Three-Tune Tuesday: Gravel Voice

in Musiclast month (edited)


Why is the world so infatuated with these ‘Gravel Voice’ types? Does it make the sound resonating more interesting than the more common clear voice type? As this is my own acronym, you are probably wondering what I am thinking.

So let me make it clear by example: Rod Stewart, Chris Rea, Kelly Jones (Stereophonics). All of them sound like something has chopped up their larynx with a sharp knife, or a bunch of pebbles got stuck in their throats that is quite immovable. If you are into your music, you are going to understand my logic.

...'Bonnie Tyler was quite the hottie when young, but that voice.., fuck no, it always grated me'... - Source

The ladies don’t escape though they appear less frequently, with Bonnie Tyler being the prime gravel-throated crooner, Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) a much lesser pebble spitter, and Marianne Faithful a prime example, with her extensive use of drugs being the factor.

Despite being a fan of Stevie, it was more her music ('and stunning looks') than the voice that got my attention on discovering her in the very early 1980’s. but Bonnie Tyler, forget it, I am not a fan.

…’there’s pebbles, and then there’s rocks, size of them does make a difference’…

Bonnie might have collaborated with the late Meat Loaf, who everyone seemed to deem as godly all those years ago, but I could never see (or hear) what all the fuss was about.

The two of them together were never going to raise my dick beyond flaccid level, and there could even be a threat of the dreaded walnut syndrome creeping in.


Stereophonics - Maybe Tomorrow (You Gotta Go There to Come Back - 2003)


I used to work with a bunch of dudes who were Stereophonics fans. I remember one of them mentioning that 'Kelly Jones' either sounded half-decent or like a pile of shit depending on what day it was. Obviously, he was not enamoured by those raspy vocal chords, and the music was the attraction.

Likewise, I am not a particularly huge fan of this band, with the odd tune sticking out such as this one. Was it the distorted guitar that sounds suspiciously like it's been lifted, chopped, and re-mixed from the Isley Brothers, ‘Summer Breeze’ that held my attention, or that warbly voice that grabbed me?

I do suspect the former but can handle a few pebbles.


In a Broken Dream – Python Lee Jackson (In a Broken Dream – 1972)


Let’s jump into one of the most prominent and famous gravel voices, Rod Stewart. The band released this track featuring Rod’s vocals which raced up the charts giving them a sole top ten hit.

It was before my time, unfortunately, the, 'unfortunately', being because I do love the late 60’s and 70’s sounds and only started taking any notice close to the end of my junior school days.

I figure I was quite early joining the music bandwagon but missed early classics such as ‘Maggie May’, a song I do like but has been grossly overplayed on the national radio.

...'the king of gravel? many would say so, as well as extravagance'...

Like many of these songs released when I was far too young to appreciate them, I had to delve into the past and find them usually with some 'old' person giving me hints on what was good and tips about the general shite released. All era's have a percentage of crap, and this period was no different.

That distorted guitar had my ear from the first moment, even though the arrangement and production of this song tries its best to subdue the glory. Can you turn that bit up a little?

When the vocals start, it's blatantly obvious that it's Rod behind the microphone.


Fleetwood Mac – Sisters of the Moon (Tusk – 1980)


Stevie Nicks barely falls into this category, but I feel I must include one female in the list, and it’s not going to be Bonnie Tyler. With a highly distinctive voice, I remember seeking out the ‘Stevie’ songs on each Fleetwood Mac album during the time I was discovering their music and rummaging through the back catalogue.

They always seemed the most interesting, dreamy, and melancholic of the bunch and occasionally contained some decent guitar work courtesy of ex-partner Lindsay Buckingham.

...'every young blokes wet dream fantasy and I was no exception in the early 1980's, Stevie was super hot'...

'Sisters of the Moon’ is an example of this, which appears to covey Stevie’s mysterious persona but on looking it up, I discovered… ‘the song was written about her deteriorating health' 🤢.

As per all of my selections today, it’s the guitar that wins me over, and this does not disappoint with a grungy performance close to the end from Lindsay which almost betters the outro of ‘Tango in the Night’.


What of the ‘Gravel Voice’ in today’s world? You may notice all of these songs are over twenty years old. Are there no young voices made up of broken bricks, chipped pebbles, and split granite?

I don’t feel this is a trait one can learn, but innate. You either have a cracked voice, or you don’t.

There’s always the option of extensive drug abuse for twenty years, then you could arise as the one and only ‘Gravel Voice’ of recent times. Once the older crooners are gone, you will be one exclusive individual.


Guitar Image - Source
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Gravel isn't something I thought too much about before, there does seem to be a trend for woman's voices to become more deeper, would that class as gravel? I think Amy Whitehouse was quite deep, Anastacia, even Cher could hit those deep tones too I remember!

