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The Vocal Range of Paul McCartney: A1-G5(-A6)

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Published on Oct 15, 2011

EDIT: Macca now has a G5, placing him at only one tone away from four octaves of full voice! The G5 can be heard here, from "Soily" live in Los Angeles 1976, at 5:04 into the video: /watch?v=yBYd_pXfQnE&feature=player_embedded

McCartney has a strange voice; despite being a naturally light low tenor with light and easy upper-fourth octave notes he has a very strong low extension and a tendency to inject a lot of chest and grit into his high notes, making him sound rather more like a baritone. Mind you, as Phil Spector once put it: "Paul McCartney has a voice that can do anything."

00:00 Some light, easy A4s and a C5 from "Band On The Run" which showcases Macca's distinct natural tenor sound.
00:20 More light, easy A4s and B4s from a studio rehearsal of "Maybe I'm Amazed" from 1974- compare this to the studio version!
00:46 Extremely light and easy A4s and B4s (and a brief C#5) from the intro of "Jet", studio rehearsal 1974
1:12 Complete contrast, very gritty and heavy A4s and B4s from the intro of the same song, live 1976
1:31 Long A4 from "Tomorrow"
1:42 A4s from "Baby's in Black"
1:49 Very smooth, easy A4 on the difficult "oo" syllable, from "My Love"
1:59 Extremely easy A4 from "Wanderlust"; George Martin rated this as Paul's greatest vocal performance.
2:09 Bb4 from "Got To Get You Into My Life"
2:13 A4 followed by a Bb4 from "No More Lonely Nights"
2:21 Short B4 from "I'm Looking Through You"
2:24 Savage B4 from "Helter Skelter"
2:31 Gritty B4s from "Old Siam, Sir"
2:38 The famous B4/C5/C#5 roaring from "Oh! Darling"
3:05 More B4/C5/C#5 roaring from "I've Got A Feeling"
3:15 B4s and short D5s from "Junior's Farm"
3:35 Singing around A4 and C5 from "Birthday"
3:55 Strong C5 from "Hello Goodbye"
4:01 Powerful C5s from "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"
4:22 C5s from "When The Night"
4:46 A great C5 from "The Pound is Sinking"
5:05 A section of ad-libbing from the One Hand Clapping version of "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five", with long C5s and some short Eb5s
5:35 The fantastic C5 from "Live and Let Die", still belted in Paul's concerts to this day
5:52 A live version of the same section from "Live and Let Die", from the James Paul McCartney show; not held for as long but better produced and more powerful
6:07 C#5 from "The End"
6:14 Very powerful D5 from "Maybe I'm Amazed" studio rehearsal 1974. In my opinion one of Paul's best ever notes, shame it's from a moderately obscure clip!
6:21 Clean, bright, brief D5s from "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)", Anthology version
6:31 Strained D5s from "I'm Down"
6:38 The stunning double coda of "Back Seat of My Car", with an explosive Eb5, a brief falsetto G#5 and another D5
7:07 A series of rising "oh yeah!"s culminating in a great E5, from Soily live 1976
7:21 Eb5 touching on E5 from "Tomorrow"
7:28 A few clips from vocal tour de force "Wild Life", with C5s and Eb5s, with a brief touch on an F5
8:40 A section from "Oh Woman Oh Why", a song which spans A2 to E5 and the majority of which is sung in the fifth octave. One of the E5s touches on an F5
9:22 The classic F5 from Hey Jude- the initial note is falsetto but the "yeah" that McCartney sings afterward is full.
9:33 F5 from "Maybe I'm Amazed" 1970- listen to the timbre compared to the one used at 00:20!
9:40 Ad-libbed F5, which tops briefly at F#5, from "Get On The Right Thing"
9:45 F#5s from "Monkberry Moon Delight"
10:03 Another full F#5 from "Helter Skelter"
10:10 A rehearsal of Hey Jude from 1968 where McCartney sings a section an octave higher, topping at a screamy falsetto G5
10:17 Falsetto A5 scream from "Twist and Shout"
10:21 Falsetto Bb5 scream from "Can't Buy Me Love"
10:23 Falsetto B5 scream, immediately following Lennon's scream, from "Money (That's What I Want)"
10:28 McCartney's highest non-modal note found, an A6 from a studio rehearsal of "Oh Darling"
10:33 The "vocal bass" from "I Will," where Macca overdubs the bass part with his voice, bottoming at F2
10:53 Section from "Don't Let It Bring You Down", with G2s and an F2
11:14 The chorus of "Spirits of Ancient Egypt"; in between those light G4s and A4s Macca can be heard echoing "spain" on an E2 in the backing vocal
11:30 Very strong C#2s from "We All Stand Together"
11:40 C2s in the lower vocal from "Light From Your Lighthouse"
12:22 A B1, then humming up from D2, from "Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight"
12:36 Low bassy speaking from the beginning of "Listen to What The Man Said", McCartney's impression of Leo Nocentelli; reaches an A1 on "alRIGHT". B4s later in the song!
12:43 And finally, from "The Girl Is Mine", a bright and easy A4, followed by a few A2s and then a shockingly powerful and easy A1!

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