There are plenty of voices in popular music that could sing the phone book and still make you want to listen, can get you hot ‘n bothered, or chilled out like an iceberg. Those voices barely need backup by a band, an instrument or even the reflection of an echo. They are, by all accounts, brilliant all on their own.

These are not those people.

And yet, the artists and groups below have found a way of making eccentricities, vocal tics, and in some cases plain old inability work for them and their song. Here now are a batch of perfect songs performed by some imperfect voices, yet their pairing is complete in just about every way.

(I Want to Live on an) Abstract Plain – Frank Black, Teenager of the Year (1994)

All Our Dreams Are Sold – Procol Harum (Gary Brooker), The Prodigal Stranger (1991)

Amateur Hour – Sparks (Russell Mael), Kimono My House (1974)

Earth Died Screaming – Tom Waits, Bone Machine (1992)

FFF – Public Image Ltd. (John Lydon), Album (1985)

Hole In My Heart (All the Way to China) – Cyndi LauperThe Great Cyndi Lauper (2003)

Idiot Wind – Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks (1975)

Marquee Moon – Television (Tom Verlaine), Marquee Moon (1977)

Night Spots – The Cars (Ric Ocasek), Candy-O (1979)

Pearl of the Quarter – Steely Dan (Donald Fagen), Countdown To Ecstasy (1973)

Political Science – Randy Newman, Sail Away (1972)

Shake Hands With Beef – Primus (Les Claypool), Brown Album (1997)

The Lady Don’t Mind – Talking Heads (David Byrne), Little Creatures (1985)

You Never Wash Up After Yourself – Radiohead (Thom Yorke), My Iron Lung (1994)

You Will Miss Me When I Burn – Palace Brothers (Will Oldham), Days in the Wake (1994)

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About the Author

Dw. Dunphy

Dw. Dunphy is a writer, artist, and musician. For Popdose he has contributed many articles that can be found in the site's archives. He also writes for New Jersey Stage,, Ultimate Classic Rock, and Diffuser FM. His music can be found at

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