Not deep, but scratchy. There's few of them about and they are very distinctive once heard, but not always in a good way. Rod is a fine example, listen to the warbling scratchiness in 'In a Broken Dream'.

Those other women you mention are clear-voiced, though distinctive, especially Amy.

I can sense some scratchiness in this Rod song, I'm not so smart though, I hadn't thought about him having a scratchy voice. I guess his voice is so recognisable like you mentioned though. I need to train my ears some more.

So I am guessing you don't care too much for Janis Joplin either then? I was never really a fan of Meatloaf. I like him better in Fight Club than I did any of his music.

So I am guessing you don't care too much for Janis Joplin either then?

Damn @bozz.., I was barely walking during that time and you were not even around! She's well before my time and I never took the time to check her, though she was well respected.

I like him better in Fight Club

I had to double-take that, I watched it on release but can't remember Mr Loaf being in it, but he is I see.

Missed one link off, have added it now, careless!

His name is Robert Paulson...

I never took the time to check her, though she was well respected.

now, thats a fault... but ofc one never can embrace the unembraceable

I like the odd Stereophonics track too and Maybe Tomorrow was a good un. He did have quite the marmite voice!

'Marmite voice'..., a great acronym, yeah I like this song but couldn't mention any of the others, such is the notice I took of them,

There was that other one which was played to death everywhere that I started off liking but heard it so much it makes me feel ill 😃

which was played to death everywhere

I will probably know it, but probably won't want to remember it!

Tom Waits has already been mentioned, so I’ll add Leonard Cohen to the list.

These are vocalists I don't listen to, and as I'm not a fan of the gravel voice, likely won't start 😀

Cohen is great but definitely he is (was) a clear-voiced vocalist.

Enjoyed your selection pretty much. Stevie is splendid! tho I 'd rather not agree on counting her voice as 'Gravel'. My 3rd pic would be Tom Waits, haha. Tho ofc he is not female. Myself, I rather prefer ward, soft and silk female vocals (like of Chan Marshall).
This #ttt I've shared a Britney Spears cover by Haley Reinhart - do check her voice, I wonder what will you say? is it gravel enough? I dont wish her to abuse drugs and cigarettes for 20 years on :D

So many mentions of Tom Waits, I had to listen. Yeah, he fits in this category!
Stevie not really, I didn't want to include Bonnie.

Tom Waits never sang a clean note in his life.

Tina Turner blasts the mic with damaged vocal chords.

Billie Eilish has perfected the weakened voice so much it cracks. Many women copy her style to hide their pitchy/weak voices.

Tina Turner, kind of.., but more in line with Stevie Nicks, there's few true gravelers..

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Lollll... you want some gravel?

Ever heard of Jimmy Barnes?

If not, check out this gravel voice that will soon be heard throughout the Maldives with an awesome bunch of other Aussie music legends.

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@jlinaresp(5/10) tipped @slobberchops

Tell your downvoting friends to stay away I had a visit from that fat bald guy from Houston


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Sisters of the Moon seem like the best here. The magical voices, the instrumental which also sounds somehow like Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean😆
So lovely!

Hello can you please just tell your friend to stop this thank you 🤝🏾

You did this yourself, you can't go around publicly threatening people and expect respect.

You say you can 'find people' easily, but others can also find you. Do you really want the cops knocking on your door?, tone it down and stop doing this, it's all public immutable evidence.

We connected 5 years ago during the last altercation, so let me give you some advice.

Work to your strengths. You are a rapper, so why not put that stuff on HIVE? Some of it is years old, I can see that from your YouTube channel. If it's never been on HIVE, why not drip feed it here?

If you already published it on STEEM (during 2016-2020), then don't try and get rewarded twice.

Do you not produce new music now? There's music communities on HIVE and Vibes is the new 'big thing' which is all about musicians' and their creative flair.

Everyone is good at something and once you find that something..., exploit it. Go out there, create some new music.

I understand what you are saying but to me and my people getting downvoted is a big disrespect it's like getting robbed and abused at the same time I do understand you.

Ok cool but I'm not hiding from anyone and of course anyone can be tracked down these days it's quite easy.

So sorry about another bad interaction with you 🤝🏾

I'm not only a rapper I do a lot of other things to and yes I still make music I've been doing a daily freestyle everyday since the start of the year so I'm working on a mixtape called kg365mixtape

My goal is to create one freestyle everyday for until the end of the year I've not missed a day yet

I'm good at a lot of different things I'm very versatile thank you for taking the time to communicate with me 🤝🏾

For me, this very well remembered and dear chap below always will be the one who had the most lovely raspy and gravel voice in the music bizniz.

But yeah, according to your confession. We already know that at that time you were still a promise playing hide-and-seek in your dad's scrotum. ;o)

Yeah Joe is quite gravelly, good point.