listen to this:

    by Leslie-Anne
    on 29 Dec, 2009 6:29pm

  31. You forgot Jimmy Dewar

    by Anonymous
    on 30 Dec, 2009 4:13am

  32. Bon Scott a legend!
    Nobody else compares.

    by Anonymous
    on 30 Dec, 2009 6:52am

  33. jim kerr .. so strong by the years ..

    by roody
    on 30 Dec, 2009 6:13pm

  34. Being able to get 1000s of people onto their feets (not in order to run away), charismatic and charming if he wants to be, never forgets that the audience has come to have some hours of joy, no matter how he feels himself and being able to sing (no, it is not any saint!)? Well, than you have to vote for Mr. James Kerr! 30 years singing and getting better by the years!

    by Carmen
    on 30 Dec, 2009 6:13pm

  35. Its got to be Jim Kerr, by far the best.

    by Anonymous
    on 31 Dec, 2009 4:40am

  36. Jim Kerr is the man…no doubt!

    by Anonymous
    on 31 Dec, 2009 5:22am

  37. Jim Kerr of course! You just have to listen to anything and you’ll understand why!

    by Anonymous
    on 31 Dec, 2009 6:12am

  38. Jim Kerr!!!

    by Anonymous
    on 31 Dec, 2009 12:32pm

  39. by far!!! Jim Kerr!

    by Anonymous
    on 31 Dec, 2009 1:13pm


    by JOAN
    on 31 Dec, 2009 1:39pm


    by JOAN
    on 31 Dec, 2009 1:39pm

  42. Has to be The Sensational Alex Harvey-he’s like no one else and besides he put Scotland on the map fer me,coming from the States

    by Booids
    on 31 Dec, 2009 2:33pm

  43. BON SCOTT without a shadow of a doubt!!

    by Kaz
    on 31 Dec, 2009 3:45pm

  44. It has to be Colin Hay from Men at Work

    by Anonymous
    on 02 Jan, 2010 11:46am

  45. Annie Lennox!

    by Anonymous
    on 02 Jan, 2010 3:06pm

  46. Jim Kerr

    by Dani 1
    on 02 Jan, 2010 7:59pm

  47. Jim Kerr!!!!!!!

    by Anonymous
    on 02 Jan, 2010 8:11pm

  48. Cant believe no one mentioned Owen Paul!!!!

    by Brian
    on 03 Jan, 2010 2:35am

  49. Billy MacKenzie on 1% travesty anyone heard Mr kerr live recently. no brainer.

    by Anonymous
    on 03 Jan, 2010 10:26am

  50. Debbie Kerr for best groupy!

    by Anonymous
    on 03 Jan, 2010 10:27am

  51. Hi Debbie.Are you related to Jim?

    by Gerry
    on 03 Jan, 2010 4:09pm

  52. she’s his concubine

    by patsy
    on 03 Jan, 2010 5:28pm

  53. Tough choice: Liz Frazer and Annie Lennox deserve it as well, but my vote goes to Jim Kerr. Sometimes out of rythm, too many times forgetting the lyrics, adding la-la-la’s where silence should be, but definitely one of the best singing showmen I have ever seen around Europe. Seeing him transmitting pure joy or drama to the audience is an incredible thing to see.

    by DaffyDuck
    on 03 Jan, 2010 5:54pm

  54. C’mon, ANNIE LENNOX is far and away Scotland’s finest vocalist! Actually, she’s all of the United Kingdom’s finest vocalist!! Although, I do have to ask why Sharleen Spiteri (of TEXAS) is absent from your choices? Both these ladies are heads and shoulders above Mr. Kerr and Mr. Harvey.

    by Anonymous
    on 04 Jan, 2010 8:35am

  55. No Dan McAfferty ????

    by Anonymous
    on 04 Jan, 2010 1:17pm

  56. It can only be Billy McKenzie. So good I gave his surname to my first born as a middle name. Ok it was my mums surname as well but if it hadn’t I would still have given her the name as clearly Billy sounds a bit crap.

    by Ken Logan
    on 04 Jan, 2010 1:24pm

  57. King Creosote

    by Anonymous
    on 04 Jan, 2010 2:24pm

  58. Jim is the bestest ever… a voice that improves with age and experience in depth,capacity and deliverance… wow… my winner every time x x

    by Sarah Batty
    on 04 Jan, 2010 7:43pm

  59. ANNIE LENNOX is the greatest ever

    by Anonymous
    on 05 Jan, 2010 3:17am

  60. Alex Harvey, that is all

    by Seb D
    on 05 Jan, 2010 3:57am

  61. It has to be between Liz Frazer and Monica Queen closely followed by Billy McKenzie.

    by Anonymous
    on 05 Jan, 2010 6:27am

  62. Jim… I have goosebumps hearing him sing! *sigh*

    by Laura
    on 05 Jan, 2010 3:16pm

  63. so what these polls tend to demostrate is that Simple Minds still have quite a large following….

    who would have thought it!

