Isolated Vocal Tracks – 17 Voices That Marked The Last Century

Isolated vocal tracks (or vocal master tracks) offer us a bare truth about how good someone actually is, and whether or not it’s all just tricks and effects added in the production. It allows us to hear a singer in an isolated environment, where we can enjoy and feel their energy on a much personal level than while listening to a studio recording. Hearing a song in an isolated environment is like hearing it again for the first time.

Unfortunately, in the real world, it doesn’t happen that often that we have the opportunity to lay our hand on a completely isolated vocal track. The track that we listen to are often home-made improvisations of what the real thing should be, but nonetheless, we more than appreciate them.

This list features the compilation of isolated tracks found on the internet that are either from the original studio recording, or done by a fan. Unfortunately though, we haven’t been able to find all the track that we initially planed for the article. We listed them at the bottom of the list.

We apologize if this page take a little longer to load, but we figured out this would be the most convenient way to present the tracks all at once. For maximum pleasure, we recommended using headphones. Enjoy.

Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) in Smells Like Teen Spirit

Some would argue that Nirvana’s songs were overplayed during the 90s, and that opinion led them to develop a certain level of bias toward the band. But that does not belittle Nirvana’s success, and Kurt’s haunting voice, and the fact that it became one of the trademarks of the 90s and the grunge genre as a whole. Hearing it in an isolated environment may pursue some of you to change your mind about Kurt.

Here’s one of Nirvana’s greatest hits from the album “Nevermind“, sang to you a capella-style by Kurt Cobain:

Kurt Cobain Isolated Track

Layne Staley (Alice in Chains) in Man in the Box

Laney is arguably one of the best vocalist of the 90’s. Even Kurt Cobain once said “I know I haven’t got much of voice, but Layne has one hell of a voice.”  He was a huge part of Alice in Chains, and the synergy between him and Jerry Cantrell really worked wonders.

Here’s a song they wrote together for the group’s debut album “Facelift“, with Laney responsible for the lyrics:

Layne Staley Isolated Track

Freddie Mercury (Queen) in Bohemian Rhapsody

This list can’t go without one of the most praised vocalists of the last century – Freddie Mercury. He recorded not only with the band, but with many professional singers, including the Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé, who was more than impressed with his voice.

Freddie also wrote great number of Queen’s hits: “Don’t Stop Me Now”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “We Are the Champions”. In the track bellow you have the opportunity to hear his voice completely isolated from the instruments, in a song which shows best all of his vocal capabilities:

Freddie Mercury Isolated Track

Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) in Ramble On

If we’re talking about the most memorable voice of the last century, somewhere on top of that list should be Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin. The band is one of those that nearly everyone knows about, and they had a great number of hits, including “Whole Lotta Love”, “Kashmir” and “Stairway to Heaven”. Needles to say, Robert played a huge role in that success.

Here’s one of their masterpieces – Ramble On – completely isolated vocal track:

Robert Plant Isolated Track

Thom Yorke (Radiohead) in Creep

Thom is known to the majority as a great songwriter, but he is perhaps a little underrated when it comes to his singing. If you decide to give him a close listen, it’s very hard to miss the fact that he sings with a ton of emotion, and with his mind focused on the words and feelings carried within them.

If you are one of the doubters, here’s something to change your mind. He sang this song way back in the 1992, and it later appeared on their first album, “Pablo Honey” in 1993. Here’s Creep:

Thom Yorke Isolated Track

Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) in Best of You

When Dave embarked in a new career after Nirvana’s breakup, nearly no one expected the kind of success he had with Foo Fighters, especially no one ever imagined he’d take on the microphone. But, it safe to say that he more than proved his musical talent.

Here’s Dave’s isolated vocal track from one of the Foo Fighters’ most successful songs – Best of You:

Dave Grohn Isolated Track

Deborah Harry (Blondie) in Heart of Glass

Female singers are not so common in the rock and roll genre, but where there is one, she rocks harder than most of the guys. Blondie, or Deborah Harry, not only succeeded in breaking the prejudgment that girls don’t belong in the rock and roll, but also served as an example for many upcoming female artists.

Here’s one of Deborah’s most praised vocal performances – Heart of Glass:

Blondie Isolated Track

Marvin Gaye in I Heard It Through The Grapevine

Marvin is really a top-notch vocalist, whose voice developed during the years from a smooth sounding, to a raspy – more “manly” voice.  He started singing in his father’s church, and it is only unfortunate that the argument between two of them ended the way it did, because who knows what other masterpieces we would be enjoy if Marvin was still alive.

Here’s one of his greatest hits – I Heard It Through The Grapevine:

Marvin Gaye Isolated Track

Up Next: Michael Jackson, Janis Joplin, Elton John and others