    by Gary
    on 05 Jan, 2010 5:11pm

  64. Jim Jim Jim!!!!!!!!

    by Anonymous
    on 05 Jan, 2010 7:15pm

  65. Jim is the best and thats “OFFICIAL!!!!!!!!!”

    by Anonymous
    on 05 Jan, 2010 7:47pm

  66. Jim deserves it more than anyone. He is the bestest frontman in the world…in the Universe in fact. Well Done Jim. :)

    by Debs Kerr
    on 05 Jan, 2010 7:48pm

  67. my vote goes to king creosote. such a beautiful voice.

    by Anonymous
    on 05 Jan, 2010 11:16pm

  68. a vote each for Alex Harvey and Frankie Miller

    by Steve
    on 06 Jan, 2010 2:16am

  69. Hi Gerry, just saw your post, I’m not related to Jim. Changed my name by deed poll in honour of him. He’s my idol. :)

    by Debs Kerr
    on 06 Jan, 2010 6:21am

  70. It’s Annie Lennox… no contest…

    by Anonymous
    on 06 Jan, 2010 12:26pm

  71. “changed my name by deed poll”

    eek, if so time for an extended spell at Carstairs my dear !

    by Lostboy!
    on 06 Jan, 2010 5:41pm

  72. it’s jim kerr…absolutely…

    by Anonymous
    on 07 Jan, 2010 4:08pm

  73. jim kerr…absolutely…

    by Anonymous
    on 07 Jan, 2010 4:09pm

  74. Liz Fraser for technical perfection in much of her latter work, but also for sheer ingenuity in her earlier work with the Cocteau Twins.

    Who else could have turned losing the middle part of her range into such a unique art form with her vocals on Blue Bell Knoll and Heaven or Las Vegas?

    by Anonymous
    on 08 Jan, 2010 9:17am

  75. the great annie lennox, forever

    by Anonymous
    on 10 Jan, 2010 2:54am

  76. undoubtedly Jim Kerr !

    by Anonymous
    on 10 Jan, 2010 8:37am

  77. Jim Kerr the Voice !

    by verofs
    on 10 Jan, 2010 8:38am

  78. Norman Blake of the Teenage Fanclub….

    by Anonymous
    on 11 Jan, 2010 5:17pm

  79. Norman Blake of the Teenage Fanclub….

    by GrahamB
    on 11 Jan, 2010 5:17pm

  80. Yes, Jim Kerr has a great voice but for me the greatest male vocalist has to have a unique voice that belongs to a great “LIVE” and Vinyl performer. That man is Alex Harvey.

    by Willie Crawford
    on 12 Jan, 2010 5:58pm

  81. frontman= Alex

    Singer= Frankie

    mix of both=Dan

    by swin
    on 13 Jan, 2010 3:17pm

  82. i can’t chose between liz and billy mckenzie……both outstanding and both shaped my musical tastes. fantastic voices.

    by Anonymous
    on 13 Jan, 2010 4:07pm

  83. Alex Harvey without a doubt the most charasmatic and greatest vocalist Scotland has ever produced.

    by gordon
    on 14 Jan, 2010 3:59am

  84. Jim Kerr is the best….

    by Jeff
    on 30 Jan, 2010 7:25am

  85. Alex Harvey Simply Sensational

    Met the man in Renfield St in the 70’s and he gave me and a pal free tickets for his gig…at the Glasgow Apollo

    by Alex Hamilton
    on 12 Feb, 2010 5:33pm

  86. Frankie Miller or Jimmy barnes wae Frankie top tho

    by Anonymous
    on 25 Feb, 2010 9:27am

  87. Alex Harvey was a good front man but he couldny actually sing!

    Its got be Frankie Miller.

    by Anonymous
    on 27 Feb, 2010 10:12am

  88. Frankie Miller is the greatest in the world never mind Scotland

    by Anonymous
    on 07 Mar, 2010 6:47pm

  89. jim kerr is the sensuality singer of the world

    by nathefrance
    on 26 Mar, 2010 4:09pm

  90. king creosote has such a beautiful voice, an esay chice for me

    by sam askins
    on 07 Apr, 2010 10:54am

  91. Frankie Miller by a mile he is amazing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by Scottie Walker
    on 30 May, 2010 6:53pm

  92. Got to be Jimmy Dewar . Utterly wonderful voice .

    by Ian
    on 02 Nov, 2010 6:23pm

  93. I am surprised no-one has even mentioned Horse McDonald!?

    by Anonymous
    on 10 Nov, 2010 7:02am

  94. Before narrowing it down to these ten, Alec looked at Scotland’s Greatest Ever Female Vocalists and Horse was included in that list.

    by The Dear
    on 10 Nov, 2010 10:55am

  95. Frankie Miller forever!!

    by Anonymous
    on 25 Jun, 2012 3:23pm

  96. Has anyone even mentioned Paul Buchanan? Kerr v Buchanan? That’s a no brainer, Kerr 0 v 36 Buchanan (just like Arbroath in 1886)

    by Robirt Bell (TBN)
    on 13 Feb, 2013 5:36am

  97. That last comment was made by me, obviously with a crappy wifi connection…

    by Alistair
    on 13 Feb, 2013 6:57pm

  98. If you asked the other singers mentioned, (and what alist it is), they would all tell you the greatest scottish vocalist of all time was James ‘Jimmy Dewar’ ………… contest.

    by Gordy Boy
    on 06 Jun, 2013 4:37pm

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